Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book Review: The Recruit By Cindy Grantham Brown

The Recruit by Cindy Grantham Brown is a fictionalized story of a very real event in Cindy's life that will completely blow you away and keep you turning pages wondering how things are going to end. It is a story that stays with me even now along with amazing strength and ability to survive the harrowing life-threatening experiences Jess experieced inside  The Recruit. I still find myself saying Wow!

I even asked my husband do motor cycle gangs really do that kind of thing? And he said yes they do, they  take people who are kept in the dark to what they plan to do as a way of recruiting and intitiating members. It fascinating to see the events inside The Recruit unfold, you see it all unfold before you but know you can't stop it and then your mind wraps itself around the whole idea that this re. I was caught up in the story and the events that took place.  The book blurb is enough to get your interest as the story unfolds it is impossible to put the book down in the quest to discover how things end.

Book Blurb:
Jess Talbot has already seen sorrow in her young life. Now one bad decision will destroy her dignity – will she also pay with her life?

At the age of twenty-one she is recovering from the breakup of her marriage. In an effort to get back into the social scene she hangs out at a Memphis, Tennessee park along with other rebellious teens and young adults. Here she meets her newest friend, Lisa Burns, who likes to party and hang out with bad boy bikers. Vulnerable and na├»ve, Jess goes with Lisa to a Kentucky Motocross Rally for the weekend – which turns out to be anything but the fun, safe weekend she had imagined.

Unknown to Jess, Lisa is an initiate into a biker gang, the worst of its kind. Her job is to find that special girl who will be this year’s
RECRUIT. Will Jess figure out what dangers are prepared for her? Will she be forever scarred by her devastating decision to spend the weekend with Lisa and her friends? Will she escape or will the results be deadly for Jess…

Through the Grace of God, Cindy Grantham Brown survived the devastating events that this story is based upon. She now tells the fictionalized tale in the hopes that others will never have to face the possibility she did – that of a horrible and painful death, murder at the hands of an evil biker gang.

My take again:
I found Jess's indomitable spirit remarkable in the midst of terror as she struggles to fully comprehend what happened to her. She starts to put peices together and stragegizes her escape, never letting the events unfolding around her drag her down.

I love Chad's inner conflict as he fights his rising feelings for Jess as they stand in direct conflict with the job he needs to accomplish as an under cover cop.  Cindy's wrote  ability  these events in such a way that the reader wanted to know what happened next.

In addition the romance that develops between Jess and Chad is sweet but becomes part of the puzzle if their growing feelings for eachother will survive the overwhelming events placed before them.

Inspite of a few  grammatical and editing errors easy to over look, the reader was drawn fully into the intrigue of the story. Decisions made with dire consequenses leave the reader on the edge hoping for the best.

I would highly recommend The Recruit as a fast paced absorbing read that will keep you wondering what happens next. To get your copy click here or here. You will learn things about motorcycle gangs and how they work that you never thought imagainable, and see how corruption can be layered  into  multi-levels of intrigue and how one girl finds the ability to rise above it all.

Friday, July 20, 2012

movie shooting too close to home

 Sorry no cutesy pictures or amazing images. I think solemn is better for now. Today I woke up to find that there was a huge shooting at the theater we frequent often, my kids more than me. It was crazy and so hard to understand how one man could create so much chaos and pain and then smile a calculating cold grin for his mug shot.

It affected me quite a bit. I found out that one of the girls who is a close friend to my kids was hit in the next theater when stray bullets punctured the wall and sprayed shrapnel into her face, along with two other people. She had to go to the hospital and is luckily now resting at home.  She is in my Sunday School class and she is one of the Young Women who I used to work with and she is the epitome of smiling through trials. One of her best friends and her sister were with her. I also teach her best friend and these girls are close with my older kids. I am so glad they are alive and will make it though with stronger faith.

My son found that one of his friends was shot in the leg, and another son discovered that 2 of his close friends from school were in the theater with the gun man and by some miracle escaped any kind of injury. But my son fears that one of his friends may not have been as lucky. And is trying to find out if he is among the dead.

There is a ripple effect to the things we do. We may think that it all ends in that moment and place but it doesn't. It goes beyond layer upon layer deeper and deeper as it reaches people beyond the scope of our imaginations throughout the world.

My daughters in Utah in college are trying to find out if any of their friends from high school were in the shooting and have been frantically calling and texting to be sure they are ok.

My boys coaches for football texted, wanting to know if they were safe. Family and friends  from back east and across the country called and texted and facebooked  to be sure we were ok.

We tell everyone we are fine. We say everyone is ok. But really, we are anguished and until the full disclosure of victims is given we will not be able to close this chapter down and still the nightmares will come. They will persist and sneak in when we least expect it and we will remember the fear and the turmoil that lasted far beyond a one minute senseless shooting spree.

I am grateful beyond words that my boys didn't go to that midnight showing that they were planning on a later time. I am grateful the girls in my class are ok and alive.

I am grateful for a nation who puts their flags at half mast and for police officers who don't care that their cars get bloody as they rush victims to the hospital because ambulances aren't there yet. I am grateful for Paris for pulling their showing of Batman in respect and solidarity to those of us here in Aurora Colorado. I am grateful for the way our world family pulls together at times like this to help each other through grief and devastation.

I cannot understand a mad man's rational. how could he ever think it was ok? But that being said, I am glad he is in custody where he can't hurt anyone anymore. I am glad for those men and women who are working around the clock to help those who were hurt and to try and puzzle through a mind demented and crazy enough to booby trap his own apartment in hopes of creating even more chaos.

My prayers for those hurt and for the families who lost members and for those who are traumatized just by being present go out to them and so does my love and sorrow.  And hope that sometime soon we can find our way back to whole and move beyond a crazy maniacal insane man's actions.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: Caribbean Crossroads by Connie E Sokol

What a fun light hearted book! It swept you right in and kept you turning pages throughout the story. I really enjoyed reading Caribbean Crossroads. It's about a girl named Megan trying to recover from a broken heart with the added layers of betrayal, deceit and manipulation. As a result she can't trust any guy who might try  to get near her without wondering what their motive is.  So her best friend Jillian convinces her that the best thing to do for healing is to go on a cruise ship with her as a dancer and singer for the summer.

After a bit of convincing she is in, and excited about the chance to get away from the pain and heal once and for all. But she nor her heart are prepared for Bryant. Sweet, outgoing, handsome... amazing. Then starts her battle. The battle to find a way back to being whole, and a battle to let Bryant into her life and the battle to find a way back to her old carefree self and learn how to trust again.  Caribbean Crossroads is about learning to let go of past hurts, and how to trust again. It's about finding a way back to self, and growing in the process and finding how to overcome and be stronger.

I love Bryant's patient gentle demeanor and how he works to understand what is holding Megan back. He has his own trials that he has to face and the cruise ship is his last hurrah. He finds himself pulled into Megan's life and finds she is worth all the hurtles she throws in his way.

Despite some editing issues that can trip the reader up in a few places this story is wonderful and one of my favorites. The chemistry between Megan and Bryant is written beautifully and through the book you are left to wonder what the ultimate decision will be. It is easy to root for these characters as they face life's tough challenges, and find their way to each other while overcoming huge obstacles.

An added bonus to Caribbean Crossroads is that it is a clean read, yet sparks still fly. I was drawn into the story and loved every minute reading it especially the unexpected twists and turns! .

 Here is the book blurb:
New college grad Megan McCormick just got dumped. Hard.
Swearing off men and relationships, Megan is coaxed into performing on a cruise ship where she meets the star performer, Bryant Johnson. Handsome and charismatic, he looks like trouble, but she can't deny the intense attraction between them.
Urged to find a wife and run the family lumber business, Bryant is torn between his family's expectations for his life and his own. However, when he meets spunky, but love-skittish Megan McCormick, settling down doesn't look so bad.
Just when Megan begins to trust again, and Bryant makes some big decisions regarding his future, her former fiance returns with a malicious surprise, taking Megan and Bryant to their own CARIBBEAN CROSSROADS.
Here’s some advance praise for this great summer read:
"Caribbean Crossroads is an entertaining read with a great plot and characters. I loved it! I got hooked from the very beginning...I highly recommend this book to all those looking for a very enjoyable and clean romance novel." Christina Tarbet, Book Reviewer
"Caribbean Crossroads is the perfect summer read. It's a story of love, forgiveness, and following one's heart. There is a lot of humor in the storytelling, and reality in the way relationships work. Connie Sokol captures this perfectly with a great cast of relateable characters who will make you want to keep reading late into the night."
Emily Cushing, Author of One Heart, Many Voices

Don't wait to get your copy of Caribbean Crossroads, so you can be swept away too. You can get your copy by clicking here for Barnes and Noble. 
Amazon Purchase Link here
You can learn more about Connie's by clicking on her website: here.
Connie is also on FaceBook  find her by clicking  here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review: Carnival Girl By Sonja Herbert

Carnival Girl Searching for God in the Aftermath of War by Sonja Herbert is a engaging story about a young girl growing up through the end of World War 2 and what it was like being a member of a family that traveled throughout the country setting up carnivals for different cities to make ends meet. All while her half Jewish mother hid from the Nazi's in both the circus and later in the carnival she and her husband ran with their children.

Carnival Girl is a story about Sonja and what it was like for her growing up in these circumstances with a family that didn't see the need for religion in their lives and felt it was a waste of time and unimportant.

But Sonja never saw it that way. From a young age she yearned to know she wasn't so alone in spite of her family. That even when she made mistakes she would still be loved and watched over. With the sometimes volatile atmosphere at home it was hard as a young child for Sonja to wonder what she had done to bring on her mother's wrath.

But along the way she found out about prayer and God and how Jesus loved her and she was able to find strength and hope through the tough times of traveling in a caravan with her family's carnival. She never felt like she had a place to call home until one winter when she had the opportunity to take English lessons which then lead her to find the missionaries which changed her life.

Carnival Girl is a story of hope and faith. A story of how to overcome and persevere and how to find the hidden blessings and the love of God mixed in with the hard and sometimes unpredictable times. That strength could be gained and when life seems to be falling apart to have that quiet knowledge that God was beside Sonja lending her the fortitude she needed to get through.

I liked the way each chapter takes the reader deeper into the lives of the carnival and what that was like. The descriptions of life where vivid and it is easy to feel as if you could step into the pages of Circus  Girl and have it come to life before you.  I thought it was nice to start each chapter off with a picture of now with Sonja grown and with a family of her own sharing antedotes of her Mutti's visit to America. It gave a glimpse into Mutti's life and beliefs now, and showed that she was still very much the same and to see Sonja's patience and love in dealing with her mother.

Many times I felt that Mutti took out her frustration with life on her family and because she had to hid who she was from the world they got the brunt of it. At times I felt she was just harsh with her children, and marveled that Sonja could emerge from her experiences with the strength to stick to her decisions about joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in spite of the obstacles her family place in her way. I loved her determination to hold to her testimony and never let go.

Carnival Girl is a fast read which pulls you into the lives of Sonja's family and the hardships of the life she grew up in, that shows how life triumphs when faith in God abound. It made me  wish I could glimpse further into Sonja's life as a Latter-day Saint and what happened in her later teen and early adult years in a rebounding Germany.

A little about Sonja:
Sonja Herbert and her five siblings were raised in a
caravan, traveling the carnival circuit from town to town in post-
World War II Germany.
Sonja converted to the LDS Church, later married, and immigrated
to the United States, where she received a bachelor of arts degree at Southern
Utah University in Cedar City, Utah, and a master of arts degree from
Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She also raised six children,
taught school and ESL, and is now a freelance writer.
Besides her childhood memoir, Sonja has also written many autobiographical
stories, which have been published in the Chicken Soup for the
Soul series and other anthologies. A biographical novel about her half-
Jewish mother’s experiences in Nazi Germany is almost finished.
Sonja lives in Provo with her husband and cat. You can find more
about her unusual life at here.

You can get you copy of Carnival Girl by clicking here

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Book Review: Million Dollar Diva by Tristi Pinkston

Million Dollar Diva  couldn't have come at a more better time. I felt as I read, that Tristi was right there whispering in my ear sharing her experiences and showing me that on some level we all go through the same struggles. I felt like I had a freind telling me how to recapture hope and a sense of serenity in a world spiraling out of control.

It was if she held my hand and walked me through exercises to help me move from where there was nothing but shadows, to where light burst through to show how to change.

Sure I had read all these things from various books before, but for some wondeful reason, this time, Trisit's voice was able to speak more clearly to me than ever before.  Along with her co authors Brett Kitchen and Ethan Kap I felt as if I had a team on my side. A team that gave me tools I can use now, and a place to go to see my progress and exercises to show me how to over come financial turbulance.

I love knowing that even though I may be finished with Million Dollar Diva, the authors are not finished with me. They have left a life line and a way to continue to grow and learn how to become more financially solvent, and to learn from past mistakes. Maybe not even mistakes, but recovery from overflowing medical bills and other unexpected debts and expenses piled so high you can't figure out how to work through them without burying your head in the sand and ignoring them.
visit their website and see all they have to keep you going beyond reading the book by clicking here.
I felt my heart lighten and a burden lifted and felt that this was an inspired book, meant to show others how easy it is to move forward to financial success and growth. I am so grateful that I read Million Dollar Diva and for the way it has helped me to see that I can move beyond and change my money standing. That I can become a Million Dollar Diva with the guidlines and helps given both from the book and the website. And more than anything to know I am not alone in my battle, that there are others helping me win the war.

 Do not miss out on this opportunity. You will truly be grateful for the information and knowledge you gain from reading Million Dollar Diva.
click here to get your own copy of Million Dollar Diva or click here   for a limited time to find out how you get a FREE copy.