Monthly Archives: April 2011

New Book for Review: The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner

C.W. Gortner is touring from June 13 – 24, 2011 with his historical novel, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici.

Catherine de Medici was one of history’s most powerful women.  She has been called brilliant and bold, but was also known as a vengeful Italian Jezebel who resorted to murder to protect her family’s throne.  Was she the ruthless queen who led France into an era of savage violence? Or was she the passionate savior of the French monarchy?

Originally published in hardcover in 2010, C.W. Gortner’s novel THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI (Ballantine Trade Paperback; On Sale: May 24, 2011) challenges the dark legend surrounding Catherine de Medici, revealing her tumultuous youth as a papal pawn; her gift of second sight; her courageous fight to save France; and her secret passion for a man she is fated to destroy.

The last legitimate descendant of the illustrious Medici line, Catherine suffers the expulsion of her family from her native Florence and narrowly escapes death at the hands of an enraged mob.  Married to a French prince, eventually a queen in name if not in her husband’s heart, she strives to create a role for herself, aided by her patronage of the famous clairvoyant Nostradamus and her own innate gift as a seer.  But in her 40th year, Catherine is widowed, left alone with six young children as regent of a kingdom torn apart by religious discord and the ambitions of a treacherous nobility.

Relying on her tenacity, wit, and uncanny gift for compromise, Catherine seizes power, intent on securing the throne for her sons.  She allies herself with the enigmatic Protestant leader Coligny, with whom she shares an intimate secret, and implacably carves a path toward peace, unaware that her own dark fate looms before her—a fate that, if she is to save France, will demand the sacrifice of her ideals, her reputation, and the passion of her embattled heart. 

From the fairy-tale châteaux of the Loire Valley to the battlefields of the wars of religion to the mob-filled streets of Paris, THE CONFESSIONS OF CATHERINE DE MEDICI is the extraordinary untold journey of one of the most maligned and misunderstood women ever to be queen.

 432 pages

Visit C.W. Gortner online at www.cwgortner.com.

If you would like to review The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, please email us by clicking here and filling out the form or emailing Cheryl Malandrinos at cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com. Deadline for inquiries is May 20, 2011 or until the tour is filled. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books for Review, Historical Fiction

New Book for Review: The River of Forgetting by Jane Rowan

Jane Rowan is touring in June 2011 with her memoir, The River of Forgetting.

People don’t make up things like that for fun.

That’s what Jane’s therapist tells her when Jane reports fragmentary memories from her childhood that hint at sexual abuse.  A busy, successful scientist, Jane at first fights the implications, but finally has to admit that something indeed happened. With help from a gifted therapist as well as creative arts, Jane taps into her own aliveness and reconciles with both her parents’ love and their betrayal.

This deeply personal memoir invites the reader behind the closed doors of the therapist’s office and into the author’s journal and her very body. Jane’s tender story shows how we can use the challenges of painful childhood traumas to transform our lives.

270 pages

You can visit Jane online at www.janerowan.com

If you would like to review The River of Forgetting, please email us by clicking here and filling out the form or emailing Cheryl Malandrinos at cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com. Deadline for inquiries is May 15, 2011 or until the tour is filled. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Memoir, Non-Fiction

New Book for Review: ‘Julius Katz and Archie’ by Dave Zeltserman

Julius Katz and ArchieDave Zeltserman is touring in June 2011 with his mystery novel, Julius Katz and Archie.

The award-winning Julius Katz mysteries have delighted thousands of mystery fans since first appearing on the pages of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2009, winning a Shamus, Derringer and Ellery Queen’s Readers Choice Award . ‘Julius Katz’ introduced readers to Boston’s most brilliant, eccentric and possibly laziest detective, Julius Katz, as well as his sidekick, Archie, a tiny marvel of whizbang computer technology with the heart and soul of a hard-boiled PI. Now in Julius Katz and Archie’s first full novel, the stakes have never been higher when a famous Boston mystery, Kenneth Kingston, tells Julius he wants to find out who’s planning to kill him. The problem is almost everyone in Kingston’s life has good reason to want to kill him, and this case soon plunges Julius and Archie deep into the world of murder and publishing.

250 pages

You can visit his website at www.davezeltserman.com.

Please Note: Julius Katz and Archie is only available in electronic format for review.

If you would like to review Julius Katz and Archie, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end May 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Mystery

New Book for Review: A New Prospect by Wayne Zurl

A New ProspectWayne Zurl is touring in June & July 2011 with his mystery detective novel, A New Prospect. Finding a killer in a small Appalachian community doesn’t look that difficult to gritty ex-New York Detective Lieutenant Sam Jenkins. Adjusting to the culture of rural Tennessee , dealing with shady politicians, powerful rich families, and colorful residents, makes Sam feel like a fish out of water, or a cop out of bourbon. But A NEW PROSPECT isn’t just about a homicide. Jenkins, the new police chief, is busy coping with his mid-life crisis, trying to patch the cracks in a department shattered by scandal, and looking for a new purpose in life. He barely finds time to concentrate on a murder investigation that requires him to revive his old skills as a detective. The victim, Cecil Lovejoy, a wealthy real estate developer, couldn’t have deserved it more. His death was the inexorable result of years misspent. And it appears to be no great loss to anyone, except the prime suspect is Sam’s personal friend. To resolve an impossible situation, Sam turns common police practice on its ear to insure an innocent man doesn’t fall prey to an imperfect system and the guilty party receives appropriate justice. Jenkins’ first adventure at Prospect PD is fictional, but the authentic procedures are based on Zurl’s twenty years of investigative and supervisory experience with the Suffolk County Police, one of the largest municipal departments in New York and the nation.

276 pages

You can visit Wayne on the web at www.waynezurlbooks.net.

If you would like to review A New Prospect, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end June 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Mystery

New Book for Review: Black Widow and the Sandman by L.L. Reaper

Black Widow and the SandmanLL Reaper is touring in June, July and August 2011 with her thriller suspense novel, Black Widow and the Sandman.

Children in Cuba are suffering an agonizing death. The cause, a toxin released by a terrorist organization hell bent on genocide. The scientific community is at a loss, and the Cuban government can no longer hide the truth from its citizens. Cuba’s only chance lies in the capable hands of a reclusive scientist from the country they believe is behind this terrorist attack, the United States of America. Roman “The Sandman ” Tate is the most sought after mercenary in the world. When he is ordered to protect scientist Jeanette “Black Widow ” Mason, he finds she is much more than scientific equations. The two join forces to create an antidote and stop those responsible for the mysterious illness before more children die and Cuba follows through on its promise to retaliate.

282 pages

You can visit her website at www.llreaper.com.

If you would like to review Black Widow and the Sandman, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end June 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Thriller

New Book for Review: ‘To Speak for the Dead’ by Paul Levine

To Speak for the Dead KindlePaul Levine is touring in June with his thriller novel, To Speak for the Dead. A doctor in love with his patient’s wife…A fatal mistake during surgery…Accident? Malpractice? Or murder?

Defending a surgeon in a malpractice case, Jake Lassiter begins to suspect that his client is innocent of negligence…but guilty of murder. Add a sexy widow, a deadly drug, and a grave robbery to the stew and you have the setting for Miami’s trial of the century. “To Speak for the Dead” introduced the world to Lassiter, the linebacker-turned-lawyer with a hard bark and a tender heart. An international bestseller, Paul Levine’s debut novel was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the best mysteries of the year. The 20th Anniversary e-book edition of “To Speak for the Dead” is offered at the introductory price of $2.99. All author proceeds go to Penn State’s Hershey Children’s Hospital for cancer treatment and research.

282 pages

You can visit Paul’s website at www.paul-levine.com.

NOTE: THIS IS AN EXCLUSIVELY EBOOK TOUR. ALL COPIES TO REVIEWERS WILL BE SENT IN ELECTRONIC FORMAT.

If you would like to review To Speak for the Dead, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end May 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Thriller

New Book for Review: Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do by Thom Hunter

Surviving Sexual BrokennessThom Hunter is touring in May with his Christian nonfiction book, Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do. A man with his wife at the table on the other side of the restaurant is polite but distracted. A woman at work stares out her office window with a blank expression, her mind far away. A father wraps his arm around his daughter in the church pew; his eyes are on the pulpit, but his mind wanders. What about the college student on the soccer field or in the library? The doctor prepping for surgery? The realtor showing the house next door? The mailman on your front porch. Your Sunday school teacher . . . perhaps even your preacher. These people may be dominated by some form of sexual brokenness, from pornography to adultery to unwanted homosexual temptation. They share a secret they hope and pray will never be revealed. The urge to “act out” in their brokenness is destroying them because it conflicts with a life they have already chosen. They don’t know how to live with it; they don’t know how to be rid of it. They may not know what caused it; they only want to “cure” it. “Am I just a misplaced homosexual?” “Did God make me this way?” “Why won’t He change me?” Surrounding them are the ones who sense something is amiss but have no clue what to do or where to find help. They may be confused by the teachings of the church: love the sinner; hate the sin. This seemingly Biblical response can actually send the message to the struggler that he is, in fact, unlovable because his identity seems inseparable from his sin. Surviving Sexual Brokenness examines the roots and the roadblocks and provides understanding, encouragement, hope and help through Biblical truth and Christian compassion for the freedom-seeker and those who travel alongside.

192 pages

Visit his website at www.thomhunter.com.

If you would like to review Surviving Sexual Brokenness: What Grace Can Do, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end April 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian nonfiction

New Book for Review: The Safe and Sane Guide to Teenage Plastic Surgery by Dr. Frederick Lukash

Teenage Plastic SurgeryFrederick Lukash, M.D., is touring in June with his nonfiction book, The Safe and Sane Guide to Teenage Plastic Surgery. The Safe and Sane Guide to Teenage Plastic Surgery, by Dr. Frederick N. Lukash, is the only complete guide to this ever-expanding phenomenon. Written by the American Society of Plastic Surgery‘s acknowledged expert and official media spokesperson on pediatric and adolescent plastic surgery, this book answers those tough questions parents of potential teenage plastic surgery candidates have: Will surgery increase their child’s self-esteem and help them fit in better? Or is it a dangerously easy solution to deeper issues? When is surgery right, and when is it not? Interviewed in The New York Times and featured on Discovery Health among many other media outlets, Lukash guides families through every step of the process, from finding the perfect-fit doctor and applying for medical insurance to surgery and finally to recovery and a changed life. A virtual, free consultation with a renowned expert in the field, the book doesn’t just offer easy solutions to teen’s body-image problems but helps parents understand the emotional, psychological and social dilemmas involved. Complete with action plans, real-life stories and pictures, The Safe and Sane Guide to Teenage Plastic Surgery offers advice on what can, can’t and shouldn’t be done—and on how to spot the doctors who will exploit a teen’s fragile sense of self-esteem as well as his or her parent’s pocketbook. Most important, Lukash provides a useful red light/yellow light/green light guide for considering teen plastic surgery.

Book Excerpt:

In 2008 alone close to 300,000 teens underwent aesthetic plastic surgery.

Those numbers are rising, and for every teen that underwent plastic surgery, ten more are online right now researching the procedure they’ve been thinking about during every gym session, sleepover party or prom. Teenage plastic surgery is becoming mainstream—but is this a good thing?

Most of these teens aren’t dreaming about looking like Barbie or Ken, or a teen singer or actor. They are just dreaming about fitting in. As a NY plastic surgeon with over twenty years of successful practice, what I know for sure is that in spite of all that may be said, fitting in physically does matter. This is why we shower, brush our teeth, comb our hair and choose our wardrobe. This is why gyms are crowded and the diet industry is booming.

In many ways, how we look is linked intimately to how we feel. And the emotions of how we look and feel are not dictated by age. Just because you are young does not mean that you feel great about your appearance or as the French so aptly put it, feel “good” in your own skin.

Adults most often seek rejuvenating procedures in an effort to find the Fountain of Youth. Plastic surgery for teens, however, is most often appropriate for teens that yearn to feel “normal” – and certainly not stand out. Existing under the bell curve of average is a perfect fit for teens. Anything out of the norm – breasts too big or too small, causes distress. Ears that stick out stigmatize. Noses that are considered too big overwhelm a kid’s self-esteem. When teens fit in they feel good in their own skin. Looks become the background to the rest of their living. When they do not fit in it becomes all-consuming and takes over time better spent in the process of maturing.

Take the example of Scott, aged 15, who suffered from the physical and psychological stress of having male “breasts” or gynecomastia.

“I want to share my feelings about my ‘breasts’. I wasn’t confident at all. I felt that people were staring at me. All I would wear was black to hide this ‘horrible defect’. When I found out that something could be done I was very excited. The doctor made me feel comfortable about what I had and how it could be fixed.

The surgery was easy and the recovery time at home was a mere week. I was incredibly pleased with the results. I can barely see any scarring. Now I wear any color I want and am much more confident. I can go around not feeling like everyone is staring at me. I can live my life!” [Scott]

246 pages

You can visit his website at www.drlukash.com and www.teenageplasticsurgery.com.

If you would like to review The Safe and Sane Guide to Teenage Plastic Surgery, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end May 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Health and Fitness, Non-Fiction

New Book for Review: Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita by Barbara Conelli

Chique Secrets of Dolce VitaBarbara Conelli is touring in June and July 2011 with her narrative travel nonfiction book, Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita. To live a dolce vita means living with an open heart and soul, indulging in life with all your senses. It means having the eyes to see real beauty, having the nose to smell intoxicating scents, having the ears to hear dreamy sounds, having the mouth to taste delicate flavors, having the body to perceive soft sensations. It means being aware of yourself, of your emotions and desires. It means finding happiness in ordinary yet unique things. There is a place where you can learn all this. A place scented with saffron where you can find a natural paradise among houses with flaked paint, where famous artists play on the streets, where men have not forgotten how to pay compliments, and where women seductively swing their hips. It is a place where people take the art of dolce vita to perfection. Where you can enjoy little pleasures, live every day as if it was your first and last, breath in the air of true freedom and be whatever and whoever you want to be. In this place, where the real Italian heart is still beating, where people are delightfully vain as well as childishly honest, and where passion is more than just a word, you realize that living the sweet life is not as hard as it may seem. Let’s wander together for a while along Milanese boulevards and the narrow winding streets of the surrounding villages. Let’s go on a journey that will take us to the atelier of untameable Carla, to the sweet heaven of irresistible Antonietta, among the peculiar characters of bohemian Brera, to the silk workshop of Maria Elena, to see Fernanda’s disobedient genius, to the famous La Scala with Francesco and Giovanna, and to the cradle of Milanese high fashion by madam Mila. Then to the hills that once belonged to pirates and today are owned by lovers. On to misty paths haunted by ghosts and then to secret corners that witnessed passionate stories of love, desire, and heartbreak. Let’s meet the delicious Milanese women, amazing and unique, whose lives have been irreversibly changed by Milan and who have also changed the face and character of Milan forever. Women whose fate has become entwined with the city’s present and past, with its everyday life, and its transformation throughout history. We can also meet the men who have succumbed to the temptation of sultry hips and mysterious voices in the dark. Who, isane from luscious lips andinspired by irresistible legs, have marked the world with their presence and made it a deliciously bittersweet place to be. Let’s simply uncover all the sweet, passionate, and dark Milanese secrets that have up to owremained unrevealed. The chique secrets that will teach you to live your own dolce vita no matter where i the world you are. Because la vita e bella, life is beautiful, and the most amazing wonders of this world often hide in the simplest things.

Book Excerpt:

The Sweet Heart of Milan

If we were to attribute human traits to a city, Milan has a refined spirit, ingenious brain, sensual body, elegant walk, and a sweet soul, maybe the sweetest of all Italian cities. Nowhere else will you find so many cafés, patisseries, and bakeries smelling of vanilla than here. All the sweet traditions of sweet-toothed Italy have met on this Milanese crossroad to show off the best that has been pleasing the soul and tongue of Italians for centuries.

Pasticceria Da Antonietta, or Antonietta’s confectionary, in Via Fontanelli, is a sweet-smelling corner of Southern Italy where the sweet charms of Napels and Palermo have been welded for twenty years. That’s where confectioner Antonietta’s parents came from many years ago to look for work. Antonietta grew up surrounded by traditional southern delicacies enriched with ingredients proven over generations that could not miss on Fiduccis’ table at any family lunch or dinner. She studied the intricate alchemy of icings, creams, and fragile dough, she baked, fried, candied, and filled, until rumor of her exceptional art spread all over Milan.

Antonietta started to create sweet surprises for family celebrations, weddings, and various holidays; her sweet hands were as skilful as the hands of reputable confectioners in restaurants of famous names, maybe even more so, and her creations were even more delicious because she made them with the authentic Neapolitan passion.

When Antonietta was twenty-one years old, her heart got broken by seductive, bewitching Francesco, for whom she had been making his favorite profiterole, fluffy cream puffs with a scrumptious filling, for two years. Antonietta found out that Francesco exchanged her sweet love for a daughter of a Milanese councilman, who did not know how to make profiterole but had a fat dowry from her daddy. When Antonietta recovered from Francesco’s betrayal, she decided she would never again dedicate her sweet art only to one man. She opened Pasticceria Da Antonietta, which soon became a far-famed place and a favorite destination of all the Milanese with a sweet tooth.

Today, Antonietta is forty-one but you would say she is at least ten years younger. Her raven-black hair smells of cinnamon, and her Palermo curves that she had inherited from her Sicilian mother drive young Felipe from next door insane, as well as decent seventy-something Mariano from the opposite house. Although she could have made a much bigger business out of her confectionary a long time ago, she still keeps her small store on the corner and makes all the pastry with her own hands. And although her patisserie is full of delicacies from the whole of Italy and even from neighboring France, most clients come back mostly for the irresistible Neapolitan sfogliatelle, pastiere, and the Sicilian cassata. This is the pastry of Antonietta’s childhood, the treasure of the Fiducci family, and Antonietta’s big love. Its baking runs in her blood and she has taken it to complete and unbeatable perfection. And what’s more, over a cup of mint tea, she will tell you its history because Antonietta knows absolutely everything about the sweet love of her heart.

Sfogliatelle are fluffy sweet rolls from Napels, first created by monks from a certain Neapolitan monastery. For many years, the recipe was a secret domain of the monks, simply because only those within the monastery walls had enough time to bake the laborious sfogliatelle. Sfogliatelle are made of fragile dough that is rolled to create several layers, cut into pieces and then filled with orange ricotta or almond paste. The main ingredient is candied lemon peel, giving sfogliatelle their typical scent. Antonietta has her huge lemons delivered directly from the Amalfi coast where they ripen under the Neapolitan sun and are saturated with sea breeze.

Pastiera is a dessert of many aromas, whose origin goes back to the pagan celebrations of the spring. In the middle ages it was rediscovered by a Neapolitan nun who, led by purely spiritual intentions, created this divine yet sinfully profane temptation. This woman of God wanted to prepare an exceptional dessert that would celebrate Christ’s resurrection and smell like orange trees in the convent garden. She mixed flour with home-made ricotta, added eggs as the symbol of a new life, water smelling of infused orange blossoms, the convent’s very own cider, and a combination of oriental spices that gave a spark of pagan sensuality to her devout doings.

The Sicilian cassata was brought to Italy in the ninth century by Arabs, who ruled Sicily for three hundred years. After they left, nuns of Palermo convents took the cassata to perfection, and thanks to them, the cassata of today harmoniously combines the spicy sweetness of Arabic pastries and fruity flavors of Sicily. This colorful dessert proves that convents were not just a place of asceticism and spiritual contemplation and that they also witnessed completely unspiritual epicurean pleasure. The Palermo cassata is made of a light sponge biscuit that nuns soaked in chaste-fruit juice, which Antonietta replaced with a totally unchaste liqueur that she invented herself. Slices of the sponge biscuit are then pasted together by layers of ricotta and vanilla or chocolate cream. This base is then poured over with a marzipan icing and on top of that, pink and green sugar icings create colorful stripes on the white marzipan. Finally, the cake is decorated with deep-red Sicilian cherries and juicy citruses. What is there left to say? Maybe only Antonietta’s loving words dedicated to cassata: “Just as well the nuns of Palermo didn’t keep this sweet secret to themselves.”

Whether you decide to savor mint tea and Neapolitan pastries in Antonietta’s sweet-smelling paradise or in any of the countless Milanese pasticcerias, you won’t regret it. Milan literally lures you to lose yourself in the delicious delights the city offers wherever you go. Italian’s sweet life is really sweet, and in Milan, maybe twice as much.

148 pages

You can visit her website at www.barbaraconelli.com.

If you would like to review Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end June 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!


Leave a comment

Filed under Travel

New Book for Review: Frederico, the Mouse Violinist by Mayra Calvani

FredericoMayra Calvani is touring in June with her children’s picture book, Frederico, the Mouse Violinist.

Frederico is a little mouse with a big dream: he wants to become a violinist. Each day he watches as Stradivari makes his famous violins. Each night, he sneaks into the workshop to play. But the violins are too big! Then, unbeknown to Frederico, Stradivari sees him playing and begins carving a tiny device. Could it be a famous Strad especially for Frederico?

24 pages

You can visit Mayra’s website at www.mayracalvani.com.

Please Note: Frederico, the Mouse Violinist is only available in electronic format for review.

If you would like to review Frederico, the Mouse Violinist, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end May 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Children's Books