Saturday, September 29, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Pipper’s Secret Ingredient
Authors: Jane Murphy and Allison Fingerhuth
The ISBN number is 978-0615388083.
The Publisher is Mutt Media.
Pipper is blog stuck and cannot think about what to write about in her next blog. Pipper finds recipes for her blog that are different and she travels around the world to find something exciting to write about. But, she has blog block and needs to unblog herself. Who better than her friends to discuss her problem? Pipper might be a canine but she is clever and has many friends working in many different fields. But, what would any book be without a villain to literarily stir up the recipe pot and try and steal your ideas. Bull Bogus is the owner of a Biscuit Company formerly run by his father. But, Bogus is making just that biscuits that do not fit the bill but will definitely make you sick to your stomach and more. Why? He claims cost and overhead and he had to change things around but the quality is the same. He also claims that he needs to make a profit and his unhealthy treats are better in order to fill his pockets with money. But, Pipper still needs to find a special ingredient to create that perfect treat and with the help of her six friends she is on her way around the world to find it. With her travel guide, specific locations and people to look for she hopes to find that one perfect something that will create the perfect treat.
Healthy, the right shape and design, a decadent treat that everyone will love, real taste no fake chemicals and hopefully will have that special secret ingredient that no other treat has. So, with the help of her friends she is off to Egypt to visit and take a tour of the great pyramids of Giza. But, Bogus won’t give up that easily and trailing right behind her or even hiding in direct sight is Bumbles Brug who thinks he can outfox her but can he? In between her travels and her five destinations she continues her blog to keep her readers informed of her quest, her destinations and her progress. But, her first guide is quite interesting, unique and Mr. Saluki takes her across Egypt on camel traveling through sandstorms until her final destination.
Bogus thinks he has it all under control but sometimes your conscience guides you and one of his trusted workers decides to go to the other side, namely Pipper’s when she realizes what he’s up to and why. Imagine pedaling your way through Egypt on a camel in a race and riding through thick sandstorms until you come to your final destination the pyramids and then off to Paris, France. But, as a blogger I really think this book is great because the author allows the reader to hear Pipper’s words first hand and read her blog and join her on trip through these many exciting places to find that perfect ingredient for her perfect treat. Fifi Carniche takes her on a whirlwind tour of Paris and discusses how she manages to stay fit. Join them on your own bike as they tour the city and learn some great expressions, about the opera and the markets as we all tag along with Fifi and Pipper on this journey to find the secret ingredient. But, our sneaky friend Bumbles is right behind her and thought that Fifi’s talkative parrot would spill the beans about where Pipper was. You have to read the book and hear the conversation between dog and parrot. It is priceless. Added in is the Pipper’s trip to Fifi’s hair salon and her new French Hair style! How cool is that! Next, our Pipper writes about her journey in her blog for all of her friends and fans to read while heading off for Orient Express where she meets The Flying Piroghis and what happens on this train you just have to experience for yourself when you take the journey along with her and the circus performers. But, be careful make sure you don’t eat the biscuits because you don’t know what Bumbles spiked them with in order to find out the secret ingredient Pipper is still searching for. Next stop is Katz’s Delicatessen in New York and the rock group she was meeting M.C. Beagle. The mouth-watering delights she describes will send everyone down to the city to chow down on the deli delights and desserts that Katz’s is famous for. But, let’s not forget that Bumbles has been hot on her trail the whole time and Bogus well you have to find out for yourself just how or if they get their just treats or desserts. Finally, she meets the Dolly Lhasa Apso in Machu Picchu where she learns where the real ingredient she needs to put in her biscuits just might be found.
With the help of her friends they create several new treats, realize what the secret ingredient is and just how to market it all. So, visit her new bakery and get your Bow Wow treats at Pipper’s Bow Wow bakery. Try her new Wonder Bars in many different flavors and of course you can’t go wrong with the recipes in the back of the book. The salad sounds healthy and great.
Let’s give this book: Five Golden Wonder Bar Treats! Don’t forget to read her blog!
Fran Lewis: reviewer
Just how far will one man go to prove his love for his wife? Just how far will she go to test it? Gone Girl is an interesting novel based in two time periods. The main character, Nick Dunne relates in his own unique voice his present state of mind, meeting his wife, his hopes for their future and his new career working with his sister in a Bar named The Bar. As we get to know him better we realize that his relationship with his sister is quite close and his wife’s distant with his family. Nick’s story or narrative takes place in the present. Meeting Amy we learn about her as she introduces the reader to her first impressions and encounters with Nick. Bowled over, over the top and head over heels for him you can feel the energy between them as she shares her diary with the reader. But, Amy’s behavior is often erratic and things change as the reader comes to know her better and realizes that she disappears but how and why? Gone Girl is just that a story about a wife whose sudden disappearance changes the lives of many but mainly Nick. As you hear the voices told in alternating chapters from a soft pianissimo to a loud crescendo when things crash and life takes on a much different turn. Can you marry someone and think they are one person and learn they are really another? Can your life be turned upside because circumstances look as if you are guilty?
As he hear Amy tell about her feelings about Nick we begin to wonder why she decided to marry him and just how solid her mind is when listening to her voice. As we fast forward to the present Nick is alert by a friend that his house has not been locked and the door is wide open. Entering the front door he realizes something is wrong as he smells smoke and the house looks ransacked. Was it a struggle or was it something else that caused Amy’s disappearance as the next step in the chain of events is calling the Police. This would change the complexion of his life.
The alternating voices of both Nick and Amy change throughout the first part of the novel as Amy enlightens the reader in her diary entries as to the changes she feels she sees not only in herself but in Nick that cause their marriage to deteriorate. Added in is the fact that Amy has never had to worry about money for any reason yet her parents come to her and borrow a substantial amount because of poor financial choices. Resentment hits an all time high as Nick and Amy are constantly arguing over money, his loss of his job and then the reader becomes aware of his infidelity in the present. Questioned by the police, seemingly upset about her disappearance and clues provided by Amy to help him find her it is almost like her typical treasure hunts she enjoys creating. Gone Girl has many levels to it as we begin to realize that Amy is not only gone or has orchestrated her own disappearance and is now living what she would call a double life, but her mind seems to be going deeper into another mindset as Kevin seems to finding his way in other places. Just where will this all lead still remains to be seen as we hear Amy’s thoughts, ramblings and words in part two of this book stating she is glad to be gone and missing. According to her parents and most friends she was kind, sweet, adorable and the subject of their many books so how does she turn into something so different. Almost like a split personality and another coming through in part two pumping up the plot for her unusual return in Part three. Why would Amy create her own disappearance and try to pin it on Kevin? Just how diabolical is she to create and orchestrate this entire event to coincide with her anniversary?
Although he agrees to the questioning by the police you can tell that both sides have a strong undertone of suspicion as to what might have happened to Amy. But, if you take a closer look you will learn that she is conniving, manipulative and cunning because she orchestrated the entire event so that Nick would be the prime suspect in what she will make appear as her murder. Amy documents in her diary entries her changing perspective of Nick from the first moments when she thought her world was filled with all of the things she wanted and needed because of him and then changed when she tells about his jealousies, his insecurities and resentment of her wealth and parental help. But, things shift when her parents make a poor financial choice and Amy has to lend them back the money in her trust fund that was originally theirs. Gone Girl has more a deeper meaning than just the disappearance of this young girl. As you listen closely and hear her voice, read each diary entry you will get to know her inner most thoughts, feelings, expressions and truths that are revealed as the author leads us into part two where things change.
The police are on the scene but have not really investigated every lead or every angle. At points you seem to think they are waiting for Nick to lead them to Amy or for him to solve the case for them. Each date in her diary brings us to the day of her disappearance where she made sure the police would find her blood and Nick the many written clues that she hoped would enlighten him to where she might be and what she has done. But, will he figure it out before the police? Will he realize what she did? These clues as he puts it are Amy’s treasure hunt clues leading to a path you just won’t believe.
Her plan was to fake her disappearance and frame him for her murder as Nick reveals in part two. Little does he know that Amy saw him and another woman in his place called The Bar. How naïve of him to think he’d get away with it. In her own words using the title of her parent’s book he had single-handedly de-amazed Amazing Amy. Just how would she make herself Dead Amy? Just how she stockpiled money is quite ingenious and what her plan is devious to say the least. Added in she is in a hideout and finds out she is pregnant but she has met so many different people where she is hiding and her mind seems to have snapped as she shares her plans with others and hears what they really think of her. Then more comes out about Amy as false charges are stated not only against Nick but someone else saying he raped Amy. Added in someone else enlightens him about more. So, Amy goes one step further not to be found and calls the tip line sending them in the wrong direction. Nick’s heartfelt confession played all over the air. As Amy turns to an old friend for comfort and help and we move to part three where all elements of surprise are no longer there and she returns. Just how she returns and Nick’s reaction you might be startled and surprised to learn. Sharon Schieber will interview you on television, reporters, blogs and tons of publicity just to frame him for her murder. So, why does she decide to return. Why not stay missing? The clues are simple: Pictures Amy, Nick, Andie, pregnancy tests and unpaid bills. She set him up perfectly. So, after the interview why does she decide to return? Gone Girl: 40 days gone and what happens next he’s arrested? Then he finds her on his doorstep looking like she was beaten. But, was she and why take her in? What really happened between her and Desi? What will the police learn when the see him? What did she do? Will she get away with murder? The ending will come as a definite surprise and the final outcome will not be what you might expect. Why does everyone believe her word? Why didn’t the police realize that she’s a psychopath and needs help? Just how does she frame Nick? What does he decide to do?
Gone Girl has many characters that add color to the plot. The group she hides out with, the police, Go, his straightforward sister, and her parents who lead the way for the reader to know that they along with Amy are superficial. Reporters that are hungry for a story. Police detectives that need retraining.
This is one marriage that will make you think about the definitions of dysfunctional, psychotic and revengeful. Why do these two feel that they owe each other anything? Why does Nick think he failed? Why does Amy feel entitled?
Author Gillian Flynn brings to light many issues that some face today as we learn about deceit, betrayals, distrusts, greed, hate and one woman who felt that she wanted it all but went about it in a unique and dangerous way. Gone Girl not just physically but in more ways than one. This is one novel that will definitely keep you thinking and make you wonder if the author added one more chapter what would be in store for Nick next?
Fran Lewis: reviewer
Friday, September 14, 2012
Some women have this insatiable appetite for men. Some cannot ever seem to get enough no matter how many times they get it they need more. Virginia Templeton’s husband died and she is going on a mass celebration. Slater is dead and she could not be happier. His money is all hers. The hotel chain she thinks is all hers and the rest is just gravy. Virginia Templeton uses men until they bore her and then tosses them out like yesterday’s fashions or a worn out pair of shoes. But, Virginia has a master’s in business and is quite shrewd. As the story opens we find her in her favorite place doing her favorite thing with her soon to be ex-toy boy Chandler whose body and him have worn out their welcome. But, Virginia cannot seem to control herself and when her maid Olivia informs her that she had a guest and she learns who it is, why turn down a good time. So, Chandler leaves and Shepp enters and you can just about guess the rest. No, you’d be wrong. The poor man tries to resist her and almost gets away scot-free but you know what I mean. But, little does she know that Shepp might be her new driver but he has his own plans for her and a definite ulterior motive for getting close to her. Just wait until she finds out just how much of her company he owns, who he’s related to and what he has planned for her. But, first there is much more to tell about Virginia.
Nicholas Waters was her psychiatrist until he dismissed her as a patient for her inappropriate and compromising behavior towards him. But, you know men and our Virginia seems to know just how to pull more than their strings, she bursts into his office, disrupts his session with a woman named Kathryn and she cannot understand the fuss. Calling security on her she refuses to realize that she once again horned in on her session, disregarded her privacy and was somewhere she was not wanted. But, Nicholas listens to Kathryn as she explains her relationship with Chandler, who we all know was doing his thing with Virginia until she tossed him out. As she unburdens herself to Nicholas just what she reveals might give you a better handle on her and why she felt Chandler was perfect for her. What she does not know is the ultimatum that Virginia gave him. While Kathryn keeps talking and he keeps writing Virginia is waiting in the lobby pacing pack and forth and really proud of herself for taking control of the situation but she soon learns she might not be the one in charge as he keeps her waiting while she stews in her own juices so to speak.
While Kathryn made the call that would change her life, Virginia began thinking about taking charge of her hotel business and controlling the board of directors. She even attempted to convince herself that she would change her ways and become the executive needed to run the company. That still remains to be seen in more ways than one.
But, what happens next you wont’ believe and what she does will not endear you to her but definitely let you know she’s not fool and she’s in charge. What she learns about someone kicks the person in more places than one. What she does you won’t believe? Then ending will leave you hungry for more and the so called revenge that she enacts will definitely let you know score one for her side. Just whom she gets and why I will never divulge. It’s Never Enough: In more ways than one for her: Money: Power Men and there is much more! Once again author Madison Montgomery paints a picture of this outrageous woman that everyone would like to be in some way and leaves everyone ready for Part 3.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Reviews are important if you want people to buy your books and know that you are a serious writer. When you ask for review from a reviewer you will hopefully get one that is honest, straightforward and positive. You need to find out where they are going to post your review and the links so that you can post the link on your blogs or website. One thing you should never do, in my opinion, is pay for a review. All too often many feel if you pay for a review the reviewer might be biased and give you a positive review because you are paying for it. That is not always the case. Reviews are subjective and reviewers should not take on a genre that they are not familiar with, really do not want to read or feel unqualified to review. Self-help books are interesting, books about science might not be what you want to read, historical fiction is great, but some history books might not hold your interest.
After interviewing many New York Times Best Selling authors and many self-published authors many have mixed feelings about the importance of a review. Some feel that reviews will boost sales good or bad. Some really do not care or hold too much stock in a bad review. Others feel that they are the ultimate approval of their writing.
Authors have to develop a thick skin when it comes to reviews. Everyone at some time is going to receive a negative review. Don’t let it stop you from writing. Don’t let it bring you down. Take it for what it’s worth which is one person’s opinion. If the reviewer states that he/she hates the book because it is boring or they really do not understand what you wrote I would not really worry or get upset after reading it. If the reviewer states that the plot line is weak, the characters are not believable and the action and dialogue need work they need to tell you how and why. But, that is still only one person’s opinion. Many authors ask for reviewers to read and review their books before the release date to get a handle on what readers think about their novels. When reviewing a book that I feel deserves less than four stars I will not review it. I prefer to summarize the book for the author to use for promotional purposes and not place it on a site, which requires rating it with stars. I will post the summary on my author sites and my review site that I run on Facebook but I will not write a negative review. What I might find not five stars or even four someone else might disagree. Reviewers can be tough and some even down right mean when taking apart a new author as I have seen before. Reviewing for publishing companies, well-known authors and new authors is the same as far as I am concerned. I have read books by New York Times Best selling authors and found that they are not five stars. I have read books by self-published authors that I think should be on the top ten picks on the New York Times Book Review Section of the paper. I never pan a book and I never tell an author in a review that he/she has typos or grammar errors. Most books unfortunately do have some errors few are error free. When a book has errors that detract from the storyline I message the author with this information. I never put it in a review. This would be one of those times that I would just summarize the book and not rate it.
So, you wrote a book and you are totally excited to see your name on the cover and your picture on the back. Don’t let anyone get you down. Don’t let reviews decide whether you write your next novel. Sometimes it takes two or three to get that perfect five stars. Write those novels, short stories or even novellas and give yourself FIVE GOLD STARS : You are a success because you accomplished what so many wish they had.
Fran worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three masters Degrees and a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently, she is a member of Who’s Who of America’s Teachers and Who’s Who of America’s Executives from Cambridge. In addition, she is the author of three children’s books and a fourth that has just been published on Alzheimer’s disease in order to honor her mom and help create more awareness for a cure. The title of my new Alzheimer’s book is Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey; Ruth’s story and Sharp as a Tack and Scrambled Eggs Which Describes Your Brain and Because We Care.
She was the musical director for shows in her school and ran the school’s newspaper. Fran writes reviews for authors upon request and for several other sites. You can read some of my reviews on Ezine.comand on ijustfinished.com under the name Gabina. Here is the link to her radio show www.blogtalkradio.com, Fran is the author of Faces Behind the Stones, Bad Choices and her latest in her Bertha Series: Bertha and Tillie Forever.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
I Have What???
One Man’s Journey Through Breast Cancer
Richard M. Wiener
Richard Wiener presents an extraordinary account of his journey with one of the most dreaded diseases anyone can ever get. Rich, poor, black, white, Asian, Indian, some illness never discriminate and will strike when the iron or tumor you might say is hot. Rich is truly remarkable and very proactive when dealing with life and his health. After losing his wife to this illness he was quick to jump on the bandwagon to find out just what it was that was lurking beneath the skin of his left breast. Could it be a cyst or was it a tumor? Rather than contemplate the answer and sit on his hands thinking it would disappear all by itself he describes from the very first page how February 12, 2012 would be one day he would never forget. You might say this day would either save his life or take it away. Doctor’s visit, surgeon’s visit, opinions states and biopsies taken and the end result of the verdict: BREAST CANCER! These words would devastate anyone and the thought that it was cancerous some would feel, but not Rich, it was a death sentence.
As Rich describes his hospital stay, the side effects from all the meds and then beginning chemo we hear the voice of a man who wants to live, will survive and has a positive attitude that is totally inspirational. Finally, at home and trying to adapt to the drain in his chest, the limitations it imposed he managed to deal with the pain, the drain and much more. On March 20th he started his first treatment and the description although graphic and quite vivid helps anyone that might have to deal with this illness and the same treatment to understand what it entails from someone that lived it. Week One was hard and his appetite, some pain attributed to the chemo and other side affects are described. Week two he realized that he could now eat and his appetite was improving. Thursday, April 12, would be a landmark day for him. Blood work, hoping all would go well, so that he could get the next set of treatments and April 19th Week 3. Feeling good which is great, hoping to eat something and with the help of his daughter-in-law things went smoothly including the chicken dinners from a friend and the frozen pizzas from another. Second round, side effects discussed and keeping a diary of the events for the nurse and for himself. Questions recorded for the doctor and the nurse, bloods checked again and seeing the oncologist he learns that his white blood cell count was high normal, which was great to ward off infections. Questions that he asked dealt with headaches, steroid meds that also addressed nausea, and how to add these meds to his daily routine and learning to deal with joint pain and much more.
For those that want to understand the definition of a Chemo Cocktail, the meds included plus the glorious side effects just read page 40 and be totally enlightened. One thing he did have was a healthy supply of Crystal Light lemonade or water with Propel. As the author states stating hydrated was vital so tons of Jell-O and chicken broth too. Included before the final week of treatment begins are amazing family photos, which include his beautiful wife Lynn, his amazing daughter and daughter-in-law and his son and grandson. For himself and I am sure for them he not only kept it together but was and still is determined to see it all the way through and survive.
Throughout the book you hear the author’s voice as he relates his journey in his own words in the first person. From the moment he heard to the present you understand the stress, the emotional upheaval and the fear when you hear that dreaded word Cancer. But, Rich is an inspiration for everyone and during week five he does explain the exhaustion he feels, the difficulties he faced walking up the step and the beginning of another round of treatment. Yet, through it all you never hear him whine, complain, feel sorry for himself or ever give up.
Lunch with a friend, energy level low, dinner great and hopefully able to watch some television Rich knew that only good times he hoped would follow. Okay: you are entitled to some complaints since they were related to food and your taste buds as he tries to decide what’s for dinner and it all seemed to taste the same. April gone, May just ahead and hopefully he would feel like going out.
Week 7 and the journey continued as Rich and his doctor discuss the BRCA test which he would take after all of the treatments were over and hopefully would come back negative. Rich continues with his daily routines, how he feels and the many setbacks he has and the new found energy he gets to go shopping, the discomfort in his knees and ankles, and the fact that he headaches are finally gone. Week eight he has a reaction that is affecting his taste. Imagine how great he felt when he sent to the health club, worked out and has breakfast. Normal days are not that easy to come by and he certainly relished the ones he had. Now, I know he was feeling better as he decided it was time to get a pedicure. Now, you are talking Rich! But, the elation was short lived. His cleaning girls on the way and he was hoping to be on the way of the house and to the mall to a movie, dinner with a friend and then more pills the next day for the last round of chemo.
But, not everything ran smoothly and he has a setback that causes him to spend some time in the ER and the hospital. The reasons for his stay you have to learn for yourself and the problems entailed are explained in Chapter 18 for the reader to understand. But, the end result was more serious and a stay in ICU. More information, more pills, more dietary restrictions and you won’t believe where his cell phone wound up. That you have to read and find out for yourself as sometimes-funny things happen and in the middle of everything just might make you smile. The author’s journey is still going on and he will be taking certain drugs for five years and he is living his life because nothing will get it down and nothing will take away the precious gift that God gave us all.
So, Rich: plan that celebration of life party and invite all of your family and friends. You are truly amazing and this book is one that everyone needs to read. For those men out there that think it cannot happen to you: think again.
Fran Lewis: reviewer