July 20, 2009

Review #23 – Androgynous Murder House Party – Steven Rigolosi

Posted in fiction, quill reviews, Review at 11:25 am by reviewsonbooks


This review originally posted on Feathered Quill Reviews

Androgynous Murder House Party: Tales From the Back Page #3.

A strange holiday weekend commences when Robin Anders, an extreme fussbudget and wealthy estate owner, invites six friends to stay in his mansion. When a few dreadfully near-fatal mishaps occur during their stay, Robin gets a sneaking suspicion that one of his friends is plotting murder, and worse yet, he just may be the victim. However, all of the friends manage to survive the lavish weekend and return to their normal lives in Manhattan. Well, normal until someone unexpectedly dies thus giving Robin the impetus to start his own private investigation of all the remaining friends. In the meantime, readers are taken on a whirlwind ride, one in which the author questions the sexual orientation and identity of the characters — for you see, Robin, Lee, Alex, Law, Chris, Terry and J, are all of ambiguous gender. Are they male or female, straight or gay, and who did the murdering in the first place? Hopefully it will all be tidied up in a succinct answer by the time the reader finishes the story, or will it?

Author Steven Rigolosi’s strange tale of androgyny and unknown sexual orientation wrapped up in a great murder mystery that has plenty of plot twists, keeps the reader on his toes. It is a bit confusing at times, but definitely thought provoking. Robin, the main character is quite hilarious, but also nasty, and has a few strange quirks including narcissism, and a constant need for wonder pills which are oddly named after numerous fruits and vegetables. What keeps readers riveted throughout the story is Rigolosi’s vivid descriptions of all the characters. At the same time, the author leaves critically important points out of the mix that keep readers guessing as to the characters’ gender. The suspense thickens when Robin, who is seen as more of a wilting flower than an FBI trained investigator, decides he/she must discover who killed one of the friends. Androgynous Murder House Party is an enjoyable read and written in such a way to both confuse and hook readers with countless questions of “what is it?” and “who did it?”


June 17, 2009

Review #22 – Get Fit With Your Dog – Karen Sullivan

Posted in DelGals books, non-fiction, Review at 4:27 am by reviewsonbooks


Unfortunately nowadays with many people working sedentary jobs involving little movement other than typing endlessly on a keyboard, people have become increasingly heavier and out of shape. Dogs are not exempt from this issue either, especially since many families are busy at work all day, and come home to vegetate on the couch ignoring the family dog who has been sleeping and inactive for the entire day. Many find the desire to workout and are successful, but then feel guilty because they don’t spend enough time with their dog. So what better way to be able to fit both exercise and quality time with your pets than to workout with the dog too! Get Fit With Your Dog provides the reader with ample health information and plenty of color photos, and charts about both humans and dogs alike. It also offers nutrition information and numerous exercise suggestions, including how to create your own dog agility course to not only get owners moving, but to get doggies body and mind active too. This suggestion may seem a little bit too unrealistic for some owners, but there are plenty of other more sensible activities from simple hiking to swimming with your pooch that will get you up, motivated and active with your dog.

June 12, 2009

Review #21 – Serial – Jack Kilborn & Blake Crouch and Death Will Clean Your Closet – Elizabeth Zelvin

Posted in DelGals books, e-books, fiction, horror, Review at 3:22 am by reviewsonbooks


Reading can be a delightful adventure, and reading a good story for free only enhances the fun. Unfortunately, good free reading can tend to be few and far between, if you don’t take a visit to your local library. It also seems, from what I’ve experienced as a reader and reviewer, that the flashy best-sellers are sometimes pricey, and the not-so-good titles given away are of course, free.

I also have noticed that I am personally not a big fan of the short story because I feel somehow cheated of a more elaborately created story, as if there’s always something missing or more to say. But fortunately I’ve discovered two short stories both well written, intriguing until the end, and of course the best part is – they’re free and easily accessible on the Internet.

The first story is entitled Serial, written by Jack Kilborn and Blake Crouch, and has an interesting and creepy concept, which is an excellent twist on the “normal” life rules with regards to safety and behavior. We’ve all been told never to pick up hitchhikers, just in case they’re psycho, and we’ve likewise been warned the opposite is true, one should never attempt to hitch a ride, just in case…
But what might happen if neither person pays attention to the “rule” and both of them are psychos? Readers can find out the answer to this horrific tale, by pointing their browser to author Blake Crouch’s website at http://www.blakecrouch.com/serialchapter.shtml.
But please heed this warning, this story is gory, shocking and brutal at times, a must for horror fans, but definitely not for the faint of heart.

The second story has a bit of a different plot twist and is less gory, but nonetheless eerie, by psychotherapist and author, Elizabeth Zelvin, entitled Death Will Clean Your Closet. Fairly new to sobriety after being an alcoholic for many years, Bruce finally gets a chance one Saturday morning to clean out his walk-in closet. Unfortunately, not only does he find some bugs, he discovers the body of a woman laying on top of a pile of garbage bags filled with his clothes he planned on donating to charity someday. But as if that wasn’t strange enough, while Bruce is on the phone relaying this to his friends, he goes back to take another look at the body before he calls the police, and the body is no where to be found. What exactly is going on, is it related to his recent sobriety or is there something else going on? Death Will Clean Your Closet can be downloaded off of Ms. Zelvin’s site at http://www.elizabethzelvin.com/Books.htm.

June 6, 2009

Review #20 – Brushed Back – Richard Paloma

Posted in e-books, fiction, Manic Readers, Review at 3:00 pm by reviewsonbooks

Detective Gino Spinelli unfortunately finds himself having to relocate and rebuild his credibility in the field by accepting a position in a small suburban community as a Sergeant in order to avoid serious disciplinary action when he is linked to the suicide of one of his ex-girlfriends. While adjusting to his new life and position on the police force, Spinelli is informed that one of his staff officers has become the prime suspect in the murder of his wife. Although some evidence suggests the man committed the crime, Sergeant Spinelli is assigned to lead the internal investigation and takes the controversial position that the officer is not guilty of murder. This task is of course not without troubles, which he soon finds out when he accidentally uncovers possible leads that hook the dead wife with a person who is in the Federal witness protection program, as well as disagreements with other police agencies and a difficult boss. But fortunately for Sergeant Spinelli despite his infamous love life which included two ex-wives and a lot of live-in relationships, he happens upon one of his old flames, who is looking remarkably good, which prompts him to rekindle the relationship all the while trying his best to discover who’s the real murderer and keep himself out of any further troubles.

Author Richard Paloma, who is a veteran in law enforcement for the past twenty years, spins an excellent story that is filled with both humor, a taste of spicy romance, and bits of critical policing details that only a fellow comrade in the field could so adeptly accomplish. The many characters, including some suspicious, while others, intriguing, are wonderfully described in this crime suspense novel that has the ability to keep the reader wondering “whodunit?” and “will he get the girl?”throughout the entire novel.

June 3, 2009

Review #19 – The Cape Cod Witch and the Legend of the Pirate – J. Bean Palmer

Posted in children's books, fiction, Odyssey Reviews, Review at 12:00 am by reviewsonbooks


This review originally posted on Odyssey Reviews

The youngest witch in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Elsbeth Amelia Thistle, finds herself caught up in the midst of another wild adventure, this time Elsbeth and her classmates venture to Boston, Massachusetts on a class trip. What seemed to be an exciting school trip off Cape turns out to be anything but, especially when the children find themselves involved with a ghostly privateer (don’t ye dare call him a pirate, matey!) in a desperate hunt for their kidnapped friends. Will Elsbeth be able to use her witch status to the rescue, or will she be doomed to sail around aimlessly in hopes of catching the villains?

J. Bean Palmer has once again captured young readers’ attention with this next edition of the youngest witch in Cape Cod. This story is filled to the brim with adventure, plenty of vivid and likable characters (even the cranky teacher, Ms. Finch) and topped with history and important environmental lessons for the young reader. Elsbeth serves as a lovely example of a tenacious and passionate girl, who is able to navigate and overcome some fairly scary adversities to positively help those in need in the end. Finally, illustrator Melanie Therrien has also returned to include her vibrant pictures that add a perfect touch and emphasis to this Cape Cod Witch Series.  And if that’s not enough to capture a reader’s attention, there is real history information and recipes tucked in the back of the book. The treasures in this tale will undoubtedly capture young readers’ heart, as they wonder what will happen next, and should definitely not be passed over.

June 1, 2009

Review #18 – In the Land of Cotton – Martha A. Taylor

Posted in DelGals books, memoir, non-fiction, Review at 12:18 am by reviewsonbooks


It was in 1956 that a young white girl, Martha, living in the Deep South, began her journey of discovery into a land and time where lives seemed simple and free on the surface, but were really underneath it all inundated with tension, unfairness and unrest.

Martha’s family enlisted the help of a black woman in their home who soon became an important part of Martha’s daily life. Being an inquisitive youngster, Martha decides to quietly follow the woman one day to her home and discovers a family living on the land that is quite different from her own. Thus begins her remarkable journey and education, that brings her back to the forest on numerous occasions as she befriends and builds strong relationships with the black family. Martha learns that although slavery has been long ago abolished, many things in the small community, and the world around her, are still quite unjust and the rut created by the racial divide is still apparent.

Martha Taylor expertly weaves a lovely, emotional, story that first intrigues the reader who glances at the synopsis, (thinking it is a fiction story) and learns about a girl who discovers a primitive black family living in the forest. Thus the story holds the reader’s attention, who then comes to realize the truth throughout reading the entire story, and is hooked until the bittersweet ending. This is not only a tale about Martha and the lovely family that she discovers and her struggle to live through and understand racial inequality. There is also extensive highlights of current events in our nation in the mid 50’s to the 60’s included in the story such as continued racial prejudice, Martin Luther King’s strive towards equality and the Vietnam war. This story serves as an outstanding example of how America was still living with racial hatred and inequality, despite the positive efforts made to abolish slavery roughly a hundred years earlier.

May 27, 2009

Review #17 – Hawkes Harbor – S.E. Hinton

Posted in DelGals books, fiction, Review at 12:10 am by reviewsonbooks


Author, S. E. Hinton, who is most known for her great tales of the lives of tough male teens such as The Outsiders, has once again enlightened the reader with a male centered story about the life of orphan bastard, Jamie Sommers. From early on, Jamie was destined to get into some type of trouble or another. This lifestyle continued well into his adulthood where he took up sailing the wildly treacherous seas and lived to tell tales of his adventures, which included murder, smuggling, a shark attack, pirates, and imprisonment, to name a few. Luckily, Jamie managed to survive all of this and finds himself living in a quiet town in Delaware, which should offer him some much needed peaceful tranquility. However, as the story progresses, he uncovers such a mysterious evil which not only completely destroys Jamie’s sanity and turns him inside-out, but changes his demeanor and threatens his mere existence.

Although the story of Hawkes Harbor remains dominated by a male character, it is quite a change from Hinton’s earlier novels. This story is filled with detailed descriptions, and carries the reader quickly from page to page learning of the wild adventures of Jamie Sommers and the people and events he encounters. Unfortunately, despite this book being a page-turner which will undoubtedly immediately hook fans and new readers alike, many fans of Hinton may not appreciate the different writing style in this story, and may be left wondering about a few critical parts of the story, including the most important, how Jamie involved himself in the predicament which ultimately led him to near destruction.

May 24, 2009

Review #16 – The Heroes of Googley Woogley – Dalton James

Posted in children's books, DelGals books, fiction, Review at 11:51 pm by reviewsonbooks


Cute, seven year old author and illustrator, Dalton James, captures readers’ attention once again with his second book. Our heroes from the previous story, The Sneakiest Pirates, are now rich and they decide to embark on a journey in space to help people. What will this adventure entail for Pete and his daddy James? Of course you’ll have to read the wonderful adventure to find out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

The Heroes of Googley Woogley is an excellent read for young children. Not only is it filled with detailed and colorful images created by the author, is quite humorous, and it also touches on the classic theme of good vs. evil. This book is a great way to teach children to help out those less fortunate, and to strive to be on the good side.

May 20, 2009

Review #15 – Columbine – Dave Cullen

Posted in DelGals books, non-fiction, Review at 1:00 am by reviewsonbooks


April 20, 2009 marked the tenth year anniversary of the school shootings in Colorado in the high school of Columbine. No one alive at that time will ever forget when two students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris burst into their school killing twelve students and a teacher and injuring twenty-one others before they eventually turned the guns on themselves, ending the massacre that became one of the top deadliest in our nation’s history.

Author and journalist, Dave Cullen, who is considered to be a leading authority on the Columbine school shootings, has not only written a riveting detailed account of this tragedy, but has quickly drawn the reader in by getting to the root of this evil, and attempting to answer the question in everyone’s mind, why did this happen? Cullen’s extensive research and interviews expertly describe the most convincing answer, psychopathy. Now, this may not be what our society wants to hear, especially since many believed it to be a myriad of reasons, including bullying, bad parenting or evil music and video games. However, the detailed explanations provided in this book from videos and journals created by the killers, to extensive detailed interviews of other key persons, leaves nothing else but psychopathy as the most obvious reason for committing such an atrocity against innocent students and faculty. Columbine is an intense read that is often times difficult to fathom the vivid events and heartbreaking details as a real event, but it is written so well that the information, no matter how hard it is to believe is thoroughly documented and explained.

May 18, 2009

Review #14 – I’m Really Not Tired – Lori Sunshine

Posted in children's books, DelGals books, Review at 2:18 am by reviewsonbooks


Samuel McKay isn’t quite ready for bed yet. As his dad tucks him into bed he decides, along with his adorable Teddy, Petey Bear, to embark upon a fanciful adventure attempting to figure out just exactly what goes on when he has to go to sleep. But will Samuel discover that there are wild parties filled with animals going on downstairs, or will it be a discovery that disappoints him?

I’m Really Not Tired, is a remarkable book for little readers, especially for those who have a hard time getting to sleep, like I did when I was young, laying awake straining my ears to hear exactly what is going on downstairs where the grownups are. Filled with rhyming verse that flows well and does not seem to be forced, the story takes the young reader on a cute and humorous journey, while the illustrations enhance the plot and add to the overall sweet appeal to this book.

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