May 262015
 
Ebook: 356 pages
Published: May 25th 2011 by Vintage (first published January
By: Vintage (first published January 1st 2011)
Original title: Fifty Shades of Grey
ISBN: 1612130291
ISBN13: 9781612130293

Summary

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

My Review

Fifty Shades of Grey
First, I NEVER planned to jump on the Fifty Shades bandwagon -ever. BUT, after seeing soooo much hate for it and the movie on social media, especially with people saying it was nothing but “rape” etc my interest was peaked. Afterall, why would this be THE BEST SELLER and talked about on every platform if it was nothing more than a rape story? Women wouldn’t be all over that! So, after seeing a post last week saying that if Christian Grey wasn’t a billionaire this would be an episode of Criminal Minds, I decided to jump in with both feet and see what it was all about. First, I watched the movie, everything is consentual, safe and follows the standard BDSM ‘rules’. I loved the movie so I bought the trilogy for kindle and the first book was sort of blah, the author, E.L. James was on the right track but the book struggled to come alive for me, perhaps because I had already seen the movie, which I must say was really well done WHILE following the book very closely -which is rare in books made into movies. Now I am reading Fifty Shades Darker and E.L. James seems to really be in the groove of things as the story is engaging, erotic and best of all relatable.

May 262015
 

Author: James Anderson
Hardcover: 288 pages
Published: February 15th 2015
By: Caravel Mystery Books
ISBN: 0912887109
ISBN13: 9780912887104

Summary

BEN JONES, the protagonist of James Anderson s haunting debut novel, The Never-Open Desert Diner (Caravel Books, February, 2015), is on the verge of losing his small trucking company. A single, thirty-eight-year-old truck driver, Ben s route takes him back and forth across one of the most desolate and beautiful regions of the Utah desert. The orphan son of a Native American father and a Jewish social worker, Ben is drawn into a love affair with a mysterious woman, Claire, who plays a cello in the model home of an abandoned housing development in the desert. Her appearance, seemingly out of nowhere, reignites a decades-old tragedy at a roadside café referred to by the locals as The Never-Open Desert Diner. The owner of the diner, Walt Butterfield, is an embittered and solitary old man who refuses to yield to change after his wife s death. Ben s daily deliveries along the atmospheric and evocative desert highway bring him into contact with an eccentric cast of characters that includes: John, an itinerant preacher who drags a life-sized cross along the blazing roadside; the Lacey brothers, Fergus and Duncan, who live in boxcars mounted on cinderblocks; and Ginny, a pregnant and homeless punk teenager whose survival skills make her an unlikely heroine. Ben s job as a truck driver is more than a career; it is a life he loves. As he faces bankruptcy and the possible loss of everything that matters to him, he finds himself at the heart of a horrific crime that was committed forty years earlier and now threatens to destroy the lives of those left in its wake. Ben discovers the desert is relentless in its grip, and what the desert wants, it takes. An unforgettable story of love and loss, Ben learns the enduring truth that some violent crimes renew themselves across generations. The Never-Open Desert Diner is a unique blend of literary mystery and noir fiction that evokes a strong sense of place. It is a story that holds the reader and refuses to let go and will linger long after the last page.

My Review

I *thought* I had reviewed this book but apparently I somehow forgot, which is a surprise because the book is a really great one! My dad is a truck driver so in some of the things I can relate simply by going to work with him when I was a kid. This book begins with a man who seems to be hiding in the desert, away from his feelings, we are then introduced to several other characters, all of whom have their own degree of mystery. The book is well written, a fun and easy read and one I am excited to keep on my shelf. I have an uncorrected proof that was sent to me in exchange for my honest review so I won’t go into detail in case edits were made. Overall five stars and a thumbs up!

About the Author

James Anderson was born in Seattle, Washington and raised in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. He received his undergraduate degree in American Studies from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and his Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College in Boston Massachusetts.

Undergraduate thesis: Word-man/Poet: The Poetry and Poetics of Lew Welch

Masters thesis: The Never-Entered Kingdom: Beyond Linguistics in the Rendering of the Literary Child in Adult Fiction

His first publication in a national magazine, a poem entitled Running It Down, occurred at age nineteen, in Poetry Northwest. The poem was later anthologized. His poems, short fiction, essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in Northwest Review, New Letters, The Bloomsbury Review, Solstice Magazine and many others.

In 1974, while still an undergraduate, Anderson founded Breitenbush Books, a book publisher specializing in literature and general interest trade titles. From 1974 to 1991 Anderson served as publisher and executive editor. Breitenbush received many awards for its books, including three Western States Book Awards, juried by Robert Penn Warren, Elizabeth Hardwick, N. Scott Momaday, Jonathan Galassi, Jorie Graham, Denise Levertov, William Kittredge and others. Notable authors published include Mary Barnard, Bruce Berger, Clyde Rice, Naomi Shihab Nye, Michael Simms, William Greenway, John Stoltenberg, Sam Hamill and Gary Miranda.

From 1995 to 2002 Anderson co-produced documentary films, including Tara’s Daughters, narrated by Susan Sarandon. The film, which won Best Documentary at the New York Film Festival, chronicled the plight of Tibetan women refugees as carriers of Tibetan culture in the diaspora.

May 242015
 

Proverbial Beauty: Secrets for success and happiness from the wisdom of the ages
Paperback:
244 pages
Expected publication: July 1st 2015
By: Timewise Press
ISBN: 0692369201
ISBN13: 9780692369203

Summary

We live in a world of endless contradictions. Work vs. family. Money vs. fulfillment. Desires vs. obligations. The body vs. the spirit. We rely on conventional wisdom to point us forward. But conventional wisdom gets it wrong more often than we imagine.

Open this book and celebrate the marriage between the greatest collection of verbal images in history — King Solomon’s Book of Proverbs — and the most famous visual image in the world — Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

· Find tranquility in the midst of conflict
· Develop attitudes that deepen relationships
· Gain clarity through times of darkness and confusion
· Decrease cynicism and find joy in the daily miracles that fill our lives.

Take a guided tour beneath the surface of the world we live in through the lens of news stories, historical vignettes, folktales, the wonders of nature, and the discoveries of science — all woven together in a lyrical and surprising medley of the human experience.

Researchers have no explanation why people, when blindfolded, can’t walk a straight line; but what is it about human nature that makes us wander in circles? What does former NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to ease Manhattan traffic with “congestion pricing” reveal about the way we make decisions? What can fig harvesting, migraine headaches, and two Miss America titleholders teach us about the underpinnings of emotional well-being?

The answers to 3000 years’ of questions are here, revealed for every seeker of truth and self-awareness in the language of our modern era. Guided by the wisdom of Solomon and the mysteries of the Mona Lisa, learn how to find tranquility in the midst of chaos, how to savor the moments of everyday life, and how to resolve the paradoxes of the human heart.

My Review

I was raised Catholic and have been a Christian for as long as I can remember. So when Yonason Goldson emailed me inquiring about a review of this book I was a little hesitant. I received this book in exchange for an honest review. The book is amazing and I found myself taking notes before the first chapter even began. This book is full of wisdom and is beautifully written in a way that makes it relatable to everyone. It took me awhile to read through because I was note-taking and such. It will be on my shelf and in my “to read” pile for years to come!! Love it!

About the Author

I graduated the University of California with a degree in English in 1983, then set off across the United States hitching rides and sleeping in hostels, campgrounds, or by the side of the road.  Half a year later, I set out farther afield, this time across Europe, intending to circle the globe via Africa, Australia, and a return trip to Asia.  (But that’s another story.)

Too weary to carry on after months on ten-dollars-a-day, I crossed the Mediterranean for the Land of Israel.  There, I planned to occupy myself picking oranges on a kibbutz before stalking the southern hemisphere.  You can read about some of my adventures here .

We know what happens when Man plans.  A strong dollar had given a few million other young Americans the same idea, and there wasn’t a spot to be found on any kibbutz in the country — an unprecedented event.  With dwindling funds and a depleted constitution, I took a most unlikely turn and found myself as a neophyte in a talmudical seminary.

It took two months, ceaseless bouts of syllogistic sparring, and a former professor of philosophy from Johns Hopkins University to convince me to see the world in a new light.  Read about how my background in literature sparked my personal awakening here .

I spent the next nine years learning ancient languages and studying the accumulated wisdom of 3300 years, starting a family, earning my rabbinic ordination, and acquiring the credentials to teach Mankind’s most profound wisdom to others.  After leaving Israel, my wife and I spent a year teaching in Budapest, Hungary.  You can get a taste of our experiences here .

Two years later we moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where we have lived since 1996.  I teach high school, lecture adults, and write on contemporary issues, currents events, inspiration, education, childraising, history, philosophy, spirituality, and self-awareness for Jewish and popular journals.

In between the responsibilities of my day-job, I have been invited to address such organizations as the Kiwanis Club, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and Oasis, as well as a variety of religious and secular audiences.

http://yonasongoldson.com/

Jan 052015
 

Colliding with Destiny by Sarah Jakes

Colliding with Destiny
By: Sarah Jakes
Published: September 2014Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Hardcover, 215 pages

Summary

The story of Ruth is a journey of transformation. By allowing God to transform her circumstances, Ruth went from a widow who would be excluded from society to a wife with a secure and protected future, a future that ultimately paved the way for the birth of King David! Her story is full of collision–loss, heartache, poverty, even shame–but she never let her past define her. Instead, the most painful time of her life became her most pivotal, propelling her to a destiny she never imagined.

Perhaps you have a past you’re struggling to overcome. If disappointments, whether a result of your own choices or the actions of others, have kept you from being your true self, this book is for you. Follow Ruth’s life and discover the hope available to each of us. Your yesterday does not have to dictate your tomorrow. 

Despite your past pain, you, too, can find redemption and restoration.

My Review

Sarah Jakes does an awesome job with this book, jumping right in with “Life Doesn’t Always Go As Planned”. She dives deeper into the story of Ruth and this tiny little Biblical chapter and shows us all the richness and glory that is in God for not only the women of the Bible but ALL women of Christ.

She applies the teachings of the book of Ruth to her own life and engages us by making it into a sort of self-study as she asks the reader questions at the end of the chapter and before closing that chapter with prayer.

It took me quite awhile to read through this book. I wanted to take notes and really reflect on the story. It is an easy read but I think if you want to really get the most out of it you should participate in the questions Sarah asks you to reflect on and pray the prayers.

Overall, I think this book is a five star. It is not only great writing but the dust cover is embossed and has a beautiful metallic finish. The book without the dust cover is white with a gold binding and the title of the book on the spine. This is important for me because many books lose their dust cover over the years and they don’t have anything on the spine except a publishers mark, making it harder to find the book you are looking for. I know this book will be in my arsenal and read many times over my life!

About the Author

Sarah Jakes oversees the women’s ministry at The Potter’s House of Dallas, the church led by her parents, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mrs. Serita Jakes. She regularly blogs at sarahjakes.com and occasionally serves as a TV host on The Potter’s Touch.

 

**I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own**

Oct 142014
 

Stolen Dreams (Cassie Scot #4)

Stolen Dreams
Expected publication: October 15th 2014
By: Twilight Times Books (first published June 24th 2014)
ISBN: 13 9781606192818
Series: Cassie Scot #4
http://christineamsden.com/wordpress/?page_id=3162

Summary
Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have despised one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt.

When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood’s grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie’s father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot.

But things may not be precisely as they appear.

Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own? Conclusion to the Cassie Scot series.

My Review

Without spoiling the book for those who haven’t read it yet it is sorta hard to review! I am sad to say that this is the final book in the series but happy to say that Christine Amsden reported to me with the release of book 3 that there are spin off books to this one with some great characters. So, it’s not completely over!

This series is easy to connect with and while I wouldn’t necessarily say it is YA I am not sure what I would call this genre. It is a great read for adults with an open mind and maybe even some interest in the occult, though definitely not mandatory. I would also allow my children to read this book because it’s not scary or beyond their realm of being able to understand the plot.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is in the mood for a really awesome read and if you want the full story start with book one of the series “Cassie Scot ParaNormal Detective”. This is a series you can really get into, learn from and totally enjoy!

The message that I take away from this and that I hope any young people take away from it is that it is not only okay to be different, but it is amazing to love yourself just how you are instead of trying to be something you’re not or impress people who don’t matter. It is beyond great to just be YOU!

About the Author

Christine Amsden has been writing science fiction and fantasy for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

Stolen Dreams by Christine Amsden was the winner in the Fiction Fantasy/Contemporary category of the 2015 Global eBook Awards and a finalist in the Fiction eBook Category for The Next Generation Indie Awards (2016).

Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have hated one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt.

When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood’s grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie’s father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot.

But things may not be precisely as they appear.

Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own? Conclusion to the Cassie Scot series.

Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only
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