Beat by Stephen Jay Schwartz

Title: Beat
Author: Stephen Jay Schwartz
Set in: San Francisco (United States)
Genre: Thriller
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (September 28, 2010)
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

My thoughts:
Beat has the makings of a typical detective novel in many ways. It has the usual ingredients, the detective of course, a complicated case and a chase with some action thrown in. What is probably different from most detective novels is the protagonist Hayden Glass.

Hayden Glass is a LAPD detective who is currently on a leave or a forced medical leave and is undergoing therapy for sex addiction. One day, after he has been clean for around 2 months he enters a video chat room after surfing a sex site for days. He enters the chat and sees a prostitute called Cora whom he instantly becomes obsessed with. After a few months of relentlessly “meeting” her online, she disappears. He follows her to San Francisco where she told him she lived and tracks her down in a hotel room.

2 heavy-set Russian guys enter the room, beat him up, rape Cora and take her with them. What follows is Hayden’s chase to find Cora. In the process he gets involved with the San Francisco Police department, the FBI and the Russian mafia with their underground sex trade.

I found the premise different and interesting with the writing flowing smoothly as well. There was a little too much Detective Jargon which I found a little difficult to follow as first but got used to later. Besides it just shows how much research and preparation the author has done. The sense of place is also very strong in Beat. I could picture the alleys and the night life of San Fransisco within the pages.

I found Hayden Glass most interesting. He revealed various shades as the novel progressed, becoming a sex addict to a detective, to a man who would risk anything for a girl, to an almost nice person at the end. He was not a black and white caricature detectives are usually portrayed as.

I wish I had read the first book Boulevard though. Beat could be called a stand alone novel but reading the first one would have given me a little more glimpse into Hayden’s life and character since most of the issues he carried with him came from the first book. Beat is not very heavy on action. It’s more of Hayden chasing the girl Cora and then uncovering various things on the way. It was a bit slow for my taste but the end more or less made up for it.

Note: A lot of violence.

Read Veens Review here

Screw Cupid: The Sassy Girl’s Guide to Picking Up Hot Guys

Title: Screw Cupid: The Sassy Girl’s Guide to Picking Up Hot Guy
Author: Samantha Scolfield
Publisher: Experiment, The (September 1, 2009)
Genre: Self-help

About the book: Screw Cupid is the guide for every woman ready to take her dating life into her own hands. Samantha Scholfield has many years of dating experience, and the techniques and strategies she reveals here were developed via extensive trial and error – and by consulting and collaborating with hundreds of women (and many men), and by refining the best of the extensive pickup advice that already circulates among men. The result: perfectly calibrated guidance on how to initiate a conversation – anytime, anywhere – and get right to a date, all without the guy knowing he’s being picked up.

I don’t usually read self-help books, but something in this book made me want to read it. I never thought I would ever rate a book on how to pick up hot guys, but here it is – 4 out of 5.

I decided to try a different approach with the review and so I asked my lovely readers to ask a few questions. I’ve answered them as best as I could and without spoiling the book too much.

Veens: Can teens [in college] really use the advice? If so, I would like to see a few examples of advices
I don’t think this book is aimed towards college going teens but then you can always customize right? The book mentions how to initiate conversations in bars or say bookstores. But there is a section at the beginning where the author mentions a mistake she did in high school. Something on the lines of ‘do not stalk the guy you like’ which I feel is the mistake so many of the girls do 🙂 But as I said one can always customize and adapt.

Stacy: would be curious about what they say about where to meet someone these days. I have so many friends finding dates (sometimes souses) online.
It mentions a lot of places actually. Bars, bookstores, parties etc. In fact, there is a list of places that tell you where to meet guys. Obviously not all are feasible, but most are. The author mentions online dating too and she also gives a very good way to contact guys through dating sites which would help them notice your message among the many others they might get. I really liked that advice which in spite of falling on the “common-sense” side is overlooked by many girls.

Care: DO tell us the sug that seems the most daring idea and the one that is the most ridiculous! Any that you will/want to try and then you MUST go apply that knowledge, come back and report EVERYTHING — we want to know all the juice details!
I don’t think there was any ridiculous idea but for me approaching a group of guys that also had a girl in it would be daring. But then the author also says it’s an advance step 🙂 I’m actually going to give this book to a friend of mine who is desperately looking out for a descent guy. I could ask her for a guest post to fulfill our needs of gossip and juicy details 🙂

Jackie: I’d want to know if this was funny and if you tried any of the tips – did they work?!! I love a bit of gossip!
Oh well, I’ve just read it, so you’ll have to wait for the gossip. But yes, this book was funny at times and always entertaining. Even if you are not looking to pick up hot guys, you will definitely find yourself nodding at mistakes you did once or have seen someone else do. But the author has tried every tip she has mentioned in the book and vouches that they work if tried correctly.

Trish: How does one gain the confidence to ask a guy out? Should she be straight forward or try to be friends with the guy first? (And I’m part of that camp that thinks girls and guys cannot be just friends!). Anything NOT to do?
Definitely a lot of do’s and don’ts here and also a lot of busting of myths. This book is basically intended towards picking up guys for a date. But she also tells us how to approach a guy without actually suggesting anything and gradually going ahead from there. I think the best “NOT” was to not stand with a group of girls and wink or smile at a hot guy across the room and expect him to approach you. However absurd it may sound I have seen this happening. And it almost never works. Guys will rarely approach a girls group just because you seemed interested in him.

Eva: I suppose I want to know what you thought the five best suggestions from the book were
–>Never settle for a guy. If you don’t like a comment he made, loose his number.
–>Have a lot of guys to go out on dates, so that you always have options and in turn don’t think you have to settle. But then, I’m really not sure how feasible this advice is.
–>How to approach a guy in the first place without it being too awkward for the both of you. The opening lines examples were great. Some were weird (I would never try them), but they do give you a good direction to start with.
–>A huge list of places to find guys.
–>A small but superb suggestion for online dating. I wish this part was covered more in detail though.

Ceri: What do you think would be the most important lesson you’ve learned from the book?
Number one in Eva’s answer. I think it’s very important not to “settle” thinking you’ll never find a better guy. There are a lot of guys out there. You just need to put yourself out there and approach as many guys you like and then filter. And don’t forget to have a blast in the process. The initial rejections will hurt but you learn from the process and move on.

Melody: What do you think of the advice given? Would you recommend this book to your readers?
I thought the advice was very practical and definitely something that can be used. And the author’s voice comes off as friendly without sounding full of herself. I guess if women could customize certain things, this advice is definitely the best I’ve seen around. I recommend this book to anyone who is willing to take things in her hand instead of cribbing that there are no good guys around. May be that’s true, but at least you could say that after trying. Read this book, try out the advise and if it still doesn’t work, I guess email the author. At the end of the book, there’s an FAQ section with questions from women who have tried the things in the book but are still unsuccessful. The author explains exactly what went wrong with the approach, pointing out the small mistakes that might get overlooked otherwise. But having said that, I’m not really sure the advice could work everywhere. It seems to be targeted for big cities where you probably won’t run into the same guys over and over again.

So yes, it’s definitely worth trying out with a little caution and adapting it to the situation you are in.

Thank you Lisa for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Author confession: Kim Hanks

Today I welcome author Kim Hanks to my blog. He has an interesting post about what happens when he is invited to book clubs and conferences.

Since the publication of save the best for last, I did not expected being invited to a number of local book clubs and authors conferences. It is contrary to the nature of a common man to join a book club or any literary conference [why me, I didn’t have the answer, either] so I receive several calls, emails requesting these genial discussions on convenient evenings. There is always a kind of cheerful interaction, which helps us do away with the social discomfort that I sometimes enjoy seeing people laughing together, tossing drinks though it’s their first meeting.

I like suits and I always wear them, were necessary. The host invites me in and I sit down in a comfortable in an armed chair and smile. As we introduce ourselves, I tend to listen carefully, to their lyrical voices. To my surprise, people in these conferences [men and women] always seem to be attractive and intelligent; unfortunately they’re all unpublished authors who think of writing better books than the new York bestsellers. Anyway, its good to have that spirit And, of course, when it’s my turn to start reading [my book] so many questions interrupts the reading as they want me to explain every twist and turn in the certain paragraph.

At the end of the meeting, some people contact me privately, asking. How can I create a character with finger to the size of a sausage without seeing my neighbor having one? Not only I start answering the question, but I also battle blocking my laughter’s, and I’m always frank cautioning them that if you don’t fear to be sued, then go ahead and write about someone without his/her consent. It is best to admit, the first meeting of the local author’s conference has been fan to me and I just can wait to meet these amazing people in the next meeting.
Thanks Kim for gracing my blog today.

Save The Best For Last by Kim Hanks

Today I am featuring a book by author Kim Hanks. There was supposed to be a review here as part of pumpupyourbookpromotion, but the book has not reached yet. But please do have a look at the blurb. It is very interesting. It has words like evil and haunted and supernatural powers in it.

savethebestforthelastZwick Lamps, a secret admirer to Whitney Barnes, got targeted by a genius son of the past evil family that had lived in green oasis town.  However, it was once before that Zwick had finally discovered his supernatural powers that were only known by the isolated woman Tabitha, a misfortuned lady whose husband died on their wedding day.
In the aftermath of a fire rampage, Zwick is framed and prosecuted while Karl Hamilton got convicted and beheaded as per the capital punishment for misdemeanors in the town.  Though all along elites had thought that their town was safe, unfortunately they realized the evil bangle was using Karl’s body which raised many tensions of people as the entity haunted the town, it seemed unstoppable, untouchable, and above all powers as the bicentenary of its ancestors came closer for sacrifice.

khanksAlso do visit Kim Hanks website. He is only 21 years old. And this is what he has to say about his book.

Dearly Readers,

Save the best for last is my debut novel .which critics have compared to an example of hugely popular genres and reality in the novelists craft, and describing it as a strong, thrilling and a multilayered fantasy adventure written with a hand that is both sure and lights; the unforeseen twists, struggle and drama is logical within its inherent concept. This is the first book of the series.

Much love,
Kim Hanks

So what do you think?

Mark LaFlamme Guest Post

I am pleased to welcome Mark LaFlamme to my blog today.

His first book ‘The Pink Room’ is about a world’s leading physicist who attempts to use the science of string theory to bring his daughter back from the dead.

His second book ‘DIRT’ is a political thriller.
Sounds interesting to me. If you like thrillers you’ll surely be tempted by this.
Here is the book blurb:
A grieving man disappears with the body of his dead bride and a mad race is on to find him before he can destroy his father’s campaign for the White House. An exploration of the dark side of politics, “Dirt: An American Campaign” delivers a plot teetering on the cliff-edge of madness as one candidate tries to bury his own scandals while exposing the dirt of others.


Long before the first novel was written, years before I knew a thing about agent queries and first serial rights, I imagined myself on a book tour.
I’d wear sunglasses, I decided, even at night. It lends an air of rock star mystique, you know, while you’re signing copies at a bookstore in Butte, Montana or Camel Hump, Iowa.

pinkroomI’d invite fans of my book back to the hotel tavern and we’d roar with boisterous, literary glee into morning. I’d have a curvy lady accompany me from airport to airport, city to city to take care of things like appointments and scheduling. I’d call her Mimi even if that was not her name.
I’d be Jim Morrison with a book in my hands instead of a microphone, a mythical character weaving his way across the book universe, playing to big crowds, building a reputation for genius and sordidness.

You cannot fault a novelist for having lofty dreams, my friend. We spend most of our hours alone with only make believe characters for company. We move through spells of supreme optimism and abysmal gloom that would drive others to medication. We bleed in ink.

I’m on tour for real now, but there are no sunglasses. Mimi has not so much as dropped me an e-mail. I do it all right here at my desk, answering questions from hosts and pounding out an occasional rant like this one. There are no bar parties and I don’t even need to get dressed to go about the work at hand.

dirtIt’s a long way from those bygone visions, but I’m not lamenting the fact. It I were in Eye Socket, Ohio or Bee Sting, New Mexico, I might reach a few dozen people with that stop at the local bookstore. Here on the nebulous Web, I might reach millions and I don’t have to wear shoes.

The Internet has changed the fundamentals of book marketing. The virtual book tour has replaced the grind of airports and motels, bookstores and cafes. I consider this both good and bad. Bad in that it removes some of the interaction a writer might have with real world people, whose hands can be shaken and voices heard.

Good in that an author can achieve twice the attention in a tenth of the time.
Time is a friend to the writer. Time is where we are allowed to write.
I’ll miss you, Joe and Judy, Frank and Freda, because I won’t likely be appearing at a bookstore near you. But I’m here, on this site, and I’m glad to make your acquaintance.

Though we won’t hang out together at the hotel bar or dive obnoxiously into the pool at midnight, I’m happy to be here. Drop me an e-mail if you want to and let’s get to know each other.
Just throw on some sunglasses, new friend. Because the future looks bright.
Do visit Mark LaFlamme’s website here. It’s an interesting site.

This guest post is part of the Pump Up Your Book Promotion/ tour.

Shadow of Colossus: T.L. Higley (Book Tour)

Read my review of this book here.

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book’s FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Shadow of Colossus

Broadman & Holman Publishers (August 1, 2008)


T.L. Higley holds a degree in English Literature and has written three previous novels, including Fallen from Babel, and more than fifty drama productions for church ministry. A lifelong interest in history and mythology has led Tracy to extensive research into ancient Greece and other myth systems, and shaped her desire to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past. She lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and four children.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Broadman & Holman Publishers (August 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 080544730X
ISBN-13: 978-0805447309


Rhodes, 227 bc

Seven Days Before the Great Quake

In the deceitful calm of the days preceding disaster, while Rhodes still glittered like a white jewel in the Aegean, Tessa of Delos planned to open her wrists.

The death of her body was long overdue. Her soul had died ten years ago.

Ten years this day.

Tessa took in a breath of salty air and shivered. From her lofty position outside Glaucus’s hillside home, she watched the populace’s torches flicker to life in the dusk. Across the city the day’s tumult at the docks slowed. The massive statue of Helios at the harbor’s frothy mouth caught the sun’s last rays as it slipped into a cobalt sea. The torch he thrust skyward seem to burst aflame, as though lit by the sun god himself.

He had been her only constant these ten years, this giant in the likeness of Helios. A silent sentinel who kept vigil as life ripped freedom and hope from her. Painful as it was, tonight she wanted only to remember. To be alone, to remember, and to mourn.

“Tessa!” A wine-sodden voice erupted from the open door behind her.
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Book Spotlight: Belly of the whale

This spotlight is part of Pump Up Your Book Promotion Book tours. My copy seems to have vanished somewhere in the mail. I think I’ll wait for 15 more days and then purchase this book. I just don’t think I can wait enough to read this considering the reviews it has got. And if the review copy does arrive in mail, I can always pass it on to someone else to read.

The Belly of the Whale by Linda Merlino
• Length: 208 pages
• Publication date: April 1, 2008
• Publisher: Kunati, Inc.
• ISBN-10: 1601640188
• ISBN-13: 978-1601640185

Book Synopsis:
Hudson Catalina has given up—having lost both breasts to cancer, she is emotionally and physically exhausted, no longer willing to endure the nausea and crushing weakness of her grueling treatment. Nothing in her life—not even her beloved husband and children, her best friend, or her passion for teaching high school—will sway her decision to terminate her treatment. On the eve of her daughter’s fifth birthday celebration, a troubled former student confronts her, hell-bent on violent revenge and then suicide. Facing certain peril, Hudson vows to do whatever she must in order to survive and see her husband and children once again.

Thank you Tracee Gleichner of Pump Up Your Book Promotion Book Tours for giving me a place in this book tour.

If you want to read Linda Merlino’s guest posts or interviews please do take a look at the links below. If I have missed any please let me know.
Sassy Mama Bear
Julie(Booking Mama)
Literary Feline
The book czar
Cafe of dreams
Paperback Writer 
Do not forget to visit Linda Merlino’s site.

Non-First: A Purple state of mind

It’s the 15th, time for the Non~FIRST blog tour!(Non~FIRST will be merging with FIRST Wild Card Tours on January 1, 2009…if interested in joining, click HERE!)

The feature author is:

and his/her book:

Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2008)



Craig Detweiler (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary) is codirector of the Reel Spirituality Institute and associate professor of theology and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. He has written scripts for numerous Hollywood films, and his comedic documentary, Purple State of Mind (, debuted in 2008. He has been featured in the New York Times, on CNN, and on NPR and is the coauthor of A Matrix of Meanings. Barry Taylor (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary), adjunct professor of popular culture and theology at Fuller, is a professional musician, painter, and the leader of New Ground, an alternative worship gathering in Los Angeles.

Product Details

List Price: 13.99
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736924604
ISBN-13: 978-0736924603





How did the culture war begin? Was there a clear winner? Or did it devolve into a long, costly stalemate? What can we learn from the battle? Perhaps we are not as polarized as we presume. Political parties and pundits strive to distinguish themselves from the competition in the starkest possible terms. We use rhetoric to rail against one another while our core positions may involve only a slight divergence. We may be hardly separated rather than deeply divided. Can we move from an adolescent mind-set, shouting across the religious and political divide, into something more thoughtful, productive, and mature?

As a witness to the sixties and seventies, I’ve seen how destructive we can be—even toward ourselves. I’ve also lived through the comparative comfort of the Reagan era in the eighties. He turned back the clock to a prosperous vision of America before the social upheavals of the sixties. Can we uphold the vigorous freedom of the sixties alongside the rigorous responsibility of the fifties?

A purple state of mind pushes past the either/or squabbles of an earlier era. It adopts a both/and approach to following God and interacting with the world. It builds bridges rather than burning them. It seeks common ground rather than points of division. A purple state of mind attains maturity by knowing when and where to apply biblical truths to our blind spots.

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