Monday, September 24, 2012

Lasso the Stars - TLC Book Tours

Rating: Good Read

Synopsis:  If you’ve ever wondered if angels exist, Lasso the Stars is about to convince you that they do. Or at the very least, make you hope they do. In gentle, softly written language a powerful story emerges:

Dina’s doctor has delivered the most difficult diagnosis of all: her cancer is terminal. She is calm in the face of this devastating news and begins to evaluate her life while taking contemplative walks each day in the autumn sunshine.

Things are definitely winding down for her until, one day, she meets an intriguing stranger. “The man had an easy-going smile. A pair of aviator sunglasses rested on his nose. His dusty Levi’s covered long legs that ended in well-worn cowboy boots . . . He stepped down off the gate and held his hand out. “Gil,” he said, with a grin.

Dina is immediately attracted to the lean and weathered cowboy, who treats her with such respectful compassion. As for Gil, he finds himself not only admiring her courage but enjoying her company. Gil introduces Dina to a delightful world of horseback rides and picnics. Despite her illness, she begins to feel new energy surge through her as she responds to Gil, who is so attentive in her time of need.

At home, Dina and her sister, Rachel, share stories of growing up. Dina’s goal is to leave her family with happy memories. The reader will laugh with them, then at them, and even tap their deepest sorrow, all while the love story between Dina and Gil continues to develop on many levels.

The tenderness Dina feels for her family blends softly with the new love she feels for the man in her life. But instinctively she knows Gil must be her secret. Who would believe a woman in her condition could meet such a man?

Dina and Gil enter a relationship where sexuality between them simmers, then boils over, all underpinned by exquisite tenderness and caring. When Dina finally tells Rachel of her relationship, her sister thinks that, due to the cancer medications, Dina is hallucinating and attempts to restrict Dina’s daily wanderings.

Dina’s health continues to deteriorate, even as she finds ways to see Gil. What a blessing that, at the end of her life, she has met a man who’s such an angel! But as fall turns to winter, the promise of love begins to unravel, and questions arise that require answers. Soon Dina and Gil are faced with all the ways in which their new love is forbidden. Will they be able to lasso a future together? The answer will surprise you.

Lasso the Stars is a tender, sensual and hopeful book, leaving the reader with ideas to ponder long after the last page is turned.

My Review:  This seems to be a difficult review for me to write.  The synopsis pretty much sums it up. Given I am struggling with this review, I will start with the positives.  I thought the overall storyline  was a very sweet/romantic different view of death.  I lost my mother to leukemia in 2006 and I hope that she found her angel and it was a man who loved her as much as we all loved her.  I have never read a book like Lasso the Stars and I liked the concept of it.  I did think I would cry a lot through Lasso the Stars, but actually only cried at the very end.  It is sad, because Dina is dying, but it is not a gut wrenching book.  Also, you know going into it that Dina is dying.

So what is bothering me about Lasso the Stars?  You know I hate this, but I have to be honest.  I couldn't figure out what time period the book took place in.  I think it is current time, based on the sister, Jill.  Her busy career, life, on the go, mother of young kids, etc. lead me to be think it was current time.  Also, the use of the cell phones.  However, when I think of Dina and Rachel, I think it was maybe 1940's?  It seems Dina never has experienced love, Rachel still living at home in a very naive way, her relationship/dating of the doctor, Dina's "relationship" with Gil, Gil and the doctor seemed very "old fashion." However, they had cell phones.  I just couldn't reconcile this silly little detail in my mind.  Usually things like this don't bother me.

Gil....I didn't care for, I can't believe I said that about an angel.  He was very hard for me to follow and understand.  I couldn't stand that he started out most his sentences with Y'all.  It confused me every time.  English/writing/grammar are not my strengths at all, but I believe "Y'all"  is not used properly through out the book.  For some reason, it "interrupted" my reading and didn't flow for me.

Overall, it is a good book and if you liked the will enjoy Lasso the Stars.

Meet the Author:  Linda Nielsen (L.L. Nielsen) lives in an old gold mining town in the Sierra Foothills.  She has been published in magazines and newspapers.  Her ideas are often developed while walking in the mountains close to her home.  her writing companion is a reformed feral cat named Tank.  This book was inspired by the insightful and eccentric stories told by friends she has known who have battled against cancer.

Purchase it:  You can purchase Lasso the Stars at Amazon for $14.99 ($7.99 Kindle version).

TLC Book Tours:  Please visit the other blogs below for additional reviews.  From what I have read so far, most highly recommend Lasso the Stars.

Monday, September 17th: Maureen’s Musings
Tuesday, September 18th: Never Too Fond of Books
Wednesday, September 19th: Life in Review
Monday, September 24th: Seaside Book Nook
Wednesday, September 26th: WV Stitcher
Monday, November 19th: StephTheBookworm
Tuesday, November 20th: she treads softly
Wednesday, November 21st: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, November 26th: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Tuesday, November 27th: The Book Bag
Wednesday, November 28th: Knitting and Sundries
Thursday, November 29th: Paperback Princess
Friday, November 30th: But Doctor I hate Pink
Monday, December 3rd: Tina’s Book Reviews
Tuesday, December 4th: Mary’s Cup of Tea
Wednesday, December 5th: Sidewalk Shoes
Thursday, December 6th: Luxury Reading

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ten Girls to Watch

My Rating: Great Read

Synopsis:  A radiant debut novel about stumbling through the early years of adulthood— and a love letter to the role models who light the way.

Like so many other recent graduates, Dawn West is trying to make her way in New York City. She’s got an ex-boyfriend she can’t quite stop seeing, a roommate who views rent checks and basic hygiene as optional, and a writing career that’s gotten as far as penning an online lawn care advice column.

So when Dawn lands a job tracking down the past winners of Charm magazine’s “Ten Girls to Watch” contest, she’s thrilled. After all, she’s being paid to interview hundreds of fascinating women: once outstanding college students, they have gone on to become mayors, opera singers, and air force pilots. As Dawn gets to know their life stories, she’ll discover that success, love, and friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places. Most importantly, she’ll learn that while those who came before us can be role models, ultimately, we each have to create our own happy ending.

My Review:  I really liked Dawn.  She is a recent graduate and struggling to make ends meet in NYC.  She lands a job, through a connection at her ex-boyfriend's party.  It is his new girl friend that introduces Dawn to her new boss!  How unusual!  

Her new job is following up on where the past winners of the Charm magazine's "Ten Girls to Watch" contest are today.  She interviews so many amazing women and learns how they have all used their own talents to be successful.  Success is defined in so many ways.  I think Dawn grows a lot throughout the book as a part of her research/interviews.

I love that she works in a basement and no one is around in "the archives." Well, almost no one! I have no experience in that, but could picture it so clearly.  Dawn seems to be the type of person that makes the best out of any situation - which is success in my book any day!  

I really enjoyed Charity Shumway's debut novel, Ten Girls to Watch and am looking forward to reading other books she writes!

Meet the Author:  Charity Shumway received an MFA in Creative Writing from Oregon State University and a BA in English from Harvard University. Her writing has appeared in Glamour, where she reported on the fiftieth anniversary of the magazine’s “Top Ten College Women” contest, Ladies Home Journal, and Fitness, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Purchase it:  You can purchase Ten Girls to Watch from Amazon for $15.00 ($10.20 prime members and $9.99 Kindle version).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Candidate - TLC Book Tours + Giveaway

My Rating:  Great Read

Synopsis:  The novel begins with an assassination attempt. On a freezing winter’s night Jack Hodges, a little-known U.S. presidential candidate, speaks at a sparsely-attended town hall meeting in Iowa. It is a few weeks before the Iowa caucus, the first contest in the nomination process to be a candidate for President. 

Hodges is a charismatic former general with a dedicated team of believers including campaign staffer Mike Sweeney. But the campaign is a disaster. Ignored by the media, his candidacy barely registers in polls. Everyone assumes the established frontrunner, Virginia Governor Harriet Stanton, will easily win. 

But that single night in Iowa transforms the race. A female assassin waits for Hodges to take the stage. As he speaks a shot rings out. She misses but the incident propels Hodges – who heroically shield his wife from the gunfire- on to the front pages. Yet no one knows the identity of the shooter. Police arrest a mysterious dark-haired woman but she refuses to say a single word. Her name, age, even her nationality, is a mystery. 

Finally people pay attention to the Hodges campaign. Guided by his outspoken and outrageous campaign manager, Dee Babineaux, Hodges becomes a passionate, outsider rebel candidate pitted against Stanton, the lifetime career politician. Crowds now flock to his rallies inspired by his powerful message of hope and change. 

But as Hodges’ campaign climbs in the polls, Babineaux realises it is vital to discover the identity of the mysterious woman who tried to kill him. She gives the task to Mike Sweeney, a true believer in Hodges’ cause. He must find out the woman’s name and history before anyone from Stanton’s campaign or the media does. As Sweeney uncovers more and more information, Hodges’ campaign, guided by the ruthless genius of Babineaux, goes from strength to strength. By the time Sweeney finds out the true identity of the would-be assassin, he faces a choice that could effectively determine who could be the next President of America. 

Paul Harris, who has spent almost a decade covering American politics for The Observer and The Guardian, uses his own experience of reporting on the campaign trail to shine a light into the too-often murky world of American politics. His real world insights take the reader right into the heart of a fight for the White House

My Review:  The Candidate blew me away from the start.  Using an election as the backdrop provided a compelling and immediate draw for me.  As The Candidate unfolds, it becomes clear that all the "sleezy" things we hear about campaigns are about to come true in this story.  I was pulled into the story and couldn't get enough of the campaign manager that wants to bury the dirt, to the "all-too clean" candidate's wife that will do anything to keep the campaign going.

The Candidate is book is fast paced and a very quick read.  The chapters are on the short side, with breaks throughout - just the kind I like!  The Candidate will keep you in suspenses all the way to the end.  I recommend it, 100%!

Meet the Author:  PAUL HARRIS is a US Correspondent for the British newspapers The Observer and The Guardian. He lives in New York and writes about all aspects of American political and cultural life. The 2012 race is the third US presidential election he has covered, including 2008’s epic primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Prior to being posted in the US, Harris was a journalist in Britain and Africa. He has covered conflicts in Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, Burundi and South Africa. His experiences covering the civil war in Sierra Leone formed the inspiration for his first novel, THE SECRET KEEPER. He is glad to have swapped writing about war zones for the equally exotic but slightly less life-threatening world of American politics.

You can connect with Paul Harris on his website and twitter.

You can purchase The Candidate on-line at Amazon for $14.95.

Giveaway:  I am so happy to let you all know the publisher has authorized me to host a giveaway.  One lucky winner will receive their own copy of The Candidate!  Complete the form below.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please stop by the blogs below to for more reviews of The Candidate:

 Tuesday, September 4th:  West Metro Mommy 

Wednesday, September 5th:  Broken Teepee 
Monday, September 10th:  Peppermint Ph.D. 
Wednesday, September 12th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage 
Thursday, September 13th:  Crazy for Books 
Monday, September 17th:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Tuesday, September 18th:  Staircase Wit
Wednesday, September 19th:  Seaside Book Nook
Thursday, September 20th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, September 21st:  It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life
Wednesday, September 26th:  Fiction Addict
Thursday, September 27th: Proud Book Nerd
Monday, October 1st:  Book Addict Katie
Wednesday, Oct. 3rd:  The Blog of Litwits

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blood Eye (Raven: Book 1) - TLC Book Tours

My Rating:  Good Read

Synopsis:  In a thrilling adventure of brotherhood, warfare, and treachery, Giles Kristian takes us into ninth-century England, a world of darkness, epic conflict, and an unforgiving God served by powerful priests. On ships shaped like dragons, bristling with oars and armor, Jarl Sigurd and his fierce Norsemen have come in search of riches. And riches they are promised, by an English ruler who sends Sigurd and his wolves to steal a holy manuscript from another kingdom. Osric, an orphan boy, sees beyond the terror of these warriors, and somehow knows the heathens’ tongue. Renamed Raven, rechristened in blood, he will join them. They are his people. And they will be his fate.

My Review:  Blood Eye is a fast-paced historical fiction that is loosely set around a Norse invasion of 793 A.D. This tale tells of conquest, treachery and the blood-lust of the Norsemen.  Blood Eye also delves into the beliefs of the Christian and Norse Gods.

I thought of Conan the Barbarian and the changes he goes thru after being captured by Thulsa Doom, as Raven was transformed into one of the Norsemen.  Blood Eye also brought back memories from Michael Crighton's book, Eaters of the Dead, which is based on the diary of Ahmad ibn Fadlan's.  

I am looking forward to the release of Raven: Sons of Thunder - Book 2.

Meet the Author:   Having Viking ancestors himself, Giles Kristian believes that the story of Raven has always been in his blood—waiting, like the Norsemen, for the right time to burst upon the world. The Raven series has been published to great acclaim by Transworld in the UK. Giles Kristian currently lives in Leicestershire, where he writes full-time, though he enjoys nothing better than working in his family cottage that overlooks the mist-shrouded Norwegian fjords.

You can connect with Giles Kristian on his website, Facebook and Twitter

You can purchase Blood Eye, Raven - Book 1 on-line at Amazon $7.99 ($7.99 Kindle version).
Make sure you check out other TLC Book Tours stops for more reviews:

Tuesday, August 28th:  Wordsmithonia
Wednesday, August 29th:  Unabridged Chick
Thursday, August 30th:  Twisting the Lens
Tuesday, September 4th:  Broken Teepee
Thursday, September 6th:  The Written World
Monday, September 10th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, September 12th:  Proud Book Nerd
Thursday, September 13th:  Chaotic Compendiums
Friday, September 14th:  Just a Girl Geek – author guest post
Monday, September 17th:  Bookish Whimsy
Tuesday, September 18th:  Seaside Book Nook
Wednesday, September 19th:  Total Fangirl
Thursday, September 20th:  Nerds in Babeland
Monday, September 24th:  Dark Faerie Tales
Tuesday, September 25th:  Books Without Any Pictures
Wednesday, September 26th:  Fiction State of Mind
Thursday, September 27th:  Just Joanna

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Amazon September Deal - 5 Star, Must Read!

I just saw on Amazon that Daughter for a Time is only $1.99 (Kindle version and free for Prime members) for the month of September.  This was a 5 star - Must Read book for me!  I loved this book.  You can read my review here.

Don't you love the Amazon deals?  Do you have any you would recommend?  If so, please leave a comment below.  I so enjoy reading a great book!

Have a great week!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Book Blogger Hop

1. Post on your blog answering this question:

Highlight one of your favorite reviews from the past month! 

2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list  (enter your Blog Name, Genre you review, and direct link to your post answering this week’s question; failure to do so will result in removal of your link).

 3. Visit other blogs in the list, spending quality time getting to know the people you are visiting. Don’t just visit the post with the question, but click around and read some of the blogger’s other content, too! This Hop isn’t about the number of people you can visit, but the quality of each visit. Readers – find a new blog to read by clicking through the links in the list!

My Answer:

I have to go with Souviens by Barbara Darling Saxena.  I keep going back to Souviens for other blog hop answers.  Souviens is just that good.  If you haven't gotten my hints Souviens, you won't be sorry!

See me review here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

So L.A. - TLC Book Tours + Giveaway

My Rating:  A Good Read

Synopsis:  Beautiful Magdalena de la Cruz breezed through Berkeley and built an empire selling designer water. She'd never felt awkward or unattractive... until she moved to Los Angeles. In L.A. where everything smells like acetone and Errol Flynn Magdalena attempts to reinvent herself as a geographically appropriate bombshell with rhinestones, silicone and gin as she seeks an escape from her unraveling marriage and the traumatic death of her younger brother, Junah. Magdalena's Los Angeles is glitzy and glamorous but also a landscape of the absurd. Her languidly lyrical voice provides a travel guide for a city of make-believe, where even Hollywood insiders feel left out.

My Review:  I started out really liking So L.A., in fact I read the first 100 pages in 2 days (remember I am a sloooow reader).  After that, the book seemed to drag for me, until the last 75 pages.  I did like the short chapters (that is one of my favorite things!).  Overall, the story comes full circle.  I liked Magdalena and really liked Ricky and Puck.

There are a lot of extremely funny parts throughout So L.A.  The author knows her stuff about L.A.!  The book starts off in Northern California and the two locations, while completely different, are blended together and makes the story.  I also really liked the 5 Parts - "Takes" and the title for the chapters.  Very clever!

I was completely shocked on how So L.A. unfolds and what we find out near the latter part of the book (Take 4).  I would have never guessed the twist in the plot and the outcome.  Once I read what is reveled, it made more sense to me the 200 pages (approximately) that seemed to drag for me.  In hind sight, they were setting me up for the "punch."  It was a good read and I do recommend it.  It would make a great book club read.  Lots to talk about, that is for sure.  This is the authors first novel and I would purchase more books from her.

Meet the Author:  Bridget Hoida lives and writes in an imaginary subdivision off the coast of Southern California. In a past life she was a librarian, a DJ, a high school teacher and a barista. In this life she experiments with poetry and fiction and has taught writing at UC Irvine, the University of Southern California and Saddleback College. Bridget is the recipient of an Anna Bing Arnold Fellowship and the Edward Moses prize for fiction. She was a finalist in the Joseph Henry Jackson/San Francisco Intersection for the Arts Award for a first novel and the William Faulkner Pirate's Alley first novel contest. Her short stories have appeared in the Berkeley Fiction Review, Mary, and Faultline Journal, among others, and she was a finalist in the Iowa Review Fiction Prize and the Glimmer Train New Writer's Short Story Contest. Her poetry has been recognized as an Academy of American Poets Prize finalist and she was a Future Professoriate Scholar at USC. She has a BA from UC Berkeley and a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California. So L.A. is her first novel.

You can connect with Bridget on-line at her website and Facebook.  You can purchase So L.A. on-line from Amazon for $16.00 ($6.99 Kindle version).

Giveaway:  I am so lucky to have one copy of So L.A. to giveaway.  Complete the form below and good luck.  Contest closes September 20th at midnight EST.

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Guilty Wives by James Patterson

My Rating: Okay Read (Oh, it hurts me to rate it as such)

Synopsis:  No husbands allowed 

Only minutes after Abbie Elliot and her three best friends step off of a private helicopter, they enter the most luxurious, sumptuous, sensually pampering hotel they have ever been to. Their lavish presidential suite overlooks Monte Carlo, and they surrender: to the sun and pool, to the sashimi and sake, to the Bruno Paillard champagne. For four days they're free to live someone else's life. As the weekend moves into pulsating discos, high-stakes casinos, and beyond, Abbie is transported to the greatest pleasure and release she has ever known.

What happened last night?

In the morning's harsh light, Abbie awakens on a yacht, surrounded by police. Something awful has happened--something impossible, unthinkable. Abbie, Winnie, Serena, and Bryah are arrested and accused of the foulest crime imaginable. And now the vacation of a lifetime becomes the fight of a lifetime--for survival. GUILTY WIVES is the ultimate indulgence, the kind of nonstop joy-ride of excess, friendship, betrayal, and danger that only James Patterson can create.

My Review:  I have to be honest and say I didn't care for it.  I usually love James Patterson (and other co-author) books, but Guilty Wives didn't do it for me.  I thought the beginning was very fast paced and pulled me in.  The middle just dragged on for me.  The end of the book was really good too.  

The overall story is a good one. I just felt it could have been told in 100 pages or less.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Whiplash River - TLC Book Tours

My Rating: Great Read

Synopsis:  Having left his life of crime behind, former getaway driver Charles "Shake" Bouchon has finally realized the dream of owning his own restaurant in Belize. Unfortunately, to do so he's had to go deep in debt to a murderous local drug lord named Baby Jesus. And when Shake thwarts an attempted hit on an elderly customer named Quinn, things go from bad to worse.

Next thing Shake knows, his restaurant's gone up in flames and he's on the run from Baby Jesus, two freelance assassins, and a beautiful but ferocious FBI agent. Out of options, Shake has to turn to the mysterious Quinn for help. Suddenly Shake's up to his neck in a dangerous score that he'll never pull off unless he can convince an even more dangerous ex-girlfriend to join him.

My Review: Whiplash River is a fast, action packed book.  This blended plot, many twists like the Amazon! It moved me along a compelling journey through exotic locations, including Belize & Cairo.  Every time I thought I figured out where the book was taking me, I was wrong.  As I kept turning pages, I continued to be surprised!

I wish I could go to Belize and Cairo after reading Whiplash River!  The author did a great job transporting there!  Whiplash River reminds me of "Dirk Pitt" novels by Clive Cussler, except with a criminal past. If you are looking for a suspenseful and quick read with a great story, pick up Whiplash River, today.

Whiplash River is a sequel to Gutshot Straight.  I have not read Gutshot Straight (but I now have it on my to-read list!).  You do not have to have read Gutshot Straight to read Whiplash River.  It does stand on its own.

Meet the Author:  Lou Berney is an accomplished writer, teacher, and liar who has written feature screenplays and created TV pilots for Warner Brothers, Paramount, Focus Features, ABC, and Fox, among others. His short fiction has appeared in the New Yorker,Ploughshares, the Pushcart Prize anthology, and other publications. His first novel, Gutshot Straight, was named one of the ten best debut crime novels of the year by Booklist and nominated for a Barry Award.

You can connect with Lou Berney on-line on his website or on Facebook.  You can purchase Whiplash on-line at Amazon for $14.99  ($10.98 for prime members and $9.99 for Kindle version).

Check out other reviews on the TLC Book Tours:

Tuesday, August 2nd: Book Reviews by Elizabeth A. White
Thursday, August 9th: Mysteries and My Musings – review
Monday, August 13th: No More Grumpy Booksellers
Tuesday, August 14th: Conceptual Reception
Thursday, August 16th: Life In Review
Monday, August 20th: Mysteries and My Musings – Q&A
Tuesday, August 21st: West Metro Mommy
Wednesday, August 22nd: she treads softly
Wednesday, August 29th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Monday, September 3rd: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, September 5th: Seaside Book Nook
Thursday, September 6th: M. Denise C.
Monday, September 10th: Lance Mannion
Wednesday, September 12th: Kristina’s Favorites

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Souviens - 5 Stars, MUST read

My Rating:  5 Stars, MUST Read!

Synopsis:  Could Dr. Dakota Graham, a busy family practice doctor, have inherited more from her ancestors than her brains and beauty? If she believes the unorthodox theories of Dr. Theo Everett, the scientist enlisted to cure her recurrent nightmares, Dakota has also inherited actual memories from her ancestors experiences. Their shared research into ancestral memories will have unexpected consequences that may destroy her family and threaten her future as well.

My Review:  Wow! Souviens is just that good.  

Souviens is two stories in one.  The book alternates between 2010 with Dr. Dakota Graham and 1934 with Grace Dunning.  Both are amazing stories that leave you wanting more.  Twice, I was late to work because I couldn't put it down.  Both stories are fast moving with fantastic characters.  I loved them all.  Well not the evil ones, but they made the book!  

The main story (the 2010 one) focuses on Dakota and dreams that she continues to have.  She finds a doctor, Dr. Everett, who specializes in dream therapy/research.  Dr. Everett is very evil and has his own agenda for Dakota.  He has a very immoral way of obtaining information he needs for his research.  It was very intense!

The secondary story (the 1934 one) focuses on Grace and Fenton Anderson.  Fenton is obsessed with Grace, so much so, he covers up the death of her child's father.  He continues to show up in her life (even though she isn't always aware of it) and the turn of events throughout the story are incredible. 

Souviens brings both stories together in a fantastic way that I didn't see coming. Each story is so different, and so good.  Both could be told on their own. Souviens takes place in Michigan, which added a point of interest, as I am originally from Michigan.  I don't seem to stumble across books that take place in Michigan.  

I am afraid that if I go into any more detail, I will spoil the book for you.  I 100% recommend you will love Souviens too.  Run out and buy it today!  It is too good!  A Must read book!

Meet the Author:  Barbara Saxena is a family practice physician in Grand Ledge, Michigan. She is a graduate of General Motors Institute, University of Michigan, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. In her free time, she can be found walking her pack of golden retrievers.

You can purchase (and I recommend you do) Souviens on-line at Amazon for $13.99 ($4.99 Kindle version).

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Not Famous Anymore

Most of us dream of having the life of a movie star: the wealth, the fame, the adoration. One can even argue that it is the quintessential embodiment of the American Dream.  But what if you attain that life, only to find that it is not so much the American Dream as a “Waking Dream”-- an unreal and foggy existence that only pulls you farther from yourself? That’s what happens to Elliot Adrian, the “star” of award-winning novelist Michael Loyd Gray’s latest book, Not Famous Anymore.    

Movie star Elliott Adrian’s days are a whirlwind of parties, booze, and luxury. The problem is, none of it means anything to him. His outwardly perfect life is really just a prison, and although he cannot see the gilded bars, something deep within him knows he must escape before it kills him.  Deciding he doesn’t want to be famous anymore, he disappears from Hollywood and begins working his way back to his hometown in rural Illinois.

In his travels, Elliott meets many people who lead—on the surface—rather unenviable lives: the cab driver, the solitary rancher, the man pouring cheap beer in a small-town dive. But as each experience unfolds, he learns that they are in fact much richer men than he. Imagine his surprise when he tries to buy their friendship; they are not only unimpressed, but almost seem to pity him.  Through their kindness, honesty and quiet strength, he learns a most valuable lesson:  that giving of yourself is the only real currency.  

Not Famous Anymore is a social commentary, not only about the excesses of those living that Hollywood dream, but about everyone who aspires to live it without really understanding what it means.  It is about the millions of people who follow Ashton Kutcher on Twitter and watch every installment of the Real Housewives. But what makes this book so incredible is that is also about another America, filled with people who don’t care what Kutcher is doing. For these people, living the Dream means a different kind of abundance: nature, family, and the satisfaction of a hard day’s work. It is these people who help guide Elliott home.   

Gray is not snubbing his nose at wealth or fame, but simply reminding us of a lesson often forgot:  that material success, without direction and substance, can lead to an empty existence of moral decay and spiritual ruin.  Ultimately, the book is about turning away from the distractions of our technology- obsessed world and looking inward to find our own truth.  Elliott doesn’t check email, tweet or go on Facebook. He doesn’t even use the phone that much. He goes from living under a constant spotlight to living completely under the radar.  It is only then that he discovers that underneath all the superficial junk, he is a man with enough character, courage and moxie to face his own demons, and slay them. And that is a lesson we would all do well to learn.  To learn more about Michael Loyd Gray’s work, visit