Saturday, June 16, 2012

Coin for a Killer by David Snowdon

This novel is could easily be part of the James Bond series! David Snowdon has created an intriguing plot featuring international locations, a hated war criminal, and a daring British agent that is desperately trying to bring the villain back for justice. Serbian war criminal Anton Okienka is on the run after escaping death row in an American prison; MI4 agent Jason Clay is hot on his trail as he chases Okienka to exotic Hong Kong, London, and the Netherlands. This is a novel that would keep Ian Fleming on the edge of his seat.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wentworth M. Johnson's The Mermaid

The Mermaid by Wentworth M. Johnson is yet another hit in the spellbinding Bill Reyner Mystery Adventure series that has captivated readers since they were first introduced to the cast of characters in Fiend’s Gold.  In this eighth installment, Bill takes a new, rich wife, Deloris, who comes with more than a few strings attached.

Bill not only has a beautiful new wife, he is richer by several millions, several buildings, and a network of employees, and then, “of course there was this mystery that turned out to be so mysterious we only knew its name.”  The mystery of the Sirena platino is not only one that confounds Reyner and his team, but it also becomes quickly evident that the treasure and the danger are very real.  Early into his investigation of the mystery, an ominous stranger threatens Deloris’ life, warning Bill, “Just keep your nose out of my business and all will be well.” 

What ensues is a story of betrayal, treason and murder, taking readers on an exciting adventure that will keep them on the edges of their seats as Johnson’s story unfolds.  As Bill searches for the Sirena platino, a dead body threatens Bill’s search for treasure and the expedition becomes a “nightmare.” Johnson’s unbeatable formula makes it clear why readers just can’t get enough of the Bill Reyner Mystery Adventure series, whether he is hunting down the Sirena platino, investigating a murder that has remained unsolved for twenty years or investigating a cult-like church whose female members keep disappearing.

It matters not whether readers of the latest installment are reading the series for the very first time or they have already read the first seven books, The Mermaid is certain to captivate them from beginning to end.  This addictive series will undoubtedly keep readers up late at night—as Bill and company are thrown unexpected twists in their already compelling adventures.  

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mitch Weiss and Perri Gaffney's Managing Artists in Pop Music

Entertainment manager Mitch Weiss has a celebrity client list that has included the Village People, the Glamazons, Sir Ari Gold and other pop culture icons in his 25 year career.  In his book, Managing Artists in Pop Music: What Every Artist and Manager Must Know to Succeed, Weiss teams up with author Perri Gaffney to share the ins and outs of the music business.

Weiss and Gaffney help their readers to navigate their way through the overwhelming world of music, which can be a daunting undertaking.  The advice has been time-tested; their proven formula for success offers “Six Rules of Management,” “Contractual Clauses to Know,” and “Qualities to Look for in an Artist,” among other indispensible words of wisdom.

The format for the book is unique and engaging, taking readers through three days in the life of a music manager.  It is jam-packed with lessons that will prove to be invaluable, including: taxes, artist interviews and the press, creating a marketable image and how to deal with unexpected and unfortunate surprises like drugs and rehab and the death or resignation of a band member.

This practical and applicable guide even offers sample artist management agreements, booking agreements, record deals, and forms for independent contractors with analysis.  The second edition updates the timeless advice of the original text with timely advice on doing business in the digital era, a time when “The music industry is somewhere between chaos and flux.”

Weiss and Gaffney’s guide is written in accessible language and divided into bite-sized chapters and segments that make it easy to refer back to relevant lessons over and over again.  Managing Artists in Pop Music is the complete handbook for anyone looking to break into the world of pop music.  Weiss and Gaffney’s book will undoubtedly become a treasured resource to its readers, providing them with the tools that they need for success in the music industry.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wentworth M. Johnson's The Dutchman

The Dutchman by Wentworth M. Johnson is the seventh installment in the riveting Bill Reyner mystery adventure series and, although it is everything that readers have come to expect out of a Bill Reyner story, readers who are new to reading the series can quickly catch up with the characters and storyline. Bill, Newf, Gran, and the youngest addition to the cast of characters, William Tan, are surrounded by the usual level of intrigue and suspense when Bill is presented with a new conquest to solve an ages old mystery. As in the first six books, Johnson proves himself to be a master of plot and character, keeping readers at the edge of their seats throughout.

Despite his protests that “Detective work and treasure hunting are off of my list of things to do,” Gran convinces him to help Shyla Pitt “chase down some harmless treasure” and, in the meantime, enjoy the peace of the countryside in Norfolk, England. Once again, Bill finds himself stuck in the role of reluctant detective when his holiday is interrupted by danger and complication, turning into far more than the simple expedition that Gran talked him into.

Danger is everywhere for the Spanish gold-hunting team. Morag McPherson, a young girl who has taken a liking to Newf, is shot by a mysterious man, Bill and Newf find themselves trapped in a sinking ship, and Bill’s son, William Tan, is abducted. As usual, every page is packed with adventure and suspense.

Whether this is your first introduction to the Bill Reyner series or you are an avid fan of his adventures, The Dutchman is certain to keep you furiously turning pages as the story unfolds. Johnson has established himself a truly talented serial mystery author, keeping each story fresh and exciting, while still providing readers with the same core elements and characters that keep them coming back for more. Readers will undoubtedly be left anxious for the next installment in the Bill Reyner mystery adventure series, The Mermaid.

Mary K. Bogot's How Do You Know the Word Shlep?

How Do You Know the Word Shlep? You’re Not Jewish!, by Mary K. Bogot, is the story of the author’s life, told in an authentic voice that will find a home with its readers, interweaving empowering themes of personal identity, spiritual growth, and the courage to be different. Bogot’s story chronicles her life, taking us from the time of her youth to becoming a grandparent.

She likens her story to a cloth “woven in numerous colored threads, some being smooth in texture and others rough to the touch.” Her story is one of a woman who had the courage to defy the commonly accepted standards of her day, entering an interfaith relationship in 1956, and making the decision to adopt the Jewish faith.

How Do You Know the Word Shlep begins with her childhood in western Pennsylvania, where “Everyone went to church on Sunday” and “Everyone’s skin was white.” When her family moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, she found herself, for the first time, “confronted by contrasts in people, customs, speech, and even terrain.”

As she gets older, her curiosity is piqued by others around her increasingly; she describes meeting Edward, a Jewish boy, as “ the major turning point” in her life, finding that she had many questions that needed answers, answers to which the Christian community was unable to provide her. Bogot is curious about everything to do with her new boyfriend’s faith and the similarities and differences between Christianity and Judaism.

She quickly discovers that despite her enthusiasm, the Jewish community is not as eager to embrace her; when Edward announces their engagement, his family’s rabbi tells them “in no uncertain terms, ‘A Jew has a responsibility to marry another Jew.’” When they have their first child, the duties of the two religions play prominent roles in their lives; eventually, Bogot makes the difficult decision to raise their children in the Jewish faith only and, eventually, adopts the religion herself.

Her transformation is too complete, as she begins to practice Jewish traditions and rituals unfamiliar to her husband; he deems her behavior to be as extreme as that of her Christian fundamentalist sister. By 1967, she and Edward grew apart and divorced, and she marries Howard, who shares in her faith and in the related rituals. As Bogot explores her roles as a daughter, wife, and mother, she is finally able to define and free herself.

How Do You Know the Word Shlep? is a powerful testimony to self-awareness, inner strength, and confidence. No matter what your religious background, Bogot’s story is one that will undoubtedly capture your heart.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Patricia Bubash's Successful Second Marriages

What makes second marriages work? Patricia Bubash, M.Ed. Licensed Professional Counselor, interviews nine married couples who have achieved success in their second marriages in her new book, Successful Second Marriages. Bubash was inspired to find the formula for a successful second marriage as a result of the failure of her own second marriage, motivated to look for the secrets to what it takes to make it work and share her findings with the world, using her own pain to help others.

Bubash's discoveries are written from an open-hearted, transparent point of view that is accessible to readers and gives them the sense of reading something far more personal than your traditional "self-help" book. She has the courage to admit that she, too, is human, which few in the professional counseling field do, endearing her to readers and making the book more personal and less clinical than others of its genre, helping her readers to learn from both her own mistakes and from the successes of others.

Second marriages have more hurdles to overcome than first marriages as a result of the emotional baggage accrued in the first relationship. Bubash addresses a wide range of issues through the stories told, including: dealing with in-laws, dealing with exes, and dealing with each other's children. Instead of focusing on why second marriages fail, Bubash instead focuses on what could help make the marriage working, citing the primary difference between success and failure in these relationships a "strong commitment to the relationship, determination, hard work, and a thorough and often painful look at what didn't work in the first marriage."

As Patricia Bubash prepared to tie the knot for the third time, her father asked her to do him a favor, to "Please make this one the last," which is what inspired her to explore the topic of successful marriages after the first, steadfastly resolving to make this marriage her last and help others to do the same. Successful Second Marriages is a must-read for anyone who is preparing to walk down the aisle for the second time (or, like Elizabeth Taylor, the eighth time) or is struggling to make their second marriage work, giving them the guiding hand that they need to navigate the waters of a successful second marriage. No matter how many times you have said "I do," Bubash's advice is indispensable.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nancy Budd's Budding Thoughts

In Budding Thoughts, author Nancy Budd offers a patchwork of stories that not only inspires readers to take action in their own lives, but also provides for an entertaining and quick read. If you're contemplating major changes in your life, or perhaps need a little encouragement, then this delightful book of inspirations can certainly help. The 198 pages are overflowing with advice ranging from how to keep a New Year's resolution to better ways of managing free time.

The theme of the book is that through a series of small changes in both our ways of thinking and how we choose to live, we can have a more fulfilling and productive life. Topics of finance, personal development, and relationships are covered, and readers are prompted to consider their current situations and how to best enact changes. For those readers who are feeling a bit down, there are some truly uplifting poems and short stories which give hope to even the most depressed among us.

Perhaps the reason why Budding Thoughts is such an effective read is that it is easily approachable, reading more like grandmotherly suggestions that touch our hearts. The experiences highlighted are drawn from the author's own life, so they have a genuine feel that rise above abstractions and empty platitudes.

In the old days, before most Americans could even fathom, let alone predict the self-help craze which would eventually become a part of our culture, authors such as Mark Twain observed people and offered advice based on their observations. For the most part, this advice was down to earth and simple, yet honest and to the point. Often, it was tinged with humor, so the readers could laugh at themselves and others while still learning a thing or two.
In many ways, Budding Thoughts is a return to the Mark Twain style of writing and advising. Budd's advice is similarly simple and to the point, inviting readers to make practical, sensible decisions in their lives.