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Wednesday, March 31

Book Reviews - The S.T.A.R. Powered Twins

A Law of Attraction Book for Children "The S.T.A.R. Powered Twins Discover the Secret of Words" (1)
A Law of Attraction Book for Children: The S.T.A.R Powered Twins
BY: Dorothy A. Lecours
ILLUSTRATED BY: Chrisann Zaubi
PUBLISHED BY: DragonPencil
PUBLISHED IN: December 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60-131-063-7
Pages: 88
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

“The S.T.A.R. Powered Twins” is to help develop and encourage young children to read. Adults are to read a ten page segment of the story per day to the child. The child needs to retell the events of the story, before the adult will continue with it.

The book starts out with the birth of Grace and Jace Star. Their parents and grandparents teaches them about nature, cooking, imagination, designing, and art. Grace and Jace learn about the words Never Allowed, Don’t, Can’t, No, and Not. Grace and Jace learn how to read, and over time they became excellent readers.

The Illustrations in “The S.T.A.R. Powered Twins” are beautiful. There are hidden words in the pictures for the young readers to find. There is a wonderful message of “I Am” that ever parent should teach their children. This is a great book to help your children learn how to read before they start school.

Note: I would like to thank the Author Marketing Experts, Inc. for sending me this complimentary copy to review.

"Waiting On" Wednesday - Dead in the Family

"Waiting on" Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Dead in the Family: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)

Sookie Stackhouse has finally settled into a relationship with the Viking vampire Eric, and her errant brother Jason seems to have his life in order, too. But all the other people in Sookie’s life – Eric himself, her former lover Bill, her friend and boss Sam – are having family problems. Eric’s maker shows up with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow, the ailing Bill can only be healed by a blood sibling, and Sam’s brother’s marriage is about to take place... or will it? The furor raised by the coming out of the two-natured has yet to settle; some people are just not ready to sit down to dinner with a man who turns into a dog. And Sookie herself is still recovering from her last ordeal. She’s definitely improving, physically and mentally, but she’s always going to have some dark moments now. The werewolves tell her that there have been strange and ominous passers-by in the Stackhouse woods; now Sookie is about to come face-to-face with one of her more distant relatives...

Tuesday, March 30

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

20th Century Ghosts
"20th Century Ghosts"
by Joes Hill

Only as he went on, picking up speed all the time, until with each leap he seemed to sail through yards of darkenss, he felt a giddy surge of emotion, a sensation that might have been panic but felt strangely like exhilaration. He felt as if at any moment his feet might leave the ground and never come back down.

-page 23, "20th Century Ghosts" - "Best New Horror" by Joe Hill

Monday, March 29

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, what are you reading is hosted by Shelia at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

Currently Reading:

20th Century Ghosts
"20th Century Ghosts"
by Joe Hill

I've read the first story. I loved the ending.

What I've Read Recently:

Kelly's Chance (Brides of Lehigh Canal Series #1)
"Kelly's Chance"
by Wanda E. Brunstetter

I read it over the weekend. I'll post a review for it sometime this week.

What I'm Reading Next:

Horns: A Novel
by Joe Hill

Sunday, March 28

Kid Konnection - How to Train Your Dragon

Kid Konnection is a a weekend feature related
to anything about children books.

How to Train Your Dragon Book 1How to Train Your Dragon
BY: Cressida Cowell
PUBLISHED BY: Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 0-316-01098-7
Pages: 214
Ages: 9-12
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

In the first book in the series, on the island of Berk, eleven-year-old Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, the son of the Viking chief, must follow the rite of passage and capture a dragon from a cave. Hiccup, along with other children, are led by Gobber the Belch to catch their own eggs. Whoever can’t find an egg and train a dragon, will be kicked out of the tribe forever.

Hiccup, Fishlegs, Tuffnut Jr., Speedfist, Wartihog, Clueless, Snotlout and Dogsbreath the Duhbrain head into the Wild Dragons Cliff carrying their dragon baskets. Fishleg sneezes and awakens the sleeping dragons. The kids all head to the exit with their dragon eggs. Hiccup notices that his best friend, Fishlegs, doesn’t have a dragon egg. He gives his dragon to Fishlegs. Hiccup quickly goes back and grabs an egg.

Hiccup’s dragon, Toothless, is a lot smaller than the others. All the kids have to use a handbook called “How to Train Your Dragon,” but it is only a single page instructing you to “yell at it; the louder the better.” This doesn’t help Hiccup with his dragon.

A dragon called the “Green Death” is threatening the tribe, and only Hiccup and Toothless can stop him.

I found “How to Train a Dragon” last year at a thrift store. I tossed it on my bookshelf and completely forgot about it until I saw the movie advertised a few weeks ago. I took the book out and read it in one sitting. It’s a hilarious book. Kids will enjoy reading about Hiccup and his dragon Toothless. Now, I want to see the movie.

Saturday, March 27

Great Finds Issue #25

What to do when you don’t live close to a book store?
Two words – Thrift Shop!


The Searing by John Coyne

Brain Child
by John Saul

Burnt Toast: And Other Philosophies of Life
Burnt Toast and Other Philosophies of Life
by Teri Hatcher


America's Most Haunted: True Scary Places
America's Most Haunted True Scary Places
by Allan Zullo

Library Rounds #2

Today, I checked out the following books:

Kelly's Chance (Brides of Lehigh Canal Series #1)
Kelly's Chance by Wanda Brunstetter

Horns: A Novel
Horns by Joe Hill

20th Century Ghost by Joe Hill

Book Review - Fear Street Nights: Darkest Dawn

Darkest Dawn (Fear Street Nights #3)
Fear Street Nights: Darkest Dawn
BY: R.L. Stine
ISBN: 978-0-689-87866-4
Pages: 182
Ages: Teens & Up
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

Several months have passed since “Midnight Games,” and the night people have gone on with their lives, no longer in fear of Angelic Fear. Jamie is the only one who still believes that the curse lives on. She still has nightmares of being possessed by Angelic Fear. She runs across a mysterious bracelet that is similar to the Fear amulet.

More deaths start to the occur. Jamie’s cousin, Dana, starts to wonder if she has lost her mind. After awhile Jamie starts to wonder the same thing, especially after she starts seeing the Fear Mansion that was demolished over a year ago. Is it Angelic Fear back from the grave again? Or is it someone else?

Jamie becomes the main character in “Darkest Dawn,” the third and final book in the “Fear Street Night” trilogy. Die-hard fans from the original books will enjoy the continuation and conclusion to the Simon and Angelic Fear storyline. I was disappointed that the character Dana Fear didn’t have a bigger part. She is a much stronger and likeable character than Jamie. The plot is a little darker than the first two books. Overall, I did enjoy the exciting ending to the series.

Friday, March 26

Q&A with author Matt Mikalatos

Q&A with Matt Mikalatos, the author of "Imaginary Jesus"

Imaginary Jesus


How did you start writing?


It mostly grew out of my drama classes in high school, actually. We would write our own sketches and plays, and when I got into college I realized that I loved writing, not just acting. So I was actually a writing major at the University of California in Riverside, and I wrote a couple of unpublishable projects before Imaginary Jesus. But high school is where it all started, with an excellent Drama teacher named Mrs. ten Pas.


How did you come up with the idea for "Imaginary Jesus?"


I have always thought it interesting to take Biblical stories and transport them into the present so I can see what makes sense and what is weird. For instance, Jesus walking up to fishermen and saying "Follow Me" doesn't seem like a big deal. But imagining him walking into a fast food restaurant and telling the employees to follow him is a completely different picture. It's weird to imagine people leaving burgers burning on the grill and walking out the door after Jesus. So, as I started to wrestle through a lot of our misconceptions about who Jesus is, I thought it would be funny and interesting to see what it would be like if we could actually see our misconceived Jesuses. It all grew out of that first chapter in the book, where someone points out, "Hey, your Jesus seems a little weird. I don't think that's the real Jesus."


Who are your favorite writers and why?


Oh boy... how many do I get to list? Here are a few:

1) John Steinbeck. If I could grow up to write like anyone, it would be JS. I re-read "East of Eden" about once a year. He has an amazing ability to draw out the complexities of human interactions that shows a keen understanding of human nature and what drives us. He doesn't waste words, and his books are moving and powerful.

2) Gene Wolfe. Gene Wolfe gets touted all the time as one of the best living writers in the English language, and I think this is true. His books are the type of books that I can re-read multiple times with increasing enjoyment. Check out his collection of short stories "Strange Travellers" or the novel "Pirate Freedom."

3) Flannery O'Connor. Again, keen insight into human beings, but Flannery also has keen insight into everything else. Everything she wrote, essays, short stories and novels are all amazing. The short story "Parker's Back" is my current favorite. I've never lived in the South, either, I'm a California boy.

4) Michael Connelly. I love the Harry Bosch detective novels. I always pre-order them and then wait by the mailbox. I love reading about someone so dedicated to justice and the fact that every human being matters and they all "count." And he's a gifted story teller, who uses plot to reveal character over time. Harry Bosch is certainly my favorite series character.

There are a lot more... Vonnegut, Beuchner, Lewis, Chesterton and more. But I don't want to bore you by listing a million authors!

Book Review - Imaginary Jesus

Imaginary JesusImaginary Jesus
BY: Matt Mikalatos
ISBN: 978-1-4143-3563-6
Pages: 225
Ages: Adults
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

“Imaginary Jesus” is about a man named Matt Mikalatos, a fictional version of the author. The first chapter opens up with Matt, a former comic book store clerk, sitting in a coffee shop with Jesus sitting across from him. A strange comes up to them and starts a fight with Jesus. The man calls himself Peter - Peter the apostle.

The imaginary Jesus runs out the coffee shop. Both Matt and Peter try to follow him, but Jesus is just too fast for them. Peter takes Matt through time on their quest to find the real Jesus, where they meet a talking donkey. Along the way, Peter shows Matt several fake/false Jesuses, including Magic 8 Ball Jesus and Liberal Social Services Jesus.

When I first saw the silly cover, I didn’t now what to except. It looked like a kid took his crayons to the cover. When I started reading the first chapter, which starts at 0, I was laughing out loud until the very end. “Imaginary Jesus” is hilarious debut novel. At times the book reminds me of the book “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” but “Imaginary Jesus” has a wonderful message hidden behind all the silly humor. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a few good laughs, and at the same time learn something new about yourself.

Note: I would like to thank the Tyndale House for sending me this complimentary copy to review.

Friday Book Blogger Hop

Jennifer from Crazy for Books has created this meme.

If you'd like to participate, here's Jennifer's instructions:

Every day I seem to find another book blog that I start following. In the spirit of the Friday Follow, I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blog Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!

So, if you'd like to participate, just repost this on your blog, sign MckLinky and check out other blogs in MckLinky! Let's connect and make new book bloggy friends!! So, if you consider yourself a book blogger, come join the fun!

Pretty please - Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

Book Review - What Sex is a Republican?

What Sex is a Republican?What Sex is a Republican?
BY: Terri McCormick, M.A.
PUBLISHED BY: The Capitol Press
ISBN: 978-09815728-0-2
Pages: 320
Ages: Adults
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

“What Sex Is a Republican?” is a autobiography of the former Wisconsin State Representative, Terri McCormick. Her childhood and family life is briefly covered in a few chapters. Terri didn’t become a political player until after she became involved in reforming her children’s school. She went up against the teacher union, leading the way for the state to form more chapter schools.

The author covers her campaign to become the State Representative of Wisconsin, which she held from 2000 to 2006. During this time, she talks about the mistreatment she encountered from other politicians and media outlets. It was not because of her sex, but because of her political beliefs.

Terri became what I would refer to as a “rare politician” - an official who is working for the people and not their political party. She discusses about the radical partisanship that is in both parties, and the “front row politician” - the party leaderships that pull the strings on the bills and amendments being passed.

The book is not a straight autobiography. At times, I felt like I was reading a text book about the corruptions and backstabbing in our government.

Terri McCormick does a good job on writing about how our government has changed. Our country’s founders wanted a nation that was run by the people. It seems the politicians have forgotten about our Constitution, and instead they only think about their parties and their own agenda. The book covers the ups and downs of campaigning, which would be a good guide to read if you are thinking about running for an office seat. I recommend “What Sex is a Republican?” to any political junkie, or just someone who wants to learn how to make some changes in our troubled government.

Note: I would like to thank The Cadence Group for sending me this complimentary copy to review.

Book Review - Fear Street Nights: Midnight Games

Midnight Games (Fear Street Nights #2)
Fear Street Nights: Midnight Games
BY: R.L. Stine
ISBN: 978-0-689-87865-7
Pages: 183
Ages: Teens & Up
Reviewed by Billy Burgess

A year has passed since the events in “Moonlight Secrets.” The night people are still recovering from the death of one of their own. Jamie’s cousin, Dana Fear, arrives in Shadyhigh. Dana is going to finish high school there. And yes, Dana is a descendant of the Fear family.

Dana starts hanging out with the night people - a group of teenagers who hang out at 3a.m.. She befriends Nate, who is still getting over Candy’s death in “Moonlight Secrets.” Strange events start to occur, and the body count rises. Is Angelic Fear back from the dead?

“Midnight Games” is a fun, fast-paced sequel. There are more screams and scares than the previous installment. It was clever to bring in Dana Fear, as she is connected to Simon and Angelic Fear. I can’t wait to read the final book.

Thursday, March 25

Thursday Ramblings - March 25, 2010

My short story "The Long Walk"(previously published in the Long Story ezine) will be published in the upcoming anthology "Flash!" from Lame Goat Press.

I keep catching a cold this year. I've been sick the entire week. Once again, my writing has been a little slow. Today is the 25th, and my grandma would have been eighty years old.

The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow SoulsI read the book "Imaginary Jesus" by Matt Mikalatos. My review will be posted soon along with a Q&A from the author. Today, I finished reading "What Sex is a Republican?" by Terri McCormick. My review for the book will be posted sometime next week.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls (Quirk Classics: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)
I bought the book "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls" by Steve Hockensmith. I have the first book ordered. I should be receiving it soon. This week in the mail I got "The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Souls" by L.J. Smith. I have all the books in the series, but I have only read the first two books. I am a fan of the television series.

Leprechaun Triple FeatureI bought two "Leprechaun" DVD sets last weekend. Each set had three movies in it, so I got six movies for under twenty dollars. I had only seen the original movie with Jennifer Aniston. I'm ready to watch the fifth movie. I can't recommend these movies to anyone, unless you enjoy a cheap-made horror film with bad acting.