Tuesday, March 30, 2010

“Mystery and Adventure” is Theme of New Novel: Anasazi Intrigue

Stolen artifacts, the Santa Clara/Virgin River flood, a snoopy newspaper reporter, and mysterious events begin to unfold with Anasazi Intrigue.

When a devastating flood wipes out homes in a small town, residents are shocked by the news of a possible poison spill that also kills many of the fish and neighbor's pets. The people don’t know what to think or do, until Julia, the town's newest reporter, jumps into action and begins her investigation. Quickly Julia realizes the story is much bigger and more dangerous than she thought. As information unfolds, Julia and her husband find themselves on the run, trying to save their lives while finishing the story of a lifetime. She never realized that being a reporter could be so dangerous. With artifacts, dead fish, a devastating flood, and miscreants, John and Julia have their hands full.

In “Anasazi Intrigue” (ISBN: 978-1-58982-587-1), Clarke creates a story based upon an independent, educated, and strong woman character. Suko’s Notebook Reviews said of Clarke’s writing: “Linda Weaver Clarke is outstanding at presenting the characters' thoughts.”

There are two subjects discussed in this novel: The Santa Clara/Virgin River Flood and stolen artifacts. The mystery of the Anasazi Indians boggles the minds of many archaeologists. Ancient dwellings, petroglyphs, and pottery found in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico are fantastic and part of Anasazi history. When an ancient ruin is discovered, it doesn’t take long for thieves to take it apart. Archaeological thievery is becoming more and more of a problem every year.

The second subject brings out what really happened during the flooding in southern Utah. Lost homes can be replaced, but it’s impossible to replace precious treasures that had no value to anyone but the owner, such as photos and memories of the past. The stories of hope, charity, and little miracles seem to uplift others and have a wonderful effect on people during a crisis such as this. Clarke’s novel brings out what really happened in St George, Utah but the mystery is just beginning.

About the Author

Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching a “Family Legacy Workshop,” encouraging others to write their family history and autobiography. Clarke is the author of the historical fiction series, “A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho,” and the new mystery series, “Anasazi Intrigue: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans.”

“Anasazi Intrigue” (ISBN-13: 978-1-58982-587-1, American Book Publishing, 2010) can be purchased through local and online bookstores. For more information, visit www.lindaweaverclarke.com. Publicity contact: www.american-book.com.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Book Review: Blood Ties

by Kay Hooper

What its about: There is murder again and it seems to have ties to what the SCU has already been working on. So they go to the small town to work it all out. Hollis and the others that were at the church when Samuel's meltdown occurred have been having weird power repercussions and they don't know how that is going to affect their investigation.

The final book in the Blood trilogy. And of course it meets expectations completely. I love Kay Hooper's suspense paranormal books. I wish that is what she always wrote (I am not as big on her other books). This time she added footnotes telling which book the event mentioned occurred in as well as bio sketch's of all the characters. It was helpful.

In fact I liked it so much I plan on getting it on CD and re-listening to all of the books in the trilogy (if not all of them period). They are great!

The only thing i didn't like was I felt there were a lot of loose ends at the end of this book. Characters I wanted to see how they ended up. Based on history though I will see many of them in the future novels.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Review: At First Sight

I just have to say I am starting to love Nicholas Sparks. He doesn't always end the same way (happy ending, sad ending etc). So it leaves you on your toes a little. In terms of this particular book - I found it heart-wrenching in a good way.

I had been listening to many of his other books on CD. In fact I listened to the prequel of this book on CD and enjoyed it. But this one was just more.. It made me think of all the other books I read about romances that had ended and we just assume it is all easy living after that. And this just shows you that it isn't the case at all. Being in a relationship is a lot of hard work. Just because you love each other that may not be enough. You need more to base a life on.

Just having had a child this was something I could relate in terms of the whole baby thing. Good for those that want to have a great cry.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Well-Read Commuter Reviews: Two Legged Snakes Understanding and Handling Manipulative People

By: Dr. Ed Slack

What this book is about:
As Dr. Slack explains it, "who we trust is the single most important factor in determining our happiness and success". Who do we give our heart, time and money to? In his book, Two Legged Snakes: Understanding and Handling Manipulative People, he offers the keys to perceiving and overcoming deception with astonishing simplicity, and humor that ranges from profane to profound. The key is to help you make choices outside the shadowy world of sophistry and be happier, safer, and more successful.

Did you like this book: I found this book as relevant and as important of a read as Dr. Martha Stout's 2006 book, The Sociopath Next Door. Two Legged Snakes gets the point across with a rich and easy to understand text coupled with illustrations that lighten the mood on this serious subject. This book is different from other "avoid this type of person" books in that the material is somehow not presented in a depressing way. Dr. Slack delves into the psychology of why some people just seem to be born manipulators that leave damage and pain in their wake. The material is presented in a way that makes it ultra accessible to those outside of clinical and academic settings. There is a lot of focus on ways to enrich your own life by steering clear of and deal with the snakes that we encounter in our everyday life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Well-Read Commuter Reviews: Risk Takers

By: Renee & Don Martin

What this book is about: This is a one-of-a kind book that features in-depth conversations with some of the highest-profile entrepreneurs in the country about the secrets and strategies behind their success. Did you ever look at an accomplished business owner and wonder, as you are living paycheck to paycheck, how did they do that? Look no further than this fantastic book that pulls the curtain back on the original American Dream.

Did you like this book: Curves Gym, Spanx, Patron Tequila and John Paul Mitchell; you know all of their products, but what do you need to know about them? Even if you are not looking to burn up Wall Street as an investor or Main Street as a business owner, this book is a must read guide to success. It would make a great gift for a graduate in this contracting economy.
Three Secret Weapons for Entrepreneurs
By Renee & Don Martin,
Author of The Risk Takers: 16 Women and Men Who Built Great Businesses Share Their Entrepreneurial Strategies For Success

Whether you're considering starting your own business -- or looking for ways to expand an existing enterprise -- there are three time-tested secret weapons you can use to help gain a sharp competitive edge. These weapons are three broad business strategies that can help you to create a new business or push your company to the next level of success:

Go on a treasure hunt and find an underserved niche

Buck the conventional wisdom

Spot a new trend and pounce

If you adopt these strategies as your entrepreneurial mantras, so to speak, you're more likely to identify and take advantage of real opportunities to expand your company's product line and customer base. The stories of America's highest-achieving entrepreneurs prove that applying these strategies in imaginative, clever and timely ways can help catapult a small start-up to the status of industry leader.

Go on a Treasure Hunt and Find an Underserved Niche

In the business world, there's nothing more exciting than finding an underserved niche that represents a lucrative market that everyone else has failed to spot and target. That's like finding gold bullion at a crowded beach -- it was there for everyone else to see, but you were the one who took notice of that golden glint in the sand.

That's what happened to Gary and Diane Heavin, founders of the Curves International fitness franchise system. When the company launched in 1992, the Heavins had just $10,000 in savings to invest in their company. Today, Curves is the world's largest fitness franchise system, with 10,000 franchise locations in 65 countries.

How did Curves soar to the top? Instead of competing head-to-head with fitness giants like 24 Hour Fitness or Bally Total Fitness, the Heavins opted to serve the fitness needs of three underserved niches: middle-age and older women who are eager to get in shape but might feel intimidated by large gyms teeming with young, hard bodies; busy working women whose schedules could more easily accommodate the Curves 30-minute workout; and budget-conscious women who simply couldn't afford the pricey monthly membership dues charged by the major gym chains. Early on, Curves clearly distinguished itself from the pack of gym competitors; its services and clientele were different.

Targeting an underserved niche is a path that small start-ups can take. Even a huge multi-billion-dollar company can't offer everything for everyone. Targeting the right niche -- one that other business owners have neglected or ignored -- can help build a strong and loyal customer base while limiting competition.

Another entrepreneur who followed this strategy was Liz Lange. She launched a phenomenally successful designer maternity clothing company. Liz Lange Maternity eventually sold for an estimated $50 to $60 million in 2007. She also partnered with Target to launch a secondary, discount version of her line.

Like the Heavins, Lange reached the heights of success by targeting an underserved niche. In her case, that meant zeroing in on the needs of pregnant fashionistas -- women who refused to let a pregnancy deprive them of their fashion sense. Lange used newly developed stretch fabrics to create chic, fitted and stylish maternity clothes. They were nothing like the tent-like and frumpy maternity clothes widely available in department stores.

Buck the Conventional Wisdom

Bucking the conventional wisdom means ignoring those who say "It won't work" or "It's never been done that way." When entrepreneurs overly rely on conventional formulas for success, they're left with a business that's, well, conventional.

The most successful entrepreneurs are willing to veer away from established formulas and ways of thinking. If you've launched your own business, don't just blindly accept the so-called best practices of your industry. Look at them with a hyper-critical eye. Dissect them, slice and dice them, contemplate different "what if" scenarios in your mind.

With no capital to speak of -- just $700 in cash -- John Paul DeJoria, cofounder of hair products giant John Paul Mitchell Systems, bucked the conventional wisdom when he launched the Paul Mitchell line of hair-care products and decided to sell them solely to stylists and salons -- never to supermarkets or drug stores. Today, the company boasts more than $900 million in annual salon retail sales.

That unique system of distribution nurtured exceptional customer loyalty. The Paul Mitchell brand not only provided quality hair products for use in salons; it also created a new revenue stream for the stylists. Many of their own customers bought the shampoos and conditioners for use at home.

Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, bucked conventional wisdom when she approached hosiery mills with the idea of manufacturing footless pantyhose. The product she envisioned was a body-shaping undergarment that would hide panty lines and firm up a woman's backside so she could wear her favorite slacks and open toe sandals with confidence. Blakely knew there was a market for such a product. But time and again, she was told footless panty hose was simply a bad idea. The mills were accustomed to making hosiery designed to improve the appearance of a woman's legs. But Blakely was trying to convince them to manufacture a product that was completely hidden under clothes. She got rejection after rejection. It's a good thing she persevered, though, until she finally found a willing mill in North Carolina. Today, Spanx's estimated retail sales are in the neighborhood of $350 million.

Spot a New Trend and Pounce

Often, a shift in cultural or economic trends will create new entrepreneurial opportunities. Sometimes that shift arises from advances in technology. Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens was paying attention to such trends when the home PC market exploded. He figured out that most PC owners had limited technical knowledge. If their hard drive crashed, they were thrown into a state of panic. But unplugging their PC and hauling it off to a repair shop, where it would stay for a week or so, wasn't an attractive option. Stephens spotted the trend, pounced and captured an emerging and underserved niche. Geek Squad made house calls.

When Stephens launched Geek Squad back in 1994, the cash-strapped college student had just $200 to invest in his business. But that same business eventually fetched millions in 2002 when he sold the business to Best Buy.

Andy and Rachel Berliner launched the Amy's Kitchen brand of organic vegetarian frozen meals because they realized that more and more Americans were trying to eat healthier diets, eschewing processed foods in favor of organic vegetables. Vegetarians themselves, the Berliners were also keenly aware that they'd have no formidable competition. They had personally sampled the frozen vegetarian meals already on the market and they were terrible. The Berliners knew if they used quality ingredients and recipes, their business would thrive. Today, Amy's Kitchen generates annual revenues of $270 million.
All these entrepreneurs are featured in a new book, The Risk Takers: 16 Women and Men Share Their Entrepreneurial Strategies for Success. The book explores in depth how hugely successful entrepreneurs have applied these three strategies -- and seven others -- to propel their business to the top of the heap.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Well-Read Commuter Reviews: Size Eight in a Size Zero World

By: Meredith Cagen

What this book is about: Could a chance meeting with a stranger change the way you look at your life? For 32 year old Lindsay Chandler, that could be the case. From the outside looking in the working wife and mother has a fairy tale life in the city that never sleeps. However, in the fast paced world of New York City is anything ever as it seems?

Did you like this book: Grab your suitcase, we’re going to New York City. Meredith Cagen’s first book is one that you will find yourself passing around your social circle for all of your friends to enjoy. Cagen tells the story of Lindsay Chandler with humor and style and in the process creates a likeable main character. While at times the character can seem a bit of a pushover, you will find yourself wanting to be right there with her on her journey of self-discovery and search for happiness.

Book Review: Blaze of Memory

Blaze of Memory by Nalini Singh

I have always liked these psy thrillers of Nalini Singhs and this one is no exception. It is entertaining and has the love story we all like. Add to that the over -arching story between all of her books of what is going on in the NetMind and you have a winner.

I couldn't imagine what it would be to be broken mentally in such a way. To not be able to trust yourself. And then to find someone that even though you don't believe that you are healthy enough to be with them - they can look past it all and believe in you - your soul, your heart, your desire to do what is right - despite your past.

Everyone has been hurt in the past and this is a story of someone who had a horrible violation who can move on and let love conquer all.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Well-Read Commuter Reviews: Bitches on a Budget

Sage Advice for Surviving Tough Economic Times In Style
By Rosalyn Hoffman

What this book is about:
A witty how to guide for today's woman looking to survive the economic downturn with her style and highlights intact.

Did you like it:
The only thing I thought was wrong with this book is that I am mad that I did not think of it myself! You’ll be hooked from the word go on the easy and stylish format and page after page of "why am I not already doing that" information. The author will take your budget places that you never dreamed it could be. I liked that this book has great advice no matter what your idea of a “budget” is. For some a budget means skimping on expenses so the electric bill can be paid and for others it means only one vacation this year. The book takes that into account and more as it gives you a life-changing budget makeover. Also, if you finish the book and want more then you are in luck. This isn’t just a book, it’s a movement with an interactive website and Facebook page with 60,000+ fans.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Book Review: Run for your Life

Run for your Life by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

I have listened to several James Patterson books and by far this is my favorite. Listening to it on CD - the readers were interesting - but even better the book was intriguing and kept you waiting. It even let you do a little of the detective work in terms of trying to figure out why is the killer really doing what he is doing.

I would definitely read another book in the Michael Bennett series (if there are any). The nice foil of the cop story with the family stories intermingled allows you to identify with the Detective. He is more than just a cop. I mean look at all those kids :) He is surrounded by family who love him and give him hope in the world.

I would definitely recommend this to whoever wanted to listen or read a book where a murder spree must be stopped by the good guy!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Book Review: The Kids are All Right

The Kids are All Right by Diana Welch and Liz Welch

I don't know if it is because I now have a child of my own but books like these hit me even harder. To imagine what it would be like to have both your parents die when you are young is just terrible (in fact it is something I don't even want to think about now). These two women write about it what it was like to be in that situation. And it is no holds barred. I read about parts of it and want to cheer them on to doing what is right and instead they make the mistakes that every teenager does. In the end though it was all about family and they ended up being able to do what was right.

This isn't an upbeat book. In fact it may bring you to tears several times. So if you are looking for something feel good- you will be disappointed. But it in many ways it is accurate. Told from the perspective of all the children it is quite the story - even if each of them have their own ideas about what happened and why.

This book just made me cherish my parents and my sibling all the more.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Book Review: Dear John

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

I started listening to this book on CD and was immediately hooked. The writing was intriguing and the person reading the book only made it more real. The voice was perfect for this book. The southern twang made it feel like real people might have been talking.

As for the story it was good. I haven't read a lot of Nicholas Sparks before now and this made me want to get many more books on CD from him. The idea that two people meet and have a great connection and work hard to stay together through distance and time. But things sometimes get in the way of true love. Do they belong together? Do they belong apart? Can you really know someone when you spend so little time actually together?

I also found the fact that the book is written in the male perspective - interesting. Most of the time things that I think of as romantic (and this book is romantic) are written in the female voice. But not this one - and I don't think that takes away any of the appeal for women to read it.

This book puts it all together - 9/11, war, love, romance, doing what is right in a package that I think anyone would like.

As a side note I have been noticing commercials for the movie coming out. This book makes me want to see it!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Book Review: Days of Gold

Days of Gold by Jude Deveraux

This is the second book in the Edilean Series and we find out how the town gets it's name. Set back a few hundred years from the first we meet Edilean in Scotland. Where she meets a former laird (who now has no land). And through a variety of mistakes they end up together in America. While everything is trying to force them apart they want to be together even though there might just be a few too many differences for that to happen.

I loved the older Jude Deveraux historical romances and missed them with her most recent books. But this one just didn't have the same kick to it the rest did. I loved reading her Montgomery books and couldn't get enough of them. And while this book was still good it just didn't grab me the same way. I wanted to see more of them in this Edilean town. I wanted more about how Edilean became the business woman she became. I just wanted more.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Well-Read Commuter Reviews: Latin Grill

By: Rafael Palomino & Arlen Gargagliano

What this book was about: This book is a cookbook featuring dishes for dinners and parties including main dishes, drinks and desserts.

What did you think: This book is all upside. I don't have a lot of "skills" in the kitchen and the recipes in the book were straightforward enough that I could get them, but with recipes like East Coast Oysters and Striped Bass, they were flavorful and intricate enough to entice a skilled cook. The recipes will help you bring the heat for your next dinner party or spice up your diet with fresh and flavorful food. The photos were beautiful and the book is priced right.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Book Review: The Hour I First Believed

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

At first I thought this book was all about Columbine High School shooting with discussion about the aftermath. But that wasn't really what it was all about. It was a combination of the aftermath of some sort of traumatic situation (as I thought) and about the family history of one of the characters. Seeing how the two intermingle.

I listened to it on CD - as opposed to reading it. And several times I stopped listening and moved on to something else. It just didn't entertain me the way I thought it would. Eventually I got more into the story as we moved towards the family history part of the book.

While parts of this book wasn't as entertaining as I was hoping - other parts evoked strong emotion. After just having a baby thinking about a tragedy like Columbine and how it affects so many people outside of the original victims just scared me.

I have often said expectation frame whether you like or dislike a book. If you think it is about one thing and it isn't it can mean you like it better or worse then originally thought. And this is one of those books that wasn't what I expected and negatively affected my view of it.