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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Assata Shakur: A 20th Century Escaped Slave by Barbara Casey (Review and Giveaway)


Before reading this book I had no idea who Assata Shakur was. Why was she on the FBI's list of Most Wanted Terrorists and what had she done to get there? This was a sobering book because it shows the struggle of the black community against prejudice and racism.

Book Details:

Book Title: Assata Shakur: A 20th Century Escaped Slave by Barbara Casey
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 210 pages
Genre: Biography/True Crime
Publisher: Strategic Media Books
Release date: February 15, 2017
Tour dates: April 10 to 28, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (There is occasional use of bad language and it deals with crime including killings.)

Book Description:

In May 1973, Assata Olugbala Shakur was involved in a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike in which she was accused of killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster and assaulting Trooper James Harper. This resulted in her indictment of first-degree murder of Foerster and seven other felonies related to the shootout. A member of the Black Panther Party, she became a prime target of the Federal Bureau of Investigations Counterintelligence Program. When she joined the Black Liberation Army and went into hiding, between 1973 and 1977, she was placed on the FBI's Most Wanted List for three bank robberies, the kidnapping and murder of two drug dealers, and the attempted murder of two New Jersey police officers.

In March 1977 Assata Shakur was convicted of murdering state trooper Werner Forrester and was imprisoned. Two years later she broke out of the maximum-security wing of Clinton Correctional Facility in New Jersey, pistol in hand, as she and three cohorts sped out of the prison grounds. In 1984 she was granted political asylum in Cuba where she has lived ever since. On May 2, 2013, the FBI added her to the Most Wanted Terrorist List, the first woman to be listed. Assata Shakur: A 20th Century Escaped Slave is the story of Assata Shakur, before she became a fugitive and since.

Buy the book: 



My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Before reading this book I had no idea who Assata Shakur was. Why was she on the FBI's list of Most Wanted Terrorists and what had she done to get there? Author Barbara Casey has written a biography on the life of Joanne Chesimard a.k.a. Assata Shakur, who considers herself a Black revolutionary.

While reading this book I was motivated to do research and I learned that Assata is considered a folk hero among the black community because of her continued fight for freedom from the influence of white supremacists. In the 1970s she was part of the Black Liberation Army, who used any means viable for their cause such as robbing banks to support their activities. She was found guilty of the murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster and sentenced to life, even though she was unarmed. She states she is not guilty of that crime. She escaped to Cuba where she was legitimately granted political asylum and where she still lives.

Barbara Casey covers some of Assata's early life but most of the book is on how she got involved with her political activities and the infamous trial that put her 4 years in a men's prison where she was mistreated, beaten and lived under inhumane conditions before she was found guilty. She was also kept 18 months in solitary confinement. During this time she was also pregnant and gave birth to her daughter. This was one tough woman to have endured such treatment that would have broken a weaker person.

This book was interesting to me because it showed how flawed and racist the American judicial system is and how using violence and hate to fight a corrupt system is no better than the system itself. Those who fought racism and injustice with peace such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. understood that hate begets hate and violence begets violence.

Anyone interested in human rights, the judicial system, the law, political history, and the struggle of the black community would be interested in this book. Barbara Casey has done extensive research and based her information on "federal and state court records and files, FBI memoranda and documents, secret service files, police records, and information in the media." She includes a bibliography and an index that is helpful.

This book is a good study of a very controversial and infamous case that could become once again a headliner now that USA has restored some diplomatic relations with Cuba and wants Assata returned.

To read more reviews, please visit Barbara Casey's page on iRead Book Tours. 

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

About the Author:


Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, as well as book-length works of nonfiction true crime and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. Her previous nonfiction true crime work, Kathryn Kelly: The Moll behind Machine Gun Kelly, has been optioned for a major film and television series. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant for independent publishers and writers, and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, established in 1995, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan. Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix; Fitz, a miniature dachshund; and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

Connect with the author: Website


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Ends May 6

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Monday, April 24, 2017

More Than a Soldier: One Army Ranger's Daring Escape From the Nazis by D.M. Annechino (Book Spotlight & Giveaway)


Today I'm thrilled to be kicking off the virtual blog tour for More Than a Soldier, D.M. Annechino's latest novel, a powerful story of survival, resilience and courage, based on the true story of Angelo DiMarco.

Book Details:

Book Title: More Than a Soldier: One Army Ranger's Daring Escape From the Nazis
​Author: D.M. Annechino
Category: Adult Fiction, 316 pages
Genre: Historical Biography, WWII
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release date: April 2017
Tour dates: April 24 to May 19, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 (A few four-letter words and violence associated with war)

Book Description:

Feeling a patriotic duty to defend his country after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, seventeen year old, Angelo J. DiMarco, enlists in the U.S. Army. Severely short of frontline fighters, the Army rushes Angelo through Ranger training and sends him to Italy as part of the 1st Ranger Battalion. Their objective: stop the German invasion.

Fighting on the front lines in Italy, the German’s teach Angelo a sobering lesson on life when they capture him during the bloody battle of Cisterna. Against insurmountable odds, Angelo miraculously escapes in a way that stretches the imagination. He survives behind enemy lines for over five months, hiding from the Germans and trying to outmaneuver them. He begs for food, sleeps in barns and suffers from many ailments, including dehydration, malnutrition, malaria and exposure to the elements.

More Than a Soldier is Angelo DiMarco’s powerful story of survival, resilience and courage.

To follow the tour, visit D.M. Annechino's page on Italy Book Tours.


Buy the Book: 

Amazon



Praise for More Than a Soldier:

Annechino colorfully draws the actions scenes, and richly brings the supporting cast of characters to life. A moving tale of survival in war-torn Europe.
- Kirkus Reviews

Nuanced and eloquently written, More Than a Soldier adds to the body of WWII literature an extraordinary story of survival and a deeply affecting portrait of a soldier’s coming-of-age.
- The iRead Review

Meet the Author:


Daniel M. Annechino, a former book editor, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly. He has written and published five novels—all thrillers. But his latest work, More Than a Soldier, is a Historical Biography set in Italy during WWII.

A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


Enter the Giveaway!
Ends May 27

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? April 24 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Humdrum week. Working, helping my kids with school projects, and reading. Too many late nights though. But it's when I get most of my reading done!


Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


One book in my mailbox:



These were free on Kindle:






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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo (Review)


Both my son and I, and also Sandra, who is part of our review team, had a chance to review this beautiful book. It's a moving, gentle story of one refugee's experience in the Syrian civil war.

Book Details:

My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne Del Rizzo
ISBN: 9781772780123
Published: March 8, 2017
Published by Pajama Press
Hardcover picture book: 32 pages
For children ages 6 – 10
Content rating: G

Book Description:

Sami, the Syrian skyline is full of smoke. The boy follows his family and all his neighbours in a long line, as they trudge through the sands and hills to escape the bombs that have destroyed their homes. But all Sami can think of is his pet pigeons―will they escape too? When they reach a refugee camp and are safe at last, everyone settles into the tent city. But though the children start to play and go to school again, Sami can’t join in. When he is given paper and paint, all he can do is smear his painting with black. He can’t forget his birds and what his family has left behind.

One day a canary, a dove, and a rose finch fly into the camp. They flutter around Sami and settle on his outstretched arms. For Sami it is one step in a long healing process at last.

A gentle yet moving story of refugees of the Syrian civil war, My Beautiful Birds illuminates the ongoing crisis as it affects its children. It shows the reality of the refugee camps, where people attempt to pick up their lives and carry on. And it reveals the hope of generations of people as they struggle to redefine home.

Buy the Book: 



Our Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani and Son

My Beautiful Birds is a touching story about a Syrian boy who flees with his family from his burning city to trek to a refugee camp. Sami is a bird lover and he keeps pigeons, but he is now worried as he leaves all he ever knew and loved behind. His father assures him that his birds have escaped too.

My Beautiful Birds is an important book, written and illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo when she was motivated by her research for resources to explain the Syrian Cival War to her own children. It's a story that any child who loves animals can understand. Sami misses his birds and is saddened by what has happened even as his family adjusts to refugee life if the city-like camp. He finally begins the healing process when four birds appear and Sami begins to take care of them. 



My son and I both loved this story and the dimensional illustrations that the author created through Plasticine, polymer clay and other mixed media. The birds especially are so detailed, they come alive and seem to pop out of the pages. Every page was a delight to explore. Truly a work of art. Children (and adults) of all ages will appreciate these illustrations.


Although this is a story about war, it is hopeful and uplifting. It helps young ones to understand what is happening in our world and how we all have the same needs. A variety of emotions are explored in this book: sadness, fear, anger, hope and compassion. It's a book that can open up dialogue between parent and child.

My Beautiful Birds should be included in all school libraries. It's a keeper in our home. And has made it on our list of Best Reads of 2017. 


My Review:
Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

My heart was so touched by this poignant story of Sami, a little Syrian boy who must leave his home and his beloved pigeons to flee to a refugee camp. Though camp life becomes a "new normal" for the refugees, Sami only begins to heal emotionally when 4 birds – a canary, a dove, a rose finch, and a pigeon arrive in the camp. His feelings of sadness, fear, displacement are gradually replaced with a feeling of security and safety.

The textured illustrations in the book are beautiful, original artwork created with polymer clay, Plasticine, and other media, producing an almost 3-D effect to my eye. My favourite illustration is the overview of the refugee camp.

Millions of people have been displaced, including children. Millions are still in refugee camps. At the present time its Syrian refugees that we hear about in the media. This book sheds light on their plight, their ongoing battles to cope and how war affects children. It's a gentle, moving book that parents can use to help their own children to understand the world in which they live.

This talented Canadian author has produced a sensitive, moving account of what life is like in traumatic, emotionally-wrenching events experienced by so many people.

I highly recommend My Beautiful Birds.

Our disclaimer: Thanks to the publisher for sending us this book for review. We were not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


About the Author:


Suzanne Del Rizzo began her career in picture books as the illustrator of the award-winning Skink on the Brink. With My Beautiful Birds, she launches herself as both author and illustrator for the first time. Suzanne’s dimensional illustrations use Plasticine, polymer clay, and other mixed media to bring rich texture and imagination to her books, the most recent of which was Sky Pig. She lives in Oakville, Ontario.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram


Friday, April 21, 2017

The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi (Review)


Unforgettable, heartbreaking and hopeful...this one is a stunning debut from author Amita Trasi!

Book Details:

Book Title: The Color of Our Sky by Amita Trasi
Category: Adult Fiction,  416 pages
Genre: Literary / Women's Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release date: April 18, 2017
Tour dates: April 18 to May 8, 2017
Content Rating: PG-14 + M (This book contains mature subjects and scenes of rape, suicide, sex trafficking, prostitution, and physical and mental abuse)

Book Description:

In the spirit of Khaled Hosseini, Nadia Hashimi and Shilpi Somaya Gowda comes this powerful debut from a talented new voice—a sweeping, emotional journey of two childhood friends in Mumbai, India, whose lives converge only to change forever one fateful night.

India, 1986: Mukta, a ten-year-old village girl from the lower caste Yellama cult has come of age and must fulfill her destiny of becoming a temple prostitute, as her mother and grandmother did before her. In an attempt to escape her fate, Mukta is sent to be a house girl for an upper-middle class family in Mumbai. There she discovers a friend in the daughter of the family, high spirited eight-year-old Tara, who helps her recover from the wounds of her past. Tara introduces Mukta to an entirely different world—one of ice cream, reading, and a friendship that soon becomes a sisterhood.

But one night in 1993, Mukta is kidnapped from Tara’s family home and disappears. Shortly thereafter, Tara and her father move to America. A new life in Los Angeles awaits them but Tara never recovers from the loss of her best friend, or stops wondering if she was somehow responsible for Mukta's abduction.

Eleven years later, Tara, now an adult, returns to India determined to find Mukta. As her search takes her into the brutal underground world of human trafficking, Tara begins to uncover long-buried secrets in her own family that might explain what happened to Mukta—and why she came to live with Tara’s family in the first place.

Moving from a traditional Indian village to the bustling modern metropolis of Mumbai, to Los Angeles and back again, this is a heartbreaking and beautiful portrait of an unlikely friendship—a story of love, betrayal, and, ultimately, redemption.


Purchase Links:




My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

The Color of Our Sky is an unforgettable story. What a stunning debut about the bond between two girls from different caste systems in India. I was immersed and transported to a reality that was heartbreaking but hopeful, with the resilience of the human spirit triumphing even in the most debased of human conditions.

The story is told from the alternating first person point of view of two girls: Tara, a city girl who grew up in a respectable home and upper caste system; and Mukta, a poor village girl, daughter of a temple prostitute from the lower-caste system. When the compassion of an older woman and her son lead Mukta to escape her fate of prostitution by placing her as a servant girl in Tara's home, the two girls become fast friends, breaking the rule that the two caste systems cannot mix.

The story takes place from 1986 to 2008 and goes back in forth in time until the two converge. This was very well done, building up anticipation and suspense as we follow both girls' lives to an ending that is satisfying and uplifting. Tara is a feisty girl who was very close to her father, but tragedy strikes several times and she is left scarred and guilt-ridden. Mukta suffers tragedy too, but she accepts her station in life and remains hopeful even as she suffers the mistreatment and slavery of prostitution by the mafia. Honestly, my heart ached so much for her and all the young girls, some  as young as eight, who are forced into this brutal life and killed if they try to escape.

As much as this book was hard to read at times, it was interspersed with joyful memories of the girls' friendship, their childhood, or the happy times spent with their mothers. We are intrigue by the mystery of Mukta's kidnapping as the circumstancing are revealed a little at a time. India comes to life under Trasi's pen, and her characters are so well-developed and real. The story raises awareness about sex trafficking and the people who dedicate their lives to helping victims of such crimes. 

Ultimately, this is a story that shows how far the depth of love and friendship can run, juxtapositioned with how tradition, poverty and greed can render people to do inhumane things. The contrast between despair and hope throughout the story keeps the reader glued to the pages, renewing one's belief that hope can help one survive.

Fans of Shilpi Somaya Gowda will devour this book. Amita Trasi is a new author to look out for. The Color of Our Sky has made it to my list of Best Reads of 2017.

Disclosure: Thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


About the Author:


Amita Trasi was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She has an MBA in human resource management, and currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and two cats.

Find out more about Amita at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Searching for Gatsby: A Ronnie Lake Mystery by Niki Danforth (Review)

 

When a first edition valued at half a million dollars goes missing, everyone becomes a suspect.

Book Details:

Searching for Gatsby: A Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery by Niki Danforth
ISBN: 9781946403001
Published: December 3, 2016
Published by: Pancora Press
Trade paperback: 320 pages
Content rating: PG

Book Description:

He’s handsome, wealthy, and oh so mysterious…but you can’t judge a book by its cover, right?

A fifty-something divorcée turned private eye, Ronnie Lake turns the pages on her current case with her beloved German shepherd at her side. Adultery, betrayal, and romance are the main characters until murder steals the scene and plunges her into the exclusive world of rare book collecting.

When a priceless first edition vanishes, everyone becomes a suspect...and a target. But a literary shocker speaks volumes about an historic book series - curiously lost to time - that holds the key to it all.

Be sure to enjoy the eBook bonus prequel to Ronnie Lake’s story in the first several chapters of "Stunner" and the beginning of "Delilah!"

Buy the Book: 
Amazon  


My Review:

Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski
I reviewed Stunner: A Ronnie Lake Mystery by this author a few years ago and I must say, she hasn't lost her appeal! While this is a stand-alone novel, it's helpful to read the two previous books that introduce some of the characters found in this tale.

This is a fast-paced, exciting mystery with twists and turns that keep the reader turning the pages. It's written in a smart, contemporary style, with most of the action taking place at an upscale venue. It's all about expensive cars, expensive purses and the wherewithal to collect rare books. It includes robbery, murder, and a love angle in connection in the search for a rare book. The creative plot involves pages containing cryptic letters and the numbers 1944 hidden inside a dog toy.

The characters are well developed.  Ronnie is sophisticated, funny, and warm as well as a skillful, determined investigator. And she's not beyond being attracted to the proverbial handsome, older man. Who can resist her monologues with a picture of Sean Connery, aka James Bond in her bathroom? "It's the only picture hanging on my bathroom walls because a chat with my favourite spy while soaking in the tub is one of my preferred ways to unwind." And the music that somehow always mirrors the situation she is about to face.

My favourite characters, however, are Peachie, a terrier that Niki rescues, and Warrior, a retired German shepherd war dog who is a veteran of Afghanistan. He is one of the characters introduced in the author's first novel .

Despite some mild language peppered throughout the story, this is essentially a clean read that will capture the interest of mystery buffs and romantics alike.

Sandra Olshaski's disclaimer: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.



About the author:



Niki Danforth, daughter of a Cold War covert intelligence officer, has the "thriller/adventure" gene in her DNA. After a career as a successful TV/video producer and director in New York, this empty-nester is picking up her first love of suspenseful mystery books and recreating herself as an author in the genre. Danforth lives in the New Jersey countryside with her husband and two drama-queen dogs. She is hard at work writing her next book.

You can also follow Danforth on Facebook at "Niki Danforth Author" where she loves to review her favorite books, movies and TV shows.

To join Niki Danforth's mailing list for updates and specials, visit her website at www.nikidanforth.com to sign up.

Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Middle South by Maya Nessouli Abboushi (Book Spotlight and Giveaway!)


On a hilarious journey that takes Layla from the Southeast to the Middle East and back, she finds out a little more about herself ​and what she is looking for in life and in love.

Book Details:

Book Title: Middle South by Maya Nessouli Abboushi
​Category: Adult Fiction, 215 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lanier Press
Release date: March 8, 2017
Tour dates: April 17 to May 5, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13

Book Description:

Layla has recently moved out of her parents’ home in the Atlanta suburbs and into an apartment in the city to assert her independence. Between her job as a feature writer for a small newspaper and her social life, Layla has little time to think about marriage and children, much to the dismay of her Lebanese parents.

On a hilarious journey that takes Layla from the Southeast to the Middle East and back, she finds out a little more about herself and what she is looking for in life and in love.


Buy the Book:


Meet the Author:


Maya Nessouli Abboushi is a Lebanese American born and raised in the United States. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children. This is her first novel.

​Connect with the author: Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram


Enter the Giveaway!
Ends May 13

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Mama Says, "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees!" by Dr. Iris Mack (Book Spotlight and Giveaway!)



Today I am spotlighting and kicking off the tour for Dr. Iris Mack's financial literacy book “Mama Says Money Doesn't Grow on Trees!'' which is focused on teaching students that math can be fun and key to understanding money and interest. And enter for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

Book Details:

Book Title: Mama says, ''Money Doesn't Grow on Trees!''
Author: Iris Marie Mack, PhD, EMBA
​Category: Middle-Grade Non-fiction, 48 pages
Genre: Financial and Math Literacy
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release date: January 14, 2011
Tour dates: April 17 - 28, 2017
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Globe Newswire reports that Dr. Iris Mack's mathematics edutainment book is "turning heads across the country in a response similar to the widely promoted 'Hooked on Phonics,' that improved children's reading skills." Her unique approach to math became one of Xlibris/Random House Publisher's top children's picture book royalty earners.

If there is one word that sums up our recent economic woes, it is interest. There’s interest on credit card balances, student loans, car loans, home mortgages, corporate borrowings and most prominently, on state and national debt. But there is surprisingly little interest in this interest. We all pay it. But not many of us really understand how it works. Dr. Iris Mack has filled the gap – and for young consumers.

Her financial literacy book “Mama Says Money Doesn't Grow on Trees!'' is focused on teaching students that math can be fun and key to understanding money and interest. In today’s world of subprime mortgage crises, bankruptcies, massive credit card debt and predatory lending, Dr. Mack's book is more relevant than ever. In “Mama Says Money Doesn't Grow on Trees!" a group of smart, animated characters explain how money and interest work, as young consumers are introduced to mathematics and financial literacy. Professor Ø, Ms. Madonna Sorenson and Dr. Mackamatix lead students Al G Bro, Frakshun, Nada, Queen% and Material Girl Ma$ through a fun-filled math class all about how money and interest work in their everyday lives.

Learn more: MathQED TV

Praise for this book:

“I think the work you do showing how math can be beautiful and practical is great, keep it up!” says Javier Tordable, Senior Software Engineer at the Google Corporation.

“Making math fun and relevant is a real public service. Old fashioned, boring textbooks aren't the thing that will capture the imagination and engage our children in the fun and yes, joy, in math and problem solving. Iris Mack has created a group of characters and scenarios that will draw young people into the fold of knowledge.” says Karen Pritzker– Producer of The My Hero Project and Editor of The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity website.

Buy the Book: Amazon 


Meet the Author:


Iris Marie Mack, PhD, EMBA, earned a doctorate in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University. She was also awarded a Sloan Fellowship Executive MBA from the London Business School. Dr. Mack worked at various energy and financial institutions, acted as a faculty member at MIT, and worked at NASA and AT&T Bell Labs – where she obtained a patent for research on optical fibers.
Dr. Mack currently lectures on Energy Trading and Risk Management for the Fitch Learning Certificate in Quantitative Finance Program on Wall Street and at Tulane University. Because of Dr. Mack's extensive knowledge of the derivatives, energy trading, and investment banking world, she has been invited to write opinion columns for the UK edition of the International Business Times.

Dr. Mack has also been named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 Working Women, and she is no novice writer. This publishing will be her third financially-focused and published book – including her energy trading book published with Wiley Finance and a financial literacy book for teens and adults. With this breadth of experience and sheer intellectual prowess, Dr. Mack is more than able to help readers reach the financial stability they deserve.

In addition, Dr. Mack founded The Global Energy Post and MathQED - a homework help site for K-12 and college students. Previously known as Phat Math, this service has even been named one of the Top 50 Social Sites for Educators and Academics, 25 Savvy Social Media Sites for Grad Students and 25 Useful Networking Sites for Grad Students. Such accolades illustrate Dr. Mack’s ability to clearly inform the masses.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


Enter the Giveaway!
Ends May 6


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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? April 17 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

So we started our home renovations. Most of the furniture in my den and office is now in my garage or my living room. We began ripping the damaged floors and walls and have a ways to go, but at least we're getting it done. The water damage is not that extensive but if we have to rip a good portion of the floor and walls might as well rip it all out and make sure mold hasn't settled in. Besides that, I'm spending time with family, reading good books and watching Nashville on Netflix. I love the songs. Hope you're all having a great weekend!


Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.

Three awesome books in my mailbox, two of which are time travel. Yay!








~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.




Reading Now:




Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Spotlight on Dr. Iris Marie Mack: Founder of The Global Energy Post and MathQED



Today, I'm honored to spotlight Dr. Iris Marie Mack, a brilliant woman who has earned a doctorate in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University. She has worked at various energy and financial institutions, acted as a faculty member at MIT, and worked at NASA and AT&T Bell Labs – where she obtained a patent for research on optical fibers. Doesn't she remind you of the women from Hidden Figures?

Dr. Mack has also been named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 Working Women, and she is no novice writer. She has published three financially-focused books and this time we are spotlighting Energy Trading and Risk Management. I know this is not the usual non-fiction business book I would feature on my blog, but I love supporting strong women and their intelligent work.

Be sure to enter the giveaway to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!



Book Details:

Book Title: Energy Trading and Risk Management: A Practical Approach to Hedging, Trading and Portfolio Diversification
Author: Iris Marie Mack, PhD, EMBA
​Category: Adult Non-fiction, 320 pages
Genre: Energy, Trading, Risk Management, Finance, Business, Financial Engineering
Publisher: Wiley Finance
Release date: April 2014
Tour dates: April 3 to 14, 2017
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

​A comprehensive overview of trading and risk management in the energy markets

Energy Trading and Risk Management provides a comprehensive overview of global energy markets from one of the foremost authorities on energy derivatives and quantitative finance. With an approachable writing style, Iris Mack breaks down the three primary applications for energy derivatives markets – Risk Management, Speculation, and Investment Portfolio Diversification – in a way that hedge fund traders, consultants, and energy market participants can apply in their day to day trading activities.
  • Moving from the fundamentals of energy markets through simple and complex derivatives trading, hedging strategies, and industry-specific case studies, Dr. Mack walks readers through energy trading and risk management concepts at an instructive pace, supporting her explanations with real-world examples, illustrations, charts, and precise definitions of important and often-misunderstood terms.
  • From stochastic pricing models for exotic derivatives, to modern portfolio theory (MPT), energy portfolio management (EPM), to case studies dealing specifically with risk management challenges unique to wind and hydro-electric power, the bookguides readers through the complex world of energy trading and risk management to help investors, executives, and energy professionals ensure profitability and optimal risk mitigation in every market climate.
Energy Trading and Risk Management is a great resource to help grapple with the very interesting but oftentimes complex issues that arise in energy trading and risk management.

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble 


Meet the Author:

Iris Marie Mack, PhD, EMBA, earned a doctorate in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University. She was also awarded a Sloan Fellowship Executive MBA from the London Business School. Dr. Mack worked at various energy and financial institutions, acted as a faculty member at MIT, and worked at NASA and AT&T Bell Labs – where she obtained a patent for research on optical fibers.

Dr. Mack currently lectures on Energy Trading and Risk Management for the Fitch Learning Certificate in Quantitative Finance Program on Wall Street and at Tulane University. Because of Dr. Mack's extensive knowledge of the derivatives, energy trading, and investment banking world, she has been invited to write opinion columns for the UK edition of the International Business Times.

Dr. Mack has also been named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 Working Women, and she is no novice writer. This publishing will be her third financially-focused and published book – including her energy trading book published with Wiley Finance and a financial literacy book for teens and adults. With this breadth of experience and sheer intellectual prowess, Dr. Mack is more than able to help readers reach the financial stability they deserve.

In addition, Dr. Mack founded The Global Energy Post and MathQED - a homework help site for K-12 and college students. Previously known as Phat Math, this service has even been named one of the Top 50 Social Sites for Educators and Academics, 25 Savvy Social Media Sites for Grad Students and 25 Useful Networking Sites for Grad Students. Such accolades illustrate Dr. Mack’s ability to clearly inform the masses.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini (Review and Giveaway!)


Righettini has written an unforgettable tale of one woman's epic journey of life and love, amidst the perils of the Oregon Trail. Highly recommended to all lovers of good historical fiction. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win your copy!

Book Details:

Book Title: The Blue Hour by Vicki Righettini
Category: Adult Fiction,  560 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Mill City Press
Release date: Nov 17, 2015
Tour dates: March 3 to April 28, 2017
Content Rating: PG - 13 (for scenes of marital abuse)

Book Description:

IN THIS EPIC TALE of love, loss, and redemption, the year is 1861, a time when women are expected to be married by a certain age. At 26, spinster Emily Wainwright has no reason to believe her sheltered life will ever change—until the charming Samuel Todd unexpectedly crosses her path.

Samuel yearns to homestead and start a family in Oregon, but he first needs to find a wife. Blinded by Samuel’s good looks, and grasping at her final chance to have a husband and children, Emily accepts his marriage proposal. However, Samuel is not the man she thought he was, and her marriage becomes a cold, cruel prison, offering her no solace amidst the hardships of farm life.

When Samuel dies and a second chance at love and happiness arrives in the form of farmhand Cole Walker, Emily must overcome her bitter past—or risk losing Cole and the life she has always dreamed of having.


Buy the Book:





My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

In this well-written debut novel, Vicki Righettini succeeds in transporting me fully to a woman's arduous and coming-of-age journey on the Oregon Trail in the 1860s. When well-bred Emily Wainwright is not yet married at 26, she accepts Samuel Todd's proposal of marriage and a new life in Oregon. The difficult and dangerous trek (mostly done on foot), along with her married life to a man that becomes bitter and how she survives and comes out triumphant in her new life out on the frontier is what The Blue Hour is all about.

I was impressed by the well-researched historical details of the Oregon Trail and how Righettini deftly weaves these into the story. The treacherous beauty of the land is contrasted with the swelling and dipping hope of the emigrants as they forge ahead to make a new life for themselves. This is an immersive story as we follow in Emily's footsteps and witness her transformation from a well-bred lady of society to a pioneer who learns to cook and do laundry on the trail.

Although the book's description mentions that Emily is given a second chance at love, this only happens in the last quarter of the book. There is a little romance but the story really is about one woman's strength to overcome and survive adversity. Emily is a woman of her time, yet she is different. She has a quiet strength and a keen intelligence, using her knowledge of plants and herbs for healing and later to make a living.

As a woman, I admired Emily and her ability to not give up and to remain positive in her situation. The kindness of neighbors, the value of friendship, redemption, being resourceful and not giving up are strong themes in this book. With memorable characters, vivid scenes and heartwrenching situations, I loved reading this novel that filled me with a myriad of emotions.

Righettini has written an unforgettable tale of one woman's epic journey of life and love, amidst the perils of the Oregon Trail. Highly recommended to all lovers of good historical fiction. This title has made it to my list of 2017 Best Reads.


To read more reviews, please visit Vicki Righettini's page on Premier Virtual Author Book Tours.

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


About the Author:



Vicki Righettini is an award-winning, nationally produced playwright, and her recently-published historical novel, The Blue Hour, was a badge winner and Pitch Perfect Pick at Underground Books. Originally from Los Angeles, Vicki lived in Oregon for over twenty years, where she developed an abiding love of the land and the Oregon way of life. Before turning to full-time writing, she worked for forty years as a singer/actress and performing arts instructor. Her blog, Between a Book and a Hard Place, focuses on the ups and downs of the creative process. Vicki lives in San Diego with her software-developer, Jeopardy!-champion husband, and the world’s shyest cat.

Connect with the Author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

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