Saturday, 21 November 2009




The Skinny on Success is a compilation of the best thinking on the subject of success. Relying on thought leaders from ancient Rome to the present day, this book pulls back the curtain on success and separates the wheat from the chaff. If you want the real story, pick it up and invest one hour. It will be one of the best hours you have ever spent!!

Webster's Dictionary defines "success" as the "attainment of wealth, favor or eminence."

Success is, of course, different for each of us but for most of us, the obtaining of money, fame or power is right up there. Our book is about these kinds of tangible success. We take no position on the importance of material versus spiritual success (or even whether they are mutually exclusive). We believe that 99% of the world's success goes to those people who find the courage to pursue their dreams with everything they have.

Do you?

This book is part of the award-winning series The Skinny On, which I've never heard of but it's really different to other books as it's full of little pictures of stick-thin people. Looks a fun read!

Special Thanks to Chris Denham at RAND Publishing.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Pages: 245 (Paperback)

Published by: Bluewater Press LLC (June 2009)

My Rating: 8/10


The government of the United States of America is on the verge of startling the world. Billions of dollars had been invested in its space program . And now, the moment of truth had arrived… Scott Reed is the man for the historic mission. He is the Wing Commander chosen by the elite brass at NASA. The assignment to test flight the first speed of light craft, held top secret, was about to shock the world. The risk? Utter and complete failure. The reward? Being a part of the greatest human accomplishment ever known to mankind.

Major James Harrow, second in command of the four person crew, despised his Wing Commander. Harrow was a proud and patriotic American. What was NASA thinking when they selected a Canadian to pilot the voyage? There was no comparison as to who was the better skilled aviator. This was his time, his moment. Major James Harrow was about to prove to everybody they were wrong to bypass him as Commander.

The weather conditions were perfect and lift-off for the test flight was text book. The triumphant cheers from Mission Control in Houston were echoed all the way to Cape Canaveral. The silent fear of the first hurdle of the flight had been succumbed. All systems were go! That is, until the crew and SOLT-X1 entered the Bermuda Triangle…...

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book right from the start when the 4 main characters were given their briefing orders for this historic flight.

As their spaceship entered the Bermuda Triangle strange things happened to their instruments that they couldn't control, they lost contact with Mission Control, they were in total darkness and, as they were all beginning to feel scared and helpless, they were then surrounded by a bright blue light and appeared to descend to the ground. This seemed to be in the middle of a clearing surrounded by a forest.

We were then introduced to what seemed to be primitive cavemen hunters who lived there and who could talk English and even drank chamomile tea! I was constantly wondering where they had landed -- on another planet -- have they travelled back in time -- or among some long lost tribe deep in the forest? I loved the way that the author kept us guessing about this right to the end.

As the crew explored the area the story got quite scary, it actually seemed to be more of a horror book with some fairly graphic details (which I won't spoil by saying what they were!)

Overall, a confidently written story with some twists and unexpected turns, nice short chapters with cliffhangers at the end of most of them so you just have to keep reading!

Special Thanks to Tracee Gleichner of and Rolf Hitzer.

Monday, 16 November 2009

BOOK NEWS: Patricia Cornwell sues for lost earnings

Larceny, she wrote: Patricia Cornwell sues

Best-selling crime writer claims millions in earnings have gone missing

Patricia Cornwell

The $10m-a-year author Patricia Cornwell acknowledges she is 'much luckier than most', but adds: 'I don't want to complain about this, except that it's not right'

A flashy Ferrari disappears. Then the aggrieved owner begins to suspect that her bank accounts have leaked tens of millions of dollars without explanation. If this was the plot of an airport suspense novel, you'd expect violence before 20,000 feet. If it was real-life America, you'd expect a fat lawsuit.

We are in lawsuit territory here. But the plaintiff, as it happens, is none other than Patricia Cornwell, the crime writer who specialises in skulduggery and, indeed, the occasional murder. Better still, her latest book featuring, as ever, the forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta, called The Scarpetta Factor, is partly about victims of a giant crooked Ponzi scheme of the Bernard Madoff variety.

While touring for the new book, the 17th in the Scarpetta series, Ms Cornwell was peppered with questions about a lawsuit quietly filed last month against a New York-based financial management firm, Anchin, Block & Anchin, which looked after all her affairs until July. She is claiming that she should be about $40m richer than she is and is accusing them of mismanaging her funds.

Because the case is ongoing, Ms Cornwell, 53, has so far restricted herself to only the occasional, oblique comment about her cash reserves (she is reported to earn about $10m per year as one of the world's most prolific best-selling novelists) and what it was that the defendants may or may not have done.

The details of the complaint include: that since 2005, the company has been negligent in handling rental properties and other assets and that one of the partners of the firm wrote a cheque for $5,000 for the bar mitzvah of their daughter on funds in a Cornwell account. The writer had not even met the young lady.

And there is the revealing snippet that she blurted at the weekend to an interviewer with the Courier-Mail newspaper of Australia, about the vanished sports car. "We have no records of what happened to one of my Ferraris," she said. "You trust someone to sell it for you and you don't have any idea what you got for it."

To read the full article click here

Friday, 13 November 2009

BOOK NEWS: 100 Books That Defined The Noughties

100 books that defined the noughties

Zadie, Nigella, Steig and, of course, the boy wizard. The decade has seen publishing phenomenons like no other, but which books, for better or worse, have summed up the noughties?

Never in the history of bookselling has there been such a phenomenon as Harry Potter; JK Rowling’s series sold in tens of millions and appealed to adults as well as children. The great success of the British book trade this decade was the Richard & Judy Book Club. It ran in the late afternoon on Channel 4, and made instant bestsellers of Victoria Hislop, Audrey Niffenegger and Zoë Heller, among others. The 100 titles they selected sold 30 million copies.

Across the world, it was a decade defined in blood by al-Qaeda and the 9/11 att

acks on America, which precipitated the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – see books by Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Ed Husain, Ahmed Rashid and Khaled Hosseini.

It was also the decade of often tawdry celebrities, such as Russell Brand and Ashley Cole, and those, such as Katie Price, who didn’t even pretend to write their own books. Alan Hollinghurst won the Man Booker Prize for an explicitly gay novel; Ian McEwan rose above his rivals as the country’s pre-eminent literary novelist; and a black man became president of the United States – and wrote two bestsellers.

For the full list of 100 books see this article at

Monday, 9 November 2009

Sunday, 8 November 2009


Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Pages: 117 (Paperback)

Publisher: Xlibris Corporation (2008)

My Rating: 7/10


First Line:

Burrrdonk! The wheels locked as the plane descended toward the airport.

This is such a lovely, feel good short story which starts as 14 year old Fred arrives in America (across the pond) to stay for two weeks with his father's best friend's family -- Phil, wife Julie and daughter Brittney -- as his parents have won a holiday of a lifetime to Australia and couldn't take him with them.

A romance soon develops between Fred and Brittney and Fred's time in America is full of ups and downs, including getting into trouble on more than one occasion by the difference in the meaning of words, a misunderstanding with Brittney's flirtatious friend, protecting her honour and how attending a baseball game has unexpected repercussions!

My only problem with this book is how quickly Brit and Fred 'fell in love' which I thought was a little bit unreal.

But, overall, a quick, easy read with some funny moments and one that I would recommend for teens.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


Genre: Historical Crime Fiction

Published by: Faber and Faber (Feb 2009)

Pages: 292 (Paperback)


My Rating: 8/10



"An Expert in Murder" is the first in a new series which features Golden Age crime writer Josephine Tey as its lead character, placing her in the richly-peopled world of 1930s theatre which formed the other half of her writing life. It's March, 1934, and Tey is travelling from Scotland to London to celebrate what should be the triumphant final week of her celebrated play, Richard of Bordeaux. However, a seemingly senseless murder puts her reputation, and even her life, under threat. Cleverly blending fact and fiction, "An Expert in Murder" is both a tribute to one of the most enduringly popular writers of crime and an atmospheric detective novel in its own right.

First Line:

Had she been superstitious, Josephine Tey might have realised the odds were against her when she found that her train, the early-morning express from the Highlands, was running an hour and a half late.

This is a very clever and unusual idea, using a real life writer (Josephine Tey) to help in solving a fictional crime set in the theatre world of the 1930's. It was full of believable characters with depth and richness and I was constantly changing my mind as to 'whodunnit'!

A very entertaining read which I would recommend for fans of Agatha Christie type novels.

Nicola Upson's website

Monday, 2 November 2009

BOOK NEWS: Chick lit offers fully rounded heroines for fully rounded women

Chick lit offers fully rounded heroines for fully rounded women

US publishing trend, 'bigger chick lit', booms as women respond to more realistic take on weight

"Chick lit" has relied for years on repetitive plot lines with heroines who agonise about their weight as they swig chardonnay, smoke cigarettes and have sex with their boss.

But the latest publishing phenomenon to sweep America, which has just arrived over here, features a new heroine: the young woman who is seriously overweight – and doesn't care.

"This is a completely new genre of chick lit and it's a breath of fresh air," said Mink Elliott, author of The Pi**ed Off Parents Club, which will be published next month by Little Brown. "These books are spearheading the revolution towards a more realistic perception of real women in easy-reading literature.

"Women are getting sick of the bullshit that has been perpetrated in chick lit until now. Bridget Jones, for all her agonising over her weight, was never heavier than nine-and-a-half stone, whereas the average weight of British women is well over 10 stone.

"This new genre is proof that women are finally learning to love each other and themselves – warts and all. Chick lit is finally holding a real mirror up to its readers, and they can't get enough of it."

A slew of books in which the protagonist is not just "curvy" or "voluptuous" but is actually "fat" are about to hit the bookshops. As well as The Pi**ed Off Parents Club, there is The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens, bestselling author of The Girls, which was the Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year in 2006 and a finalist for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction.

"It's classic wish-fulfilment: readers want to read about women learning to love themselves whatever their weight, because then they don't have to go through that pesky world of dieting themselves. There's a big market of people who want to hear that message," said Julia Llewellyn, author of Love Nest, to be published in February by Penguin, in which one of the central characters is overweight.

"Serious weight issues are a far bigger problem than they were in Bridget Jones's day," she added. "It's the most overwhelming issue in the life of many women. Which is precisely why it's something readers and authors are wanting to explore."

To read the whole article click here


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