Monthly Archives: January 2008


I’ve Always Been a Yankees Fan: Hillary Clinton in Her Own Words
Author: Thomas D. Kuiper
Publisher: World Ahead Media
Reviewed by: Dorothy Thompson

Thomas D. Kuiper has outdone himself with the hilarious quote book, I’ve Always Been a Yankees Fan: Hillary Clinton in Her Own Words by World Ahead Media, which takes pot shots at sayings Hillary Clinton has been known to have said and some aren’t exactly something a future President would want others to know about. But, Tom is letting the cat out of the bag with such goodies as:

On Arkansas, “I had never before lived in a place so small, so friendly and southern, and I loved it (she should have stopped right there). I went to Arkansas Razorback football games and learned to call the hogs.”

Ouch. Bad bad Hillary.

Oh, but there’s more…

Talking to female friends about the lack of quality men in Arkansas, she is quoted as saying, “When I look at what’s available in the man department, I’m surprised more women aren’t gay.”

Double ouch!

And poor womanizing-can’t-keep-his-hands-to-himself-Bill received quite a few backlashings from his lady love in front of public eyes…and ears…

When wild Bill’s womanizing was at it’s peak, she was quoted as saying to a private detective, “I want you to do damage control over Bill’s philandering…Bill’s going to be president of the United States…I want you to get rid of all these bitches he’s seeing…I want you to give me the names and addresses and phone numbers, and we can get them under control.”

Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, when the chips are down, why is it everyone else’s fault? What about your darling husband? Was getting the Presidency all that you were concerned about?

Hilarious, hilarious book. Tom Kuiper spent years of research to bring to you an enjoyable book showing you the real side of Hillary Clinton – and often it’s the side of her she sure doesn’t want others to see before the election.

Kudos to Tom for bringing us I’ve Always Been a Yankees Fan: Hillary Clinton in Her Own Words. Highly recommended!

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Filed under Current Events, Non-Fiction

St. John of the Midfield

St. John of the Midfield
Author: Garasamo Maccagnone
Publisher: Booksurge
Reviewed by: Cheryl Malandrinos

Powerful, thought-provoking, and filled with the love of the game, St. John of the Midfield by Garasamo Maccagnone is a literary fiction lover’s dream.

Told entirely as a flashback, Mario Santini begins by retelling the story of the night Bulgarian soccer great Georgi “Bobo” Stoikov shared with him how he and his brother Jordan, jumped from a speeding train to escape from Communist Bulgaria in the hopes of living the American Dream. All is lost when Jordan and Bobo are injured during the escape, but Bobo satisfies his love of the game by teaching youth soccer to travel teams. When Mario’s son Luca joins Bobo’s team, it sets in motion an intense one-sided rivalry between Bobo and a man from his past, which ultimately leads to Bobo’s death.

As a parent to a son who played youth sports, I can attest to the realism found within the pages of St. John of the Midfield–when the desire to win is so strong, that people do unspeakable things all in the name of victory. Opening the story with Bobo telling the story of his defection to Mario is pure genius, as it immediately draws the reader in and makes Bobo a sympathetic character. And the challenges Mario deals with as he tries to be a good man despite the ties to his Sicilian crime family, speak eloquently to the struggles all people deal with as they move through life. While a little heavy on the similies for my taste, this is an excellent read.

In St. John of the Midfield Garasamo Maccagnone combines youth soccer, the Sicilian mob, and the frailities of the human condition to create an entertaining and all too realistic portrait of youth sports that all adults will enjoy.

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Filed under Literary Fiction

Achievement Journal: You Are More Than Enough by Judi Moreo

Achievement Journal: You Are More Than Enough
Author: Judi Moreo
Publisher: Stephens Press
Reviewed by: Dorothy Thompson

Have you ever wished for a mentor to help you achieve your goals and dreams?

Achievement Journal: You Are More Than Enough by motivational speaker and author Judi Moreo can fulfill the job. Written as a guide – with blank spaces for you to fill in to chart your progress – it helps you to focus not only on what you have accomplished in the past, but directs you toward that future you always dreamed of and directs you in the right direction. Set against the backdrop of affirmations scattered throughout, Judi guides you through the steps with such precision and foresight, it is no wonder she is the perfect person to write this book.

Ms. Moreo explains why success is a conscious decision and how to not only chart your goal and dream chart, but also how to acknowledge and reward your progress.

She takes you from the starting point where you realize who you are, all the way to the end where she helps you to understand that you have the ability to create the life you want to live.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who needs to take a reality check and realize they are more than enough.

If you are a fan of Judi Moreo’s other book, You Are More Than Enough, as I am, you’ll love this companion journal to help you progress through life with a determined set of goals and purpose. Highly recommended!

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CULLOTTA: The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster, and Government Witness

CULLOTTA: The Life of a Chicago Criminal, Las Vegas Mobster, and Government Witness

Author: Dennis N. Griffin and Frank Cullotta

Publisher: Huntington Press

Reviewed by:  Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Intense, graphic, and action-packed, CULLOTTA by Dennis N. Griffin is a must read for all fans of true crime.

In this no-holds barred biography of Chicago criminal and Las Vegas Mobster Frank Cullotta, Dennis Griffin delivers a powerful and detailed account of Cullotta’s life. From his early days when he meets the man who would become known as Tony the Ant Spilotro, through his many years as a Chicago criminal and Las Vegas Mobster, and the events that led to Cullota’s decision to become a government witness, CULLOTTA brings the reader into the inner core of The Outfit and the life of organized crime through the eyes of a man whose life was connected to and revolved around many of the important Outfit players.

CULLOTTA is a first for me because I’ve never read any true crime books, nevermind a comprehensive biography of someone with ties to organized crime. I approached CULLOTTA with a fair amount of trepidation. Could I enjoy a book I assumed would discuss in detail the activities of mobsters and career criminals? I couldn’t even sit through one of the Godfather movies. But after reading the foreword by screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi, who consulted with Frank Cullotta for the Martin Scorsese film, Casino, I had to know more about a man who could talk about murdering Jerry Lisner with about as much emotion as he would have if he were ordering his meal from a fast food joint.

The amount of research Dennis Griffin did for this biography and all the interviews he performed, in addition to, Frank Cullotta’s contributions to the project made CULLOTTA the excellent book it is. I’m ready to go out and purchase Griffin’s other books on crime and law enforcement in Las Vegas so I can know more about the other players involved.

CULLOTTA delivers a chilling and exciting glimpse into the life of Frank Cullotta. And despite all of the crimes that Frank committed over the years, the reader finds herself rooting for Frank’s life on the straight and narrow to succeed.

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Filed under Biographies and Memoirs

The Dancer Returns: From Victim to Victory

The Dancer Returns:  From Victim to Victory

Author: Susan Lee-Titus

Publisher: iUniverse, Inc.

Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Gripping, powerful, and inspiring The Dancer Returns: From Victim to Victory by Susan Lee-Titus is a story of survival and moving on that you’ll never forget.

Titus brings the reader along on her journey through Post Tramatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sharing the full gamut of emotions she went through as a result of the terrfying night when she was raped at a dance studio by two men while her helpless friends watched. The reader is then able to follow Titus’ road to recovery as she realizes the key lies in her ability to forgive the men who turned her life into a living nightmare and moves on to create The Joy Dancers, an outreach program for teaching incarcerated women how to release their anger through aerobic dance.

This is an amazingly powerful book. At points in my reading I was moved to tears; but this truly isn’t a sad story because Titus not only survived, she worked through painful emotions and nightmares to come out on top again. With a renewed sense of faith and forgiveness, Titus stopped being a victim and became a woman who reached out to other women in desperate situations.

Exquisitely written, moving beyond words, and full of hope for the future, The Dancer Returns reminds us all of the success story inside us. If you read only one book this year, make that book The Dancer Returns by Susan Lee-Titus!

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Dark Lullaby

Dark Lullaby

Author: Mayra Calvani

Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press

Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Dark, exotic, and filled with chilling twists and turns, Dark Lullaby by Marya Calvani is horror story that grabs you right away and doesn’t release its grip until the final word is read.

Astrophysicist Gabriel Diaz believes in the higher good and that everything can be explained by science and logic. One night in a tavern, a mysterious and intriguing woman captivates his body and soul. After spending the next several days with the mysterious Kamilah, Gabriel is convinced to join her in Turkey to visit her family’s cottage, even though he can’t push away the nightmares of his sister Elena’s unborn child.

Plagued by a strange illness that leaves him weakened and sore, Gabriel begins to wonder who or what Kamilah really is. With the help of a village merchant and a one-eyed witch, Gabriel makes a startling discovery, calling into question all he believes in and forcing him to come to terms with his past so he can save Elena’s baby.

Equally scary and beautiful, Mayra Calvani has drawn the beauty of Turkey into a chilling paranormal tale unlike any I’ve ever read. The descriptions throughout this book were stunning. I walked along the hike up a Turkish mountainside, lived inside Gabriel’s head during his disturbing dreams, and stood beside him as he looked into the strangely carved trees in the forest leading up to Kamilah’s cottage.

A master storyteller, Calvani hooked me from the first moment in the tavern to the very last page. This is truly a unique story that I look forward to reading again.

Dark Lullaby will capture you with its rich descriptions, its exotic location, and the need to uncover the dark secrets hidden within its pages.

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The Legend of Seal Beach

The Legend of Seal Beach

Author: Dave McKnew

Publisher: A Video

Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

The Legend of Seal Beach created by Dave McKnew is a wonderful and touching story for children that will teach them about friendship, self-sacrifice, and love.

Based upon a story that Dave’s father, Tom, told him around the dinner table one night, The Legend of Seal Beach is about a physically challenged boy named Tommy, who befriends a seal living in the ocean abutting the small coastal town where Tommy lives. He names the seal, Stanley, and they spend their afternoons together playing ball.

When Tommy is accosted on the pier by three bullies, Stanley comes to his rescue, changing Tommy and his life forever.

I read The Legend of Seal Beach with my daughters–ages 4 and 6–and they loved this book. The story will touch your heart and leave a tear in your eye. The illustrations are eye-catching and vibrant, causing much discussion during the reading of the book with little ones. And Stanley’s rescue of Tommy is something my girls still speak about.

A heartwarming story your children will want to read again and again, The Legend of Seal Beach teaches and entertains.

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Filed under Children's Books

The Last Jew Standing

The Last Jew Standing

Author: Michael Simon

Publisher: Viking

Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

Gritty, tough, and full of suspense The Last Jew Standing by Michael Simon is a sure winner for crime fiction fans. This fourth installment of Simon’s Detective Dan Reles series finds Dan with a new home, a new wife, a son, and far removed from the life he once had in New York. But there is no way that Dan will ever escape his past…especially when it shows up on his doorstep.

Dan’s father, Abe has been on the run from the Mafia for twenty-five years, and when he shows up at Dan’s new house with a Russian prostitute on his arm, Dan–who still blames his father for his mother abandoning them–can’t imagine what he wants.

But he knows it isn’t good.

When a former employee of Mafia boss, Sam Zelig turns up dead, Dan is even more concerned about his father’s arrival in Austin. And when Sam Zelig and his goons make it personal, Dan is forced to make some tough decisions…never knowing if he’s right or wrong.

Michael Simon gets the award for drawing me into a book with the very first sentence. Late nights, skipped meals, and falling into bed with my clothes on were all well worth it, just to read a bit more of this oustanding novel. The danger, the suspense, the raw hatred and violence that poured forth from this crime thriller, leaves the reader clamoring for Simon’s next book. The Last Jew Standing is one of the best examples I’ve read of pushing a character so far into desperation that even the reader can’t guess what he’ll do next.

If all of Michael Simon‘s books are as thrilling and intense as this one, Simon has just gained a life-long fan.

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Author: Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Reviewed by: Cheryl C. Malandrinos

More than just a collection of stories celebrating Jewish traditions. More than the personal reflections of a woman seeking to fill a void. Delight is a journey to enlightenment that you’ll never forget.

In this book by Positive Psychologist Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, women can find a way to celebrate life in a meaningful way. Holstein takes readers along on a journey from her lack of involvement in the Jewish faith to her complete commitment as a member of the Judaic tribe, sharing with readers the delight she discovered in the revelation that we are all connected. And at the end of a story, Holstein draws readers into her discovery by providing them musings, ponderings, and reflections on how they, too, can discover delight.

When I read the back cover of this book I immediately grew concerned. What did a book about Jewish traditions have to do with me? Could a woman with little knowledge of Judaism and its traditions relate to any experience within its pages?

Delight had everything to do with me. And yes, I could relate–totally.

Dr. Holstein speaks with candor about what set her upon this journey, her fears, her insecurities, and how these experiences helped her to understand about the connection we have to each other. The ponderings, musings, and reflections after these stories allow the reader to fully grasp the message being relayed and provide an opportunity for her to practice learning how to find delight.

If you are seeking a way to find joy like you’ve never known, you must read Delight. It will help nourish your mind, body, and spirit in ways you might not expect.

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Filed under Self-Help, Women's Issues