Thursday, June 25, 2009

Eternal Moon by Rebecca York

Eternal Moon by Rebecca York
(Paranormal Romance)

Last year I had the pleasure of inviting Rebecca York to guest blog with me, at another site I reviewed for, about her then current release Ghost Moon. The book sounded really interesting, and I was certain it would be one I'd quite enjoy. Over a year later, I still have not read Ghost Moon. Shame on me; I know. (LOL) I have, however, had the recent privilege to read and review York's April 2009 MOON series release, Eternal Moon. The eighth book (tenth Marshall clan story) in an already stunning line up, I was very eager and excited to finally have an opportunity and reason to see what this series was all about.

Renata Cordona, a reincarnated goddess from another time and place, has seen more than her fair share of loss and devestation. Jacob Marshall, now a werewolf from the Marshall clan, also has suffered more than his due of grief and heartbreak. What neither realizes about themself or the other is that their roots go back in time and intertwine in a way far greater than either could possibly imagine.

An undercover PI posing as a real estate agent, Renata hopes to discover and stop the merciless killer who has already preyed on three innocent women. Jacob, who feels drawn to Renata's essance, doesn't like the danger she is putting herself in. He can't be certain without getting closer, but Jacob is quite convinced that Renata might just be the life mate he's been searching for. Finding her savagely brutalized and murdered, before he can make sense of his feelings for her would be disastrous. So, Jacob takes it upon himself to be Renata's secret guardian angel. Trailing her in his wolf form, Jacob is able to observe Renata without putting himself in the mix until he is ready. And then Renata is nearly attacked by a pack of wild dogs...

Completely unaware of what doors his intervention will open, Jacob puts himself between Renata and the wild dogs. What's done is done, and now Jacob must decide whether to follow his heart on the complicated and crazy adventure he's about to embark on. It won't be easy and it won't always make sense; but if the fates will allow, Jacob and Renata both might come out alive, well, and happily together on the other side.

I have to say, it wasn't quite what I was expecting. I enjoyed the storyline and characters, and as a whole I thought they played out well together. I think I was expecting more on the werewolf front though, and instead got a story that dealt a lot with an alternate universe and strange mythological Greek inspired goddesses and demons. It was weird. Weird in a good way; again, I don't want anyone to think the book or story was poorly written because truly it wasn't. It just wasn't really my cup of tea when all was said and done. It seemed to me that there was more of a fantasy feel instead of the paranormal edge I was looking for. So, while bumping the rest of this series up my queue probably isn't going to happen anytime soon it's not going to be because of the content but more so for the personal lack of interest in this particular story's style.

Having said that, I suppose I should mention that I did have a couple of issues with the quality of the writing within the story. First and foremost, I was totally put off by that fact that the sex scenes, in general, seemed rather repetative, as if they were all slightly tweaked versions of a cookie cutter style 'copy and paste' version. Then again, maybe the fault was all my own as the reader.

My biggest issue of complaint, I'd have to say, was that I found the author's use of the word "cock" to be redundant and lacking imagination. I can enjoy a good descriptive sex scene, just as much as the next girl, but I want it to be believable. To me, when an author uses this word to refer to the male genitalia, it comes across as brash, vulgar, and completely unsexy. I do realize and acknowledge, however that there are plenty of women who probably do not have a problem with the word "cock" and do use it when talking and writing. So be it. Perhaps if it had been used itermitantly with another word or two, the author could have brought the necessary emphasis to the hard and frenzied sex scenes where the language was intended to imply the intense emotions and raw, basic need expressed between the partners. For me personally though, I just don't see how its constant overuse brought anything to this particular story. Infact, I'd go as far as to say that, if anything, I believe it became more of a cliche by the end.

Overall, I'd rate this probably at a 3 1/2 on a scale of 1-5. It wasn't my favorite book by any means, but it was a decent read even though the story took a different direction than most paranormal reads I'm used to.

Thanks to Publicist Binnie Syril for the review opportunity.

~Bookish Mom (aka RebekahC)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let's Have a Warm Welcome for Susan Helene Gottfried!!!

A few months back I had the absolute pleasure of reviewing a book by the title of ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes, Year 1. (Read my review HERE.) And today I am pleased and excited to have the author, Susan Helene Gottfried, here to guest blog at Bookish Mom Reviews. So, without further ado....

Here's Susan!

Before I say another word, I need to start off thaking Bekah for hosting me today. Being here is an absolute and total thrill. Read on and you'll see why. When I created ShapeShifter: The Demo Tapes -- Year 1, my original intent was that it would be something fun for my current groupies and the more casual readers of my blog. It was going to be a collector's item, I thought. Something to help them further see my fictional world through my eyes. It wasn't going to be anything major. Nothing Earth-shattering.

But something happened. As I began talking of my intent to republish certain content from The Meet and Greet, people got excited. I had to include an ISBN on the book, they said, so they could list it on the various book trading and social networking sites. I had to do this, I had to do that.

Given their excitement, I had to say 'yes' to all their requests.

I'm glad I did. Response to The Demo Tapes so far has blown me away. Yes, I was expecting my friends to really like it. After all, for most of those friends, The Demo Tapes was going to be a visit with an old friend. Many of my groupies had already read these short pieces when I first posted them. They already loved Trevor Wolff and his best friend-slash-pseudo brother, Mitchell Voss.

I figured I'd get a love-fest from my friends and a lot of head scratches and questions from anyone else who happened across my book.

Something else happened.

First, people who knew me but didn't know about Trevor and Mitchell picked up The Demo Tapes. I figured that at least part of their enthusiasm for the book came from understanding the references I frequently make to the boys. "This is so Trevor," I'll often say. Or, "Like Mitchell, I tried grilling this to see what would happen and …" If a person didn't know any better, they'd think Trevor and Mitchell are real people. In a sense, they are. But in the bigger sense, they're as fictional as Jane Eyre.

After that, people I know casually but who don't hang around the Meet and Greet came along. They knew me well enough to see me in the prose and the characters. They, too, were hooked.

The big test came right here. My friend Breeni, of Breeni Books fame, connected me with Bekah. I mailed off a review copy and waited…

I'm not surprised by Bekah's positive reaction to The Demo Tapes… and I am. Sometimes, I worry that Trevor's become an inside joke, that his longevity puts newcomers off. But then I have to remind myself that this was one of the reasons for putting out The Demo Tapes: to give new friends the proper entry into my fiction. The Demo Tapes begins, after all, with Trevor and Mitchell meeting. Not just seeing each other in school, but speaking. It's the beginning of their friendship.

And through the book, you get to watch them grow, as friends, as band mates. From boys into men.

That's why I'm not surprised that Bekah loved The Demo Tapes. I said to my husband the other morning that once I make a personal connection with a reader, they pick up the book and love it. But without the personal contact, it's much harder for them to pick it up. It seems strange. It's not the norm. Short pieces from a blog? About a rock band? What the heck?

Consider this the first of hopefully many personal contacts between us, then, dear reader. I invite you into my goofy-fun fictional world. Meet Trevor and Mitchell. Share their joy when things go well -- and feel their pain when they don't. Watch what happens when Mitchell goes and commits an act of monogamy.

Oh, I could go on forever about these guys. They're fun; the book is light-hearted, despite having some pretty serious themes mulling around, outside the concert hall, so to speak. And best of all, others who meet my fictional boys seem to agree. Come join the Trevolution.

-Susan Helene Gottfried

Note from Rebekah... Be sure to check out Susan's links.

The website:
The books page (including buy links):
The Meet and Greet:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mark Your Calendars!

Mark your calendars because on Wednesday June 10th Susan Helene Gottfried, of West of Mars, will be guest blogging here at Bookish Mom Reviews. Be sure to drop by and see what she has to say about her book Shapeshifter: The Demo Tapes Year 1 (See my review of the book HERE.) and learn how you can pick up a copy of your very own!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

In a daunting new tale of adventure written by acclaimed author Maria V. Snyder, Opal, a young glassmaker and magician-in-training sets off on a journey of self discovery.

Having come from a family of simple glass makers, Opal Cowen finds great joy in working with glass. For her, the utmost pleasure can be found when she works over a hot kiln and brings her beautiful pieces to life. As a student at the Magician's Keep, a school for those who have been shown to possess magicial abilities, Opal is far from the strongest magician. In fact, her skills seem to be quite limited. Though, that said, she is very good at what she does.

Commissioned by the Keep's master magicians, Opal fashions flawless glass animals in which she infuses a special magical touch. Unlike anything the Keep has seen before, Opal's magic allows magicians throughout Sitia, and surrounding areas, to relay important messages one to another via her exquisite animal carvings. It's such an incredible gift, but for a fifth year student Opal's skills just don't match those of her class mates. Dubbed the "One-Trick-Wonder", Opal herself has begun to seriously have doubts about why she is even still at The Keep.

Those doubts are anything but alleviated when Master Magician Zitora Cowan calls upon Opal to assist alongside her on a mission to the Stormdancer's land. Opal hopes it's the break she's been looking for, though disappointment sets in when Opal realizes she's been called on not because of her ability with magic but because of her knowledge and expertise with glass. The Stormdancer's orbs, which are carefully and acurately constructed to contain a storm's essance and energy, have begun to shatter when filled. Causing two fatalities already, the clan must figure out what is causing the weakness and how to correct the problem. Time is of the essence, because big storms wait on the horizon. If the Stormdancers are not prepared by the time the storms reach them, it will be too late. And the loss and devestation will be rerephensible.

Opal is no stranger to danger, but she is not prepared for all that is to come as she takes on the role of Master Cowan's private pupil. While working to solve the mystery of the Stormdancer's glass and searching out an illegal diamond smuggler, Opal finds herself stabbed, beaten, kidnapped, tricked, and tortured. She also discovers there's more to her power than meets the eye. However, if she's to uncover its full potential, and in doing so save herself and the ones she loves, she must learn to trust in herself, like others do. Others like her father, Master Cowan, Kade (the Stormdancer), and Ulrick (the glassmaker).

To round out the drama and action, Snyder throws in some romance in the form of two possible love interests for Opal. Always the "other sister", Opal has grown up living in her older sister Mara's shadow. The stunningly beautiful Mara was always the one the boys flocked to, leaving Opal to only imagine what the attention must feel like. Now as young glassmaker and magician-in-the-making, Opal's time to shine has finally come. But how to decide which path her heart should follow.

There's Kade the handsome and diligent Stormdancer. They might not have a lot in common when it comes to upbringing and interests, but when she worked with him at the caves, Opal felt a spark. The trouble is, her feelings appear to be unrequited. Wrapped up in the loss of his sister, Kade is unwilling to risk another attachment that could, in the end, leave him hurt and alone again.

Then there's Ulrick. Of the two, he seems to be the far more likely choice. A glassmaker's son and hopeful magician-in-training, Ulrick shares the same background and interests as Opal. Not only this, but he's head over heels in love with her. As her self appointed body guard, Ulrick is determined to keep Opal safe and prove his love to her in the process.

It's a tough decision to make. She can choose Kade and hope the spark felt between them will be enough to secure and build a relationship on should he give her the time of day. Or she can choose Ulrick who she knows loves her and would do anything for her. The love she feels in return is genuine, but without that soul burning fire will it be enough to sustain her?

Maria V. Snyder is back again with her new GLASS series. Set in the same world as her earlier acclaimed STUDY trilogy, this time around she draws the focus to some of her previously lesser developed characters. Tying in loosely to past storylines, Storm Glass is the perfect continuation of an already wonderful storyline, and it's an even better beginning to a new one. And while I do believe this could be read as a stand alone without having first read the STUDY books, I would highly recommend new readers go back and pick up a copy of Snyder's first book Poison Study. It's not going to be the end of the world if you read this book without having read the three previous books first because while the author does frequently refer back to times, places, people, and things featured in the earlier books, she does a good enough job of explaining the relevancy within the current storyline. I recommend going back to book one though because I think this is a series that deserves all the attention it can get. And I have no doubt that if a reader should opt for this book first, she will quickly find herself drawn to the STUDY trilogy afterwards anyways. The author's capable writing style does not lack for anything, and the stories draw you in and capture your attention from the git go, even when reading outside your usual genre.

***To read a free excerpt, click HERE.***

~Bookish Mom, aka RebekahC

Anxiously awaiting the release of book two, Sea Glass, due out in September 2009...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

FIRST Wild Card Book Tour: A Heavenly College Education on an Earthly Budget by Lee Martinson

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

A Heavenly College Education on an Earthly Budget

Dog Ear Publishing, LLC (December 4, 2008)


Status: Married, dad to 4 homeschooled kids

Occupation: College Financial Aid Consultant (Diploma Therapist), author

Member: ACCA American College Counseling Association

Passion: Brain and biblical principles based learning - Advocate for intellectual freedom.

Hobbies: Table tennis; humor; collect and learn words like nikhedonia (which means pleasure derived from anticipating success), and absquatulate (which means to get up and depart quickly) etc.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $23.95
Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing, LLC (December 4, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159858667X
ISBN-13: 978-1598586671


Introduction: Why a College Degree May Be a Financial Disaster

The numbers are disturbing.

According to Kenneth Gray, Professor of Workforce Education and Development for Penn State University, 50% or more of college graduates with a social sciences degree end up in a job for which they are overqualified, and therefore underemployed.

Regarding the definition of underemployment, many in-laws offer a simple one: It is any job that their son-in-law has. For the record, underemployment as referenced here, is being in a job that doesn’t utilize all the skills and knowledge a person was trained for, and therefore doesn’t pay as well as a job that is designed for the person’s level of education. In professor Gray’s study, those with technical degrees, such as engineering and computer science, faired better at 20% or less being underemployed.1

A couple of years after professor Gray’s study, Steve Giegerich wrote an article for the Associated Press stating that even tech degrees are no longer a sure-fire ticket. Many of the jobs are going to China and India.2

And according to economist and former representative of the Board on the California Postsecondary Education Commission, Velma Montoya, growing global jobs competition has reduced the payoff to U.S. college attendance. She says that exports of skilled U.S. jobs to foreign countries have rapidly narrowed the income differences for college- and high school-educated workers.

She also says that high-paying, post-college jobs now are either for academic and athletic college superstars or those willing to go on for graduate or professional training.3

According to another study done by the Nebraska Department of Labor about workers in Nebraska, 67% of workers said they were underemployed.4

There are many other such studies and expert opinions like the ones above.

Underemployment is a huge problem. It’s not just about which kind of majors are in demand—oh no, if only it were that simple, but it’s not. I suspect that it’s even more complicated than what is reported, and what is more menacing and ominous about it is that it isn’t going to get better any time soon, in fact it will only get worse.

Here’s why:

According to Professor Kenneth Gray of Penn State, only 23% of all jobs require a four-year college degree. Years ago, when a much smaller percentage of the population got college degrees, merely having one was almost a guarantee of a good job. However, fast-forward to today and what do you have?

I did a bit more research, and according to my estimate, for at least every 35 college graduates there are only 23 jobs available that require a four-year degree. The bottom line? Thirty-four percent of all college graduates are not going to get a job that is equal to their training. That means that many college graduates will end up in a lower paying job. It is an economic fact.

People often talk about how since everybody is getting a degree these days, it isn’t worth as much as it used to be. However, as we see here, it is much more than that. It’s not just that he who has a degree is not as special anymore; it is the hard math reality that there are too many degrees chasing too few degreed jobs. Ouch! Now mind you, that is based on good economic times, but if the times are bad, well… double ouch!

On top of that, not all college degree jobs pay well. Some earn substantially more than the median, which obviously means others earn much less.

Have I mentioned debt yet? Debt at graduation is very commonly in the $20,000 to $30,000 range, and for a smaller but growing number of graduates, it even gets into the $40,000 to $130,000 range. Many experts say that student loan debt is becoming overwhelming for too many graduates.

Imagine graduating with a lot of debt and then getting a low paying job. A growing number of students wish it were only their imagination. Unfortunately, it has become a reality for them.

According to an article by Tosin Sulaiman of Knight-Ridder Newspapers, many college graduates are turned down for jobs because the potential employer runs a credit check on them and after viewing their credit history, believes them to be financially unstable.5 Such an unfortunate graduate as that is probably thinking, “If you’d just give me the job, I wouldn’t be unstable.” Life is like that sometimes.

Speaking of instability, you should also know that bankruptcy doesn’t discharge student loan obligations.

Another problem is that because debt is overwhelming for many students, more of them are defaulting. This is causing there to be less funding available. With less funding available, more students are dropping out of college because of lack of funds.

Getting heavily into debt for a degree that doesn’t teach you how to think and gain good vocational skills is not worth it. You could often do just as well or better without a college degree. Therefore, you have to ask yourself, “Do I really want a degree, and if so, what am I going to do differently so it will be worth it?”

What do you think then; do you still want to try for a college education? Are you sure that it will be worth it? I don’t blame you if you still want one, but as you can see by the above information, it isn’t as good of an idea as you might think unless you do it right and increase your odds for success. If you do the things the average high school and college student does, the odds are not going to be in your favor, especially since there are probably some hard economic times ahead.

When they pick a college, students mean well, they really do. But often they don’t know what they are picking. The average high school student often picks a college based on what friends say, or on the colleges’ prestige, or simply because the college is supposed to be good at a certain major.

The student waits until it is time to apply and then wonders how it is all going to work out. The average college student goes to the average college, has fun, maybe gets drunk a bit too often, cheats here and there, gets in debt, plows his way through college, and then hopes for a good job, which he may or may not get.

How are you going to set yourself apart from other graduates? What is it going to take for you to be among those who are considered very desirable for hire, and who don’t have a mountain of debt over their heads? How can you increase your odds of being one of the degreed 35 who gets one of the 23 degreed jobs?

After graduation, you will have to promote yourself to the business or labor market. What are you going to say? What will you show them besides a diploma? Think about it. One potential employer was quoted as saying that hiring isn’t just about having a college degree; it also has a lot to do with character. That is worth your consideration. Besides character, many jobs require specific vocational skills and you would do well to know what those skills are for your chosen major.

Time out. Stop reading now and write down what you would like to market yourself as in the future…

Done? Now your job is to learn how to get an education that will make it all true. Your ideas may change over time, but you will be further ahead by having something to work towards. Actually, after reading this book I hope you will revise your plans and have a much better idea. So, make sure to go over your plans again later.

While you are at it, don’t simply trust that a given college will provide the appropriate training in the required skills for your major. Talk to some employers, find out what they are looking for, and then make sure that you get training in those skills.

Doing these things is more than just working towards getting to college, and it is much more than just working towards a specific degree. You need to look at yourself as an entire person and look at what you want to do in this world. That is a much better approach.

You, and anyone else who does this, will have a bright future ahead of them. On the other hand, the average student will graduate with perhaps a very disappointing future. I say that because I am also considering debt, not just whether the student gets a good job or not. Some get a great job, but face paying student loans for 30 or 40 years and it isn’t very pleasant. For graduates in that situation, it might mean that financially, college didn’t really get them ahead.

A college education is probably going to be the second biggest purchase of your life, and a huge investment of your time; so you can’t afford to wing it on this one. You have to go into it knowing that you are going to be one of “too many degree holders” for the number of degreed jobs. To set yourself apart, you will have to really learn something of value, get some good skills, learn how to think, and be a person of good character. You need to know it is those things and not the degree itself that matters most.

If you get a narrow-minded degree, for which you were narrowly trained, and you graduate with your debt in tow and there is no job available for you, that will be a disaster. If you don’t get an adequate job, that will be a disaster. Conversely, if you learn how to think, analyze, make good decisions, obtain some good life skills along with your training, and can get through college with little debt, then college will not be a waste of time and money. You will be able to either find a great job or be capable of creating your own.

If you want to do this and increase your chances of success, I believe it will take a Heavenly Education. In the chapter after the next one, we will talk about the difference between a Heavenly Education and a regular education. By the way, in this book I use regular education and training and stuff education interchangeably.

The truth is, the right kind of education won’t create a problem of too many degrees chasing too few jobs, because the right kind of education will give a person versatile skills and the mental capacity to learn how to create opportunity even where none seemed to exist. Mind you, the right kind of education is not necessarily the same for everyone—it should be within the framework of a person’s particular talents.

It is worth noting that many jobs don’t require a degree yet pay very well and are very rewarding. There’s nothing wrong with graduating with a degree and getting one of those jobs. You’ll know that you got the right kind of education and that the skills and knowledge you acquired, combined with an ability to analyze and think well, will still help you excel.

In the end, if you get the wrong kind of education at the wrong price, it may turn into a big disappointment. If you even get the wrong education at a cheap price, it will still be a big disappointment. On the other hand, the right education at the right price will benefit you no matter what.

That is why the first part of the book is dedicated to defining what a great education is. That is the starting point, and it is what you must know before anything else. Until you know there is enough worth in the education you are pursuing, there is no point in looking at price.

Welcome to the new millennium, where any old degree at any price is no longer worth it. We are fast becoming a global economy with fierce competition for the better paying jobs. You aren’t only in competition with American students.

Once you can see how to ensure that you will get an education worth something, then later in the book we’ll look at lowering the cost. The case I will make is that if you get an education that is worth something, and you learn to rely on the Lord, there will be nothing to fear—you will be fine.

One of the problems with people and jobs is that they don’t understand economics very well. Their only concern is for getting their slice of the economic pie, as understood by themselves and the rest of the masses. They are only concerned with the distribution and redistribution of what currently exists, and how to train and get one of the jobs that those in charge are willing to “hand out.”

One of the things that they don’t understand is that we unintentionally limit the portion of the pie we receive. We even limit what we perceive to be the whole size of the pie. While there is only so much of any one thing that people need, there are plenty of other things that haven’t been discovered. There are new products and services that haven’t been offered yet. There are niches that are underserved, just waiting to be discovered and filled. We can always make the pie bigger.

There are usually at least two options. If we lose jobs to other countries, we can retool and get more competitive, or we can make new and different jobs. It just takes the right mentality and the right education.

You need an education that will help you understand this and help you develop some skills that support this idea. If you get any old degree, you would be right to be very concerned about the future. If you receive the proper education and preparation, there will be nothing to fear.

We’ve gone over some of the serious financial problems that can occur in pursuing a degree, and that is part of what makes many modern degrees not worth much. To avoid all of those problems, you really need a Heavenly Education. A Heavenly Education doesn’t just prepare you to face the future; it prepares you to shape the future.