Archive for May, 2013

Tulsa Tempest (Tulsa Series) by Norma Jean Lutz

May 31, 2013

The year was 1921; the place was Tulsa, Oklahoma during the Tulsa race riots. The story centered on a nineteen year old woman, Tessa, who fled to Tulsa to avoid marrying one of her father’s drunken buddies.

Tessa is not at all prejudice and she proves it time and again. Her strong beliefs rub off on a man she comes to love.

While I enjoyed the story and the history, I felt there wasn’t enough action and conflict for such a violent and tumultuous time in history. I also found it difficult to establish and maintain Tessa as a nineteen year old, as she was repeatedly described and perceived as much younger throughout the story.

A Christian tone was sprinkled throughout Tulsa Tempest, but not in a preachy way. Tulsa Tempest is an approachable way to be introduced to the Tulsa riots of 1921.

LOVE THUG (a.k.a. Can’t I Do Anything Wrong?) By Daniel Berenson

May 29, 2013

Just be yourself.

Love Thug is a fun story for pre-teens about a first love. Billy wanted to impress Veronica so much he tried to imitate the boy that had already caught her attention. After many failed attempts he realized he just can’t do it.

Berenson wrote for a pre-teen audience, (I don’t see this as a book for older than fourth graders) that is sure to enjoy Billy’s outrageous strategies to ‘get the girl’. A lesson for young kids to be yourself and the right girl will come your way.

I would have liked a challenging vocabulary sprinkled throughout the story. Nevertheless, it was a short, entertaining read that kids will enjoy.

Do Monsters Wear Undies? – A Rhyming Children’s Picture Book by Mark Smith

May 28, 2013

Keeping with Smith’s theme of monsters, this is a silly one asking the question, do monsters wear undies? The rhymes are a great way for children to enjoy a quick, silly book, and Smith masters his poetry.

My Kindle doesn’t provide justice for the illustrations, I realize that, but using my imagination of adding color, I’m sure kids will love the pictures. If sent as a PDF, I could download it on my iPad to appreciate the illustrations.

I wasn’t too thrilled with this particular story; it was okay, but nothing outstanding

The Book of My Lives by Aleksandar Hemon

May 28, 2013

Looking for an answer. [Read the end for the answer I received today from Aleksandar Hemon ]

I enjoyed reading the compilation of essays of Hemon’s two lives, one in Sarajevo before war broke out in the 1990’s, the other in Chicago. His style of writing kept me engaged throughout the stories.

This was my first book read by Hemon. I usually do not read other reviews until I finish a book, however, I glanced at the ten reviews posted on Amazon to see if I had read the paragraph written on page 21 correctly. No one has mentioned it, so it looks like I’m alone. Am I reading it incorrectly, or does Hemon say Obama is our president by way of a falsified birth certificate?

I emailed the publisher and the editor and asked this question, but no reply as of yet. The internet provided additional information on Hemon, such as his becoming a U.S. citizen, but I’m hoping a comment will be written by a reviewer, a reader on my blogs, or Hemon himself answering my question.

[ Aleksandar Hemon says:

It was ironic. Read it again. There are people in this country who can only imagine Obama as the other, and thus perpetually suspect. ]

Flying Soup by Bobby Adair

May 22, 2013

Who said religion and politics don’t mix?

Throw a can of soup at an antichrist underachiever who shares the left-wing view with his best friends – a gay cutting edge electrical engineer and a mid-level programmer, and you have a plot for a fascinating story.

To appreciate Flying Soup you must possess a sense of humor because Adair masters satire. There’s more truth than not in the characters and situations and I found both written in an entertaining style.

Stumbling upon Flying Soup was a much appreciated change of pace. I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in a while, reading it straight through. It was an intelligent, amusing, and fast paced read.

I appreciated Blair mastering the mix of taboo subjects and creating believable characters to write a really fun book.

Eyes That Could Kill by Derek Haines

May 20, 2013

A reader may choose Eyes That Could Kill because they enjoy reading mysteries about ancient Greek and its mythology, maybe even Latin mythology, but even if that isn’t the case, Chapter One will hook any reader immediately. It is one of the most intriguing first chapters I’ve ever read.

The main character, Langley Garret, is viewed as a regular run of the mill guy at one point, then becomes a complicated part of a political scheme when he is kidnapped.

Readers have no idea what is going on because poor Langley doesn’t have a clue either. In Derek Haines true form developing his characters, his phenomenal writing style keeps his readers questioning the same things Langley is confused about.

In Eyes That Could Kill, Langley becomes our best friend. We route for him to figure out his predicament, that is while we are internalizing (pun intended) why he thinks in terms of his internal organs, especially during some of his less friendly kidnapping ordeals.

Derek Haines showcases his expertise in letting his readers decide for themselves what his characters are all about. He is at his best writing Eyes That Could Kill because it has the most unpredictable ending for Langley Garret.

Mystery lovers will appreciate reading Eyes That Could Kill by Derek Haines, especially if they want to know if Langley Garret is successful unraveling his kidnapping.

The Golden Grave by David Lawlor

May 11, 2013

An entertaining way to learn history.

A post WW1 impressive historical novel and the sequel to ‘Tan’, The Golden Grave picks up with Liam Mannion in search of gold. A train cargo packed with enough bullion bars to persuade Liam and his war buddy to return to the horrific battlefields of France once again.

Gold wasn’t the only lure; there is a gold seeking, conniving bitch named Sabine, a former lover of Liam, who has recruited a group of servicemen to carry out her dirty work.

Lawlor takes his readers back in time by reliving the horrors during battles. Buried bodies, active explosives, and weapons all come alive in their search for gold. The stench and sight of war being thrown in their faces make the men sick and twisted with greed. Everyone has a plan, there are secrets and lies, and this is what kept me engaged from page one.

What differentiates a good book from a great book is unpredictability. The Golden Grave is packed with surprises throughout the story, none of which takes away from the historical details.

Who ends up with the gold, if anyone? Was it worth the return to hell?

I recommend The Golden Grave to readers who enjoy a great historical novel; it’s an entertaining way to learn history.

the Philadelphia Chromosome by Jessica Wapner

May 6, 2013

Renewed Appreciation

Reading the Philadelphia Chromosome transformed me into a mini scientist majoring in CML, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. I was diagnosed with CML in November of 2003, which required keeping up-to-date on news relating to CML. When I heard about the Philadelphia Chromosome by Jessica Wapner, I was anxious to add it to my shelf of resources.

Reading the book with pencil in hand to highlight new facts as well as valuable previous knowledge, I found myself marking information on every page.

When I was diagnosed my oncologist informed me that if there was ever a good time to get CML, it was now. At that precise moment, I had no idea what he was talking about. He may have elaborated, but in that moment of shock, I didn’t hear much. Wapner’s book has renewed my appreciation of that conversation every time I swallow my oral chemotherapy pill, Gleevec.

I have an entire file cabinet filled with lab results since 2003. My oncologist reviews the findings with me twice a year, but after reading the Philadelphia Chromosome, my understanding of the labs has improved. I have registered for a couple of CML conferences and am confident I will easily grasp new information presented after reading this book.

Years ago I started writing a book about living with CML. I found it too depressing to continue, however, not abandoning the therapeutic effect; I turned it into a blog, which I update once a month. marycrocco.wordpress.com Being helpful to a few readers who have stopped by makes it worthwhile.

Wapner shared a story of a patient who cherished her Gleevec and defended it with her life. I do the same thing, always insisting to sign for it and checking the delivery time is set for the morning. I don’t want my miracle pill losing its potency in the heat of a UPS truck.

Thank you, Jessica Wapner, for taking the time to write this incredible book, the Philadelphia Chromosome. I appreciate the effort required in your research to share with others who suffer with CML, or readers who have an interest in cancer treatments.

Bringing to life the names of medical doctors and institutions involved in the creation of Gleevec was important. I owe my life to Dr. Druker, and others, who dedicated a large portion of their lives creating a targeted medicine to fight chromosome abnormality in cancer cells.


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