Saturday, February 26, 2011

Too Rich and Too Thin: Not an Autobiography

By Barbara DeShong

From the back of the book:

“Pack your bags for Texas and prepare to meet the strangest family since that little Chainsaw Massacre incident. Psychologist Jessica LeFave will be your guide, but be forewarned, Dr. LeFave isn’t your average shrink, and though her wisecracking lawyer buddy, will try to keep Jessica out of trouble, he might not be able to save you, or himself.”

What a hoot! In this book, Dr. Jessica LaFave is asked to profile the killer of an author known for rewriting historical events into racy novels and movies. The author was a patient of the doctor’s husband at the time of his death. Jessica is convinced her husband’s death was no accident and she is determined to uncover the truth.

Barbara DeShong has a Ph.D. in psychology, which adds a great dimension to the story. She knows what she’s talking about and brings her knowledge to the murder mystery.

So, as the main character gathers clues, interviews potential witnesses and takes time out to ride her horse, the reader is drawn into this wonderful little story. It’s quite enjoyable and even those who aren’t mystery fans will enjoy it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pump Up Your Book blog tour: LETTERS FROM HOME

By Kristina McMorris

About the book:

Letters from Home is the story of several young adults coming of age during the throes of World War II. Some of them go off to war, while others stay behind.

The book centers around Liz, who is engaged to marry her childhood sweetheart. His career is just beginning and there is every reason to believe he will be successful.

At a dance one evening, Liz meets a young man who is getting ready to leave for the service. She is instantly attracted to him, but when she later sees him dancing with her roommate Betty, she is reminded that she is already spoken for. Morgan asks Betty to write to him and she agrees. Betty asks Liz to help her with the letter, which she does. After Betty joins the service herself and leaves for the battlefront, Liz continues to write to Morgan and they begin a long distance relationship, although Morgan believes he is corresponding with Betty.

The reader follows the budding relationship, as well as the events that take place around it, such as the war itself and the families left at home.

It’s a lovely story and one that is especially heart-warming. It’s a story of hope, friendship, sacrifice and love. It’s a story about events we encounter that change our lives forever, whether we want them to or not.

As an added bonus, the book features recipes from the 1940s.

I thoroughly enjoyed Letters from Home and I expect the author to do very well with this debut novel. Well-written, nicely developed characters, excellent use of research … what more could a reader ask for!

About the author:

Kristina McMorris lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their two sons. Her experience in media and events led her to become a professional emcee and contributing writer for Portland Bride and Groom magazine. She also has 10 years experience of directing public relations for an international conglomerate.

In fall of 2000, she compiled hundreds of her grandmother's favorite recipes for a holiday gift that quickly snowballed into a self-published cookbook. With proceeds benefiting the Food Bank, Grandma Jean's Rainy Day Recipes sold at such stores as Borders and was featured in a variety of regional media. It was while gathering information for the book's biographical section when Kristina happened across a letter her grandfather mailed to his "sweetheart" during his wartime naval service. It was that letter that inspired her to write Letters from Home. A portion of the sales proceeds will benefit United Through Reading®, a nonprofit organization that video records deployed U.S. military personnel reading bedtime stories for their children.

Kristina is currently working on her next novel.

Some of my favorite passages:
"Could it be that life was no more precious than a streetcar, trudging round and round on a loop?"

"His gorilla-like build filled the dark archway that had once featured the front door."

"Please forgive me, Morgan pleaded, eyes raised upward. It was then, in the numbing silence, when he finally dared wonder: Were prayers of murderers, when fighting on the “right side” of the war, ever heard—let alone answered?"

"It’s odd, isn’t it? People die every day and the world goes on like nothing happened. But when it’s a person you love, you think everyone should stop and take notice. That they ought to cry and light candles and tell you that you’re not alone."

For more information about or to follow the Letters from Home and other blog tours, go to the Pump Up Your Book website. To purchase the book, click here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


We went to see "Unknown" this weekend and, I must say, we did enjoy it. It's really action-packed and moves along quickly.
The story is about Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) who awakens from a coma following a car accident in Berlin to find another man (Aidan Quinn) has assumed his identity. His wife (January Jones), friends and colleagues don't recognize him and the authorities don't believe him. However, he finds himself hunted by mysterious assassins, so now he's on the run.

The woman (Diane Kruger) who was driving the taxi when the accident occurs does believe him, though, and she unwilling decides to help him. Of course, that also puts her in danger.

Like most movies, Unknown received mixed reviews. Before we went to the theater, I checked the opinions of other movie-goers and they all seemed to enjoy it, compared to professional critics who either liked it or hated it.

I also watched an interview with Neeson and Jones. They talked about how the directors intentionally made it action-packed from beginning to end. That they did, but I felt there was somewhat of a plot sacrifice because of all the action. Some aspects of the story could have been developed more.

But, all in all, it was a good movie and I'd watch it again, especially to be on the lookout for more clues to the surprise ending.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

French Letters: Engaged in War

By Jack Woodville London

From the press release:

Engaged in War is the story of Will Hastings, a young Army doctor from Tierra, Texas, who arrives in Normandy amidst the D-Day landings and soon finds himself walking a moral tightrope between saving lives and a growing urge to avenge the death of his brother, his friends and the loss of control over his life. Isolated and unaware of troubles brewing back home, his story unfolds first in the make-shift field surgery and then on the battlefield, where he is wounded and then ordered to leave the field hospital and give testimony in a military court martial. On misstep in his account could lead to the death penalty for his best friend or the prosecution of the country girl who saved his life.”

Jack Woodville London is a historian who looks at the profound results of war. This is his second book in his acclaimed series. The first was Virginia’s War, which was a finalist for three top awards. If you go to his website (, you will learn about his letter’s project. London collects letters written by those who have been to war and brings them to light. You can also follow the link to his blog where he discusses some of the people he’s come in contact with while researching for his book and more.

Engaged in War is a fascinating novel. Not only is it an endearing story, the history behind it is evident and very interesting. The book covers a brief interlude in time – one year – yet there is so much emotion within these 319 pages. London is able to transport you right to the scene, creating a tale that is every bit as “engaging” as the title.