Monthly Archives: August 2008

Sam’s Quest for the Crimson Crystal

Sam’s Quest for the Crimson Crystal
Author: Ben Furman
Publisher: Black Hawk Press, Inc.
Reviewed by:  Cheryl C. Malandrinos

An entertaining and exciting read awaits young adult readers in Sam’s Quest for the Crimson Crystal by Ben Furman.

Samantha Mae Costas (Sam) is not your typical heroine. Her small size and thick glasses have made her the butt of many jokes and her asthma attacks are embarrassing and difficult to control.

When Prince Buznor pleads with her to come to Innerworld, Sam discovers she’s a legend. She must push aside self-doubt and fear to find the Crimson Crystal so she can save the Awokian people from elimination.

Sam’s Quest for the Crimson Crystal is a fun read. Young people will easily relate to Sam’s feelings of self-doubt and how she deals with her asthma separating her from her friends when she can no longer participate in soccer. And this is part of what makes Sam’s role in Innerworld so delightful. She is thrust into a battle that tests her limits and is forced to reconsider everything she believes about herself.

In addition to Prince Buznor (Buzz), Sam meets a host of interesting characters along the way: Captain Gorn, who has trained all the soldiers and who is a good friend of Buzz and his family; Kryton, the leader of the dragonflies who can communicate with Sam; and Raptor, a bird who also has reptilian features, along with an eclectic group of others. Many friendships are forged along the journey, and Patch, Sam’s trusted and faithful canine companion has such a strong personality that you would swear he was human.

With Sam’s Quest, Furman has created a fun new world for fantasy lovers to explore.

A terrific, satisfying, and entertaining story that will leave you begging for more. I eagerly anticipate the release of the next book in the Sam’s Quest trilogy.


Filed under Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

Book Marketing Buzz Ten Book Back To School Giveaway Contest!

Book Marketing Buzz is hosting a 10 book giveaway extravaganza and the ten books they will be giving away are being donated by education expert and author Hal W. Lanse, Ph.D. in his fight to help our children learn how to read!


But, there’s a catch. His instructions are that you’ve got to come up with the cleverest guerrilla marketing plan for his book – one that requires no upfront fees for him. Something that’s absolutely and completely free. Sound hard? Put on those thinking caps and if you think you have the cleverest idea on how Hal can market his book, run over to Book Marketing Buzz and leave your clever idea in the comment box. Hurry! Contest begins today, August 13 and ends August 29. Winners will be announced on the blog on August 30! Tell your friends…tell your neighbors…let’s celebrate the end of summer by helping children learn how to read so that back to school will be fun!

What better way to end your summer with a free book that will help get rid of illiteracy in today’s children???

Good luck and help a child learn how to read! You’ll be glad you did!

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Filed under Book Giveaways, contests

Life After College: What Your Parents Never Taught You

Life After College: What Your Parents Never Taught You
Author: ChaChanna Simpson
Publisher: Inc.

Reviewed by: Cheryl Malandrinos


Are you a recent college graduate looking for advice on how to make the transition from college to the real world?  Do you wonder if there is a book out there that can speak to you right where you are?  There is!

Life After College: What Your Parents Never Taught You  by ChaChanna Simpson is a wealth of information for twentysomethings on how to go from college life to the real world.  In less than 150 pages Simpson manages to provide advice on moving back in with your parents, finding your first apartment, getting that first job, opening up a bank account, and so much more.  This book even covers how to set up a budget and how to protect yourself from identity theft.  There are also chapters on physical and emotional well being, how to provide for retirement, information about insurance, and how to set up a will.  And all this is information is provided to the reader in a language that will be appreciated and easily understood.

I found a great deal to like in this book:  it’s size–easy to carry around to read while waiting for the bus or for an appointment, the amount of information included, the no-nonsense way in which the advice is presented, the tales from other twentysomethings included at the end of each section, and that even at my age I learned a thing or two.  There were a couple of things, however, that I questioned because they didn’t seem quite right to me.

On Page 106 it says, “Your medical insurance will only pay for you to see the doctor when something is wrong with you, not before to prevent something from going wrong.”  This is not entirely true.  Depending upon the insurance plan you select, you are allowed one wellness check-up with your primary doctor annually and women often are allowed an annual visit to their OB/GYN.  In addition, many HMOs and PPOs allow for at risk candidates to be screened for potential diseases like cancer.  Deductibles may apply, so be aware of what your plan covers.

On Page 108, the book says, “Organic just means that the produce hasn’t been grown using chemicals or had chemical pesticides sprayed on it.  The produce is picked green, which isn’t supposed to happen.”  Having recently been in touch with Sandy Powers, the author of Organic for Health, I asked her about this and she said, “Organic food is prohibited by law to have any synthethic pesticides, irridated components, genetically modified organisms or reprocessed sewage.” Sandy went on to provide me with a study from Rutgers University that stated scientists have proven the superior nutrional value of organic food.  She also says that typically, organic foods are not harvested until after they’ve ripened, which is why they are more rich in nutrients.  This also accounts for their shorter shelf life versus non-organic foods, which are often picked green. 

Simpson provided her sources in the text, often times providing URLs for websites, and I think if she had gone one step further and included a few appendices that reiterated these sites again for readers the book would be even more valuable.  I found myself underlining sites I wanted to visit in the future, but a list of them at the end of the book would have been helpful. 

Overall, I think twentysomethings will highly benefit from Life After College.  It provides a wealth of information to make moving beyond college life much easier.


Filed under Non-Fiction