Year: 2017

Book Review ~ My Favorite Cowboy by Donna Grant

Book Review ~ My Favorite Cowboy by Donna Grant

Wow! This is the first book by Ms. Grant that I have read but it will not be the last. I was drawn in and hooked almost from the very beginning. There is not a slow part in it. Caleb and Audrey both have issues in their past that keep them from having a serious relationship. Can they help each other to heal? To see that love is worth taking a chance? Someone has poisoned horses and Audrey must find out what it is and save them. What will it take for her to realize she is not alone and can depend on others to help. Sooooooo… in addition to the scorching heat that is Caleb an Audrey, there is a mystery to be solved, an attack, and oh so much more. No spoilers will be given…. but the who behind the poisoning surprised me.
This can be a standalone, HOWEVER, I wish I had read the first two books prior to reading this one.…

Alyssa Milano “Safe at Home” Book Signings in New York City

Alyssa Milano “Safe at Home” Book Signings in New York City

Every straight guy under 40 remembers where he was the first time he saw Alyssa Milano for the first time after her stint as the tomboy character Sam on TV’s “Who’s the Boss?” It was a confusion intoxication of lust and horror for feeling this way about the softball playing daughter of Tony Danza. You felt confused, you felt betrayed, you felt dirty, you felt excited, you felt repulsed; after all, Sam felt more like a long lost sibling or a cousin…and then you saw Poison Ivy II. Lily Leonetti. Ugh!

You thought it must have just been a fluke! That couldn’t really be THE Alyssa Milano in a tawdry role, skimpy clothing, with two different men! But then came “Charmed” and your opinion of her and yourself would never be the same again. So it goes for those of us who would years and years later find out that Sam was really Sam after all. Sports fan, tough as nails, and pretty smart to boot. Alyssa Milano has a forthcoming book entitled “Safe At Home: Confessions of a Baseball Fanatic” where the baseball fan employs none other than Joe Torre to write her introduction.

Alyssa Milano is a regular around the diamond and though the cameras never linger on her as long as some of we baseball fans might like (why must we watch Derek Jeter adjust his helmet, stare down at the third base coach, kick his heels with his bat and adjust his helmet again?!) it is refreshing for us guys to try and model our ladies around this stunning brunette. (Not that I’d ever trade my beautiful wife for anyone! …I just mean, guys, like, OTHER guys!)

Alyssa Milano will be at a number of places at the end of March promoting her April 1, release date. For longtime fans of the whole “Who’s the Boss?” thing it’s a great chance to see a real live famous person up close; for those who are just fans of Milano’s later work or her JPEGS online, I’m sure Milano will be glad to meet these fans too. But don’t drool too long guys, Alyssa Milano has dumped the likes of Justin Timberlake, Brad Penny, and Carl Pavano.

Besides! It’s about the game. (And she’s engaged!). Alyssa Milano will be in Ridgewood, New Jersey on March 24, 2009 at 7:00 PM at Bookends (East Ridgewood Ave.) and on March 25th at 12 noon, Borders Downtown (100 Broadway) in New York City and in Brooklyn at The BookMark Shoppe, on 3rd Avenue at 7:00PM.…

How to Create Bookmarks with OpenOffice Writer

How to Create Bookmarks with OpenOffice Writer

When you think of inserting a link in your OpenOffice Writer document, most people think of a hyperlink to a website. However, you can also create links to other parts of the same document. Why would you want to do this? For short documents, such as a three page document, links are not that beneficial. For a longer document, such as an ebook, links, also called bookmarks, are a major time saver.

Getting Started

The best way to create bookmarks in OpenOffice Writer is to first create a list of bookmarks, such as a table of contents. This page will be near the beginning of your document for easy access. You can also create a glossary or index at the end of your document. No matter how you want to do it, having all your bookmark links in one place makes it easier for your reader to find exactly what they need quickly.

Once your bookmark page is created, complete the rest of your document. Until you have the rest of your document written, it is hard to know exactly where to link your bookmarks. For instance, in an ebook, it is hard to guess where Chapter 2 will start until it is written. You can create bookmarks as your write, though.

Create a Bookmark

When you are ready to create your first bookmark, place your cursor at the beginning of the text or line you want to bookmark. For instance, in an ebook, you would likely create a bookmark for each chapter. In this example, you would place your cursor at the beginning of Chapter 1 and repeat the process for each chapter. You can divide bookmarks up however works best for your document.

Select the Insert menu and choose Bookmark. Enter a name for your bookmark in the first textbox. The name can be anything you want, but to make the next step easier, use a descriptive name. For chapters, you may want to use the chapter name or chapter number.

Press OK to add the bookmark to your document. Every new bookmark you add will be listed in the textbox below the bookmark name box. Delete a bookmark at any time by first selecting it from the list and choosing Delete.

Link to a Bookmark

Creating a bookmark does you little good unless you link to it. Navigate to your bookmark list page that you created initially. Highlight the text that matches your first bookmark. This text will serve as your hyperlink. Press the Hyperlink button or choose Insert and select Hyperlink.

Select Document from the left side of the screen. Beside the Target box, press the button that looks like a target. Select Bookmarks from the list. Choose the correct bookmark from the displayed list. Press Apply.

If you have multiple bookmarks, this method can become tedious. Luckily, you never have to close the Hyperlink window. If you have used descriptive names that are easy to remember, you don’t actually have to select Bookmarks either.

To continue, click your document and highlight the next bookmark text. This refreshes the Hyperlink window. In the Target text box, enter the # symbol plus the name of your bookmark. For the bookmark Chapter 2, you would enter the text #Chapter 2. Press Apply. Repeat this process. Please note that the name of the bookmark must be spelled exactly as it was original created. For Chapter 2, you couldn’t type chapter 2 or chapter2.

Adding bookmarks is much quicker this way. It also prevents skipping bookmarks in your bookmark list. After you’ve adding your bookmarks, click each link to make certain it works. Mainly, make certain it links to the correct spot in your document.


Book Review ~ Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

All good things must come to an end…..Magic Triumphs is Ilona Andrews’ final addition to the Kate Daniels series. WEEPS SILENTLY I might be a little sad but honestly, I am would rather authors end a story in their image and not keep it going just because they felt they HAD to.

Magic Triumphs ties up a lot of the ongoing conflicts but left some windows open. Personally, I am cool with this as they have begun at least one spin-off from this series and it was quite brilliant. (see review here) The world building is one of my favorite things about the Kate Daniels series and I am glad we still get to visit it. My other favorite thing about it was always the character development. All in all, this is still one of my all time favorite series. That being said, Magic Triumphs wasn’t my favorite book and parts of the ending left me feeling a little twitchy.

I imagine the authors struggled with this ending and morning the loss of something so wonderful. How do you end something so engaging that you created from nothing? So much of this series has been about Kate learning to accept herself or struggle with accepting herself and trusting others. Somehow, I felt like the ending took 10 steps back from this path. That is where my disappointment comes from. If I look past this, everything else was executed fairly well.…

Book Review: “Cracks in the Pavement” by Elizabeth McDougall

Historical novels often lend themselves to dreary descriptions of things from the past interrupted by brief character action; Elizabeth McDougall’s novel, The Cracks in the Pavement, is something else entirely. Although it encompasses a time period covering both World War II and the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya, this beautifully written novel is a study in characters so lifelike, readers will come to feel attached to the Kingston family of the novel as to their own friends, leaving the book wondering what happened to them.

Although the novel centers on Mardy, the headstrong youngest daughter of a colonial family as she grows up in pre-independence Kenya, each member of the Kingston family draws the reader in with his or her own story. Set amidst the turbulence of World War II, the family’s adventures cannot help but be affected by the political milieu in which they occur. And yet it is the family dramas that draw us into this fascinating novel. Never once are we conscious of the “historical importance” of the story; instead, it provides a backdrop for the family conflicts, settler crises, and way of life integral to the story. Where other novelists insert dogs and cats, McDougall instead has bush babies, lions, and dikdiks.

Mardy’s relationship with her mother forms a central theme of the novel. Like many young girls, not just those growing up in Kenya, she finds herself in constant conflict with Edwina, her mother. Edwina has her own demons to confront, and in the end, a dramatic turn of events will impact the lives of both mother and daughter. Along the way, we see Mardy as she grows up, from impertinent toddler peaking through the neighboring hedge to convent school (where the nuns have their own challenges with Mardy) on to life as a young woman falling in love. Every step in Mardy’s journey is an unfolding of her character and an expansion of family life for the reader.

This is not only a story of colonial settlers, however. McDougall gives full development to the Kikuyus with whom the family interacts. Nursemaid and companion Brigid is as vividly drawn as other Kingston family members. Indeed one of the author’s greatest writing gifts is the full development and personality given to even minor characters in her novel, whether they be schoolyard friends or gardeners. McDougall also handles with Mau Mau rebellion with a deft hand, helping readers understand how it arose and its impact on Kenyan society generally.

The Cracks in the Pavement is a wonderful book about family conflict and the enduring love that exists within a family. It is about weathering hard times together, and growing as individuals. It’s about mothers and daughters, personality clashes and longstanding friendship. In short, Elizabeth McDougall has crafted a wonderful story of a young girl growing up and into herself. That it all happens to be set in colonial Kenya is just icing on the cake. It’s easy to believe, with McDougall’s writing skills, that this story could have been set in any time period in any country and still be as beloved by readers. For readers of The Cracks in the Pavement, there’s nothing dreary in this historical novel’s setting. Instead, life seems to jump off every page.

The Cracks in the Pavement
Elizabeth McDougall

ISBN: 978-1419634796

This content was based upon a free review copy the Contributor received.


Hemingway’s Fish Tales for the Summer – A Book Review of Hemingway in Cuba, by Hilary Hemingway & Carlene Brennen

Fiction is my fancy, and I do not usually read many biographies because I feel they are boring or leave me feeling that I’ve read something completely inaccurate. However, I recently had the pleasure of reading a well written and rather entertaining biography. Hemingway in Cuba, by Hilary Hemingway and Carlene Brennen, is a biography that would be worth adding to your summer reading list. Whether you’re a fan of Ernest Hemingway, a Sports Fisherman, interested in Cuba’s past, or just love to read about true-life adventure, this book is a pleasurable read.

Hemingway in Cuba was printed in 2005 so it is not a new biography; it has been in stores and Libraries for two years now. The book is filled with old photographs of Ernest Hemingway’s fishing adventures, friends, and places in Cuba he frequently visited. I knew that Ernesto was a Sportsman, but until I read this book, I had no idea that he had such a passion for fishing. The fish tales told here are unlike any I have ever read. Hilary Hemingway, his niece and co-author of this biography, has a wonderful gift of narrative.

I became so wrapped up in the descriptions she gave of her Uncle, that by the time I was half way through the book, an entire evening had passed me by. According to Hilary Hemingway and Carlene Brennen, Ernesto’s life in Cuba was his inspiration for some of his novels. The Old Man and the Sea, To Have and Have Not, and Islands in the Stream are a few of Hemingway’s novels that have characters who are startling similar to Ernest’s Cuban fishing-adventure companions. The authors of this book have done an excellent job of tying excerpts from Ernest Hemingway’s novels to his real-life adventures in Cuba.

After reading Hemingway in Cuba I had a better understanding of why Ernest Hemingway came to call Cuba his home, and what the island was like before the American trade embargo. Hilary Hemingway was able to give intimate details about some of the fishing excursions and conversations that occurred during Ernesto’s life in Cuba. These details were gathered through access to a plethora of information in the form of letters, journals, books and photos left at Ernest’s home in Cuba: Finca Vigia. The Finca Vigia is now a Museum where select scholars and tourists can go to get a better understanding of Ernest Hemingway’s way of life.

I encourage the Adventurers, Big-Game Fisherman, Hemingway Fans, Cuban Americans, or biography buffs to read Hemingway in Cuba. If you don’t enjoy it maybe you’ll walk away with some interesting new images and fish tales in your head. I know that I now have a better understanding of Deep Sea fishing and the adventurous writer who spent so much time enjoying the sport in the waters surrounding the beautiful island.


Romance Land Drama – A Reader’s Perspective

There has been so much romance land drama this year, it consumes entire visits with friends that read. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you are luckiest reader alive, I envy you and I want to know how your secret. Also…don’t read this article. Seriously, ignorance is bliss.

You are still reading, and I will assume that you know at least some of what the drama is. This post is a reader’s perspective about how the drama is affecting me. How are readers feeling? What are bloggers doing different?

This post isn’t about the specific authors or many issues. So many others have brilliantly reported on all of these issues. There is literally nothing I could add. This post is simple. It is about how all of the drama affects me, as a reader. It is about how all of the drama affects me, as a blogger.

Having the drama (which appears to not be slowing down anytime soon) on a constant loop across every social media outlet is exhausting. Unfortunately, it also is anything new. From plagiarism, harassment, siccing “fans” on other authors, trademarks and catfishing….there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. I feel like the current issues hit a little harder because of the legal aspects and CLEAR ridiculous ripple effect of authors. For some unknown reason, going “ohhh that was a great marketing tactic” and following the lead of the circus master right into the fucking funny car. Only, it isn’t funny. It is stressful. I know it is stressful on the authors and I think that no one really seems to talk about how the stress has trickled down to the readers.

Witnessing readers gently pointing out that reactions from the crazy drama lama is not productive and they were bothered by it, seemed to create conflict and justifications from some authors. The problem is, those authors are not listening. Others seem to be a little oblivious. Others seem to take the possession of THIS IS IMPORTANT, so readers need to get over it. We get that it’s a big deal. We get why you are upset. The reality is…there isn’t a lot we can actively do about it. When every author everywhere is screaming over the internet about the same drama over and over…it diminishes the value of the real issue. Desensitizing readers with petty drama lama blog posts or social media posts, doesn’t add anything to our concerns. Do we want to be updated about the legal issues, sure. Realistically for every event, we probably get 1,000 updates. Regardless, important legal updates are not the same thing as every bizarre or inappropriate action.

Reading is an escape. Escaping into a world where love wins, fantastic creatures roam and kicking ass is the where we want to be. When you end up absorbed into the business side, it becomes hard to disconnect from it. Losing the value in the escape we desire and creating a deafening white noise effect of worry. What if this author actual plagiarized? What If I love this book and find out he/she is really a damn psycho and tomorrow they are going to show their true colors? What if this author is really a racist? What if this author…… Maybe this isn’t everyone’s internal dialog, but you know what I am saying here.

The effect on me is huge. It is affecting my book purchases, my ability to review and honestly…even my actual enjoyment of reading. Especially reading romance.

I mostly purchase the books I read. Publishers provide a small percentage of the books I read and are an exception, rather than the norm. Budgeting is also is a factor and although I used to be very liberal with purchases, time has shown that only a small percentage of the books I purchased were being read and changes were made to this habit. Now, I tend to make lists and when I am ready to read a new book I scroll through my list and purchase the book right before I read it. Yay, adulting.

Currently, almost all purchases are on hiatus. Being overwhelmed with all of this has pretty much shut me down on buying or reviewing books from anyone new, especially Indie. Many authors out there have a consistency about them and those I trust. This starts at the top of well-known large pub authors and down into Indie authors. The crazy isn’t isolated to one or the other, but it is certainly becoming a more predominate “trend” within in the Indie community – especially Romance. Indies have always made up a huge part of where I spend my money. That is how I have shown support, in addition to reading and reviewing. The random crazy didn’t really affect my personal habits …