"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Review of Silver-Tongued Devil

Silver-Tongued Devil
 
Silver-Tongued Devil
Jennifer Blake
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 9781402238505
 
   Renaldo Harden is out to exact revenge on Angelica Crew because he is convinced her father stole Bonheur from his stepfather in a card game. He is determined to return the plantation to his mother and stepsister whom he feels it rightfully belongs. There is one small problem with his plan that he did not bargain for, he finds himself drawn to Angelica.
   During his attempt to place Angelica in a compromising position, he realizes the ship is getting ready to blow up. He ends up saving her from drowning and takes her to his home to supervise her recovery. During the process, he manages to marry her without her knowledge. Whenever she finally awakens, she goes along with what he says, even though she is not convinced of the truth of what he says. Despite everything that happens, she finds herself drawn to him.
   This was a very enjoyable story despite the fact that I found Angelica to be a wishy washy woman. She fluctuates between romantic feelings and love for Renold to being upset with him and planning to return to her father. Granted, Renold is not the most trustworthy and loving individual; but there is something about him that drew me to him. Maybe it is that dark and brooding, bad-boy image that is a draw factor. Despite the fact I didn't like Angelica, I found this to be a good read. There was adventure, intrigue, romance, and deception. Again, lets not forget, bad-boy Renold. The storyline was quite good; but did drag a bit in the beginning. Once you get past the initial introduction, the story took off and had me pulled in. All in all, I found this a very good read to get the imagination going. If you are a fan of historical fiction, I think you would enjoy the book.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with an ebook for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for being provided with the book for review purposes.
 
I give Silver-Tongued Devil 4.5 out of 5 stars

Review of Hot Zone

Hot Zone
 
Hot Zone
Catherine Mann
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 9781402244988
 
   Master Sergeant Hugh Franco is part of a team of Air Force PJ's. They are trained to go into missions that put their life on the line on a regular basis. This mission is no exception. They are called to the Bahamas where an earthquake has left the island in complete devastation. Hugh is checking through a mass of rubble and finds the beautiful Amelia Bailey, an attorney from the US. She went to the Bahamas to help her brother and sister-in-law adopt their new son.
   Amelia had been caring for the child while her brother and his wife went out to get something to eat. The earthquake separated the family and none of the them know whether either pair are alive. While Amelia and Joshua are hospitalized, the baby is kidnapped and Amelia is pulled along. In comes Hugh to the rescue. Will he be able to keep them safe until he is able to get them back to civilization?
   This is the second book in the Elite Force Series. There is alot going on in this book and several relationships that could be a story in and of themselves. To keep this simple, I will only deal with Hugh and Amelia. Hugh is a risk taker because of the death of his wife and daughter years before in an airplane accident. He has blamed himself for years and has been a bit of a lose cannon ever since. He is determined not to give his heart again and steers away from relationships because of it. Lets not forget to mention he avoids any attachment to children. Will he be able to keep his promise to himself when he is in such close proximity to Amelia and the child.
   Amelia had a bad marriage that ended and has no desire to involve herself in another relationship. It becomes increasingly more difficult when the tension between her and Hugh is quite obvious. She is unable to keep up her strong court room air when she is on unfamiliar ground. Will she be able to let down her guard and allow Hugh to guide the way for them?
   If you like action and adventure with some romance mixed in, you will definitely want to read this book. The sexual tension is hard to ignore and the sparks will ignite. This is one of those reads that goes quickly and is over much too soon. Catherine Mann knows how to hold your interest and turn up the heat. I highly recommend it for those in search of hot guy material and an afternoon of action and romance.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with an eBook copy for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to read.
 
I give Hot Zone 4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review of The Mercy


                                                                         The Mercy
Beverly Lewis
Bethany House
ISBN 9780764206016

   Two Amish sisters, Hen and Rose, are both looking for a new beginning. Hen is caring for her injured husband who has lost his sight in an accident. Hen left the Amish community in order to marry her English husband. She decided she wanted to return to her plain life so her husband is planning on a divorce. Despite this, Hen willingly takes care of him during his recovery. Will they be able to face this together or will a divorce be inevitable?
   Rose is looking for a second chance at love. The young man she gave her heart to has left the community probably never to return. She is introduced to a young man who is interested in her; but he has not been baptised yet and is not staying true to his Amish faith. What will Rose decide for her future?  Can she marry someone else when her heart belongs to a forbidden love?
   This is the third book in the Rose Trilogy. The first is The Thorn and the second is The Judgment. As always, Beverly Lewis writes a wonderful story of love, faith and community. She brings to life the fact that the Amish community, not unlike any other, has its share of problems that have to be faced on a daily basis. They struggle with difficult decisions just as we do. They realize that just because they believe in the Lord, this does not exempt them from the day to day struggles that we all face. The biggest difference is the fact that they try and follow the teachings of their faith.
   The storyline is quite good and flows smoothly. Hen and Rose both face their problems head on and ask the almighty to guide them on the right path. This does not keep their life from being full of difficult decisions. The one to grow the most in this story is Brandon, Hen's husband. He finds out what it means to develop a relationship with the almighty and he discovers what is most important in his life and what he needs to do to achieve it.
   I highly recommend this book to lovers of Amish fiction or to anyone who just enjoys a good clean Christian story.
   I wish to thank Bethany House for providing me with a copy to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to review.

I give The Mercy 4 out of 5 stars
  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Review of Cold River


Cold River
Liz Adair
Walnut Springs Press 2011
ISBN 9781599928036

   Mandy Steenburg accepts a job as the school superintendent in the Pacific Northwest timber country to escape a disastrous romance. She is convinced she is prepared for the job until she discovers that the community is not happy with her being there. Someone is definitely not thrilled she is there when several attempts on her life occur.
   The former superintendent, Grange Timberlain, does not appear too thrilled she is there and they have more then one confrontation. A feud exists between Grange and Vince Lafitte, a member of the school board, that goes way back. When Vince shows an interest in Mandy, is Grange annoyed with Mandy or Vince? Does he have other motives for his annoyance?
   All in all this was a very good story except that the storyline moves a bit slow at the beginning. Mandy goes in expecting to take over and finds herself at a disadvantage because most of the town is against her. She is determined to succeed; but she seems to be fighting a losing battle. She attempts to hide her frustration; but the tears seem to get the best of her at times. She seems to have a hangup on the staff calender and expects it to be accurate at all times. It seems to show just a bit too much emphasis on something not so important.   In the beginning Grange appears to take an instant dislike to Mandy. Out of the blue, that seems to change and there is nothing to indicate the change of heart. It just is. This kind of threw me off for a bit. There are some other characters who are not what they appear to be; but I will leave it at that so as not to add spoilers. If you like a good story that will keep you guessing with a bit of romance and mystery thrown in, you are sure to enjoy this book.
   I wish to thank the publisher for providing me with an pdf copy for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the file to read.


I give Cold River 4 out of 5 stars



 http://www.amazon.com/Cold-River-Liz-Adair/dp/1599928035/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322625922&sr=8-1


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Review of Miss Darcy Falls in Love


Miss Darcy Falls in Love
Sharon Latham
Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN 9781402259043

   Miss Darcy is on a tour of Europe and happens upon a distant relative, Sebastian Butler. Georgiana not only enjoys his company; but they share a love of music that cannot be surpassed. Along comes Lord Craxton, a much older man, who has his sights set on the lovely Georgiana. She enjoys his company also; but when he wants to make a formal commitment, Miss Darcy drags her feet.
   Georgiana and Sebastian collaborate on some musical pieces. Both feel some attraction to the other but neither one wants to put a name to their relationship. How naive young people can be. Lord Craxton, on the other hand, has no problems with voicing his opinion, even if it means deceiving the other party. Will she and Mr. Butler ever decide to verbalize the way they truly feel about each other?
   This is the seventh book in the Darcy Saga. I have not read any of the others; but this book can easily stand alone. I am not a big fan of Jane Austen; but this was probably one of the better ones that I have read. I know this is a different era from today; but I have such difficulty with the formality of the times. The storyline in general was quite good. It was a bit slow at times; but it was able to maintain my interest. It was such a pleasure to see how Sebastian and Georgiana interest in music brought them together on so many levels. Lord Craxton was another story. There was just something so off putting about this man. I don't think he ever really listened to what Georgiana ever said. He heard what he wanted to hear. I am sure you Austen fans out there will truly love the story.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with an ARC to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to review.

I give Miss Darcy Falls in Love 4 out of 5 stars 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Review of Fires of Winter


Fires of Winter
Roberta Gellis
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 9781402255014

   The family of Melusine of Ulle is destroyed by the ravages of war. She is taken in by King Stephen and his Queen; but the Queen considers her a threat to the crown because of her connection to Scotland. Since she does not trust her, she is forced to marry the King's right hand man, Bruno. Bruno shows complete loyalty to the King so Queen Maude feels this is the best way to keep watch over Melusine.
   Melusine is completely lost in her grief due to the loss of her entire family and is to all appearances completely mad. The Queen is not convinced and thinks it is all an act, albeit a very good one. Melusine and Bruno have absolutely nothing in common; but eventually sparks smolder and affection and love develop.
   This is the second in the Tales of Jernaeve series. The first book is A Tapestry of Dreams. I did not read the first book; but this book can be easily read as a stand alone. The description of the book, as well as, the book cover is very deceiving. I chose this book because I thought it was going to be an historical romance. There is a romance in the book; but I found the book to be consumed with more historical fact then anything else. The author did a fantastic job of research for the book; but this is not why I wanted to read it. Since I am not a real history fan, I cannot say I enjoyed the book. Readers who enjoy factual descriptions would do well with this book. If you are looking for a real romance, you will not find it here.
   The book is written in the first person and alternates between Bruno and Melusine chapter for chapter. There is a considerable amount of information that is repeated between the two and tends to drag the story on forever. I am not fond of first person writing so this was another strike against this book for me. Why did I read the book? From the information that was provided concerning the book, I had a totally different impression of what I was getting into. Even though I would not recommend this book, historical fiction fans may enjoy the book.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with an ARC for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the review copy.

I give Fires of Winter 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Review of promises, promises


promises, promises
Erica James
Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN 9781402257865

   Maggie Storm spends her days cleaning houses for people who have more money then they have sense or manners. She just longs for a man to sweep her off her feet and tell her she is beautiful. Instead she is married to a man who has as much sex appeal as a toadstool. Not only does she have to put up with "Mr. Blobby;" she has his miserable, mean-spirited mother to contend with. She is bound and determined to start standing up for herself.
   Ella Moore is an artistic interior designer who promises herself that a relationship with a man will not derail her life again. She has spent seven years of her life with a man who allowed his daughter to completely role his life. It eventually destroyed the life that Ella thought they may have. Enter Ethan Edwards. Ethan is a repeat offender when it comes to the opposite sex. He uses women to provide consolation for his loveless marriage to a rich, spoiled, bitchy woman. When Ethan meets Ella, he wants something he never had before. A friend he can confide in. Can a man and woman truly have a friendly, non-sexual relationship?
   Erica James weaves a masterful tale of three very different people into a wonderful story of love, deceit, passion, friendship, and betrayal. Generally, when you read a story like this one, you don't like all the characters; however, all three of these people endear you to them in their own way. Ella is a strong woman who thinks she knows what she wants; but is unable to admit to herself what that truly is. Ethan becomes a man who finally knows what it means to love someone. Erica develops a backbone that truly sets her family on their ear. All around, this is a wonderful story that will keep you engrossed from the get go. Anyone who likes a good story, no matter the type you normally read, will surely like this one. I highly recommend it.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with an ARC to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to review.

I give promises, promises 5 out of 5 stars
  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Review of The Highlander's Heart


The Highlander's Heart
Amanda Forester
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 9781402253041

   Lady Isabelle Tynsdale has no desire to spend another night with her much older husband. To make matters worse, his only reason for bedding her is to produce an heir, period! Not to mention the fact he returns later to beat her senseless. She escapes and becomes lost inside the Scottish borders. Her rescuer is the handsome laird, David Campbell, who decides to ransom her back to the horrors she escaped. Lady Tynsdale has no intentions of going easily.
   Laird Campbell has no idea what he is getting himself into and certainly does not expect the lovely Lady to grow on him. He quickly discovers she is more trouble then she is worth. Lets not forget he is having difficulty letting her go.
   This is one of those take me away stories where I became absolutely engrossed in the story. I love Scotland, highlanders and the romance behind them. Once I start reading, don't disturb me until I am finished. This is a wonderful story of romance, love, greed, jealousy, deception, and honor. The storyline flows smoothly from the beginning and had me pulled in from the start. The characters are witty and amusing. Lady Tynsdale is a strong willed woman; but shows absolutely no common sense most of the time. Laird Campbell is a strong and determined Scotsman; but he has a soft spot when it comes to his sisters and Lady Tynsdale. I think I fell in love with him because he is able to show his vulnerability to the Lady. In return, she is able to accept it without ridicule. All in all this a wonderful romance that you will surely love if you enjoy highlanders and Scotland.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with a copy to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to review.

I give The Highlander's Heart 4.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Review of Tall, Dark and Cowboy


Tall, Dark and Cowboy
Joanne Kennedy
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 9781402251443

   Lacey Bradford is in the middle of a nasty divorce and her ex's men are on her heels. She heads to Wyoming in search of an old high school friend, Chase Caldwell. Chase has changed, alot! He is no longer the geek she remembers; but a fine hunk of a cowboy. Lacey hopes for his help; but he has hardened from bitterness and loss of all he holds dear.
   Chase is determined to send Lacey away; but the attraction he had for her when in school is still buried deep inside of him. Sparks fly between the two and an attraction that neither can deny. As they try to comes to terms with their new relationship, Lacey is also trying to build a new life for herself. As hard as Chase tries to push her away, he has to admit he wants her in his life rather then being alone.
   For the cowboy lovers out there, this is a good story for you. Romance is in the air and practically sizzles off the page. Lacey is a former trophy wife who has some difficulty letting go of her past. She wants to start over fresh and be her own woman; but she has alot of baggage she is carrying. Chase also has emotional baggage he is carrying because of Lacey's ex-husband. Will the two be able to get past their issues and form some kind of alliance together? The storyline is okay; but it did have a tendency to drag a bit. Krystal, Chase's employee, is somewhat of a burden to the story and I have to say I was happy when we didn't hear from her again. She was a bit over the top. All in all this is not a bad read. It is a story of love, creed, loss, and forgiveness. Let's not forget the sexy cowboy!
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with an ARC to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to review.

I give Tall, Dark and Cowboy 3.5 out of 5 stars


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Review of The Virtuoso


The Virtuoso
Grace Burrows
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 9781402245701

   Lord Valentine Windham is devastated when an injury leaves him unable to play the piano. Music has been his passion and his soul for a long time. Music was how he expressed himself and his salvation from society and a father who never understood his need to play. Grief, loss, and loneliness threaten to engulf him until he wins an estate in a game of cards. He tackles the renovations with all he has. Little does he know that the widow he stole a passionate kiss from the year before is his neighbor.
   The widow, Ellen FitzEngle, creates art with her gardens. She is living alone to overcome her grief and loss of her husband and station in society. She craves human male attention and is hard pressed to deny the attraction she has had for Val ever since that one stolen kiss. Lust and passion grow by leaps and bounds when the two rediscover each other; but Ellen has secrets. She is determined to keep her secret and protect Val from the one person who could destroy her.
   This is a wonderful historical romance that I absolutely could not put down. The passion between Ellen and Val literally leap off of the page. The storyline flows smoothly from the beginning to the end. There is mystery, deceit, friendship that passes all imagination, romance and lust that will have you begging for more. There is something to be said for a book that can have you laughing one minute, panting for the shear sexual tension, and crying at the same time. Grace Burrows has a way with words that shows a wit, as well as, a passionate and romantic side. If you like a good story or historical fiction is high on your reading list, I highly recommend this book.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with an ARC to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except form receiving the book to review.

I give The Virtuoso 5 out of 5 stars

Friday, November 18, 2011

Review of Embrace the Highland Warrior


Embrace the Highland Warrior
Anita Clenney
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 9781402251269

   Cody McBain, a member of an ancient clan of Scottish warriors, grew up as a secret protector of Shay Logan. Cody was to protect Shay at all costs; but was not supposed to fall in love with her. Cody's heart, however, has other ideas. When Shay's true identity is revealed to her, their chance for love is gone.  
   Shay returns to her childhood home and finds the boy next door still there. She is not prepared for the sexy, handsome man he has become. She does not want to trust him again because she is convinced of his betrayal years ago. She has spent her life since leaving, trying to banish the memories of her love for him; but every man she has ever dated has only been a substitute. No one can take his place. New found danger will drive them back into each others arms. Cody will continue to protect her at all costs. He has no intentions of losing her again.
   This is a wonderful story full of action and adventure at every turn. Let's not forget lust, sex, and love. This story is full of sexy highlanders, vampires and demons. We have two little old ladies, one of which is as crazy as can be. Cody is one heart stopping warrior who makes your mouth water just listening to him. Shay is learning things about herself that is causing some emotional upheaval. In addition, she must learn to embrace the warrior nature in herself and the warrior who has watched over her for years. Together, they must stop the evil that is destined to kill her. If you like highlanders and a good romance, I highly recommend this book. If you just like a good book and an exciting fantasy read, you can't go wrong either.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with an ARC for reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to read and review.

I give Embrace the Highland Warrior 4.5 stars out of 5


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review of Treasure Me


Treasure Me
Christine Nolfi
Kindle Edition 2011
ISBN 9781450773683
   Birdie Kaminsky is a petty thief and a pick pocket. She has lived on her own since she was sixteen. She left her mother, who moved from one man to the next, in order to swindle money from them. Birdie lands in Liberty, Ohio, where she plans to steal a treasure that has been hidden since the Civil War. The only clue she has is a quote that has been handed down through her family, "Liberty safeguards the cherished heart." Birdie secretly admires the author of the quote, freed woman, Justice Postell. Justice was heavy with child when she left the South so, Birdie wonders if some of the family of Justice may still live in the area. She has her eye on the feisty, pistol packin', Theodora Hendricks.
   When Birdie arrives in town, little does she know that an investigative reporter may be her down fall. As Birdie delves into the mystery surrounding the hidden treasure, she starts to rethink her life of crime and wants to go straight. The only problem, can the thief  in her just leave that life behind or will it keep coming back to haunt her?
   This is a thoroughly enjoyable read. You will laugh at the feisty and haughty, Theodora. Birdie, the habitual thief, develops a conscience that is causing her to have second thoughts. The storyline is well written and had me hooked from the start. A strange and volatile relationship between  Birdie and the reporter, Hugh, has you shaking your head at times. The story leads into the Christmas season making this a very nice read to add to your holiday enjoyment. This is a wonderful story of love, betrayal, forgiveness, and the general goodness of man. I highly recommend this book to anyone who just enjoys a good read.
   I wish to thank the author for providing me with a copy for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to review.
I give Treasure Me 4 out of 5 stars
.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Interview with John Cavi and Review of his book The President's Ultimatum

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I welcome John Cavi to my blog today. As you will see, John is not only an amazing individual and author; but he is also a medical miracle. Please join me in welcoming him today.

1- I have to say you have quite an impressive education record considering you failed kindergarten. What exactly made you decide to write a book at this time in your life when you have a business and law degree?

 My entire education and career were centered on business, and when I retired, I had no intention of writing a book. However, a grim life changing event at age 72 provided the opportunity to begin a new career. In 2002, I was diagnosed with a rare form of stage 4 lymphoma. I was told by the doctors at the Yale New Haven Hospital that I had two months to live without treatment and ten months with the full chemo regimen. I choose the chemo therapy, and on the fourth therapy session the doctors offered me a July slot in an experimental stem cell transplant trial that YNHH was planning to initiate in June. In July they killed my immune system and gave me a new immune system.    

Five months after the transplant, the cancer again spread to the lymph nodes, and I developed several tumors which required radiation therapy. On the sixth month, I reached my nadir. My weight was down to 112 lbs, and I had an infection from the wounds generated by the radiation therapy. At that point the new immune system had not kicked in, and the prognosis didn’t look promising. Two weeks after I hit rock bottom, like the inflection of a hockey stick, I began to feel better.  A CAT scan two weeks later indicated that the cancer was gone. The doctor’s called it a miracle. 

While in the hospital for the chemo therapy and the stem cell transplant, a total of six months, I read over 50 books. One of the topics that piqued my interest was the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and I read several books on this and related subjects. Two books caught my attention. The first, a doctoral thesis,—“A History of the Israeli and Palestinian Conflict” by Dr. Mark Kessler—presented the conflict from three points of view—the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the unbiased version of the author who reconciled the discrepancies of the two antagonists. The second, a non fiction book—“Gidions Spies,” by Gordon Thomas—is the definitive book about the inner workings of the Mossad and their operational successes and failures. While reading Gidion’s Spies, I recalled having a vague familiarity with some of the material. It then occurred to me that I had read that same material in Daniel Silva’s novels. Silva selected a real Mossad operation that was outlined in Gidion’s Spies and crafted a fictional novel around that single real event. I said to myself, “hey I could do that,” and at that point I decided that I would craft a novel around the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and depict my fictional solution.  


 2-Will you tell the readers a little about the background of your book, The President's Ultimatum, and how it came to be?

 The novel is a thriller that portrays a fictional storyline in the factual environment of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict... It’s similar to Michael Creighton’s State of Fear, a fictional tale wrapped around the global warming issue.

The 43rd president of the Unites States, Gerald W. Burke, is entering his second term, and after a lack luster performance during his prior four years, senses he must do something dramatic to establish his legacy and claim his place in history. Out of a desire to improve relations with the Muslim world, win the war on terror, and with a strong dose of hubris, he devises a bold plan to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that had eluded the world leaders including his predecessors for 60 years. He presents both parties with an ultimatum to resolve the conflict on his terms or else.  This sets off a chain of unintended consequences that threaten his presidency and his life. 

At the center of the action is Ari Bugari, an Israeli undercover agent, recruited into al-Qaeda after Iraq is defeated by the Coalition Forces. On orders from al-Qaeda’s leadership, Ari pursues President Burke across three continents. Caught between his Israeli and al-Qaeda masters, Ari, becomes the hunted quarry, and is forced into hiding, with his wife Hannah, when he learns the explosive truth that underlies his relationship with Mossad Director General, Shalom Eitan.

 The novel is set in the toxic political environments of Washington D. C. and Jerusalem. In an effort to derail Burke’s peace initiative, Congress, teamed with the formidable Israeli Lobby—which contribute millions to the coffers of both political parties—frustrates Burke’s political agenda by stalling his domestic initiatives and rebelling against his peace initiative. Added to the mix are the Israeli Conservative Alliance (a coalition of the religious right parties) and al-Qaeda, both opposed to the peace initiative, and both prepared to do anything, including assassinating the president to prevent its implementation.

The interaction and maneuvering of these various factions forms the basis of the novel. Through the dialogue of the characters, questions are raised about the role of the US in the conflict, the negative impact that the polarized political environment in the US, Israel, and the Middle East has on its people, and the effect that the conflict has on our relations with the Muslim world.  The novel also suggests a possible resolution of the conflict, and outlines the potential lethal long term consequence if the conflict is not resolved. But in its rawest sense, this thriller is a tale of adventure, intrigue, deception, revenge, and redemption, interwoven with a poignant love story. 


3-I think many people would have given up on a massive writing project with all the health issues you faced. What kept you focused and made you determined to complete the book?

The President’s Ultimatum is my first novel, and it was conceived and written over an eight-year period, a hectic time of my life. I was in and out of hospitals with a myriad of problems—lymphoma, chemo, stem cell transplant, TIA stroke, heart attack, sepsis, and malignant mouth surgery. A side effect from the transplant therapy left me with serious cornea issues. For the first two years, I composed the plot and subplots in my mind because the vision problems impacted my ability to read and type.

Late in 2004, I underwent cornea and cataract surgery, and in 2005, I typed the first draft— a manuscript of 700 single spaced pages. It began in 1890 and in chronological order, ended in 2008.  Prior to submitting the manuscript for an editorial evaluation early in 2006, I went through a first self-edit.  I shortened the manuscript to about 600 pages eliminating a few sub-plots, and changed the tone of the novel. The first editorial evaluation was very encouraging, but the editor recommended that I reduce and restructure the manuscript with less exposition and more dialogue.

At about this time, my vision began to deteriorate further. The glare made it virtually impossible to see the keyboard and the black on white copy on the monitor. The monitor problem was solved by changing to a black background with white letters, but the keyboard was still a problem and progress was slow. I implemented the suggestions but reached an impasse with the vision issue,   I acquired a reading machine which permitted me to read printed and written matter in a white on black mode, and I was able to make changes to the manuscript as my wife, Ellen, proofread and annotated the printed pages. In 2008, I submitted the manuscript, now 500 pages, for a second evaluation, and the editor was even more encouraging and suggested that I work with a development editor to reduce the manuscript further. I was reluctant to engage in a development edit because it was an online process which would have been counterproductive because of my vision impediment.

In December 2009, I was referred to the Boston Foundation for Sight for evaluation, and after being fitted with Celera Lens prosthetics my vision improved dramatically (a miracle) so that I was able to resume writing, and in February 2010, I began working with the editor. He suggested 563 changes mainly focused on eliminating all the sub-plots and all the political material, and reorganizing and restructuring the flow of the manuscript. At the completion of this effort, the manuscript was drastically reduced from 500 single spaced pages to 460 double spaced pages, eliminating all but a sliver of the political material. 
  
The novel took eight years from conception to release of the final product, and was my single focus for that period of my life. With all the stops and starts, it became both a challenge and an obsession.  I sense I sublimely thought that if I completed the novel, I would somehow also succeed in overcoming all the ills that I was plagued with. It was a long journey, but I never faltered. I was determined to see the novel to fruition.

4-I know you had numerous health issues and had to edit a large amount from your book. What were the most challenging things you encountered while writing your book?

Throughout my college years, an English lit and business writing course formed the extent of my literary education. Early in my business career, I was a consultant and wrote many business reports. I was considered an excellent business writer, but the extent of my creative writing experience was limited to writing a few poems for the English lit course.
  
I faced two major challenges.  My initial manuscript read like a business report, and I spent many months rewriting the text in a literary style. Reducing the size of the manuscript and reorganizing the flow of the storyline without losing the thread of the story took most of the effort and proved to be the most challenging task. Coupled with the vision issues, it turned into a monumental task. Character development and dialogue, which I thought would be the most daunting tasks, were not a problem. Surprisingly, writing the first draft of the manuscript took ten percent of the effort; reorganizing and reducing took ninety percent.

5- Do you have any works in progress? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

The final product was not what I had in mind when I began to write The President’s Ultimatum. Now that I have more clarity, I can see that my initial effort, a saga, could have been woven into three distinct manuscripts. My vision has improved to permit me to research, a variety of subject matter, I am using the jettisoned political material to craft a number of blogs under the Common Sense Revisited series that I post on Ezine and my website—johncavi.com. Eventually, I plan to fashion the blogs into a non-fiction book in the style of Friedman’s book—The World is Flat—which is an amalgamation of a series of opinion articles that he had written for the N.Y. Times.  
I am also researching a novel about the Iran nuclear issue. The plan is to write a fictional tale, which I have worked out in my mind, around that real time event.  Some of the material and characters that were discarded when a major subplot was eliminated from the original manuscript will form the basis of the Iran novel. Also on my agenda is novel in the Grisham, Connelly genre with an auto biographical touch.

  6-Who has had the most influence on your writing and why?

From my early years, I have been interested in history. I was awarded the American Legion medal for attaining the highest grade in American History in the NY State Regents exam. Over the years I’ve read extensively—from historical novels, biographies about world and military leaders, to books on events that have shaped our world. Hemmingway, Graham Greene, Tolstoy, Remarque, Michener, Pasternak, are some of the earlier favorites Woodward, LeCarre, Casey, Ludlum, Silva, DeMille, Forsyth, Flynn and a host of others are my current favorites. Most of these books are well researched and in some cases very informative. Since my novel is in that general genre, It follows that the type of novel I wrote was influenced by these authors. The idea to write this specific novel sparked from reading, A History of the Israeli Palestinian Conflict, by Mark Kessler, and Gidions Spies, by Gordon Thomas. When I correlated these two books to the Silva novels, I knew the kind of book I would write...

 7- What do you do for fun and relaxation?

Read, read, read, and write, write, write. I recently read three non-fiction books about the financial services industry—On The Brink, Asylum, and The Big Short—and I wrote several blogs for my Common Sense Revisited series. While some might look at writing as a job, I really enjoy puttingmy ideas on paper. For me, writing is something that I do for fun.   When I’m not writing, I spend my free time reading, and I seem to never have enough time to read all the books on my reading list. I don’t watch much TV, except during the football season. I’m a fanatical NY Giants fan, and I attend every game. We try to get away to some exotic place every year, and movies, the theater and dinner with friends are our typical form of relaxation. Our two grandchildren are at the age when they bring much joy and are a lot of fun to be with, and so we spend a fair amount of time with them. While it’s not always relaxing, it is fun.   

It’s the time of year that I would be looking forward to the skiing season, but the aftermath of the transplant impacted my balance and permanently put a stop to my skiing, a sport that for me was the ultimate form of fun, relaxation and solitude.


Review of The President's Ultimatum

The President's Ultimatum
The President's Ultimatum
John Cavi
iUniverse, Inc. 2011
ISBN 9780595502561

   Gerald W. Burke, the forty-third president of the United States, issues an ultimatum to the leaders of Isarel and Palistine to resolve their confict on his terms or else. This serves to trigger a chain of events that marks Burke for death by al-Qaeda, or is it?
   At the center of all of this is Ari-Bugari, an Israeli under-cover agent recruited into al-Qaeda after Irag is invaded and defeated. Ari pursues the President across three continents. Ari is caught between his Israeli and al-Qaeda masters and finds himself the one being hunted. He is forced into hiding when he discovers that his friend and superior, Mossad Director General, Shalom Eitan has betrayed him.
   I have to say I was quite surprised by this story. This is as far away from my usual type of read that you can get. Once I started this book, I could not put it down. The storyline is wonderful. The author takes you back and forth across the continents in such a way that I was actually able to keep up with what was happening. Politics is not my thing and I actually avoid it like the "plague" as they say. This story is about politics, but it is a story of adventure, betrayal and love. The story is so real that you can truly believe the events and the conspiracy and betrayal in the government. Of course, we know these things don't really happen. The only problem I had with the book was trying to keep the characters straight. There are so many of them, I finally gave up and concentrated on the major players. I don't feel I lost anything by doing this. In amidst all the conspiracy and murder, we have a fascinating love story between Ari and Hannah. This is important to the story; but I don't consider it a major theme.
   For those of you who like politically charged novels, I highly recommend this book. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. You will see corruption in the government and betrayal on every front. I think you will see that no one can ever truly be trusted implicitly; because we as humans have a voice. Even the most well- being individuals, end up betraying someones trust. How many times have you heard the phrase, "This never leaves this room." I will never look at that  phrase in the same way again.
   I wish to thank the author for providing me with a copy for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to read and review.

I give The President's Ultimatum 5 out of 5 stars


 



Friday, November 11, 2011

Review of Expectations of Happiness


Expectations of Happiness
Rebecca Ann Collins
Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN 9781402253898

   The Dashwood sisters are all grown up, Marianne is married on the rebound to a much older man. Elinor and Edward Ferrars are a quiet, unassuming couple with two young boys. Margaret is the unconventional young woman who has a tremendous desire for learning and travel.
   Marianne is not an overly happy woman who is easily swayed. Her former lover comes to town and puts her life in a bit of a tail spin. Elinor is a worrisome someone and a bit of a busy body who thinks she has to help solve the entire families' problems. Margaret, dear Margaret, is a hand full to be sure. She is shy, but holds her own in any situation. She defies convention when she becomes involved in a love affair with a scholar she meets while traveling.
   For you Jane Austen fans, this is the book for you. This is a companion volume to Jane's Sense and Sensibility. In this book, the Dashwood sisters are all grown up and involved in three very different lives and loves. The storyline was okay; but I found it a bit choppy at times. I had some difficulty in staying on target with my reading. Since I am not an Austen fan, this could have been some of my problem; but I have read some other versions that I have enjoyed. The sisters are quite the trio. Marianne is a piece of work. She is very easily swayed and is so gullible. I was not endeared to her at all. Elinor tries to shoulder responsibility for everyone even though they are all grown up. Margaret is my heroine in the story. She is the only one of the sisters with any backbone and is not afraid to go after what she wants. She defies convention at every turn. A most lovable character. All in all, this was not a bad read. I would not, however, place it on one of my top reads.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with a copy for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to review.

I give Expectations of Happiness 3 out of 5 stars

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review of No Holly for Christmas


No Holly For Christmas
No Holly for Christmas
Julie N. Ford
Whiskey Creek Press 2011
ISBN 9781603139328

   Brian McAlister is on a special assignment for the DA's office. He is not happy to be there; but the special assignment is because his father has turned ill and he is stepping in for him. Brian has been unable to move on with his life because he was jilted twice by a long time girlfriend. He has remained in love with her despite the fact she is married and has children. Best of all, she is married to a district court judge who despises Brian.
   Holly Cananaugh-Winter is an ex-socialite who was left practically penniless following the death of her husband. She has been keeping a secret since his death and is determined to keep it that way. She is raising her two daughters alone when she first encounters Brian. There is a definite physical attraction that neither one can deny.
   This is a wonderful story of suspense, healing, giving and love that you won't want to miss. It would make a wonderful addition to your Christmas reading collection. The storyline flows smoothly and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Brian is a bit of a womanizer and has major commitment issues because of being jilted by his former lover. Even though he has an attraction for Holly, he does not want to admit it might be love. Holly is a piece of work. For most of the story, she has the feel sorry for me attitude. She considers herself almost destitute because she has to shop at a lower end company like Walmart for groceries instead of paying twice as much at a high dollar store. She no longer has a home in the country club area; but has a comfortable home to live in. She is actually ashamed of this fact. There are several woman who have befriended her and they are probably the only true friends she has ever had. She is extremely materialistic and you want to smack her. By the end of the story, she is turning her life around and she is becoming likable.
   Brian and Holly become closer as the story progresses because an assassin is out to kill Holly. He has been hired by a powerful man, who like so many, has his eye on wealth and position. Will Brian be able to keep Holly and her children safe? Will the holidays be a season of joy and happiness or will the past prevent them both from going after what is important?
   I wish to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to review.

I give No Holly for Christmas 5 out of 5 stars