Book 99 – Review: TURBOCHARGED

TurboCharged: Accelerate Your Fat Burning Metabolism, Get Lean Fast and Leave Diet and Exercise Rules in the Dust by Dian Griesel, Ph.D. and Tom Griesel

I don’t think that this book qualifies as a diet book per se. The authors present their philosophy or method toward weight loss or more specifically “fat” loss. They do present dietary guidelines, but insist that they don’t focus on caloric restrictions and exercise regimes. Their approach incorporates eight steps to achieving weight/fat loss and boosting the metabolism or “turbocharging” the body.

I have problems with this approach for numerous reasons. First the authors presume that everyone that is obese or overweight is eating as much as 3500 calories each day. I know many overweight people that consume less than 1800 calories each day (possibly eating the wrong things but definitely not more than 2000 calories) and they aren’t losing the weight. Second they state that anyone can do their program even those that are bedridden. Since one of their eight steps includes daily mini-activity sessions (i.e., exercise) that are based on lunges, body weight squats, standing heel raises, etc., I don’t see how people that are either paraplegics or bedridden could possibly commit to this system. In addition, the authors state that this approach isn’t based on calories and one need not count calories but then later state that you’ll need to consume 300-800 calories on “expressway days.” I don’t know what you call it, but this is definitely caloric restriction.

This book is written in a way to attract and keep the reader’s attention. It is definitely written in a way that is easy to understand. I don’t necessarily disagree with many of the premises that the authors put forth in this book, I just challenge the premise that it can and will work for everyone. I don’t feel that any one diet will work for everyone (if there were only one then there would be no more need for books, gyms, etc.) but if this does, then great! For those people that can commit to the food restrictions (no grains or breakfast allowed), daily mini-activity sessions, and temporary caloric restriction days, then this may be the program for you. For the rest of us, this may not be the answer.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 98: ARC Review of ORIGINAL SIN by Beth McMullen

ARC Title:     Original Sin: A Sally Sin Adventure
Author:         Beth McMullen
Publisher:     Hyperion
ISBN:           978-1-4013-2421-6
Release Date: July 2011

Lucy Hamilton is not your typical housewife and stay-at-home mom. She is fluent in over 15 languages and lethal if physically attacked. Lucy is a former covert agent, known as Sally Sin, with United States Agency for Weapons of Mass Destruction or USAWMD. She spent years traveling the world doing whatever it took to ensure global safety. Now she spends her days taking care of her three year old son, Theo. Her husband, Will Hamilton, thinks that she was a government analyst prior to her retirement. Her entire life, prior to her marriage, is fiction. Just when Lucy thinks she is becoming paranoid about someone following her, she finds out that her nemesis, Ian Blackford, is alive and has returned to the US. Then the fun begins.

There are so many twists and turns in this story, it is sometimes difficult to keep track of everything that is going on. We flashback to Lucy’s childhood, her early days with USAWMD, her final days with USAWMD, the early part of her marriage and before you know you’re back to the present. Ms. McMullen does a relatively good job of tying together the main and sub plot lines. The characters are somewhat believable although plausibility seems stretched at times. Lucy is confident and then diffident, self-assured then doubtful and fearful. Her husband is a relatively minor character and we never really get to know him. Theo, their son, has more presence in the story and a better personality than his father. Perhaps this is because a mother is willing to do pretty much anything to protect her children. And Lucy definitely fits into this category. She sits in a coffee shop across the street from Theo’s preschool just to ensure no one goes in that shouldn’t be there.

I became bogged down at times and my reading slowed because of the numerous sub-plot lines. Even though this is not a book that I would have chosen to read, and I doubt if I’d even re-read it, it is a well-written and decent read. I give Original Sin 2.5/5 simply because it didn’t really keep my attention and was too involving with all of the action taking place.

DISCLOSURE: I received this book free through the Early Reviewers Program at I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Reading Interruptus

I’ve fallen behind in my reading and postings. I have no excuse or reason other than life’s constant interruptions. In my case this is dealing with elderly parents, assorted family drama sagas, power outages (wind blows – power goes off, rain falls – power goes off, snow falls – power goes off) and other assorted issues including preparing for an upcoming move. 

The next few weeks are going to be interesting as I try to keep up with my reading/reviewing/blogging and assorted family commitments, as well as packing and then the actual move. Almost forgot, I’m also attending the Book Bloggers and Publishers Online Conference until 4/17. If you’re an author or fellow book blogger it’s not too late to register. The conference starts today at 12:00 PM EST. 

On the upside, I spent a leisurely Saturday on 4/9/2011 with family in Lewisburg, WV (Voted America’s Coolest Small Town) at the WV Chocolate Festival. Mark your calendar for April 14, 2012 if you plan to be in the area for a “Chocolate Tasting Extravaganza.” This year’s event provided 36 tastings and the choices were amazing. I’m still obsessing over the chocolate pasta (yes…pasta!) with hazelnut ganache. 

OK, back to reading and books…I’m currently reading an ARC of Original Sin by Beth McMullen, courtesy of I hope to have this review posted soon. Until then, happy reading!

Day 102 – Book 97: THE FINAL SUMMIT

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release date: April 12, 2011

Meet David Ponder, a 74 year old real-estate developer. David has had his ups and downs, financially and otherwise, but through it all he overcomes. After suffering an injury that leaves him comatose, David is allowed to travel through time, meeting various influential people and is presented with the “Seven Decisions for Success.” He then uses these principles or “decisions” as the guiding focus for his life and tries to teach them to others. This is one of the reasons he has been chosen to lead all Travelers in an upcoming summit to decide humanity’s fate. The quest begins to find the answer to the question: “What does humanity need to do individually and collectively, to restore itself to the pathway toward successful civilization?”

At its heart this story is meant to be inspirational and motivational. It goes beyond the ‘why are we here?’ question to become a much more fundamental ‘why do we deserve to be here?’ David is allowed to interact with the previous Travelers and let me tell you this is quite the lofty group. He has previously met President Truman, King Solomon, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain (Civil War Hero), Christopher Columbus, Anne Frank, President Lincoln and the archangel Gabriel. These seven presented him with the Seven Decisions. At the summit he gets to meet and interact with Winston Churchill, Joan of Arc, King David, and George Washington Carver. He is surrounded by a host of great historical figures such as: George Washington, Geoffrey Chaucer, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Albert Einstien, Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, Michelangelo and John Adams. David is allowed to use the wisdom of five of these great minds to try and discern the answer to THE question before all hope is lost.

There were points when the discussions between David and his appointed Travelers becomes bogged down by too much philosophy. Back-stories are also provided for some of the more obscure personalities, such as Col. Chamberlain and Eric Erickson (World War II hero). Although necessary to a certain extent, the amount of detail given somewhat detracts from the overall story focus. This is definitely a well-written and thought-provoking story. You feel that you know where the story is taking you and then you are taken off course. Although the dialogue between David and the historical personalities is highly fictionalized, it is believable. A good read for anyone interested in inspirational fiction.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not paid, required nor otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Great Week on the Horizon

This week is definitely starting on an upswing. I’m enjoying the ARC of my current read (title to be posted later) and I’m looking forward to attending the Book Bloggers and Publisher’s Online Conference later this week. My hope is that I’ll become a better blogger as a result of the information gained. Do you blog? Are you an indie author? If so, then you may want to join us: Book Bloggers and Publisher’s Online Conference

Day 100 – Book 96: DAVI (TALES OF SURUALE) review

When I was first asked to read and review a fantasy novella about humans and dwarves I was a little hesitant, namely because I wasn’t sure I would like it. Imagine my surprise when I read Davi – Tales of Suruale and found that I liked it (kind of…sort of liked it). Yes this is a fantasy novella and yes it includes humans, dwarves (or dwarfs), elves (mentioned only), gargoyles and nocturnes (one presumes this refers to vampires because we don’t really meet any), but it isn’t in your face with these aspects. The dwarves aren’t magical or mystical creatures, they are simply presented as being dwarves – similar to humans but different. 

The main character is Davi, a human blacksmith that specializes in weaponry. He has lived all of his live as an outsider on the outskirts of a human village. He is forced to accept an impossible task – re-open trade with the dwarves – by the elders of his village. Needless to say the villager leaders are astounded when he returns successful in his quest. Trade is reopened but not they way they wanted or expected. Throughout this tale Davi learns of acceptance and inclusion when he is accepted by the dwarves. He is even adopted by a dwarf blacksmith and befriended by numerous others. Later Davi is sent on what appears to be an impossible task by the dwarf king, and again he is successful. 

In many ways this is appears to be a book about racism, prejudice and bigotry. It is also about learning to accept who and what we are no matter what and being comfortable with where we are. This isn’t a great book or a bad book. What is it? It’s a quick and decent read for those interested in the fantasy genre – light on the fantasy.

DISCLOSURE: I received this book free from one of the authors. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Day 100 – Book 95: TO LOVE A WITCH

To Love a Witch is a new “Novel Nibble” or a novella by Debora Geary. I’ve read some of her other writings and enjoyed them and this was no different. Although I feel that the witch, vampire, were-animal characters are being done to death, this provided a nice little twist. Jake is a male earth witch and basically a witch social worker out to find young witches in trouble and provide assistance. He receives an alert and heads to a local juvie detention center and meets Romy. He initially thinks that she is a juvenile witch in trouble but quickly learns that she is an adult. Romy may have trouble controlling her fire abilities, but definitely doesn’t need social worker assistance at her age. Romy and Jake introduce us to some great characters (you’ll love Carla and Jolie), and have some interesting interpersonal encounters. A great and quick romantic read.

Day 98 – Book 94: MAKE MINE A HEEL

I was recently asked to read and review Make Mine A Heel by Suenammi Richards. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this romance especially since it appeared to center around professional wrestling. I admit, I’m not much of a sports fan (OK I’m not a sports fan at all) and that I know absolutely nothing about professional wrestling but I began reading with an admitted bias. My bias was similar to that of the main character, Banner (Bay) Hemweigh, a sports writer. She felt, as did I, that professional wrestling was not a sport and did not deserve her time and attention when she is asked to write about this “sport.” She does, however, agree to spend a week interviewing a professional wrestler. She agrees because if she does conclude that it isn’t worthy of her time she’ll get exclusive NFL coverage at her station. 

Enter Keith Daniels, a professional wrestler known as Dominique “Dangerous” Dutton or 3D in the wrestling world. He is the current champ and a man that others instinctively seem to trust and respect despite his bad-boy or “heel” stage persona. What Bay and I discover (yes I know this is fiction), is that there is a great deal of athleticism involved in professional wrestling along with the high drama and hijinks. These men are well-conditioned athletes and put their bodies through more than most people can understand for the sake of entertaining their fans.

Bay is more than a sports writer and wants more from her life even though she doesn’t feel that she deserves it. She is also coming to grips with her Latina heritage and getting to know her estranged Latin relatives. Keith is also much more than his stage persona and a professional wrestler. In many ways he is somewhat of a renaissance man in that he studies history (shy just a few credits from a Bachelor’s degree), is educated in arts and music, and appreciative of different cultures and traditions. He is also shy and reserved as himself and doesn’t feel that he deserves a loving relationship. He and Bay have a tumultous relationship even though they both know that they are right for one another.

This isn’t a garden variety romance novel featuring sports or wrestling. Ms. Richards has provided the reader with plenty of colorful characters that are dealing with sad, if not tragic, circumstances (racism, child abandonment, ethnic prejudice, drug abuse, etc.). Will Bay and Keith get together? Will Bay accurately portray professional wrestling in her writing assignment? Although there were instances when I didn’t quite grasp the intent behind the exchanges between Bay and Keith, it is quite easy to feel their developing respect and love for who the other person is on the inside. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well if you’re into the romance genre.

Disclosure: I received this book free from the author. I was not required, paid or in anyway obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Casey is a woman on the run. She’s not running from the law or from an abusive relationship, but from her past. We learn that Casey’s husband and son were killed in a car accident. She subsequently learns that their car had known mechanical problems and the manufacturer wants Casey to remain silent. Not really a problem since she doesn’t want to discuss her husband and son with anyone, except possibly her travelling companion, Death or the Grim Reaper.

Casey hitches rides, first from motorcyclists and then from a trucker, and she ends up in Clymer, Ohio – hometown to HomeMaker, an appliance manufacturer. Clymer is truly small-town USA and is suffering from the recent death, supposedly a suicide, of one of its own. The town is also dealing with the idea that almost all of the people in town will soon be unemployed when HomeMaker closes its doors and relocates to Mexico.

Casey is soon embroiled in the personal woes of this small town and tries to help out. She helps her new friend Eric, with this soup kitchen and then with the town’s production of Twelfth Night. She tries to be there for Eric as he deals with the death of his friend Ellen, but this is a town on the edge. The play’s director assumes she is there to watch over him and ensure he repays his gambling debts. The town’s sheriff assumes she must be there for some other nefarious reasons.

Casey and Eric try to determine the true nature of Ellen’s death — murder or suicide. This question becomes even more worrisome when they learn that Ellen had predicted that the town wouldn’t be suffering from the plant closing and that everything would work out. Of course there are lots of little twists and turns throughout the story. There are also numerous discoveries made by Casey and Eric, some personal and others relating to their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Ellen’s death. Regrettably Death doesn’t have much to say in assisting in this investigation, but you often wonder if he is the reason Casey decides to stay in this small town.

Ms. Clemens has written a great mystery with truly interesting characters. I was introduced to Ms. Clemens the author when I was asked to read and review an ARC of  Flowers for Her Grave earlier this month. I was so captivated by the characters in the third book of the Grim Reaper mystery series that I promptly went online and purchased the first in the series, Embrace the Grim Reaper. I can’t wait for the second book, The Grim Reaper’s Dance, to be made available in ebook format so that I can read that as well.