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Friday, December 31, 2010

Balance of December

During December I read and reviewed the following:

Books:
- "Justice Rules" by Tom White. Read my review.
- "Hera" by Julien Longo. Read my review.
- "Topkapi Secret" by Terry Kelhawk. Read my review.
- "A Year With God" by R.P.Nettelhorst. Read my review.
- "Gods of the Machines" by Gary Starta. Read my review.
- "Flight of Shadows" by Sigmund Brouwer. Read my review.
- "Voices of the Faithful" by Beth Moore. Read my review.

Interview:
- Author Julien Longo, "Hera". Read the interview.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Book "Voices of the Faithful" by Beth Moore



About the Book: "A willingness to go is all they have in common," says Beth Moore, speaking of her friends on the front lines who are spreading the gospel around the world and with whom she collaborated to create this book. This brilliant, 366-day devotional features incredible stories of God's faithfulness in the face of uncertainty and danger, written by hundreds of missionaries worldwide.
With a foreword by International Mission Board president Jerry Rankin and an introduction by Beth, this volume also includes advice on how to hear God's voice, pray for missionaries, and understand the church's and individual's role in missions.

About the Author: Beth Moore has written many best-selling books and is a dynamic teacher and a prolific Bible-study author whose public speaking engagements take her across the United States to challenge tens of thousands. Beth is focused on teaching women all over the world and is known and respected wherever she goes. She is a dedicated wife and mother of two adult daughters and lives in Houston, Texas, where she leads Living Proof Ministries and teaches an adult Sunday school class at her church.

My Review: This is not just another devotional. This is a superb collection of personal experience from christians serving as missionaries around the world.
The structure is stories divided in 366 days (includes Feb 29th) and you are suppose to read one story per day during a full year. But the stories are so good and touching that you are always tempted to read much more than just one.
One particular story that touched me deeply was the "We All Scream for Ice Cream!" This particular story describes how we should depend completely on God. If we trust in him, he will provide all our needs. Most of the time what we need comes as a direct answer to a prayer.

This book was written by Beth Moore in 2010 and published by Thomas Nelson and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program. 
If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.





Thursday, December 23, 2010

Book "Flight of Shadows" by Sigmund Brouwer



About the Book: Her genetic secret could change humanity forever. Her DNA grants her the ultimate power. But all she wants is to disappear.
Looming buildings rise into the sky of a near-future America, shadowing the desperate poverty of the soovie parks, death doctors, and fear bombs. In this world of walled cities, where status matters most, Caitlyn Brown is desperate to remain invisible, wrongly believing what she needs to hide is the deformity on her back. The powerful want her for so much more.
She’s forced to take flight again, relying on the help of Razor, a street-smart illusionist she can’t trust. Her only hope is to reach friends already tracked by government.
With a twisted bounty hunter in full pursuit, she and Razor begin to learn the unthinkable about her past and the unique gifts of her DNA. It leads Caitlyn to a choice between the two men who love her, and whether to keep her freedom or sacrifice herself to change human destiny.
In this lightning-fast chase through an all-too-plausible future, best-selling author Sigmund Brouwer is at his best. Flight of Shadows is a terrifying ride into the heart of compelling moral questions about science and society.

About the Author: Whether writing youth or adult fiction, Sigmund Brouwer is a best-selling author of more than 40 fast-paced novels. Some of his works encourage young reluctant readers into the world of books, and others provide adults with riveting tales. His youth series include Mars Diaries; Short Cuts Extreme Sports; Lightning on Ice; CyberQuest; The Winds of Light; Dr. Drabble: Genius Inventor; and The Accidental Detectives. His adult fiction titles include "Out of the Shadows," "Morning Star," "Thunder Voice," "Double Helix," and "Blood Ties."
Sigmund's diverse background surfaces in the characters of his books as he inspires kids to get excited about reading. He grew up in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, and developed an early interest in sports like hockey, racquetball, and biking. His poor performance in high school English classes led him to receive a degree in commerce from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and not to pursue writing. When a professor in his undergraduate English course encouraged him to write, Sigmund did, and he eventually received a degree in journalism from Carleton College in Ottawa. After publishing several articles for U.S. and Canadian magazines, he turned to writing books for kids reluctant to read.
In 1993, he cofounded The Young Writers' Institute with home education expert and author Debra Bell and conducts writing camps and seminars for more than 10,000 children every year. His commitment to his faith is an integral part of his creative goals, and Sigmund cites C. S. Lewis as one of his greatest writing influences. Although there is no overt Christian agenda in his novels, the deliberate underpinning of morality and redemption make his books more than tools of escape. He quotes C. S. Lewis, "There is no Christian way to write, just as there is no Christian way to boil an egg."
Sigmund is married to Christian recording artist Cindy Morgan; the couple has two daughters. He writes five pages per day on his laptop, whether he is in an airport, hotel, or dividing his time between family homes in Red Deer and Nashville.

My Review: This is the first book I read from this author. I found it to be brilliant. A masterpiece in the genre of science-fiction. The author describes his characters with such passion and so rich in details that makes us feel suffering together with our heroes. His description of the environment is superb. The plot happens in a future after what he called the Water Wars. After a lot of effort, a genetic experiment produced some embryos, and one of the scientists thought that they have crossed some moral boundaries and destroy all data on the project, and all but three embryos. One of those developed to be his daughter, Caitlyn. She has some power and they have to flee to a place named Appalachia, where some religious extremists live in a closed community. The story develops and the action begins when the government starts to search for the girl, so they can resume the project, as she is the missing link of the original research and her blood contain information that could change the destiny of the human race. She goes outside of Appalachia and on her life as fugitive, she is helped by the most unusual character, Razor, and two friends that came with her, Billy and Theo. The scary part on this story is that it is composed by realistic situations that we see nowadays (in minor scale) and we can see it happening in the future exactly as it is so well described by the author.
I recommend this book not only for young-adults but also for any lover of science-fiction. And I place this book among the best three I read this year.

This book was written by Sigmund Brouwer and it was published in 2010 by  Water Brooke Press and they were kind enough to provide me a copy for reviewing through their Blogging for Books Program. Thanks, Mr. Sigmund Brouwer, for such a delicious fiction!

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment!
Go rank my review!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Book "Gods of the Machines" by Gary Starta

About the Book: Detective Sam Benson, a native New Yorker, is brash, opinionated and candid. Transplanted to work on Earth’s first colonized planet, he envisions a relatively peaceful job. But Benson’s ruthless nature might bring it to the brink of annihilation when a series of murders begins. He suspects a non-human is responsible—an android who once shared engrams with a psychopathic human. However, the detective doesn’t know other non-humans once called his new world—theirs. And as Benson obsesses with making a case against the android, he is oblivious to their return and the reason why they consider machines to be their gods.
ISBN: 978-0984452156
Genre: Science Fiction/Mystery
Publisher: Gypsy Shadow Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 8/26/10
# of Pages: 276

Read the Excerpt!

The survey mission gave Carol and Dean ample time to sample more than just soil and plants; they sampled one another. Neither had planned on the suddenness of their affair, at least not Dean Flavin. A professional geologist, Dean volunteered to scout out the next settlement for Ceres colonists. An influx of civilians from Earth precipitated expansion, preferably to an area that boasted healthy soil and not too much rocky terrain. Carol Walker, a botanist by profession, agreed to collaborate with Dean, citing the survey would provide an excellent opportunity to collect and catalogue new plant species.

They were formally introduced three days before their departure. “I’m so glad to be taking the trip with you Dean. I’ve read all your journals and admire your work.” Carol, fawning over what Dean considered trivial accomplishments, held onto his hand, embracing it as if something more than admiration might be intimated. Dean was more capable of comprehending petrography—the study of rocks—than deciphering the desires of the female species based on a single handshake. Oblivious to Carol’s true intentions, Dean spent the next few days packing and prepping for rock collection.

For him to be involved in this mission, Dean and his wife Cindy sacrificed a week’s time—time they might have spent conceiving their first child. Dean swallowed his guilt and told himself his involvement was for the good of his future children. Time passed so quickly. Dean’s thoughts were consumed by the mission and pondering his time away from Cindy. Before he knew it, he found himself bidding his wife goodbye and setting off in a rover with a mere stranger.
All civilian couples were required to conceive a child within three years of their arrival date or face deportation back to Earth. They signed contracts agreeing to populate the planet as quickly as possible; in other words, the Earth’s governmental rulings mandated they be fruitful and multiply. Most Ceres couples went about this challenge with zeal; Cindy and Dean were having more than just frequent sex, and he missed her already.

Dean, caught up in the prospect of authoring field journals, didn’t notice the alluring glances from his new mission partner, Carol. The rover was a large vehicle designed to accommodate field missions, equipped with beds, a kitchen, living room and bath. Carol could have kept her distance from Dean—but she didn’t. She found small excuses for keeping him company in the rover’s combination navigation deck and living room. Ignoring her presence, Dean alternated his attention between several manuals and the vehicle’s view screen.

The rover was fast-approaching a majestic, purplish-colored mountain range. While the onboard computer navigated a course, Dean felt he needed to keep a personal watch on the rocky path ahead. Sensors blinking in ever more urgent patterns warned him a rough ride was imminent. The information both scared and encouraged him. He felt like a true pioneer. No other Ceres civilian or scientist had previously ventured this far from Reliance Point—the name of the first settlement—located about fifty kilometers away from the mountains. The initiation of a new settlement, beyond the mountain range, would place colonists forty kilometers from Ceres’ nearest ocean, in a southwesterly direction from Reliance Point.

As the rover maneuvered closer to its destination, Dean stopped perusing his tech manuals and focused his eyes solely on navigational controls. Carol, pining to win Dean’s attention, became agitated. She attempted to draw attention to herself by combing her long blonde hair vigorously. Perhaps it would release some of her angst.
Dean’s vigilance over the instruments was totally unnecessary. The onboard computer alerted the team of any dangers far in advance and make the required course corrections. Nevertheless, Dean kept watch not only on the rover’s view screen but on a small panel underneath it, which displayed data from infrared technology, showing radiation emanating from the soil. Dean Flavin hovered, he was a hands-on sort of guy, always excited to plunge his hands into soil or work diligently to pull a rock out of the ground using his might. His physical efforts were nonessential, yet Dean felt compelled to maintain a tactile touch with his work; to keep his heart in physical proximity with his desires, never to forget he was flesh and blood and that the exhilaration of touch often gave humans their most gratifying pleasures.

As he watched, Dean prattled on about how rock dating might give scientists an idea of how old Ceres was; Carol did not fail to acknowledge the importance of Dean’s observations by moving closer and placing her hand upon his thigh to assure the scientist of her solidarity.

“You’ll be a hero, Dean; your children will look up to you. You’re helping to find a new home for hundreds, possibly thousands, of people.” She paused to blush. “Oh excuse me for being blunt, Dean. I do assume you and Cindy are in the process of making child.” Dean laughed with a nervous snort, his eyes darting between the two readout screens. She had gotten his attention. “Yes, we are. How about you and Tom?”

“Certainly.” She paused again, the skin around her lips crinkling to offer the slightest smile. “It’s mandated, you know.”
Dean did not laugh this time. He turned his gaze away from the screens for an instant, catching a mischievous look in Carol’s large brown eyes. They nearly twinkled. Her expression nearly made his heart skip a beat, and it began to stir some feelings in areas that had nothing to do with scientific analysis or topographical studies. With his mouth suddenly parched, Dean changed the subject.

“So I bet you’ll be classifying some new plant life. I bet your children will be very proud of you too, Carol.”
She dismissed his compliment with a wave of her hand.

“No, no, Dean. Your work is much more consequential. You’ve got to make sure the area is free of radiation.” She didn’t have to remind Dean the entire planet had been bombarded with dark matter radiation a few years ago. The event resulted in some very unconventional solutions—solutions Dean didn’t dare even to daydream about. He grimaced.

“Oh, I’m sorry, dear—I mean Dean—I hope I didn’t upset you. So tell me more about how rocks will help date our new planet.”

Dean launched into an explanation. He resumed staring straight ahead at his view screens, unaware the sparkle in Carol’s eyes had lost some of its sheen.

His raised eyebrows and broad grin oozed exuberance, as if he had quickly forgotten about the planet’s dubious past. “You know, Carol, history will list us as two of the first five hundred settlers of the Ceres, no trivial honor, mind you.” He turned to Carol, raising an index finger to add emphasis. But Carol, nearly launching into a yawn, had all she could do to stifle her disinterested response. It really didn’t matter if she had concealed her boredom; Dean seemed to be enjoying his self-serving dissertation. “The first planet in the Andromeda Nebula to become home to humans! A small Mars-sized satellite boasting a rich oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere. Just take a moment and imagine what we’ve begun, Carol. Earth space travelers had never found such a life-sustaining planet in the Milky Way, after hundreds of years of searching. Who would ever imagine our generation would taste the fruit of this new world?”

“Well Dean, all I can say is that I hope humanity has time to savor that fruit. I’d hate for other things—other species—to acquire a taste for our new world.” Dean didn’t inquire further. He replied with a grunt. Carol had been referring to the androids now residing on Ceres. Their creation had happened by chance and necessity when radiation poisoning threatened to end the colonization efforts

About the Author: Gary Starta is a former journalist who studied English and Journalism at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
His love for science fiction compelled him to write his first novel ‘What Are You Made Of?’ published in 2006. Inspired by Isaac Asimov, the science fiction novel focuses on intelligent artificial life and whether sentient androids should possess the same rights as humans. The androids in Starta’s novel are created as hybrids – part machine, part human – further blurring the line between human and machine. Starta foresees a near future where humans will be forced to decide if intelligent machinery is indeed a life form. Possibly, in this near future, some humans will possess computer enhancements to overcome disabilities becoming hybrids themselves. The line between biological life form and mechanical life form will continue to be examined in a follow up novel now being written.
Starta cites Stephen King and Dean Koontz as inspirations for his 2007 novel ‘Blood Web’ which is also reminiscent of the The X-files television/movie series. Contemporary authors Laurell K. Hamilton, Rachel Caine, Jim Butcher and Kelly Armstrong also fuel his aspiration to create paranormal suspense. The follow up novel to ‘Blood Web’ – ‘Extreme Liquidation’ explores Caitlin Diggs’ supernatural gifts including the ability to see the future in dreams and to read a person’s character through emotions.
Starta’s crime novella ‘Murder By Association’ blends mystery with forensic investigation. It is a departure from previous books because it contains no science fiction or paranormal elements. Additionally, Starta foresees his 2008 novella ‘Alzabreah’s Garden’ – a fantasy romance – as another out-of-the-box effort.
Short story “Growing Pains” now published in Silverlight robot anthology THANK YOU, DEATH ROBOT
Latest sci fi novel, Gods of the Machines now available…



See author's website for all his books: http://www.garystarta.net/
including Extreme Liquidation, a follow up to Blood Web now available from Lyrical Press or go to Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/APOXIRAHDT6R for reviews and posts.
Readers may contact the author at ven123star@yahoo.com


My Review: I love science-fiction. Since I read "I Robot" by Isaac Asimov when I was nine years old, I have been hooked on this genre. And this particular book is a masterpiece. In certain moments, it remainded me of "2001", by Arthur C. Clarke and his intelligent computer "HAL". In other moments, some pieces of the "I Robot" stories came back to life. But Mr. Gary Starta has his own style, and he is destined to be among the greatest names in science-fiction literature. The plot is simple and his description of the characters and the environment of the new planet is so rich that he make us cheer for our heroes and participate in his fiction as if we were there, living the moment. Detective Sam Benson investigates a series of murders that are happening at the new planet being colonized by Earth. His prejudice against androids is well known and the plot develops in a very interesting way.
This is the first book I read from Mr. Gary and it was a very pleasant experience. I intend to read all his already published work.
This is a "must have" book in the library of any serious reader that appreciates science-fiction.

This book was written by Gary Starta and it was published in 2010 by  Gypsy Shadow Publishing Co. and Pump Up Your Book was kind enough to provide me a copy for reviewing through their Virtual Book Tour Program. Thanks, Mr. Gary Starta!
If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment!

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God’s of the Machines Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

December 6
Plug Your Book
http://plugyourbook.wordpress.com/

December 7
Interviewed at The Story Behind the Book
http://thestorybehindthebook.wordpress.com/

December 8
Interviewed at Beyond the Books
http://beyondthebooks.wordpress.com/

December 9
Thursday Thirteen at Paperback Writer
http://rebecca2007.wordpress.com/

December 10
Guest Post at Writing Daze
http://rebeccasnotebook.blogspot.com/
Guest Post at Hollywood Gossip
http://hilaryshepherd.com/rantsnraves/

December 13
Guest Post at 4 for the Love of Books
http://myheartbelongs2books.blogspot.com/

December 15
Book Reviewed at Books and Movies Reviews
http://booksandmoviesreviews.blogspot.com/
Interviewed at As The Pages Turn
http://asthepagesturn.wordpress.com/

December 16
Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book
http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/
Guest Post at Acting Balanced
http://www.actingbalanced.com/

December 17
Book Reviewed at Book Bum
http://www.bookbum.org/
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Book "A Year With God" by R.P.Nettelhorst



About the Book: Too many times the impact and grandness of the actual words God spoke, as recorded in the Bible, are lost in the telling of the story. In "A Year with God" the primary focus is to allow the scriptures that contain God's dialogue and the revelations of himself to uniquely speak to the reader. The author follows each reading with insights and applications to help explain the context and nuances of the text. The unique titling of each meditation and the nontraditional themes and organization help bring God to our daily lives. - Topics include:
- Hope and Fear
- Love and Hate
- Perseverance and Quitting
- Faith and Doubt
- Loyalty and Betrayal
- Companionship and Isolation
- Mercy and Judgment
- Forgiveness and Anger
- Joy and Sadness
- Peace and Conflict

About the Author: R.P. NETTELHORST is a writer of theology and science fiction, among other things. He does a weekly newspaper column for a small Northern California newspaper called The Ridge Rider News. He gets to write about anything he likes, as long as he keeps it to 800 words.
He was a volunteer with the X-Prize Foundation at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. He's the founder and Academic Vice President of Quartz Hill School of Theology where he also serves as Professor of Bible and Biblical Languages. While an undergraduate, he spent two summers working on a kibbutz in Israel. He went on to complete his graduate work at UCLA in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, majoring in Semitic languages. Before founding Quartz Hill School of Theology, he taught at Christian Heritage College and Los Angeles Baptist College (now the Master's College).
He is married, with three daughters. A cat and a dog also live with them in their house in southern California.


My Review: This is not just another daily devotional book. This is a magistral book that bring us intense meditation through the insights of the author on a variety of themes that we usually do not stop to think about.
The fact that this devotional is not ordered by calendar days makes it easier for you to start at any point in the year and just follow your own sequence, as your heart guides you.
One particular topic touch me deeply: "Jumping Frogs of Egypt". The author discuss how tyrants are not quick to keep their promises. So, if we start thinking about that, we see that nowadays we have exactly the same problem the jews had three thousand years ago. Our leaders also are too quick to forget about their promises they made before election... And the book proceeds, bringing us topics to think about in all areas. Wonderful reading and a nice acquisition to any permanent library of a serious christian person.

This book was written by R.P.Nettelhorst in 2010 and published by Thomas Nelson and they were kind enough to send me a copy for reviewing through their Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers Program.
If you are reading this review, feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Book "The Topkapi Secret" by Terry Kelhawk




About the Book: A fourteen hundred year old cover-up. All who threaten this secret die. A race through the Middle East to uncover evidence buried in plain sight. Cultures clash and emotions soar as Arab researcher Mohammed Atareek and American Professor Angela Hall race away from death towards discovery. Will they succeed in their journey to expose the truth, or will the opposition terminate them first?


Predicted to be an international bestseller, The Topkapi Secret is a captivating tale of international intrigue, mystery, and betrayal.


In what RT Book Reviews calls “meticulously researched” and “fantastic” the story takes you from San Francisco across America and Europe into exotic settings of the Middle East and North Africa. The thrilling plot comes wrapped in details ranging from the harems of the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Baths, to the English countryside and literature, art and architecture, women explorers, the 2006 war in Lebanon, and insights on Arab life in Dearborn, Middle Eastern cooking, and Islamic extremism.


But The Topkapi Secret doesn’t stop with high stakes action and suspense. “What They Learn About The Koran Could Change The World Or Cost Them Their Lives” is the book’s tag line, and as it suggests The Topkapi Secret shines a light on long-standing myths about Islam and the Koran.


All except a few percent of Muslims around the world sincerely believe the Koran has never been changed – that it is the same now as it was at the time of Mohammed, and as it is in heaven. Islamic and Western academic sources plainly show otherwise. As the focus of a novel this truth easily glides from the ivory shelf to the kitchen table.


A few are comparing The Topkapi Secret to The Da Vinci Code; but Kelhawk is quick to point out that while The Da Vinci Code is mostly fictitious, what The Topkapi Secret says about the Koran is backed by authoritative references. (See “References” page on website or in the book’s appendix.)


So, if you want to taste the cultures of the Middle East, thrill at cliff-hanging experiences, and come face to face with one of the greatest cover-ups of all time, read The Topkapi Secret. (See “An Inside Look at The Topkapi Secret” book trailer on this website or Youtube.com.)







About the Author: Terry Kelhawk is an award-wining speaker, writer, and teacher with significant personal and professional experience with Islam and the Middle East.

In Terry’s words, “I love peoples and cultures. We have so much to learn from each other, and this makes the world a richer place. Yet when I come across a misunderstanding or deception which adversely impacts a culture or people group, for the sake of those people I believe it should be exposed.”

Terry Kelhawk holds a doctorate degree, but believes people should keep on learning through life. Her areas of interest are culture, religion, and women’s rights – especially of Middle East. She blogs on huffingtonpost.com, foxnews.com, and politicalmavens.com, and likes travel, reading, and asking questions.

Terry believes we should, as Honey Jean of Atlanta in The Topkapi Secret would say, “Make the world a better place, or y’all just taking up space!”






My Review: This is truly a wonderful piece of fiction and as such should be read and savored. If we start entering in the merit of if the plot is for real or not, we will be traveling in dangerous waters and I am not a muslin and I have no rights to put any question marks on their faith. When I read "The DaVince Code", I just assumed it to be a work of fiction and nothing more than that. I never considered it to be a challenge to my faith. I want to believe that the potential readers of this book are adult enough to realize that this book should be read as a work of fiction and nothing beyond that. If you do that, you will be able to enjoy a magnificent novel. The book is split into very small chapters, that is very convenient if you need to stop reading in a short notice. Also if it ever make into Hollywood, it is a very nice scene breaker, ready to go to the screens.

This book contains all ingredients to become a quick bestseller: intrigue, love, murder, mystery, and the author does a magnificent job describing the characters and the places in a way that make us participate and cheer for our heroes on every turn of the pages. And the picture in the cover page could not be better. Very well chosen!

So, I recommend this book to a permanent library of any lover of mystery and fast pace, action story.

This book was written by Terry Kelhawk and it was published in 2010 by Prometheus Books and Glass Road Public Relations through Rebeca Seitz was kind enough to provide me a copy for reviewing. Thanks, Mrs. Terry Kelhawk, for such a nice novel!


If you want to read more about this book, visit its facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Topkapi-Secret/112870552068331


If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Book "Hera" by Julien Longo

This review has been remade and transferred to BooksCrier.com


About the Book: Leap into the mythical lives, romances and mystical adventures of the Greek Goddesses and Gods in author Julien Longo’s new fantasy series, The Goddess Chronicles. The series begins with Hera, queen of the Greek gods, telling the story of her mortal life which leads to her immortal transformation. Longo reinvents the Greek creation story and sets in motion an epic tale of mysticism, spiritual awakening and immortal love.
Hera’s story begins in the company of her childhood friends, Artemis and Apollo, as they go out to hunt the boar along Atlantis’ jungle shores. Young and too eager for glory, Hera plunges into disaster discovering a mystical ability that changes the direction of her life forever. She is taken into the mystery of the Emerald Temple, home of powerful priestesses, where she discovers her true lineage. Hera struggles to guard the Mysteries of the Temple and face her royal destiny.
Longo’s retelling of the Greek pantheon’s creation, through Hera’s point of view, explores a time before the existence of God when the prominent spiritual understanding was one of a genderless divine. Readers journey with Hera into the life of a priestess and the heart of mysticism.

About the Author: From early childhood, Julien Longo has been captivated by mysticism and the eternal journey of the soul. Raised on the island of Maui, she was strongly influenced by earth-based spiritual traditions and the healing properties of nature.
In writing The Goddess Chronicles, Julien drew heavily on her theological studies. She holds a M.A. in Humanities and Leadership, with an emphasis on Creation Spirituality from New College of California. She has attended the Squaw Valley Writers community and studied poetry with Lucille Clifton and Sharon Olds.
When a life-changing injury forced her to leave her work in middle school education, Julien turned to the mystic traditions she had studied and put them into practice in order to cope with her illness, reclaim her life, and heal. Through her writing, she explores the transformative power of mystic practices to heal the body and touch the soul. Julien teaches mystic practices and is the founder of Mystic Pie and The Healing Tribe. She lives in California.

My Review: This is a very well written book and clearly we can see that the author did a magnificent research on greek mythology. Her easy way of describing in such a rich form the characters of this novel make us feel connected to the story, in a way that we are participating in Hera's dreams and pain and love, in her awakening for the spiritual world. 
All relationship that composes the "family" of the greek gods and goddesses are well exploited in a wonderful way. Mrs. Julien Longo was able to capture all the intrigues, mysteries, friendships, mysticisms and loyalties well described in greek mythology.

Truly a magnificent story that in some ways reminds me of "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley in the sense that the story is told from the point of view of a female character. But this book has its own peculiarities and the plot flows so smoothly that when you are warmed up... the book ends, leaving the sensation that we want more and more and more. Hopefully the author will not take long to release the second book on this delicious "The Goddess Chronicles" series. I am already a fan of Mrs. Julien Longo. While I wait for the second book, I will not lose any time and I will read her previous book, "Her Immortal Soul" (not part of this series).

This is a mandatory book in the permanent library of any serious reader that loves mysticism, mythology and an excellent novel!

This book was written by Julien Longo and it was published in 2010 by FireRaven Press and FiredUp Communications through Mariko Drouin was kind enough to provide me a copy for reviewing. Thanks, Mrs. Julien Longo, for such a nice novel!

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment!

Interview with Julien Longo - author of "Hera"

Julien Longo, author of the novel "Hera" was kind enough to participate in this interview on "Books and Movies Reviews"blog.

Q-) Thanks for the interview, Julien. Can we begin by having you tell us what your new book, "Hera", is all about?

A-) It’s my pleasure to meet you and your readers, Mr. Mattos.
HERA is the first book in my Goddess Chronicles fiction series, which is a feminine re-telling of the lives of Gods and Goddesses from around the world. In the first book I begin with one of my favorite characters in mythology, Hera, queen of the Greek pantheon. This is a fictional autobiography—Hera tells us how she lived as a mortal woman in the time of Atlantis, weaving together her mystical journey into the Emerald Temple and her very human love story. Then, in book two, we discover how Hera becomes immortal.

Q-) In "Mists of Avalon", Marion Zimmer Bradley also uses a female's point of view to narrate Arthur's story. What inspired you to use a similar technique to retell Greek mythology from Hera's point of view? 

A-) Actually, “Mists of Avalon” really influenced me when I was younger and I thought what a great way to reinterpret a very male dominated tale! Then, as I began to study mythology and mysticism I realized how the stories that have been passed down to us are most often told through the male voice and I was caught up in imagining what the women’s stories might have been. Hera is such a juicy, passionate and powerful female character, one that goes un-sung in western mythology that I gravitated to her immediately. She is the Mother goddess, powerful, passionate and righteous. I don’t like that she is mis-represented in our mythological stories. Most people don’t even know that she predates Zeus as an Aegean goddess by hundreds of years!

Q-) How much research is "behind the scenes"?

A-) As a lover of mythology and one who has always wondered about the mystical roots of religion, I’ve studied a great deal. I have an M.A. in humanities with an emphasis on mysticism so that gave me the time to really dive in. When tracing spiritual traditions to the their mystical origins it was natural to delve into the Western traditions that brought me to the Greek mystery schools and their myths.

Q-) How difficult was it writing your book? Did you ever experience writer's block and, if so, what did you do?

A-) I wrote the book rather quickly, in just two months. However it took several years of study and outlining ideas and imaginings before that! And as most writers find, the revision process was where the real work came in and that took a year. It was the same with the second book too.

Q-) What are your daily writing routines?

A-) I stimulate my mind by reading and writing Sacred Poetry everyday. This keeps me in touch with what really has heart and meaning in my life. By doing this I am able to keep that creative juice and flow going. Then I turn to my Into The Mystic blog at www.julienlongo.com. That keeps me focused, fresh, and the words flowing. Other then that, I don’t work everyday on my fantasy books. I just take notes as idea pop into my head. I notice that when its time to write another book, I just sort of sit down and really get into it. Usually, I’ve gone away from home, isolated myself for a month to write the ‘bones’ of the piece down. That’s how I work best.

Q-) If you could meet any of your characters, who would it be and why?

A-) Oh, I’d love to meet Artemis! She’s the Goddess of Beasts and Goddess of the Light. She’s the mistress of wild things! In my books, she’s Hera’s best friend and mentor and I think she has such a quiet dignity and sensuality about her that I’m looking forward to seeing how she will appear in future books! I have thought of writing her story as one of the Chronicles as well, or making it a serial novel on my blog. She’s a really rich character.

Q-) What book changed your life?

A-) Well, there are so many, but I think I can point to the two that made me want to write fiction. First, when I was 14, I read Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy and that swept me away into Merlin’s fictional autobiography. I got really lost in it and knew that I wanted to write. The second was in college when I read Kate Chopin’s book, The Awakening. Wow, that showed me the power of fiction to educate and inspire in a way that non-fiction can’t do. It was the way the Chopin SHOWED the character’s awakening that touched me so deeply.

Q-) What is your passion? What is it that you're most passionate about, more than anything else?

A-) Sacred Poetry! Oh my, it just gives me goose bumps! I love to read all kinds of poetry but anything that brings me deeper into relationship with love is what draws me in. I delve in everyday, asking Poetic Inquiries. I started MysticPie.com as a Sacred Poetry site just so I could feed my addiction to wisdom and engage with others who enjoy the same!

Q-) What do you do to relax?

A-) I cuddle with my dogs, get foot rubs from my wonderful husband, Martin, and I love to sing and recite poetry. I’m also a shameless foodie!

Q-) Any final words?

A-) I’d just like to thank you and your readers for supporting my work. The Goddess Chronicles are not published through some huge publishing house that will back it with a bunch of PR money so the only way we sell the books is through word-of-mouth. I really appreciate it when people go out of their way to tell others about the series. This is really the work of my heart and I’m always touched by other people’s support. Thanks so much!


Well, Mrs. Julien Longo, you deserve every support you get because this is truly a magnificent book. Congratulations!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book "Justice Rules" by Tom White

About the Book: FBI Profiler Brian Wylie, a transplanted Southern Californian, finds himself deep in the woods of Eastern Washington investigating a brutal murder. Wylie discovers that the body, Levi Dalton, is an ex-con who had viciously attacked a couple in their Portland, OR home years earlier. While he was convicted of burglary, Dalton’s savage rape and torture of the wife could not be proven. Further investigation leads Wylie to a victims support group named the Victims Advocacy Center and the beautiful Spokane office manager, Kathleen Welch. As Wylie soon learns there is more to this situation than meets the eye. The murder of Levi Dalton has lead to a series of missing or dead ex-cons, all of whom were accused of greater and more vicious crimes than they were convicted. As the action continues Wylie is plunged into a situation that involves his best friends treachery and the well-being of his teenage daughter. Ultimately Wylie is faced with the moral dilemma of pursuing victims of violent crimes as murderers and defending the vile men who have perpetrated unspeakable crimes.

About the Author: Thomas is the author of two novels, Justice Rules, a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2010 Literary Contest and The Siren’s Song, to be released early 2011. He has also written several screenplays including A Stitch In Time, a finalist in the NCW Screenplay Contest.
You can learn more at his website, www.justice-rules.com.
Thomas began his career as an actor, which lead to a degree from the United States International University School of Performing Arts in San Diego. A Cum Laude graduate, Thomas was also named to “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.
He immediately hit the road and spent several seasons touring across the country with various shows, working as an actor, tech director, stage manager, scenic designer, lighting designer, sound designer and finally a director.
Several years later Thomas found himself as an Artistic Director for a theatre in Los Angeles and the winner of several Drama-Logue awards for directing. Additionally, Thomas has directed 2 national tours and had one shining night on Broadway.
He directed and co-produced the world tour of “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Coming Out Of Their Shells”. The show toured for over two years, was translated into seven different languages and seen by close to a million children.

Read the Excerpt!

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are dangerous, but because of the people who do nothing about it.” Albert Einstein

Chapter 1

May 1990 – Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA.

Pryor Hart hated French. She wondered daily what had possessed her to take the stupid class. She vowed each evening to drop it, and yet, she’d find herself the next night, well after midnight, struggling over the conjugations of a language that wanted to be spoken through the nose. If the French spelled words the way they sounded she’d have a better chance. But instead, out of spite no doubt, the belligerent French added three or four silent consonants to a word, just to make her life suck. Pryor hated French.

She should be doing anything at twelve-fifteen in the morning except grunting and snorting her way through another exercise. Matter of fact she was supposed to be hanging out with her boy friend but instead she was manufacturing mucus and snorting the night away – alone. To make her life worse, there was no more Diet Pepsi left in her mini-fridge. “Nous n’avons pas de Pepsi Lite,” snort, snort.

Pryor rose from her desk, stretched, and bounded the six steps across her cozy, third-floor dorm room to head downstairs for a much needed caffeine fix. She grabbed her keys and some change from the dresser. She considered changing out of her oversized nightshirt into her sports bra and shorts—in consideration of the fact that Algren House was a co-ed dorm. She decided against it. No one in the house would be shocked at the sight of a girl in her T-shirt and panties; they’d all seen that and much more.

Pryor stopped in front of the mirror that hung loosely on the closet door. At five-foot-eight inches tall she was solid and athletic. She pulled her t-shirt tight at the waist and critiqued her profile. She mostly liked what she saw from the side, good boobs, and almost small-enough waist. Consequently, as the door closed behind her she passed by the elevator and opened the door to the stairs. She loved what running up and down the three flights did for her legs, gut and especially her butt.

The third floor was reserved for the senior girls who had lived all four years in the dorm. There were only two rooms occupied at that time. Pryor’s floor mate, a spoiled daddy’s girl from Wenatchee, had been spending a lot of time at her boyfriend’s, unbeknownst to daddy of course. Pryor usually enjoyed the entire floor by herself.
As she reached the bottom of the cinder-block stairwell, she pushed the crash bar that opened the fire door and marched into the downstairs lobby.

She turned the corner and burst into the Common Room. The Common usually bustled with activity well after midnight and tonight was no exception. Three guys and two girls sat around an ancient, glass topped coffee table playing Scrabble. One of the guys, wearing a green and yellow John Deere baseball cap and sporting two days growth of adolescent facial hair saw her as she passed and yelled out, “Nice outfit, Hart. Got a big date with the Gonzaga jock?” They all laughed seeing her in her Bulldog nightshirt. The Gonzaga jock was her boyfriend, a star athlete at the private Jesuit school in Spokane; the Bulldog was their mascot.

“Date?” She attempted her best hillbilly accent, “Try and control your trailer trash self, but I’m off to a tractor pull. I just have to knock out my two front teeth, then get myself knocked up and I’ll be all set.”
“Oohh, that was cold,” laughed one of the girls.

She walked laughing to the vending machines at the end of the hall. Dropping in her fifty cents, Pryor pushed the Diet Pepsi button. The machine hummed, clunked, and released a white can of soda highlighted with the familiar red and blue Pepsi logo. Pryor popped the top and took a cold, bubbly swig.

A questionable play by one of the Scrabble contestants caused a roar of laughter as another player challenged and dove for the dictionary. The raucous sounds of the room faded as she walked back toward the stairs slapping her sinuses together practicing her assignment.

“Je mange une pomme, J’ai mange’ une pomme, Je veux manger une pomme.”

She failed to see the shadow in the far corner of the lobby slither behind her.

Grabbing the yellow handrail, she bounded up the stairwell two steps at a time. As she passed the faded, green-stenciled sign indicating the second floor, she heard the door at the bottom of the stairs open and, oddly, felt a bit more comfortable knowing she wasn’t in the dimly lit stairwell alone. She hit the third floor, pushed through the door and, invigorated by the caffeine rush, danced up the hall humming an off key version of “Frère Jacques.”
The hydraulic arm closed the stairwell door slowly behind her.

Arriving at her room, she deftly slid the key into the lock, pushed open the door with her elbows, and bumped it closed with her hip – but not quite hard enough to latch it.

She dropped her keys in their little nook on the dresser next to the picture of her Gonzaga stud, to whom she blew a kiss, and crossed to her desk to resume her nasal recitations. Picking up her notes she began pacing as she read aloud, still holding her can of soda and alternating sips with snorts.

The door swung open.
She caught the movement in her peripheral vision and whipped her head around, the hair on her arms immediately rising on end.

Standing in the doorway was a man she didn’t know.

His greasy, black hair was shoulder length and a ratty, black moustache twitched on his lip. He wore black Nike tennis shoes, Hammer pants, tight at the waist and the ankles. His dark t-shirt stenciled with ‘Button Your Fly”, barely covered his muscular physique.

She reacted immediately.

“You have two seconds, Asshole, to get the hell out!” Pryor moved toward the phone.
“Please don’t. I’m not going to do anything to hurt you,” the man said in an unexpected placid tone. His foot moved backward and gently tapped the door. It closed obediently and slowly, shutting them in together in her private sanctuary.

“You take one step toward me and I’ll rip your balls off. Get the hell out or you’ll be sorry.” She picked up the phone and started to dial.

“I’ll be gone in a minute. I just need your help.” His hands pushed into his pockets and his head tilted slightly to the left. She stopped dialing and looked at him.

“What do you want?” she demanded, standing as tall as she could.

The man dropped his head and looked at the floor. He shuffled his feet, moving a step closer to her has he did, his voice calm and steady.

“It’s not what you think. All I really want is…” and suddenly he leapt across the tiny room, his body language becoming predator-like and dangerous. He grabbed her by the throat, dragging her to the floor.

Still holding the phone she swung it at him. He deftly blocked the attempt, grabbing it out of her hand. Her mouth opened to scream just as he smashed the red base into her face, knocking out a front tooth and stifling the sound. The Diet Pepsi can flew across the room spraying its contents as it bounced. He forced her to the floor, grabbed her shoulders and flipped her onto her stomach like a rag doll in the jaws of a Rottweiler. At the same time, he slid her feet under the bed frame. Slamming his knee into the center of her back, he pinned her to the floor. Her ribs cracked as he pressed his knee down harder and leaned into her, burning her ear with his beer-saturated breath.

“I need your help,” he said as though they were on a first date. He grabbed her hair and yanked her head up, exposing the soft skin on her throat. “I need to know what you feel about pain. How much do you think you can stand?”

He pinned her tight to the floor with his body weight. Pryor felt him spin on top of her so that his ass was suddenly on the back of her head and her face wedged into the carpet.

She heard a knife flick open.

He shifted again and his tongue was on the back of her left thigh, making her shiver in revulsion. She could feel his growing erection as it ground into the back of her neck. A hot sting ran up her left leg as the point of the knife cut her behind her knee. She bucked wildly, fighting with all her might, shredding her feet on the sharp edges of the bed frame. He dragged the knife to the waistband of her panties, leaving a thin red line of blood on the back of her thigh. The knife reached the waistband of her panties and slid under the elastic.

With a deft flick of his wrist, the blade sliced through and the frail fabric fell aside.

The last image she had before she passed mercifully into unconsciousness was the Diet Pepsi can that lay a few feet away, leaking its contents onto the rose colored carpet that her father had helped her install the previous September. She could barely breathe with her face crushed into the carpet, but out of one eye, she could see directly into the dark abyss of the soda can. She wished she could crawl into that can and hide amongst the sparkling effervescence. In the can she would be protected. In the can he wouldn’t be able to hurt her anymore. “Nous n’avons pas de Pepsi Lite” snort, snort.



My Review: This is an incredible book on moral principles, that make us think a lot before trying to make justice by our own hands.

You will not be able to put this book down before finish reading it. It is a first class thriller, very well written, where the author's description of the characters is so rich that he make us feel like we are part of the story, feeling their pain and dilemmas on morale issues.

The plot is full of twist. Our hero, special agent Brian Wylie, while investigating a very brutal murder, finds a whole pattern on a very special cast of missing criminals. From there, mystery increases in intensity and the reader should start reading the book on the edge of the chair. Friendship betrayal, love, deception, rape, this book has it all. All ingredients that should make this an instant success.

This is a "must have" book in the library of any serious reader that loves mystery/thriller/suspense book.

This book was written by Thomas White and it was published in 2010 by CreateSpace and Pump Up Your Book was kind enough to provide me a copy for reviewing through their Virtual Book Tour Program. Thanks, Mr. Thomas White!

If you read this review, feel free to leave a comment!

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Justice Rules Virtual Book Tour Schedule

December 6,
Contest at Paperback Writer
http://rebecca2007.wordpress.com/

December 7
Interviewed at The Writer’s Life
http://thewriterslife.blogspot.com/

December 8
Interviewed at As The Pages Turn
http://asthepagesturn.wordpress.com/
Book Reviewed at Books and Movies Reviews
http://booksandmoviesreviews.blogspot.com/

December 9
Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book
http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/

December 10
Guest post at Acting Balanced
http://www.actingbalanced.com/

December 13
Interviewed at Beyond the Books
http://beyondthebooks.wordpress.com/

December 14
Guest Post at Writing Daze
http://rebeccasnotebook.blogspot.com/

December 15
Guest Post at Hollywood Gossip
http://www.hilaryshepherd.com/rantsnraves
Guest Post at The Life and Lies of an Inanimate Flying Object
http://haleymathiot.blogspot.com/

December 16
Thursday Thirteen at Paperback Writer
http://rebecca2007.wordpress.com/
Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz
http://www.bookmarketingbuzz.com/

December 17
Book Reviewed at Divas Bookcase
http://divasbookcase.blogspot.com/
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