One Small Victory by Maryann Miller

Hardcover: 293 pages
Publisher: Five Star (ME) (June 18, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594146993
ISBN-13: 978-1594146992

About the book:

Life can change in just an instant. That's the harsh realitythat Jenny Jasik faces when her son, Michael, is killed in an automobileaccident. She is a single mother with two other children, Scott andAlicia. Ralph, her ex-husband, left her six years ago for a youngerwoman. He moved to Californiaand has all but abandoned them. He doessend child support, which, coupled with the profits from the floristshop Jenny owns, keeps them fed and sheltered in an old frame house.When Jenny sees an item in the newspaper about a special task forceforming at the local police department, she goes to the station anddemands to be part of that team. She stands firm in the face ofobjections from Chief Gonzales. He finally agrees to let her work withthem as a Confidential Informant if she passes a physical fitness testand a psychological screening. He also tells her that if she works withthem it will be in the strictest confidence. She is to tell no one. Nother kids. Not her mother. Not her best friend. No even her dog.As the weeks pass and Jenny gets deeper into the drug scene, hiding whatshe’s doing from everyone becomes harder and harder. How many more liescan she tell to explain why she stays out half the night? Then there’sthe problem of Ralph. Scott has been dumping his frustration on hisfather, and Ralph threatens to start action to get the kids if Jennydoesn't stop whatever it is she’s doing.

Further complications arise when Chico, the dealer Jenny has been buyingfrom, disappears. The DEA agents report that unusual things arehappening at the ranch where the Main Man does his business. There isconcern for the safety of all involved in this sting. Jenny is offered achance to get out, but she stays.

A plan develops to take down the Main Man, and for Jenny, that momentcan't come soon enough. All she has to do is get the details of the bigbuy recorded and the police can arrest the Man. That scene unravelsquickly, and Jenny is forced to shoot a man who is turning a gun on her.This was not part of the plan and definitely not something that Jennywants to tell her children or her ex-husband.Maybe Michael will understand.

How far will a mother go to avenge the death of her son? Jenny Jasik's world ends when her son dies in a car accident. It was bad enough to lose him, but when she finds out that the driver of the car was a drug dealer and was hight at the time of the accident it brings forth emotions no parent should ever have to endure.

Jenny knows that she needs to do something to help make sure her son's death wasn't for nothing, so after witnessing a drug deal occur with a group of high school students, she decides to become a specialist on a drug unit. Unfortunately this begins to affect the rest of her life, including the family that is still here. Flower shop owner to drug unit specialist, Jenny witnesses street life at it rawest. The changes she goes through are necessary for the job, but do they really make her a better person and mother?

There were many aspects that I loved about this book, but I think my favorite part was how the author depicted the emotions of all the people involved. I have been very fortunate not to have lost a close family member (yet) but I can only imagine what it must feel like, especially if it is your child. Maryann does an excellent job of portraying the range of emotions this family has to go through.

About the author:

A diverse writer of columns, feature stores, short fiction, novels,screenplays and stage plays, Maryann Miller has won numerous awards including being a semi-finalist at the Sundance Institute for her screenplay, "A Question of Honor". More recently she placed in the top 15 percent of entries in the Chesterfield Screenwriting Fellowship with the adaptation of her mystery, "Open Season"

Publishing credits include work for regional and national newspapers and magazines: Lady's Circle, Woman's World, Marriage and Family Living, Plano Magazine, The Children's World, Byline, The Texas Catholic Newspaper. She has published nine non-fiction books for teens, including the award-winning Coping With Weapons and Violence : In Your School and on Your Streets released by The Rosen Publishing Group in New York. Shehas a short story in the All About Muse anthology, The Holiday Mixer. Her novel, One Small Victory, was a hardback release from Five Star Publishing in June 2008, and Play it Again, Sam, is a July 2008 release from Uncial Press in e-book formats.

She is currently the Managing Editor and writer for an online community magazine,, and does book reviews for ForeWord Magazine and two online review sites, and Curled Up With a Good Book. She also does freelance editing. Other experience includes extensive work as a PR consultant, a script doctor, and a freelanceeditor. She has been writing all her life and plans to die at her computer.

Until then, Miller stays active in a number of organizations including Sisters In Crime, The Trails Country Centre For The Arts in Winnsboro, Texas, and was a founder of The Greater Dallas Writers' Association.

She makes her home in the beautiful Piney Woods of East Texas where she happily plays farmer. She has a horse, two goats, three cats, and two dogs. She shares these critters and five acres with her husband and an armadillo that visits frequently. You can visit her website at

ONE SMALL VICTORY VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on September 2, '08 and end on September 26, '08. You can visit Maryann's tour stops at in September to find out more about her and her new book!
As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced on our main blog at on September 26!This virtual book tour is being brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Jaime McDougall

Willow in A Storm: A Memoir by James Peter Taylor

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Scarletta Press; 1 edition (September 28, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 097652015X
ISBN-13: 978-0976520153

Book Synopsis:

In this raw, unflinching memoir, James Peter Taylor, with the help of his wife Kathleen Murphy-Taylor, recounts the events of his unusual life, over forty years of which were spent incarcerated. Mentally and sexually abused by his adoptive father, Jim Taylor receives a life sentence at age 30 when he accidentally kills Kenneth Lindberg, a Minnesota banker and married father of four, during a robbery.

Taylor manages to survive in prison, despite the rampant violence, in part by playing a woman’s role, a gender switch that becomes second nature to him. After decides behind bars, a wiser and more spiritual Taylor is released in the 1990s back to civilian life, bolstered by his marriage to the book’s coauthor and former social worker, Kathy Murphy.

Willow in a Storm demonstrates hope even in the most dismal of circumstances.

James Peter Taylor's memoir, Willow in a Storm, is a testament to courage and what the human mind can endure and overcome. His crimes start out between the ages of 25-30 and his first arrest is due to his inpersonation of an FBI agent, all just to keep a girl out later than her given curfew.

These minor crimes continue, from bigamy to bad checks until he thinks he has come up with the perfect crime : robbing a bank and framing the bank manager. Things go terribly wrong and something that should have been simple turns into murder, leading James to prison for a 40 year sentence at the hands of a politician looking for something to boost his career.

Willow in a Storm gives detailed accounts of James' life, from his formative years which included abuse, to his attempts at getting paroled and finally to his release. The only criticism I have is that the book jumps around and can be confusing in the timeline of events. Overall this is a book that is an eyeopener for those who are unsure what the justice system is truly all about, and what prisoners go through on a daily basis.

About the author:

James Peter Taylor and Kathleen Murphy-Taylor have been married for 11 years. Jim managed to survive over 40 years in prison and was released at age 70, partially blind. Today, over a decade later, he faces further health battles, including dementia. Kathy received her MSW from the University of Michigan. She practiced social work for 32 years for private and public agencies. In her retirement, she devotes herself to caring for Jim. They live in Minneapolis.

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Booking Through Thursday

The question:
“Autumn is starting (here in the US, anyway), and kids are heading back to school–does the changing season change your reading habits? Less time? More? Are you just in the mood for different kinds of books than you were over the summer?”
Honestly, my reading habits don't change too much. I ALWAYS try to grab a book whenever I have time, which seems more limited now than ever. With the move and starting work for an awesome company (Pump Up Your Book Promotion) I am dealing with books all day, just not always getting to read them, lol!
As far as types of books, I usually just grab whatever book is nearest to me. I really am not one to pick books by seasons.

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Teaser Tuesdays

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

My teaser sentences for today:

A smirk formed on my lips at his use of the F word. Not the sort of conversation I'd imagine would take place in a therapist's office, but then, he had already told me that he didn't have very many patients like me, who had lived through what I had.

Courage in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum
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A Full House-But Empty by Angus Munro

Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: iUniverse, Inc. (September 25, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0595437192
ISBN-13: 978-0595437191

Book Synopsis:

Filled with anecdotes, lessons learned, and an inspirational message for everyone, who believes that hard work breeds success, this moving autobiography shares the remarkable story of Angus Munro.

Munro is just three when he suffers from appendicitis and spends several weeks in a Vancouver hospital as his family struggles to survive the Great Depression. After finally arriving home, Munro asks his sister, "Where is Mummy?" and is promptly told his mother doesn't live there anymore. It is this traumatic event that changes the course of Munro's life forever. His father is suddenly a single parent while simulataneously turning into Munro's mentor and hero. He teaches Munro the motto, "Always do the right thing," while raising his children in an environment that is at the very least hectic, and more often completely chaotic.

Through a potpourri of chronological and heartfelt tales, Munro reveals how he learned to view incidents in life in terms of responsibility, recognition, personal conduct, and consideration for others. Despite dropping out of school at a young age, Munro perseveres, eventually attaining professional success.

Munro's memoir is a wonderful tribute to his father's legacy and the greatest lesson of all - Whatever you do, follow through.

This book hit home very early on for me. At the age of 3, Angus suffers from appendicitis which causes him a lengthy hospital stay. Once released from the hospital, he returns to a home that his mother has left, without so much as a goodbye. Even though Angus's father is not perfect (by a long shot), I applaud the fact that he raised his children during the Great Depression and they never wanted for anything. I too was raised by a single parent who worked hard her entire life to provide for me, and like Angus's father, she isn't perfect but I admire her more than she knows. There is nothing harder, I imagine, than trying to raise a child by yourself when food and money are scarce.

In this autobiography, Angus takes you down the path of his life - a path strewn with obstacles many of us can only imagine. Yet, in the end his conviction and strength carries him through it all. To say he had a hard life would truly be an understatement. After he drops out of school at 14, he isn't sure what his life will become. He holds various jobs, and has some time to visit relatives on both sides of his family that he had never met. The descriptive tone used is so nice to read, it makes you feel like you are sitting there with Angus, experiencing the things he is describing. I also love the way he draws on the positives of each experience and tells us the lesson he learned, whether good or bad. It is something I think the world needs more of today - we all have bad things happen, try to learn from them and move on, there's always tomorrow.

One of the other amazing things is the detail this story is told in. Many of these events happened MANY years ago, yet you never feel as if you are lacking for information. The only thing I would have liked to heard more of was some of his personal life experiences as he got older. Otherwise, this is truly and excellent read, and something that has a lesson in it for all of us.

A FULL HOUSE BUT EMPTY VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on September 2, '08 and end on September 26, '08. You can visit Angus' tour stops at in September to find out more about him and his new book!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced on our main blog at on September 26!

Angus Munro's virtual book tour is being brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Dorothy Thompson.

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Down to a Sunless Sea by Matthias Freese

About the Book:

Down to a Sunless Sea plunges the reader into uncomfortable situations and into the minds of troubled characters. Each selection is a different reading experience-poetic, journalistic, nostalgic, wryly humorous, and even macabre. An award-winning essayist and historical novelist, Mathias B. Freese brings the weight of his twenty-five years as a clinical social worker and psychotherapist into play as he demonstrates a vivid understanding of-and compassion toward-the deviant and damaged.


I have really come to appreciate the short story the more I read. It takes a lot to say enough in a short period of time and really get your point across but Matthias Freese has done just that.

Down to a Sunless Sea is a collection of fifteen short stories. Most stories are fairly short in length, but certainly not in emotion. Each of these stories exposes a certain dilemma or paranoia faced by the occupants. And, the results are not necessarily pleasant. I really enjoyed this book, but agree that it may not be for everyone. If you are looking for some joy or a light and easy read, steer clear of this one. If you are looking for something quick and easy to read but something you can sink your teeth into, then pick this up.

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Musing Mondays

This is my first time participating in Musing Mondays...although it isn't because I haven't wanted to. This is one of my favorite things to do - read and answer questions about books!

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about the treatment of books! Here was the questions posed:

HOW ABOUT YOU? Do you treat books carefully, or do you just treat them as any other object? Do you have certain things you refuse to do with books (write in them, etc)? If so, what are they?

I certainly don't treat books like any other object. I NEVER write in books, although I know a lot of people do this, or highlight certain passages. I do admit I don't treat paperbacks as good as I treat hardcovers, but I still don't abuse them. The worst thing I probably do is fold a page every once in awhile. I have to admit that I have dropped at least one book into the bathtub with me - as weird as it sounds I kind of like the way they look after and am fascinated that the print NEVER runs.

So, to answer the question, I treat my books usually with the utmost care - even if they are strewn all around the house.

My favorite author is Stephen King, and I will never forget what he said when it comes to the condition of a book. There is nothing better for him than to walk into someones house and see one of his books beaten - pages folded, spine broke, maybe even some tears or writing in it. This is the greatest compliment to an author (in his opinion) because it means that the book was well read and loved. I always think this is such an interesting take, and wanted to share it.

Happy Monday!
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Win Tiger Eye by M. Liu

Yet another great giveaway for BBAW! Head over to Literary Escapism for ways to win this book - it sounds like it is right up my alley!

Good Luck!

Cafe of Dreams Book Giveaway

Want yet another chance to win a book during BBAW? Head over to Cafe of Dreams for your chance to win a signed copy of "Dead Witness" by Joylene Nowell Butler!

This truly sounds like an excellent book!

Chelsea Cain BBAW Contest

Want a chance to win a hardcover copy of Heart Sick AND an Advance Reader Edition of Sweetheart? If so, visit On My Bookshelf for your chance!

There are multiple chances to win, so make sure to check it out!
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Book and Gift Card Giveaway

I love BBAW! I just ran across Traci's Book Bag and she's giving away a hardcover copy of Eoin Colfer's latest Artemis Fowl novel, The Time Paradox and a $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble.

You can gain up to 15 entries to win this but hurry - contest ends on September 21st!
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The Official BBAW Giveaway List

If you follow along for the festivities of BBAW at My Friend Amy, you will find many chances to win LOTS of goodies! Like what? Well have a look below. All of these things will be given away between September 15-19. There will be a huge variety of ways to win them and giveaways will be announced constantly throughout the week. So be sure to check in often!

A HUGE thank you to Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group USA, Harlequin, The B&B Media Group, Shera of SNS Blog Design, WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Catherine Delors, Pamela Binnings Ewen, Andromeda Romano-Lax, Ceceilia Dowdy, Sormag, Book Club Girl, Savvy Verse and Wit, Cafe of Dreams, Fashionista Piranha, and Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin'?.

Daily Raffles:

Monday--Books and Chocolate sponsored by My Friend Amy and Hey Lady! Whatcha' Readin?

Tuesday--Books and Going Green sponsored by My Friend Amy

Wednesday--Books and Coffee sponsored by My Friend Amy

Thursday--Books and Charity sponsored by My Friend Amy and Fashionista Piranha

Friday--Books and Movies sponsored by My Friend Amy

Win a Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit!

Do you find it's your turn to host book club and not only do you not know what to serve but you don't know what books to offer up for the next month's selection?! Let Book Club Girl come to your rescue with the Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit.

One lucky winner of the kit will receive:
* A basket of cheese, crackers, cookies and wine for up to 12 people
* 5 great book group books to vote on for your group's next pick. And Book Club Girl will then donate 12 copies whichever book is chosen for your entire group to read.
* 12 Book Club Girl mousepads to give out as party favors that night
* 12 Book Club Girl bookmarks to mark everyone's favorite passages
* 12 Book Club Girl coasters to protect your coffee table from all those wine glasses!

TWO SORMAG Goody Bags containing books and more!

A Special Pamper Me Basket from Cafe of Dreams!

From Avon Foot Works
~ Inflatable watermelon shaped foot tub
~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Cooling Foot Lotion
~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Exfoliating Foot Scrub
~ 12 count Watermelon Effervescent Foot Tablets
~ An ARC of So Long At The Fair by Christina Schwarz
~ A variety of Hot Chocolate and Tea mixes

A pre-made blog template from SNSDesign!

A Subscription to Poetry Magazine from Savvy Verse and Wit!


Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors
The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen
The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-
LaxJohn's Quest by Cecelia Dowdy
Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy
Acedia & Me by Kathleen Norris
The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer
Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley
A Tale Out of Luck by Willie Nelson with Mike Blakely
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
Exit Music by Ian Rankin
The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik
Gunmetal Black by Daniel Serrano
Isolation by Travis Thrasher
The Miracle Girls by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
Every Freaking! Day With Rachell Ray by Elizabeth Hilts
Dewey by Vicki Myron
The Shiniest Jewel by Marian Henley
Keep the Faith by Faith Evans
The Book of Calamities by Peter Trachtenberg
A is for Atticus by Lorilee Craker
After the Fire by Robin Gaby Fisher
Mike's Election Guide by Michael Moore
War as They Knew It by Michael Rosenberg
Fixing Hell By Col. (ret.) Larry C. James
Wild Boy: My Life with Duran Duran by Andy Taylor
The Last Under-Cover: The True Story of an FBI Agent's Dangerous Dance with Evil By Bob Hamer
Border Lass by Amanda Scott
Insatiable Desire by Rita Heron
Hungry for More by Diana Holquist
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
Trespassers Will Be Baptized by Elizabeth Emerson Hancock
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Trish Ryan
Never Surrender by General Jerry Boykin
Dream in Color by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, Congresswoman Loretta Sánchez
Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton
Cobain Unseen by Charles R. Cross
Doing Business in 21st Century India by Gunjan BaglaBranding
Only Works on Cattle by Jonathan Salem Baskin
Launching a Leadership Revolution by Chris Brady, Orrin Woodward
How to Hear from God by Joyce Meyer
Knowing Right from Wrong by Thomas D. Williams
Pope John Paul II: An Intimate Life by Caroline Pigozzi
Pure by Rebecca St. James
He Loves Me! by Wayne Jacobson
So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobson and Dave Coleman
Move On, Move Up by Paula White
The Rosary by Gary Jansen
Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Right Livelihoods by Rick Moody
by George by Wesley Stace
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh
Dead Boys by Richard Lange
The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters by Lorraine Lopez
Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn
Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky
With Endless Sight by Allison Pittman
Harlequin Titles: To Be Announced

Many other blogs are giving away books and prizes for BBAW as well! You can see the links to all of these giveaways here.
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Sam's Quest for the Crimson Crystal by Ben Furman

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Black Hawk Press (April 16, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0977873188
ISBN-13: 978-0977873180

Book Synopsis:

"Sam" Mae Costas is nobody's idea of a hero. SHe is constantly teased about her thick glasses, her small size, and her asthma attacks are embarrassing and difficult to control. When Sam is forced to spend the summer on her grandpa's farm she thinks things can't get much worse.

Deep in the caverns below the farm, Prince Buznor is a young Awok on a life-and-death mission to save his world. He has to find Sam and prove to her that only she can find and control the Crimson Crystal...the one weapon that can defeat the evil threatening his people.

To reach the Crimson Crystal Sam must journey through the hostile Land of Geffen, facing hordes of catacomb dwarfs, vicious vampire bats and deadly monsters. Can Sam overcome her fears, her doubts, and find the Crimson Crystal in time to save the Awokian world?

It has been quite some time since I have read a book classified as young adult and also quite some time since I have read something in the fantasy category so it was a pleasure to read this book by Ben Furman. There are quite a few things that I love about this book, but most of all I love the fact that the author portrays the hero as a young girl who is not what you would typically classify as a hero. She has asthma, is small for her age, wears big thick glasses, and is what you would consider a tomboy.

Summer is here, and that means that it is time for Sam's parents to head off on their archeological expedition. It also means it is time to leave New York and head to Grandpa Paul's farm, the place where Sam will spend her summer. Sam loves her Grandpa, but would much rather go with her parents. Unfortunately, the still think she is too young. She is worried that this summer will be like every other, with some fun in the beginning, but with boredom setting in before too long. She couldn't have been more wrong!

There have been questions about Sam's lineage from an early age. She looks nothing like most of her relatives, but does have an unusal characterisitic, a birthmark on her neck in the shape of a diamond. This birthmark seems to appear on relatives in Sam's family every 100 years...she thinks this seems too unusual to be just a coincidence. And she was right.

Sam finds out that she comes from a long line of protectors of creatures no one in this world has ever heard of. She has experienced odd sensations while on her Grandfather's farm, but never dreamed it was due to the fact that there was a portal to another world rooted in his land. Not only does she have powers, she is truly a legend in the world of Prince Buznor. She needs to draw on the strength she has buried to find the Crimson Crystal so she can save the Awokian people from elimination.

I am surprised and pleased to say that this book really held my attention. Even though it is geared towards a younger audience, the author does a good job of keeping the pace exciting. I would recommend this for young and old alike.

About the author:

Ben, a former FBI counterterrorism chief, has drawn on this experience to write about high-tech terrorism, chemical, biological, and nuclear threats, and transnational criminal cartels. During his career he investigated kidnappings, extortions, bank robberies, led SWAT teams and was the FBI counterterrorism chief assigned to address threats against the United States by terrorists of all stripes.

He also writes fantasy adventure novels with positive messages for the young adult, juvenile market.

He is the Rexus CEO, a corporation that conducts international corporate investigations involving industrial espionage, internal theft, business due diligence and background screening.
You can visit his website at

SAM'S QUEST FOR THE CRIMSON CRYSTAL VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on September 2, '08 and end on September 26, '08. You can visit the Ben's tour stops at in September to find out more about him and his new book!
As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced on our main blog at on September 26!

This virtual book tour is being brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Cheryl Malandrinos.

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The Sitting Swing by Irene Watson

Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Loving Healing Press (July 16, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1932690670
ISBN-13: 978-1932690675
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.6 inches

Book Synopsis:

Irene Watson's pretentious life could go no further until she faced her past. Her moving and inspiring memoir begins at the end, in a recovery center, whe she has gone to understand a childhood fraught with abuse, guilt, and uncertainty.

Two distinct parts of the book look at abusive child rearing and the process of recovery years later. This story shows change, growth, and forgiveness are possible. It gives hope and freedom to those accepting the past and re-writing life scripts that have been passed down for generations. It's never too late to change your life, never too late to heal.

This book was truly an eye opener. Upon hearing of Irene's upbringing, I got tears in my eyes. My mother is not a whole lot older than Irene, and yet she had clothing bought for her and plumbing and electricity her entire life! She was the oldest of 6 children, but never felt neglected (maybe the first born syndrome was in play...even then). My heart broke for young Irene, constantly living in the shadow of a brother she never knew, and was never spoken of. She could do nothing right, yet had no freedom as both of her parents were afraid of what might happen to their daughter. Their fear may have led to their inability to show her the love she so desparately craved, and led to her seeking to find any way out of a miserable exsistence.

This books starts out with Irene enrolling in Avalon, a treatment facility recommended by her friends. She is leary from the very beginning as she looks up at the corner of the room and sees a video camera. There is no way she is going to consent to being videotaped, who do these people think they are? After dealing with Gilles for the first two weeks, she is ready to throw in the towel. She is not sure she believes anything that he is "preaching", it is the same old, same old and he is harsh and demeaning in his delivery. After the first two weeks his wife Liliane takes over the sessions and it is a different world. Gone is the harsh and demeaning lessons, and the love and support that Irene felt so lacking in the beginning of her stay comes shining through...that is until she has to do a scripted session about a conversation she envisions with her husband. Liliane has words with Irene, words that shock Irene but in the end lead her to the breakthrough she needed all along.

There were so many parts of this book that I could relate to. I have some people in my family that struggle with alcohol, and it is heartbreaking to watch. It also is the reason that I don't drink, something that Irene and I share. Don't get me wrong, I will have an occasional glass of wine, but do not enjoy being around people that have had too much to drink. I also can relate to the overprotective aspect of mothering...but I am the culprit. I don't seclude my daughters, but I do have a daughter with heart defects and there isn't a day that passes that I don't try to protect her just a little bit more than you might a "regular" child. I think the part that I could relate to the most was the Needs section from her stay at Avalon. After reading that I knew that this was my type of woman - it was exactly the way I thought of things.

This was an excellent book, and one I would recommend highly. Great job Irene, and I look forward to more from you in the future!

About the author:

Irene Watson holds a Masters Degree in Psychology, with honors, from Regis University in Denver, CO. Her life has taken her on many paths, with breakthrough results and exemplar growth, to find her authentic and true self. She lives with her husband in Austin, Texas. You can visit her website at

THE SITTING SWING VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on September 2, '08 and end on September 26, '08. You can visit Irene's tour stops at in September to find out more about her and her new book!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced on our main blog at on September 26!

Irene's virtual book tour is being brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Dorothy Thompson.

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Booking Through Thursday

Suggested by JM:

I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them.

Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading.

Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?

This is a tough one - at times I do feel pressured to read books, you read so many fantastic reviews you think to yourself "I really need to read this book". I have learned to try and curb this because I honestly like reading whatever suites me. I have also read fan favorites in the past and not been impressed. I have stacks of books and sometimes I just close my eyes and grab one. It might end up being my favorite book of the year.

As far as reviewing book, I feel the same applies. I do add a lot of books to my TBR list, but prefer to review more obscure titles. But that's just me.

Happy Thursday!

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The Lost Diary of Don Juan by Douglas Carlton Abrams

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (July 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416532528
ISBN-13: 978-1416532521

Book Synopsis:

In a time of discovery and decadence, when the gold that poured endlessly into the port of Sevilla devalued money, marriage, and love itself, young Juan Tenorio was abandoned and raised by nuns. He grew up loving and worshipping all women, but a clandestine affair with one of the sisters forces him to leave the Church-and his plans for the priesthood-forever. Juan becomes a spy, as well as the world's greatest libertine. But far from the heartless seducer that legend recounts, he seeks liberation and redemption as much as personal pleasure and gratification. He begins to keep a diary of his greatest adventures and the Arts of Passion he has mastered. The most perilous adventure of all-the irresistible fall into the madness of love with the only woman who could ever make him forget all others-finally compels him to confess everything.

Douglas Carlton Abrams's magical debut novel captures the heart of the Spanish Golden Age and the secret life of the world's greatest lover-Don Juan-who came to embody the spirit that would inflame the modern age.

This year has really been a great one for me, and let me tell you why. In the past, if someone would have suggested a historical fiction book to me I would have told them that it wasn't my kind of book. All of these years I have steered clear of books of this nature because while in school history was the subject that I liked the least. It is amazing what books like this can do, as now I jump at the chance to read books about history, fiction or not.

I admit going in that I didn't know a whole lot about the legendary Don Juan. Just the same information that most of the general public knows...a true ladies man but not one to stay with one woman for any period of time. This book certainly gives the readers a new look into this man - he truly loved women and his goal was to bring them pleasure by getting them to feel confident about themselves and their bodies. I loved the way this book was written, it sheds a new light on this story and really makes me want to dig into the history of Don Juan and find out more about him.

Although this book is about Don Juan, Douglas does an excellent job of depicting 16th century Spain. One of my favorite part in the book is when Fray Ignacio comes to the convent to speak to the nuns about there being a heretic among them. After he questions the nuns, he decides to take one of them-Hermana Jeronima back to the headquarters of the Holy Office in Sevilla where she would be questioned further. She was being taken to the horrifying!

This book was an excellent read, and with its fast pace made for a delightful weekend read. I would highly recommend it.

About the author:

Douglas Carlton Abrams is a former editor at the University of California Press and HarperSanFrancisco. He is the co-author of a number of books on love, sexuality, and spirituality, including books written with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar, and Taoist Master Mantak Chia. He lives in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife and three children. In his life and work, he is interested in cultivating all aspects of our humanity —body, emotions, mind, and spirit. His goal in writing fiction is to create stories that not only entertain, but also attempt to question, enchant, and transform.

Doug’s desire in writing the book was not only to resurrect this greatest of historical lovers and to give voice to his true motives; he was also moved to write a book that would explore the tension between lust and love and that would confront the human question of how any man or woman can find lifelong satisfaction in one committed relationship. To find out more about the origins of The Lost Diary and the myth of Don Juan, and to learn about forthcoming novels, please visit or

THE LOST DIARY OF DON JUAN VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on September 2, '08 and end on September 26, '08. You can visit the Douglas' tour stops at in September to find out more about him and his new book!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced on our main blog at on September 26!

This virtual book tour is being brought to you by Pump Up Your Book Promotion and choreographed by Dorothy Thompson.