Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Winner of RELEASE by Nicole Hadaway

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Using and numbering the entries by the sequence they came in we have a winner…… *Bat Wings Flapping with Blood Curdling Screams*

  1. Anna – Diary on an Eccentric
  2. Eva – Eva Gordon’s author page
  3. Sheila M.
  4. Crystal – The Crystal Perspective
  5. Lance M.
  6. Lisa R.
  7. Pam R.
  8. Kristi – Books and Needlepoint

True Random Number Generator Min:1 Max:8 Result: 2 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

And the winner is – Eva

Congratulation Eva! You will also be notified by email which will include your ebook copy of RELEASE. Enjoy!


For those of you who are still interested in purchasing this historical vampire novel set in WWII here is the link for the Preview of RELEASE. If you would like to get a feel for Nicole’s writing style you can read a chapter of the story here. (Don’t worry there aren’t any spoilers.)

Thank you to all the entrants for participating in this first Layers of Thought book give away and thanks to Nicole for giving the readers here a chance to win a copy of RELEASE. Come back again since  the review of RELEASE should be up soon and more giveaways are coming too!

*Happy Halloween!*


Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween to all our Ghoulish Fiends and Readers!

“Where there is no imagination there is no horror."  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, British writer

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In order to celebrate a favorite horror and fun filled day we thought you may like to see us how we truly are. And to invite you all to dinner. We know what we will be having – our guests… *evil grin*

Without further wait here is the Gruesome Twosome! Don’t we make a charming pair? The two photos of Shellie are before and after a  bit of plastic surgery. Notice the smile? Beauty does that to a girl and perhaps being fully fed on doctor flesh. It appears the doctor  forgot his surgical tool in her neck. Go figure?

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Or perhaps it was some undead coupling that made her smile. Gives a new meaning to the phrase “eating head”. Totally tasteless I know  it was John’s idea (its that slightly off color British sense of humor – gotta love it.)

Well enough of that horror story -  and on to the the truly fun stuff, you too can be a Zombie. If only for a moment, yet forever immortalized on your computer hard drive. Go here if you would like to zombify yourself.

For some further entertainment that is appropriate to the season  and connected to zombies - a musical video which is horrifically and sadly appropriate to the post’s theme:

The quality is not great and stops uncomfortably but we thought it beat the 9 minute full video version. Which most of us have all seen a gazillion times. We all have enough to go through in our Google readers.

And in case your felt you were missing some bookish stuff, here is a review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth with links for zombie paraphernalia, more than you ever wanted to read about.

We hope you all have a safe, and slightly insane Halloween!

Coming tomorrow the announcement of the winners for the WWII Historical Vampire novel RELEASE by Nicole Hadaway.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Preview: Cursed by Jeremy C Shipp

*More Scary Stuff to Celebrate the Season*


Book Stats from Amazon:

  • Hardcover: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Raw Dog Screaming Press (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933293861
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933293868
  • Genre: Horror, Bizarro
  • Book Blurb:

    Your life is no longer recognizable, every detail corrupted by unknown forces. The harder you struggle, the more you suffer. Your words mean nothing, your actions backfire, and one by one everybody you know is sucked down with you. You are: 1) Nick 2) cursed 3) afraid all the time That's because: a) someone or b) something is after you with a vengeance. Even with the help of other cursed people, you don't stand a chance because you're all, you know, cursed. That means you and everyone you know will: 1) suffer 2) die 3) amuse your tormentor That is, unless you figure out how to manipulate the person behind this and turn their power against them. Check your list a second time because they're probably on it. The only thing left to do is scratch them off.


    Author Info:

    Jeremy C. Shipp is an author whose written creations inhabit various magazines, anthologies, and drawers. These include over 30 publications, the likes of Cemetery Dance, ChiZine, Flesh & Blood, Hub, Darkness Rising, Bare Bone, The Harrow, and Until Someone Loses an Eye. While preparing for the forthcoming collapse of civilization, Jeremy enjoys living in Southern California in a moderately haunted Victorian farmhouse. He's currently working on many stories and novels and is losing his hair, though not because of the ghosts. Vacation, his first published novel, debuted this year from Raw Dog Screaming Press, and recently made the Bram Stoker Award Preliminary Ballot.

    You can contact Jeremy on Goodreads, his website, or twitter.

    To read an interesting interview of Jeremy and win a signed copy of his new book Cursed you can link to The Modern Pagan to enter. It ends  Nov 1. To order signed copies of his books you can go here.

    Amazon purchasing links are here – US/UK/Canada

    The copy of Cursed that Layers of Thought received was supplied by the author. Thank you Jeremy!

    Review coming soon!

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Previews: Spooky ARCs and Galley Copies


    Primitive by Mark Nykanen

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: BelleBooks, Inc. (October 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982175647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982175644
  • A neo-primitive cult, possessing secret government documents filled with terrifying information about global warming, kidnaps a famous fashion model and holds her hostage, forcing her to act as their spokesperson. As time runs out, her estranged daughter allies with a dangerous activist group to rescue her, while battling dark agendas from the government and Big Oil.

    Amazon purchasing links US/UK/Canada

    Primitive was won from a BBAW contest.


    Spellbinder by Helen Stringer

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312387636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312387631
  • Belladonna Johnson can see ghosts. It’s a trait she’s inherited from her mother’s side of the family, like blue eyes or straight hair. And it’s a trait she could do without, because what twelve-year-old wants to be caught talking to someone invisible?

    It is convenient, though, after Belladonna’s parents are killed in a car accident. They can live with her the same as always, watching the same old TV shows in their same old house. Nothing has changed . . . until everything changes.

    One night, with no warning, they vanish into thin air—along with every other ghost in the world. It’s what some people think ghosts are supposed to do, but Belladonna knows it’s all wrong. They may not be living, but they’re not supposed to be gone.

    With the help of her classmate Steve, a master of sneaking and spying, Belladonna is left to uncover what’s become of the spirits and to navigate a whole world her parents have kept well-hidden. If she can’t find her way, she’ll lose them again—this time for good.

    Amazon purchasing links US/UK/Canada

    Spellbinder was found on Shelf Awareness and delivered by the publisher.


    Fallen by Lauren Kate

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (December 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385738935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385738934
  • There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

    Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

    Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

    Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a page turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

    Amazon purchasing links US/UK/Canada

    Fallen was found on Shelf Awareness and delivered by the publisher.

    All data from each of the books was taken from

    Personal reviews coming!

    Monday, October 26, 2009

    Book Tour and Preview: Flesh and Fire by Laura Anne Gilman


    When I found Flesh and Fire on Bookbrowse (click on link for a free months trial) I thought it looked really good. It was added to my overflowing and ever growing to be read list, which is currently at 1060 books. *guilty but happy grin*

    But here is the clincher - with it being in my favorite genre, wanting to feature more of it here on Layers of Thought, and myself being from the Napa Valley the lovely wine growing region - when I saw it on a blog tour I excitedly jumped in. Yee Ha!

    This is my first blog tour.

    Now for some Publisher’s info on Flesh and Fire and Laura Anne Gilman.

    Amazon Book Stats:

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439101418
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439101414
  • Genre: Fantasy 

     Publisher’s Blurb:

    Once, all power in the Vin Lands was held by the prince-mages, who alone could craft spellwines, and selfishly used them to increase their own wealth and influence. But their abuse of power caused a demigod to break the Vine, shattering the power of the mages. Now, fourteen centuries later, it is the humble Vinearts who hold the secret of crafting spells from wines, the source of magic, and they are prohibited from holding power.

    But now rumors come of a new darkness rising in the vineyards. Strange, terrifying creatures, sudden plagues, and mysterious disappearances threaten the land. Only one Vineart senses the danger, and he has only one weapon to use against it: a young slave. His name is Jerzy, and his origins are unknown, even to him. Yet his uncanny sense of the Vinearts' craft offers a hint of greater magics within -- magics that his Master, the Vineart Malech, must cultivate and grow. But time is running out. If Malech cannot teach his new apprentice the secrets of the spellwines, and if Jerzy cannot master his own untapped powers, the Vin Lands shall surely be destroyed.

    In Flesh and Fire, first in a spellbinding new trilogy, Laura Anne Gilman conjures a story as powerful as magic itself, as intoxicating as the finest of wines, and as timeless as the greatest legends ever told.

    Author Bio:


    Born in the late 1960’s in suburban New Jersey, Laura Anne endured only moderate trauma – and some good times – before escaping to Skidmore College.  After graduation, given the choice between grad school and employment, the lure of a paycheck took her to NYC and a career in publishing, while working nights and weekends to get her writing career started.

    In 2004, she and corporate America decided they needed a break from each other.  Her first original novel contract in-hand, Laura Anne became a full-time freelancer, and never looked back.
    She is the author of the Cosa Nostradamus books for Luna (the “Retrievers” and “Paranormal Scene Investigations” series), a YA trilogy for HarperCollins, and the forthcoming Vineart War books from Pocket, while continuing to write and sell short fiction. She also writes paranormal romances for Nocturne as Anna Leonard.

    Laura Anne is also an amateur chef, oenophile, and cat-servant. She lives in New York City, where she also runs d.y.m.k. productions.

    For more information about her here is her website.

    Blog Tour Participants:

  • Each of the blogs below will be doing a post around this book today – author interviews, giveaways, reviews, and more. So for additional info about Flesh and Fire  take a look at the blogs below. The links are not permalinks so you may have to scroll down to see the post for this tour if not viewed on Monday, October 26.

    1. All About {N} 
    2. Beth’s Book Review Blog  
    3. Drey’s Library 
    4. Revenge of the Book Nerds 
    5. The Neverending Shelf 
    6. Fantasy Freak 
    7. Undercover Book Lover 
    8. Carol’s Notebook  
    9. Starting Fresh 
    10. Pick of the Literate 
    11. My Friend Amy 
    12. Cheryl’s Book Nook 
    13. Opinionated? Me? 
    14. Readaholic 
    15. One Person’s Journey Through A World of Books 
    16. My Life In Not So Many Words 
    17. Geek Girl Reviews 
    18. Sci-Fi Guy
    19. Wendy's Minding Spot 
    20. Found Not Lost  
    21. Brizmus Blogs Books 
    22. 25 Hour Books  
    23. Temple Library Reviews 

    For purchasing Flesh and Fire from Amazon the links are here US/UK/Canada.

    Layers of Thought received this book for review and participation in this blog tour through Pocket Books. Thank you Sarah!

    Review coming soon!

  • Thursday, October 22, 2009

    Review: Soul Survivor – The Reincarnation of a World War II Fighter Pilot by Bruce and Andrea Leininger with Ken Gross


    (for the book’s web site click on pic above)

    Mini Synopsis:

    Bruce and Andrea Leininger married in the late 90s. This was his second marriage and her first - he a well paid top executive and she an ex ballet dancer. Soon after being married the couple gave birth to a healthy little boy. Everything was normal until James, their son, started having unusual and violent nightmares. In addition he displayed unexplainable knowledge of a technical nature regarding WWII air planes. To add to the family’s distress, Bruce’s personal belief system was at odds with the idea that his son could be a reincarnated soul.

    This is the story of a skeptic (Bruce) and his wife and their in-depth search for the truth. As the Leiningers find evidence that their little boy is experiencing the terrors of a man who was killed during an air attack on Japan during WWII, questions arise which invariably change the way they think about life and what they believe to be the meaning of death.

    My Thoughts:

    This books was wonderful. I even enjoyed the historical parts, although I disliked history in high school and college and for the most part still do. Amazingly, because of the Leniningers’ process and their in depth research, they begin to connect with a number of surviving and aging veterans and their family members, and they find it difficult to ignore the information connecting their son with the pilot’s death.

    As the veterans' connection with James and what is understood to be his previous life evolves, and the evidence keeps emerging it becomes difficult to disbelieve. I like to think of myself as rational and not prone to support things that are unexplainable. However, as the facts are brought to light, and experiences are remembered, the story becomes heartbreaking, undeniable, and ultimately redemptive. It was very close to the end that I cried which is very rare for me. I give this book 4.5 Stars.

    For Amazon purchasing links, further information on this book, and regarding the Leinengers please see Layers of Thought’s  Preview of Soul Survivor.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Preview: The Superstress Solution by Roberta Lee, M.D. (ARC)


    Book Stats from Amazon:

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (January 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345508629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345508621

    Book Information:

    We live on little sleep and exercise but a lot of work. We eat junk and processed foods on the run and fuel up with caffeine and sugar. We are chronically overcommitted, subjected to a 24/7 news cycle, and can’t take our eyes off our computers and PDAs. Is it any wonder that anxious is the new normal?

    Our bodies are hardwired to cope with stress, but we are biologically ill-equipped to handle the kind that we endure today. The human brain, in all its majesty, can’t distinguish true physical emergencies from daily hassles, deadlines, information overload, difficult decisions, guilt, and worries. The physiological reaction is the same: a chronic hormonal surge born of our instinctive fight-or-flight response. The result is a cluster of dangerous symptoms: immune deficiencies, high blood pressure, weight gain, insomnia, and a wide range of other ailments. This is what world-renowned integrative physician Dr. Roberta Lee has defined as the SuperStress syndrome, which is caused by our over stimulated, undernourished lifestyle.
    In this empowering, life-changing book, Dr. Lee presents the solution to SuperStress. She shows how you can build stress resistance and resilience into your life with a unique prescription for recognizing, rebalancing, and protecting against stresses small and large. Starting with a comprehensive, informative questionnaire to determine your stress level and stress personality type, The SuperStress Solution then guides you through a 4-week healing program to reset your rattled nervous system to a default state of rest rather than high alert. Discover how to

    Nourish your body with nutrient-rich foods, herbs, and supplements that repair stress damage
    Detox your system and jump-start your body’s healing with an easy-to-follow eating plan
    Sleep well again by following simple steps to protect and promote the rest your body needs
    Move to simple, low-impact exercises that can be done in five-minute to one-hour increments
    Retrain your mind so you can access a sense of peace and calm even in your most stressed-out moments

    The SuperStress Solution will do more than help you beat back the overload that is making you sick; it will restore physical harmony and balance. More than a program that makes you feel better, it is a program that will make you truly well.

    Author Information:


    Roberta Lee, M.D. is Vice Chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine , Director of Continuing Medical Education, and Co-Director of the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel’s Continuum Center for Health and Healing (CCHH) at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.

    Dr. Lee attended George Washington University Medical School. Following the completion of her residency in Internal Medicine, she served as a U.S. Public Health Service physician in Micronesia for five years. For the past ten years, she has traveled back to Micronesia as the ethno-medical specialist in an interdisciplinary team of biologists, ethno-botanists, ecologists, and conservationists studying a cross-section of cultural and botanical influences on health, healing, and the promotion of wellness in chronic disease.

    Dr. Lee is one of the four graduates in the first class from the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona  conducted by Andrew Weil, M.D.

  • Photo Credit: Kelly Campbell

    Author’s website

    Amazon purchasing options US/UK/Canada below:

    The SuperStress Solution/ The Superstress Solution/ The SuperStress Solution

  • This ARC was sent to Layers of Thought for review by Caitlin Price from FSB Associates. Thank You Caitlin!

    Review coming soon!

  • Preview: Children of Dust – A Memoir of Pakistan by Ali Eteraz


    Book Stats:

    • Children of Dust - A Memoir of Pakistan
      By Ali Eteraz
      Published by HarperOne - October 2009
    • 978-0-06-156708-7

    Editorial Info:

    An extraordinary personal journey from Islamic fundamentalism to a new life in the West.

    Ali Eteraz's Children of Dust is a spellbinding portrayal of a life that few Americans can imagine. From his schooling in a madrassa in Pakistan to his teenage years as a Muslim American in the Bible Belt, and back to Pakistan to find a pious Muslim wife, this lyrical, penetrating saga from a brilliant new literary voice captures the heart of our universal quest for identity. 

    Children of Dust
    begins in rural Islam at the lowest levels of Pakistani society in the turbulent eighties. This intimate portrayal of rustic village life is revealed through a young boy's eyes as he discovers magic, women, and friendship.

    After immigrating with his family to the United States, Eteraz struggles to be a normal American teenager under the rules of a strict Muslim household.

    In 1999, he returns to Pakistan to find the villages of his youth dominated by the ideology of the Taliban, filled with young men spouting militant rhetoric, and his extended family under threat. Eteraz becomes the target of a mysterious abduction plot when he is purported to be a CIA agent, and eventually has to escape under military escort.

    Back in the United States, with his fundamentalist illusions now shattered, Eteraz tries to find a middle way within American Islam. At each stage of Eteraz's life, he takes on a different identity to signal his evolution. From being pledged to Islam in Mecca as an infant, through Salafi fundamentalism, to liberal reformer, Eteraz desperately struggles to come to terms with being a Pakistani and a Muslim.

    Astonishingly honest, darkly comic, and beautifully told, Children of Dust is an extraordinary adventure that reveals the diversity of Islamic beliefs, the vastness of the Pakistani diaspora, and the very human search for home. 

    Author Bio:


    (for author website click on author pic)

    Ali Eteraz, author of Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan, was born in Pakistan and has lived in the Middle East, the Caribbean, and the United States. A graduate of Emory University and Temple Law School, he was selected for the Outstanding Scholar's Program at the United States Department of Justice and later worked in corporate litigation in Manhattan. He is a regular contributor to True/Slant; has published articles about Islam and Pakistani politics in Dissent, Foreign Policy, AlterNet, and altMuslim; and is a regular contributor to The Guardian UK and Dawn, Pakistan's oldest English-language daily. His blog in the Islamosphere received nearly two million views as well as a Brass Crescent award for originality. Eteraz has spoken publicly about the situation inside Pakistan, Islamic reform, and Muslim immigration. He currently divides his time between Princeton, New Jersey, and the Middle East, and is working on a novel.

    This memoir was sent for review from Julie Harabedian at FSB Associates. Thank you Julie.

    For Amazon purchasing information link are listed respectively US/UK/Canada:

    Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan/ Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan/ Children Of Dust: A Memoir Of Pakistan

    Review coming soon!

    Preview: Stepmonster – A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do By Wednesday Martin, Ph.D.


    Book Stats from Amazon:

    • Hardcover: 336 pages
    • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (May 4, 2009)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0618758194
    • ISBN-13: 978-0618758197

    Book Info from Publicist:

    One in two women in the United States will marry or live with a man with children, according to projections by experts who study divorce and remarriage. And the research is clear: it’s harder for women to be a stepparent than it is for men. Who are these women? What motivates them? Are they really wicked?

    STEPMONSTER: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do, by Wednesday Martin, Ph.D., is an empowering, original, and realistic book that offers a completely new way of looking at women in relationships with men who have children.

    Rather than focusing on how such repartnering affects the child, Martin explores stepfamily life and dynamics from the stepmother’s point of view, asking how remarriage with children affects her — psychologically, socially, and economically. Drawing on her own experience as a stepmother; interviews with other stepmothers and stepchildren; and fascinating insights — from anthropology, literary criticism, psychology, and evolutionary biology — that reveal the little-understood realities of this most demanding role, Martin unlocks the mysteries of why stepmothers think, feel, and act the way they do.

    Author Bio:

    Wednesday Martin Ph.D., author of Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do was a regular contributor to the New York Post's parenting page for several years, and her work has appeared in a number of national magazines. She earned her doctorate in comparative literature from Yale and taught cultural studies and literature at Yale, the New School, and Baruch College. Martin, a stepmother for nine years, lives in New York City with her husband and their two sons.

    Who You Callin' Blended?
    By Wednesday Martin, Ph.D.,
    Author of Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do

    The media is in love with the term "blended family." From USA Today to Star magazine to the New York Times, from 20/20 to Oprah, there's no escaping the articles about repartnering with children that don't just label such families "blended," but further suggest that "blending = success." That is, not blended = failed stepfamily.

    And the rest of the world follows suit with their practices and expectations. There are web sites for stepfamilies (many of them quite helpful and smart) with names like "Blended and Beautiful" and "Blissfully Blended." Many of the stepfamily members I interviewed over the last three years reported that they found themselves surrounded by friends, colleagues and even therapists who cleave to the notion that these families "ought" to move on a trajectory toward "blending all together," and that anything short of that "desired outcome" was, well, coming up short. Deficient.

    What stepfamilies themselves, as well as the best family therapists, have known for years, is that the standard of blending is just plain wrong. It not only misrepresents the reality of life for all the players in a remarriage with children; the concept is also unrealistic and harmful to stepfamilies and individual stepfamily members. Indeed, the Blended Family is what we might call a Big Lie, one of the most entrenched and damaging myths when it comes to stepfamily members getting on with it, surviving, and forming meaningful relationships with each other. What we now know, from lived experience and years of research on families of divorce and remarriage with children, is that judging these families by a first family standard -- that is, expecting cohesiveness, closeness, and togetherness à la a nuclear family -- is the surest way to miss the point entirely. Stepfamilies are not only not an effortless, ambrosial smoothie -- they're not supposed to be. And striving to "achieve" a first-family-ness is likely unhealthy for everyone involved.

    A good example of the damage the myth of the blended family wrecks on families is the story told to me by a man I'll call Mitch, a widowed father of two who married Jackie, divorced with a child of her own, about a decade ago. Delighted to have found a life partner to whom he felt deeply connected, Mitch nevertheless told me that his main goal in remarrying had been "to give my sons a mother." For his part, he felt he should treat his own sons and Jackie's boy "exactly the same," and told me that initially he hadn't even referred to Jackie's son Martin as "my stepson" but rather, "my son."

    The rest of Mitch's story unspooled from this initial expectation -- "we'll be just like parents to each other's kids, just like a first family" -- in a way that didn't surprise me after my years of research and first-hand experience, but that has shocked and stung millions of stepfamily members over the last decades. Jackie's son resented Mitch's presumptions; Mitch's sons felt the same way about Jackie's attempts to "mother" them. The three kids rejected their stepparents in every way imaginable -- refusing to acknowledge them when they walked in the room, talking back, acting out at home and at school -- which led Mitch and particularly Jackie to redouble their efforts, convinced that they could knit everyone together with enough love. Spurned again and again, they soon felt rejected and resentful of their stepkids. And as the kids fought with each other, Jackie and Mitch were increasingly polarized, their partnership taking on water as they stuck up for their own kids.

    One day, when Jackie grew furious that Mitch wasn't paying enough attention at Martin's parent-teacher conference, Mitch exploded, feeling "cut into pieces." This lead them to couple's therapy with a practitioner who was, thankfully, very experienced with stepfamily dynamics. "Stop trying to parent each other's kids," they were told. "And stop with the expectation that you're all supposed to blend." This expectation, the counselor told them, was creating enormous stress for everyone. Why were they pushing the idea of everyone loving everyone else right off the bat, and of erasing all their years of separate history and rituals? What was wrong, she asked, with two Christmas trees if the kids found their own way of doing it so important? What was wrong with a kid preferring his own parent? Or with a parent feeling closer to her own child than her stepchild?

    Nothing. In spite of it rubbing ignorant outsiders the wrong way, successful stepfamilies have learned that super-close first-family dynamics aren't necessary to have good-enough, close-enough ties that sustain and nourish stepfamily members. Residential families, more than one researcher has noted, can have a dorm-like feel: particularly where she and he both bring their own kids to the mix, stepfamily members might eat at different times, even elect not to take all their vacations together. When kids are older and living apart, even less bondedness is the rule.

    And it seems it is this very "lack" of closeness that allows stepfamilies to succeed, gel in their own way, and develop positive relationships. The National Stepfamily Resource Center, an organization that has repeatedly called for therapists and the media to stop using the term "blended family," has noted that flexibility and respect for difference are more predictive of positive outcome for stepfamilies than "tight knit-ness." As stepfamily researcher Dr. Patricia Papernow has noted, "When stepfamilies blend, it's because someone's getting creamed. Either the parents are moving too fast and the kids are getting creamed with 'we're a family' expectations, or the adults have this 'two parent' model so the stepparent gets creamed."

    Too much cohesion too soon may make everyone around us -- in-laws, friends, even therapists who don't get it -- feel more comfortable with our stepfamily. But it's not what works for stepparents and stepkids. Lowering our expectations and letting go of the fantasy of blending is the first step to putting together something that's bumpy, but emotionally honest and workable.

    ©2009 Wednesday Martin, Ph.D., author of Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do

    For more information please visit

    Amazon links are as follows US/UK/Canada:

    Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do/ Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do/ Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real Stepmothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do

    This book was sent to Layers of Thought for review from Anna Suknov from FSB Associates. Thanks Anna!

    Review Coming Soon!

    Tuesday, October 20, 2009

    Review by JD: The Atlantis Legacy by Thomas Greanias

    Posted by Shellie – read and written by JD


    Book Stats: 

    • The Atlantis Legacy - (Two books now re-issued in one volume; original books titled Raising Atlantis, and The Atlantis Prophecy)
    • by Thomas Greanias
    • ISBN: 978-1-4391-4902-7
    • Pages 543: paperback
    • Pocket Books, 2009 (original books published in 2005 and 2008)

    Synopsis and Review Combo:

    *Caution – outrageous fantasy alert*

    The star of these books is Conrad Yeats who is the world’s leading astro-achaeologist - a combination of astronomer, archaeologist and astrologist. His father is a high ranking US army general who is in charge of DARPA – the Pentagon’s top-secret research and development organization. His “partner” is Sister Serena Serghetti – the Vatican’s top linguist and cryptologist.

    In the first of the two stories, they discover the lost civilization of Atlantis, which has been buried two miles beneath the ice of Antarctica for thousands of years. While exploring a fantastic pyramid, they trigger a process which threatens to destroy much of the civilized world of today, and find themselves in a race to unlock ancient secrets that might prevent the devastation. In the second of the stories, Yeats father has died but his tombstone has some astrological signs and codes that are clearly intended to send a message that only Yeats can interpret. It leads him on a quest, following clues hidden beneath monuments in Washington DC, and trying to out-smart an ancient and deadly organization intent on creating a new world order.

    It’s all very Dan Brown. In fact the second of the books goes even further and is more like a cross between Dan Brown and James Bond! I’m sure Greanias is fed up of the comparison, but the marketing material mentions Brown’s name several times, so the comparison is inevitable. If you like Brown, the chances are that you may well enjoy this; if you don’t like him, stay away.

    Me? I liked The Da Vinci Code but had a hard time with Angels and Demons, where the plot was so outrageous I found it a bit silly. These stories take elements of both of those books, then crank up the outrageousness factor even more. They are replete with ancient other-worldly civilizations, government bodies filled with bad guys from secret organizations, Freemasons, Knights Templar, the Roman Catholic church, plots to change the world, and trails of clues that are so fiendishly difficult to follow that you couldn’t possibly succeed unless, well, you’re the star of a Dan Bran or Thomas Greanias book. Oh, and of course there’s George Washington. He plays a big role in the second story.

    I really shouldn’t have liked these stories, but the truth is I read the first story in double quick time and then plunged straight into the second story. While I kept on grumbling about the plot and the characters, I also kept on reading and clearly got some guilty pleasures from the experience. On balance I’d rate it 2.5 Stars.

    Author Info

    (click on author pic for an interesting website)index

    Thomas Greanias is the New York Times bestselling author of Raising Atlantis, The Atlantis Prophecy and The Atlantis Revelation.
    Recognized as one of the world's leading authors of adventure, Greanias was the first to break out on the Web with several hit interactive series, No. 1 eBooks on Amazon worldwide, and No. 1 Audiobooks on iTunes worldwide. His books in print from Simon & Schuster have appeared on all the major U.S. bestseller lists and in more than a dozen languages in more than 75 countries. The New York publishing giant calls Thomas Greanias "one of the driving forces and trailblazers in transforming publishing into what it will eventually become in the not so distant future."
    Greanias received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. He has reported on issues of national security as an on-air correspondent in Washington, D.C., for NBC affiliates. He also has advised Congress, the White House and Fortune 50 CEOs on the future of digital media.
    He lives with his wife and two sons in Los Angeles.

    This book was won by Layers of Thought from The Literate Housewife during BBAW and snatched up by John the second it came in the mail (and yes he did grumble but devoured the whole thing quite quickly). Thanks Jennifer!

    Amazon purchasing links are as follows US/UK/Canada:

    The Atlantis Legacy The Atlantis Legacy The Atlantis Legacy

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Internal Blog Roll

    223052548_9f5ff24797_s 2128082619_afeea19020_s 505464265_e28c04cf5a_s 3220681685_29c7c397a4_s

    Money Roll * Roll of Dice * Towel Roll * Tootsie Roll

    I have decided to create an internal blog roll. It seems like less clutter and easier to maintain. There is a link on the front page on the tabs at the top of the blog for easy access.

    Please note if you are a reader/follower of Layers of Thought feel free to let me know where to include you/your blog in this list, if I have forgotten you, if you would like to be re-categorized, or not included at all.

    **This post has been semi updated as of Nov 27, 2010 but is still in the works. All readers and followers for Layers of Thought will be included in this blog roll. Please email me or make a comment if you are not included on this list**

    Speculative Fiction ~ Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Horror.

    1. Azure Dwarf
    2. Edi’s Book Lighthouse
    3. Neth Space
    4. Sci Fi Songs
    5. Fiefdom
    6. Grasping for the Wind
    7. NATS
    8. Rememorandom
    9. The Book Wars
    10. Unbound!
    11. Urban Fantasy Fan Page
    12. Vision Scifi
    13. SFF Chat
    14. Walker of Worlds
    15. Her Cotton Socks
    16. Imagination Run Amok
    17. Ranting Dragon
    18. Book Chick City
    19. Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

    Literature and Classics

    1. Eclectic Eccentric
    2. The Parrish Lantern
    3. The Reading Life
    4. She Treads Softly
    5. Smrti-Sruti
    6. A Bookshelf Monstrosity
    7. A Literary Odyssey
    8. Laura’s Reviews
    9. bibliophiliac
    10. Group Pen B.A. Book Reviews and The Type and Byte Review
    11. Under My Apple Tree

    Foreign Language Blogs


    Children’s & Learning

    1. Mommy Teach
    2. Maw Books

    Writers and Authors

    1. Dawn Kurtagich's Blog
    2. Laura Ryan – Upstate Girl
    3. Rhiannon Hart
    4. William Bentrim
    5. The Afflicted Girls
    6. An Ulterior Motive
    7. BronzeWord Latino Authors
    8. Day In The Life
    9. Laurel-Rain Snow's Reflections
    10. Warrior Monk
    11. Wolf Maiden Chronicles
    12. When We Listen
    13. Brett Rathbone
    14. What’s Charlie Taking About?
    15. Sandy Hyatt James – Mish Mash
    16. Writing from the Darkness – Kathleen Mckenna
    17. Shattered Prose –Indigo
    18. helluo librorum – Teresa Frohock
    19. Writing from my mountain
    20. Basia Unleashed
    21. Imagination Run Amok
    22. I see words everywhere
    23. Alice V 


    The Vamplit Crowd

    1. Something Wicked - Marrisa Farrar
    2. Jevron McCrory
    3. Dance on Fire - James Garcia Jr.
    4. The Dandridge Estates – Nicole Hadaway
    5. Vamplit’s Authors Library

    Urban Fantasy, Chic Lit, Romance, and Women’s Fiction

    1. The Fiction Vixon
    2. The Geeky Bookworm
    3. Reviews By Martha's Bookshelf
    4. Romantic Harbor
    5. Simply Vamptastic
    6. Tink’s Place
    7. The Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
    8. Book Lovers Inc
    9. Debbie’s Book Bag
    10. What …more books
    11. My Bookish Ways
    12. Ave Bea
    13. Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews
    14. Psychotic State
    15. Chrissy's World Of Books
    16. BK Walker Books Etc...
    17. see scoot read
    18. the bookish snob 
    19. Book Lover's Hideaway
    20. Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf

    Eclectic and General Fiction Book Blogs

    1. Reading Extravaganza
    2. Book Blab
    3. The Book Worm
    4. The Crystal Perspective
    5. Kittling: Books
    6. The Fiction Vixen
    7. Missy’s Book Nook
    8. Silly Little Mischief
    9. Alexia's Books and Such
    10. Take Me Away
    11. Metroreader
    12. Peeking Between the Pages
    13. Libby's Library News
    14. A Novel Menagerie
    15. The Book Inn
    16. BookEnds
    17. The Genteel Arsenal
    18. A BookLover's Diary
    20. Notable Books
    21. When I read... I get to travel.
    22. Whimpulsive
    23. Diary of an Eccentric
    24. The Book Kitten
    25. Girls with Books
    26. My Ever Expanding Library
    27. Pick of the Literate
    28. A Sea of Books
    29. Book Hounds
    30. I am all a twitter about life!
    31. Read, Reading & Life
    32. Reviews4Reviews
    33. From the TBR pile
    34. Housewife Blues and Chihuahua Stories
    35. Simple Wyrdings
    36. one book shy
    37. A Novel Menagerie
    38. BOOK LUST
    39. Soap Box in My Mind (professional copy editor)

    YA Book Blogs

    1. Dana’s YA Book Pile
    2. He Followed Me Home
    3. Book Rat
    4. Must Read Faster
    6. The Little Bookworm
    8. A Book Lover's Diary
    9. The Bookaholics
    10. The Book Faery
    11. Ave Bea
    12. Bittersweet Enchantment
    13. The Lit Express
    14. It's all about books

    Challenge Blogs

    1. Fill in the Gaps
    2. Victorian Challenge
    3. War Through the Generations Challenge
    4. 52 Books in 52 Weeks

    Funny Blogs

    1. Neas Nuttiness...
    2. Professor B. Worm
    3. Things That Bother Me

    Creative Non Book Blogs – Artists and More!

    1. Geezees Custom Canvas Art
    2. Holly’s Ramblings
    3. inkOBSESSION designs
    4. Simplify
    5. The Royal Ballet
    6. Velvet Rose
    7. The Celestial Elf – About Machinima
    8. Imagination Run Amok
    9. The Sweet Maple Life
    10. Sweetshenanigans 
    11. Lilli Pad Creations
    12. Denz Ramblings
    13. Nothing to Fancy
    14. hobo annie every day

    Misc, Personal, and Fun

    1. Destined for Banality
    2. funny because its true
    3. Giveaway Roundup
    4. Dave’s Travel Corner – Above the Clouds

    Blogs with Special and Important Social Interests

    1. The Dangerous Pages Review
    2. War Through the Generations Challenge
    3. Holli’s Ramblings
    4. BronzeWord Latino Authors
    5. Black Diamonds Book Reviews –supporting black authors
    6. the bucket food list
    7. Book Give Aways!
    8. Living Without Wheat

    The Blogger Bone Yard – RIP

    1. True Crime Book Reviews
    2. Books 'N Border Collies
    3. Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings
    4. Pizza's Book Discussion
    5. Books with Swords
    6. Rustikana
    7. The Narrative Causality
    8. Life or something like it.
    9. The Book Worm
    10. Jimmy Bastard
    11. My Little Corner of the World
    12. The Chic Geek


    partial update 3/16/2011

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Preview: Prince Harming Syndrome by Karen Salmansohn


     Book Stats from Amazon:

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: QNY (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 084370926X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843709261
  • Reader Information:

    Do you feel as if you have a KICK ME SIGN on your heart? Unfortunately PRINCE HARMING SYNDROME seems to be a syndrome that plagues women of every age in every kingdom near and far. This NEW book will break bad love patterns for good!

    It may not be a book you ordinarily pick off the shelf, it’s also not your typical love advice book! In fact, PRINCE HARMING SYNDROME merges the ancient Greek philosophy of Aristotle with modern cognitive therapy plus a pinch of quantum physics—explaining how to break free from limiting beliefs and (b)lame excuses—so women can FINALLY snag the happily ever after love relationship they desire and deserve! 

    My Immediate Thoughts:

    I have briefly looked at this book and it appears to include some helpful information for women such as myself. Most people assume that I have been married for years, but truthfully I have had a proven history of dating Mr. Wrong, and Mr. Beyond Wrong for most of my life. It was fun but ultimately unsatisfying and frustrating. I have only in the past 6 years, since meeting and marrying my husband, been in able to shake that label. Because of my personal past, and the subsequent search for a reason why I chose to date less than available men gives me a reason to read this cute little book.

    Author Info:


    Karen Salmansohn is an ex Senior VP ad agency creative director (at age 26) who left her job to pursue her passion of writing and is now a best-selling author with over 1 million books sold, with titles including How to Be Happy, Dammit; Ballsy: 99 Ways to Score Extreme Success; and The Bounce Back Bok: How to Thrive in the Face of Adversity, Setbacks, and Losses.
    Salmansohn, a highly respected mentor in the New York City area, regularly gives seminars on topics such as how to increase happiness, productivity, resiliency and harnessing fun as a high performance fuel. Karen was host of Be Happy, Dammit, a popular talk show on Sirius satellite radio, and a regular lifestyle expert for Fox TV's Good Day New York. She has also been on The Today Show, The View, Politically Incorrect, and many morning shows across the country. Salmansohn is also a regular contributor to The Huffington

    For more information on the author and her books link here to her website.

    For Amazon purchasing information please see the links in this order – US/UK/Canada

    Prince Harming Syndrome: Break Bad Relationship Patterns for Good—5 Essentials for Finding True Love (and they're not what you think)/ Prince Harming Syndrome: Break Bad Relationship Patterns for Good--5 Essentials for Finding True Love (and They're Not What You Think!) /Prince Harming Syndrome:

    Thank you Kristel Kempin from Langenscheidt Publishing Group for sending me this book to review.

    Review coming soon!

    Give Away Contest and Chat with Nicole Hadaway author of RELEASE

    Welcome to Layers of Thought’s first Give Away contest and author chat. Its a pleasure to welcome Nicole Hadaway here to talk with us about her new novel RELEASE, its sequel RETURN and vampires in general. Nicole has some interesting links, adventures, and experiences around her life as a vampire novelist. Share yours too.


    Here’s the format:

    If your interested in entering the contest

    • Read the chapter below (no spoilers are included)
    • Answer the question at the bottom of the post
    • Email Shellie your answer with email contact information

    This contest is on going until October 30, 12 pm AZ(US) time. Winner(s) will be announced and notified on Halloween. It is open world wide since it is an ebook and will be emailed.

    *Please do not post the answer in the comments.*

    Chat is open to everyone and will be on going within the comment section of this post. Nicole will be available from between 9 am – 12 pm AZ(US) time. Please feel free to converse and connect with each other as well.


    Release-Bookcover-11-181x300 (To read the Preview post of RELEASE click on the book pic)


    Neil walked down the cold, damp London streets. It was shortly after three in the morning, on what was now, officially, January 1, 1945. You couldn’t tell, really, that the New Year had been celebrated at all. Morale was rather low in London after nearly five years of air raids, bombings, evacuations and blackouts. Neil himself had finished his shift at the air raid siren station and was now headed to his mate Mark’s place for a subdued celebration. He couldn’t wait to get a taste of the black market whiskey that Mark had managed to get, for his hands were nearly frozen; this entire winter it had been so very cold.

    So Neil walked along the deserted streets lined by terraced houses, thankful that the moon was still bright enough so he could find his way around without tripping over too many curbs or bumping into lampposts. It was bad enough that he’d had to serve as an air raid warden, but the fact that they gave him the night shift for that night was just intolerable. Though when he thought about it, a few scraped knees and cold fingers was a small price to pay for having escaped an entire war of army duty.

    He’d been lucky that the injury on his right hand, received when, at the age of five, he’d stuck them in the meat freezer at the same time the butcher had decided to close the case, thus chopping off three fingers, had been his ticket out of serving in the army. He couldn’t very well shoot a gun with only two fingers on his dominant hand. Britain had still made him ‘do his part’ by manning the air raid sirens. God, the noise those things made; even though he wore earplugs, he didn’t think his hearing would ever be the same. Still, better than being a corpse on a Normandy beach, like his brother.

    Neil pushed the glum thoughts about his brother from his mind by looking around at his surroundings. He’d left the part of the neighborhood where houses and apartments abounded, and now entered the warehouse district. To fill the silence, which only made him think of his brother more, Neil started to whistle, concentrating on the tune.

    As he sucked in a breath to start another verse, he heard the flutter of wings behind him, like a bird or maybe a bat, which was odd, as there was nothing to attract birds on this street in London. There were no trees or fences for them to perch on, just the unlit streetlamps, like the one he’d just bumped into, and the warehouses that kept wartime supplies, such as the plethora of gas masks that all London citizens carried, even the babies. When he thought about it, the warehouses were probably perfect places for bats to nest in. Yep, that had to be it.

    Neil mused on how he’d never seen a bat before, and he wondered if perhaps they minded flying about in such cold weather. He thought about turning on his lamp; the cowl over

    the top of it made the light shine downward, so it shouldn’t attract too much attention. Then he remembered that bats might be attracted to light, and he didn’t want the bat to get caught in his hair. He’d heard that bats could be awfully nasty if they flew in your hair – they got caught in it so badly that the only way to get them out was to shave your hair off. He had a bad enough time with women as it was; he didn’t need to be bald as well.

    The fluttering over him stopped, and Neil heard what he thought was a low, soft thud! behind him. He turned around, partly out of curiosity and partly out of fear – did something just knock the bat out of the sky, why would it drop to the ground like that? Switching on his handheld lamp, Neil slowly, cautiously looked behind him.

    There was no bird or bat, but a man, standing about ten yards away from Neil, well out of the glow of the lamp. In the moonlight, however, Neil could make out the man’s features; he was tall, with curly, dark brown hair, and light, piercing blue eyes that Neil could see as if they were only a foot in front of him in full lamplight. The oddest thing was that the man was standing with his hands on his hips, watching Neil, nonchalantly, as if it were the most natural thing in the world to do. They stood like that for a few moments, staring at each other, until the man smiled, and started to laugh, slightly throwing back his head at whatever he found amusing.

    Neil was worried. The war and the bombings had chased most of the crazies out of London, but this one must have stayed on for some reason. So he turned back and started walking briskly, hoping that Mark had left his door unlocked. Neil hadn’t bothered to turn off his lamp, let them fine me if they want; even better, I’d welcome a bobby right now to keep that nutter away from me. Mark’s small apartment was above a warehouse at the end of the street, about fifty yards from where Neil was now. He was thankful that he didn’t have too far to go to get away from the crazy bloke and out of the cold, which was hurting his throat and lungs as he sucked in air.

    Neil hadn’t traveled very far before his breathing, heavier now from his increased pace, hurt too much, he slowed down. Forcing himself to breathe quietly, Neil listened for any sounds coming from behind him. Nothing. The absence of noise made him hope that he was no longer being followed. Neil chanced a look behind him, shining his light broadly around, and saw with relief that the crazy man was gone. Probably gone back into the warehouse or something, he reassured himself. As he turned his head back towards Mark’s apartment, a dense fog rolled past him. He coughed for a few minutes, thinking it was odd that the fog had suddenly appeared like this, out of nowhere, in the middle of these warehouses. But that’s London for you.

    The fog cleared, and Neil could see ahead of him. An icy frisson of fear ran from the tip of his head, down to the bowels of his stomach. The crazy bloke was now in front of him, leaning against a building wall between Neil and the safety of Mark’s place. The man’s casual air was gone. He suddenly stood up straight in one movement, which was very strange because he hadn’t even bent his body. It was as if invisible wires had pulled him into a standing position. Then the man started walking towards him as if he expected Neil to just stand there and wait for him.

    There was no way Neil was going to get messed with tonight. He hadn’t made it this far through the war, with its air raids, rations, and the threat of Nazi invasions, only to meet his end at the hands of some crazy on a back street of London. No sir, not tonight, especially not on New Year’s Day.

    Neil dropped his lamp, and then made two moves simultaneously. He turned to run – he was a pretty fast runner, and had kept in shape. He also pulled out his pocketknife and opened up the blade. He didn’t want to get into a fight; it had been ages since he’d been in one, and with his right hand he was well aware of his handicap. However, just in case…

    Neil’s foot had barely touched the pavement when he was stopped dead in his tracks again, as there was now another man, one who seemed to have been standing behind him this whole time. A blond man this time, with pale skin, yet very dark, almost black eyes. A Nazi – oh my God, they’ve made it here! he thought in a panic. Before he could think of his next move, the man opened his mouth and, speaking English without any accent asked, “Hey Cray – how much longer? Daylight’s not too far away.”

    “Awww, Denny, relax! They’re on double daylight savings time here,” an amused voice called out from behind Neil.

    Neil heard a whoosh of air and before he could turn around, he felt a hand on his shoulder.

    He turned towards the hand on his shoulder, and found himself staring into pale blue eyes. Eyes that seemed to bore into Neil, forcing him to drop the knife, which he’d been holding out, poised to strike. The man reached over with his other hand and took the knife, tossing it to the side, saying, “You won’t be needing this, friend and we’ve our own ways of getting your flesh and blood.”

    Neil knew he should have been afraid – he was afraid – but he couldn’t move; for some reason, he was rooted to his spot. One part of his brain screamed fight, fight, fight!, but the rest just wouldn’t allow it. Maybe it was because he knew the man was strong and he could feel that his shoulder might break from the crazy man’s grip.

    It did break. Neil heard a loud snap! and felt the pain shoot forth from his shoulder down his arm and across his chest. Through the pain, he thought he heard someone say, “Sorry chum, but I like it when the marrow gets into the blood, with the adrenaline. Makes it tastier.”

    Neil tried to scream, but something was at his throat, almost strangling him. He felt the fire of his shoulder meld with the burning at his throat. All he could do was look up at the bright light of the moon as its white aura quickly engulfed his entire body.

    The Question:

    Why are there no London streetlamps lit in this WWII scene?

    Please email me  your answer at layersofthought(nospam) Just remove the no spam thingy. Good luck!

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