Archive for November, 2010

Review: The False Friend – Myla Goldberg

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Doubleday (October 5, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385527217
ISBN-13: 978-0385527217
Order book here:
Order E-book here:

Celia Durst – In a quest to show the truth of a friend’s disappearance.
Huck – Celia’s Boyfrend
Djuna Pearson – Celia’s Friend – Disappeared when they were young.
Becky Miller – One of Celia and Djuna’s friends.
Josie Linke – One of Celia and Djuna’s friends.
LeeAnne Forrest – An often bullied schoolmate of Celia’s and Djuna’s.
Noreen Durst – Celia’s Mother – A school counselor
Warren Durst – Ceilia’s Father


When Celia Durst was young her best friend Djuna disappeared in the woods near their home. She was never seen again. Celia has been harboring feeling of guilt since that day. She returns to her hometown to talk to all those she was friends with, and try to put the past behind her. But will the past be what she remembers?


This was a very fast read. I read it probably in the course of about 6 hours. The story follows Celia as she uncovers more and more information on what happened the day her friend disappeared. The author tackles some very interesting ideas. Are Celia’s memories accurate? What are the repercussions to those who are bullied?

The story keeps you involved. You keep guessing the entire time, wondering is Celia right? Are her parents? Friends? What truly happened to Djuna? You get to see glimpses of their childhood, and get to see each friend grown up now, and see that all have their views on what happened.

The characters are very realistic. The one person that seemed out of place was Huck. I think his character was just there as a sounding board, or voice of reason, for Celia.

There are some twists, some I didn’t see coming and was totally shocked by. There was some strong language, so I’d recommend this for older teens or adults. A very good, tight story that should be an enjoyable afternoon reading experience.

Be sure and check out our giveaway for 2 copies of The False Friend here

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Judy at Doubleday 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.

2 people like this post.

Giveaway – The False Friend – Myla Goldberg

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Thanks to Judy at Doubleday I”m able to offer my readers 2 copies of this book. To enter, follow these simple 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 12/09/2010.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

Review: Why? Because We Still Like You – Jennifer Armstrong

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 29, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446545953
ISBN-13: 978-0446545952
Order book here:
Order E-book here:

I remember this show from the mid to late 1970s. I was probably 8 or 9 years old when it was re-broadcast. However, my young mind didn’t know about such things as syndication. At the first musical notes Who’s the Leader of the Club that’s made for you and me, I was hooked. I’d watch Cubby, Karen, and the rest of the Mousketeers each week. My 8 year old heart was stolen by a little raven haired, dark eyed beauty known as Annette. A few years later, my heart was broken to discover she was a 40 year old woman now. Thank you Skippy Peanut butter, for crushing a young boys romance.

This book takes you behind the scenes of that show. You get to see how it was created. How the casts were chosen, and what happened when they were no longer “chosen”. You get to see their first experiences with puberty. The author also does a nice followup, so you see where some of the more well known, and lesser known mousketeers are now.

If you are a Disney Fan or a fan of this show, then you’d definitely like this book. No strong language, no bad situations. Everything embodied by the show itself. Just good old fahsioned stories about a good old fashioned show.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Valerie at Hachette Book 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.

Article: Infinite Quest Author John Edward

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Five Ways to Create and Manifest Positive Change
By John Edward,
Author of Infinite QuestDevelop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life

When I first started doing psychic readings for clients, my grandmother used to get so frustrated when she would hear me say to my clients that they didn’t need to see me, because they could learn to pay attention to the signs and symbols all around them, instead. I often suggested that they study metaphysics, meditate, or just learn to listen to their own intuition. My grandmother would exclaim, “Why are you saying that? You are not going to have any business!” I always laughed because I believed that it was my responsibility to pass this message of self-empowerment on to my clients. I can’t help but smile to think what she would say now [twenty-five years later] about my latest book, Infinite Quest, in which I share how to develop their own intuition. Bearing in mind I am only a teacher, I can’t change your life. You must create and manifest that positive change. How? My guess is that you instinctively already know, but tapping into that knowledge is the key. Here are a few suggestions to get your intuition flowing.

1. Update Your Attitude

I know some of you are rolling your eyes right now, but even though it sounds so simple, changing your attitude can be tricky for everyone at some point in their lives. In fact, many people never seem to be able to break free from outdated or negative thought patterns. Observe your reactions and pay attention to the messages you give yourself and others. You might be surprised at how often you criticize yourself, or how much energy you waste worrying about what will go wrong. Decide to make a conscious change in attitude. and then practice, practice, practice. Look for the adventure out of every experience and encounter. Live passionately and be a force for the universe to use.

2. Take Back the Remote Control

What are you watching on your mind’s TV? What songs are you singing internally? What old tapes are still playing from your childhood? It’s critical to be aware of the ways you are programming your mind, consciously and unconsciously. Turn off the news if you find yourself getting upset, stop watching violent shows before you go to sleep, and kindly excuse yourself from the office gossip. Start programming in your mind’s eye what you really enjoy and want for your life. You are the writer, director, and star of the show. Program your station with positive affirmations, songs of joy, visions of a fulfilling future, and things that make you laugh.

3. Law of Attraction: The Boomerang Effect

Think of it like this: Like attracts Like. For example you are stuck in a negative thought pattern then [unfortunately] until you change it, more negativity will follow. You will start to find that that there will be people in your life who are willing to confirm or exploit your fears. Raise your energetic vibration and attract more positive energy. Look for the best in the people you meet, your experiences, and maybe most importantly, yourself. Instead of listing all that is wrong with something or someone, name three things that are right. The more effort you put into this lifetime the more you will extrapolate from it. Don’t ever forget, whatever you send out energetically will find its way back to you.

4. Honor What You Feel Not What You Fear

I am not saying to deny the feeling of fear and pretend it is not present; instead I am suggesting that you embrace it and then let the fear go and move forward. Choose to use The Love Principle as much as possible. Keep in mind that Fear paralyzes and Love empowers. You could worry that your spouse might cheat on you and then unintentionally, create an atmosphere of suspicion, or you can focus on building a marriage that is full of honesty and trust, giving the relationship the best possible chances for success. Remember, Fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real. Focus on the love you feel and not the fear.

5. The Power of Meditation and Prayer

Meditation is enormously important in the process of your psychic development and evolution. It is an essential tool to assist you in creating a life that is centered and balanced, which is the key to achieving your spiritual goals.

Practicing daily meditation can help you release stress and negativity on a conscious as well as an unconscious level. It relaxes the physical body and teaches the mind to focus for a specific period of time. When you can focus, then it is much easier to visualize–which is the basis for creating your own reality. Don’t panic, it can be as simple as five minutes in the shower, a ten-minute walk in the woods, or even three minutes before you run out the door; just do it at least once a day. It helps you to build a strong foundation by raising your vibration and enabling you to be in the essence of your spirit. It allows you to quiet the physical body, work from your higher self, and open up to higher planes of energy and consciousness. The power and healing energy of prayer is something I believe in quite strongly and encourage you to include in your meditation time.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to look outside yourself for what you already have within. The ultimate goal is to live a psychic life every day and to use that newfound recognition to take chances and make choices with confidence.

© 2010 John Edward
author of Infinite QuestDevelop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life

Author Bio
John Edward
, author of Infinite Quest: Develop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life, is an internationally acclaimed psychic medium, author, and lecturer. On his internationally syndicated talk shows, Crossing Over with John Edward and John Edward Cross Country, he captivated audiences worldwide with his unique abilities to connect people with loved ones who have crossed over to the Other Side. John has appeared on many other talk shows, including the Today ShowOprah!, and The View, and has been a frequent guest on CNN’s Larry King Live. He is a regular guest on morning radio, including New York’s WPLJ and Los Angeles’ KROQ. John has been featured in articles in the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesPeople, and Entertainment Weekly. John is the author of several New York Times best-sellers, including Crossing Over: The Stories Behind the Stories and What if God Were the Sun? He conducts workshops and seminars around the world, and is the founder of the metaphysical website John lives in New York with his family.  

Please follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Review: Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole – Kristi Petersen Schoonover

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Paperback: 156 pages
Publisher: Admit One Literary Theme Park Press (September 30, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615402801
ISBN-13: 978-0615402802
Order book here:

This book is a series of short stories set around Disney World. The stories range from a woman obsessed with buying Disney paraphernalia, some of which might be haunted, to a woman haunted by the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. While there are at times mild language, the whole book puts me in mind of Goosebumps, or similar books. While they might be scary for very young viewers, I think they’d find their appropriate age group in 13 and above. And I think fans of Disney would definitely enjoy these haunted tales.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Ms. Schoonover 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 Titan’s Curse – Rick Riordan

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (April 8, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1423101480
ISBN-13: 978-1423101482
Order book here:
Order E-book here:


Perseus Jackson – Demigod son of Poseidon
Thalia Grace – Demigod Daughter of Zeus
Nico Di Angelo – Newly discovered demigod
Bianca Di Angelo – Newly discovered demogod
Grover Underwood – Sartyr – Best Friend of Perseus
Annabeth Chase – Demigod daughter of Athena


Poor Percy Jackson. Just when life seems to have calmed down, he gets a message from his friend Grover. The message sends him, Annabeth, and Thalia to find two new demigod children. Just as they get to the children, Annabeth is kidnapped. Artemis, goddess of War goes off after her. Percy and friends are left with Artemis’ head hunter Zoe and the other hunters. Traveling back to camp Half-Blood, they are soon presented with a prophecy detailing a quest they need to go on. They must rescue Artemis.


Thes Percy Jackson books are always an enjoyable reading experience for me. Though they are meant for a younger audience, I just love reconnecting, and seeing what the author will do next, or what mythological charactrers we’ll meet next.

This book was no exception to that, it left me eager to read book #4 and I’m currently trying to find the time to do so. I can see it leading up to an ultimate battle between Gods and Titans. There are charcters, as in real life, who don’t make it through this book. There are other characters who make very dramatic turns, and leave me excited to see what becomes of them next.

So if you’ve got young kids, or are young at heart, pick up The Titan’s Curse and enjoy the ride with Percy Jackson. There’s no objectionable language, but they might be a little scary ala’ Alice in Wonderland, so discretion is advised for very young readers.

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

Article: From Original Sinners author John R. Coats

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

What’s Real About Reconstructionism?
By John R. Coats,
Author of Original Sinners: Why Genesis Still Matters

Think of it as the New American Dream, a vision carried by an increasing number of our fellow citizens. Followers of “Christian Reconstructionism,” the uber-right Dominionist sect started by Rousas John Rushdoony, author of The Institutes of Biblical Law, they are quietly, though energetically, working toward an American future in which the Constitution of the United States has been replaced by “600 or so Mosaic laws . . . the inflexible guide for the society [envisioned by Rushdoony’s disciple Gary] DeMar and other Reconstructionists.” 

Don’t look for them in the news. Too bright a light on their advocacy, say, of public stonings as “community projects” would, no doubt, prove awkward. (Imagine one of those oh-so-reasonable talking-head debates on the evening news: “Community Stonings: Good for America? Yes or No? With us tonight are . . . “) Mostly, though, it’s because they are simply not in a hurry. As with the Nazis, for whom they’ve expressed admiration, whose crimes, their founder said, were overstated, whose 1923 Beer Hall Putsch suggested that winning through the ballot box was the superior strategy to open revolution, Christian Reconstructionism (in sync with others on the Christian Right) has been busy with a bottom up, and quite legal, deconstruction/reconstruction of the American Republic, and at so measured a pace that we hardly notice, beginning with grassroots control at the level of school boards, city councils, and such. 

A case in point is the religious-right dominated Texas Education Commission’s rewriting of the classroom texts for the teaching of Texas and American history. State legislatures, too, with Texas, again, the example. In 2005, the Republican (read “religious right”) dominated legislature gerrymandered the districts in such a way that it is a near impossibility for Democrats to gain a majority. Yes, I know, Democrats have a history of this sort of behavior, as well. Then again, their efforts were driven merely by old-timey greed and power-happy politicians. History suggests that control in the hands of religious fanatics is another matter.

Still, an American theocracy? Seriously? How? You’d be surprised how easy it can be in a culture as distracted as ours. Owning the language is a must – – that is, the steady, purposeful shifting of meaning of the words by which we, as citizens, define ourselves. In his book, American Fascists, The Christian Right And The War On America, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges writes about the control of language, what he calls “‘logocide,’ the killing of words [in which] Code words of the old [secular] belief system [freedom, patriotism, liberty] are deconstructed and assigned diametrically opposed meanings.” He goes on to quote Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister and master of the tactic: “The best propaganda is that which . . . works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.” 

To be sure, Christian Reconstructionists hardly fit the cliché of backwoods religious cult. They are smart, educated, well-funded, and growing in numbers, power, and influence. What they want, and diligently are working toward, is ridding America, then the world, of “the blasphemy of democracy.” Along with replacing the Constitution of the United States with biblical law, their agenda includes the return of “biblical” slavery, the closure of public schools, and the return of women to their proper, biblical place-what Rushdoony calls the man’s “help-meet.” Among those to be stoned as “community projects” (note how the horror is hidden beneath the familiarity of the term) are disrespectful teenagers, young women who lie about their virginity, adulterers, witches, blasphemers, and gay men. 

It couldn’t happen here? In 2008, one of the primary litmus tests for Republican candidates for the Presidency of The United States was a public declaration of belief in the Bible’s literal truth. We can scoff all we like, but while American progressives, disappointed by Obama’s and the Democratic Party’s record, register their protest by not voting, Christian Reconstructionists and the rest of the Christian Right plan to go on electing to local, state, and national office men and women who believe-and intend that our children and grandchildren will believe-that democracy is blasphemy, that the earth and the universe are 6,000 years old, and that human children once rode dinosaurs. 

What we too readily forget is that elections rarely reflect the overall will of the people, but are, instead, the result of which supporters of this or that candidate or cause show up and vote in the greatest numbers. Which is what the advocates of that New American Vision never forget, what they have been doing for most of the past three decades, and are ready to do again, and again . . . and again.

 © 2010 John R. Coats, author of Original Sinners: Why Genesis Still Matters

Author Bio
John R. Coats, author of Original Sinners: Why Genesis Still Matters, holds his master’s degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal) and Bennington College Writing Seminars. A former parish priest, he was a principal speaker and seminar leader for the More To Life training program. He lives with his wife, Pamela, in Houston, Texas.

For more information please visit and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Review: Beyond Justice – Joshua Graham

Monday, November 15th, 2010


Paperback: 440 pages
Publisher: Dawn Treader Press (April 27, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984452605
ISBN-13: 978-0984452606
Order book here:
Order E-book here:


Sam Hudson – Man facing the death of his family, faith, and redemption.
Rachel Chen – Sam’s Lawyer
Pastor Dave – Next door neighor and wife’s minister.


Sam Hudson comes home one night. He find his wife stabbed and bleeding to death. He finds his daughter’s been stabbed as well, and that his son has been beaten nearly to death. The next 4 years of Sam’s life are going to be both a curse and blessing.


Sam Hudson is a modern day Job. He’s had his wife and daughter murdered. His son is near death. He loses everything, but on the way finds something far greater than himself.

This book at 400+ pages is not a light read. However, I found myself glued to the story. I started it on a Friday, and finished it the next night. The characters were honest and believable. The characters were memorable.  I loved the characters of Priest and Possum, and felt sad when some characters died.  The situations were feasible. I could see these situations happening to someone.

You get to see a man go from being athiest, to having a strong faith in God. While this is labeled as a Christian Thriller, it’s not as over the top as Tim LaHaye or a Kirk Cameron vehicle. While there are some areas, once Sam finds his faith, that lean towards sweetly sentiments, it also presents both sides fairly. If there is one slight drawback, It seems that Sam might have gone too fast from being a non-believer to having this extremely strong faith in God. Granted, for the purposes of the storyline, you don’t see the whole transformation, but just seemed like a big jump. However, for those in it, who are non-believers, there is never a character that criticizes them, or tells them they are wrong to doubt. I think that’s a good message.

However, if you are intersted in Christian Fiction, and in Thrillers then I think you’d really enjoy this. While not overbearing like Tim LaHaye, it presents a beautiful message about faith and redemption. While there are some strong words here and there throughout the book, if I were to rate it, I’d give it a PG-13. I’d definitely recommend it though if you are looking for a thriller without all the sex and violence.

Author Bio:

Under a different pen name, Joshua has been published in three Simon & Schuster anthologies. He’s a graduate of the Oregon Professional Writers Masterclass run by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Joshua Graham grew up in Brooklyn, NY where he lived for the better part of 30 years. He holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree and went on to earn his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University. During his time in Maryland, he taught as a professor at Shepherd College (WV), Western Maryland College, and Columbia Union College (MD).

Today he lives with his beautiful wife and children in San Diego. Several of Graham’s short fiction works have been published by Pocket Books and Dawn Treader Press.

A member of the Oregon Writers Network, Graham is a graduate of the Master Classes and professional writing workshops held by Dean W. Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Dean and Kris and the entire OWN, have been a major influence in his career.

Be sure and see our interview with Joshua here.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Joshua who provided 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.

Interview: Joshua Graham – Beyond Justice

Monday, November 15th, 2010

We’re very happy to have with us at Rhodes Review today the author of Beyond Justice. Beyond Justice is a thriller with a heart.

Rhodes Review: What inspired you to write this book?

JG: A sermon about forgiveness, in which the pastor mentioned Dennis Rader, the BTK serial killer, and how he’d fooled everyone, his family, friends and church. The pastor of his church had to deal with tough questions when going to visit Rader in prison. I began to wonder what the limits of forgiveness are, if there are any. Is it impossible for God to forgive someone who commits heinous acts like Rader had? The questions and dilemmas give birth to BEYOND JUSTICE.

Rhodes Review: What made you decide to write it as a standard thriller rather than a Christian thriller?

JG: You know, though there are definite themes in BEYOND JUSTICE which are very important to the Christian faith (grace, mercy, faith, forgiveness, redemption), I wanted to write a book that would appeal to people besides Christians, something that wouldn’t try to tell readers what they should believe. I examine many of the issues and debates, but in the end, I try to let the reader draw their own conclusions.

After all, faith is a decision. Even atheism is a faith-decision, if you think about it. I just think that some people don’t realize this and blindly chose their faith (be it Christianity or Atheism.)

Rhodes Review: Who are some of your favorite writers? Books?

JG: Besides the Bible, I’m a big fan of John Grisham, Stephen King, and Daniel Silva. But my favorite writer of all mortal authors is C.S. Lewis and his CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, all seven books. I can read and re-read them over and over and still find new and profound meaning in them.

Rhodes Review: Where do you get your muse?

JG: Through prayer, meditation and reading the Bible. Seriously. I’m not trying to be “religious” but it’s really true. Each day, when I read and pray, I seek inspiration. Just the other day, reading the book of 2 Kings in the Old Testament (the story of Elijah being taken up by chariots of fire) I found themes for the ending of my upcoming Fantasy novel (which will be written under a different pen name.)

Rhodes Review: Describe your writing process?

JG: I start from the Macro level and work my way into an outline. I don’t find outlines limiting at all. Quite the opposite. They free me to work creatively because there’s no fear of getting so far off track and having to obliterate story lines because I wasn’t careful about continuity. I can make any changes I want, as the inspiration comes, and know exactly what I need to adjust to fit it in. Changes to outlines always happen, but knowing what is affected by the inspired change, helps me move forward with a LOT more confidence than not having any idea how big a mess I might be creating. It’s a road map for a LONG journey.

That said, I rarely outline for shorter works (like my ACCIDENTAL stories.)

Rhodes Review: What is your current project?

JG: I am completing a YA Epic fantasy novel called ONCE WE WERE KINGS, the first book in a trilogy. I’m also completing a collection of short fiction.

Rhodes Review: Any plans to see Rachel again in future books?

JG: Anything is possible. :) That’s an interesting idea! Jodi the Piranha has already made a cameo (obliquely mentioned) in my next thriller DARKROOM, The entire Salton Sea penitentiary has made a return in my recent eBooks THE ACCIDENTAL HERO, and THE ACCIDENTAL EXORCIST.

Rhodes Review: How did you first get interested in writing?

JG: I’ve been writing since the 1st grade. I’ve always loved writing stories and in 2003, some internet friends urged me to enter a writing contest. I didn’t make it that year, but the following year I did, and made my first of three sales to Pocket Books.

Rhodes Review: How do you come up with story ideas?

JG: Two words: What if? And truthfully, I believe they are given by God’s grace. Not my own efforts and ideas. At least this is the case with anything with which I’ve been successful.

Rhodes Review: What advice would you give to those interested in pursuing writing?

JG: Read a lot. Learn as much as you can through books on writing, workshops. And Google Heinlein’s rules (and follow them.) You are responsible for your own career, not an agent, not an editor. Never give up on your God-given dreams. They are there in your heart for a reason.

Rhodes Review: Have any appearances/tours you are interested in telling our readers about?

JG: I just finished a virtual book tour for BEYOND JUSTICE, but the beauty of it is you can view every tour stop here:

I will be doing a book signing at BORDERS BOOKS in El Cajon, CA on December 18th. Here is the press release:

BEYOND JUSTICE is an Amazon and Barnes & Noble multiple bestseller. You can get a copy at your local bookstore, or order it as a trade paperback here:

It’s also available for all eBook readers.

For Kindle:

For Nook:

For SONY Reader, iPad, and Kobo at:

Connect with Josh at:

Josh’s author page:

Josh’s Barnes & Noble page:

We’d like to thank Joshua for taking the time to talk to us, and wish him the best of luck on his book.

1 people like this post.

Poetry: Winter Magic by Mary Benson

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Winter Magic
by Mary Benson
Excerpt from the poetry collection:
Blue Mountain Rider by Mary Benson and Hedy Strauss

Come fly away!
On an enchanted sleigh.
Lost and laughing,

In swirling, whirling, winter white.
Merry bells

Majestic Morgans

Flowing manes

Puffs of snow

Silent runners

Snowflakes clinging, harnesses jingling.

What joy to be
Running so free
On a magic carpet…are we.

Combining their love of horses and the outdoors, Mary Benson and Hedy Strauss immigrated to the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York where they met. Whether it is preserving wild mustang heritage or saving horses from slaughter, both women are passionate advocates for animal welfare. Blue Mountain Rider is their collection of equine-inspired poetry. Visit Mary and Hedy at

1 people like this post.