The Venetian Ghetto by Riccardo Calimani  The creation of the Venice Ghetto and the consequent confinement of the Jewish population within a restricted area of the city dates back to the beginning of the sixteenth century. It was the scene of many events closely linked to the city's history and flourished between the sixteenth and eighteenth century. The book recounts the incredible history of the Ghetto, its communities, its buildings and monuments, the Scole, the Jewish Museum, the monuments to the holocaust and also includes the Jewish cemetery at the Lido.


This is a history lesson or story about Venice Italy, and the treatment of the Jews that lived in there and around their town. How they were not allowed certain rights as citizens of the town but were at times expected to act like they were especially when it came to lending or if they had a pawn shop. But their children could not go to the same schools or use other services doctors etc. the author uses documents and artifacts to back up his claims. He goes on to show that this change in 1797 when France came in and occupied part of Italy under General Bonaparte. The gates that were in place separating them were taken down and never put back up even after the French leave. It would not be until 1848 though that Venice would vote and make the Jews of Venice full citizens with full rights, to go to schools, the same hospitals, universities and run for office. Now you fast forward to today and there are over 600 Jews still living in Venice looking now at their past they found a wall that once separated the city from there settlement or what would have been there settlement. And by them placing plaques of remembrance on the wall it must have brought up old wounds for some people did not know and that is why he wrote this book. This book goes into much more detail and politics than I want to get into but it is not bad if you are into history. But you must like history because this is what this book is about. I will end this from a quote by St. Augustine, he said “that Jewish rituals must be tolerated because they bore witness to the truth of Christian faith”. That is what people forget. I got this book from net galley.


THIS LAND THAT I LOVE                     JOHN SHAW
Posted:  Jan. 21, 2014

This Land that I Love by John Shaw  February, 1940: After a decade of worldwide depression, World War II had begun in Europe and Asia. With Germany on the march, and Japan at war with China, the global crisis was in a crescendo. America’s top songwriter, Irving Berlin, had captured the nation’s mood a little more than a year before with his patriotic hymn, �God Bless America.”

Woody Guthrie was having none of it. Near-starving and penniless, he was traveling from Texas to New York to make a new start. As he eked his way across the country by bus and by thumb, he couldn’t avoid Berlin’s song. Some people say that it was when he was freezing by the side of the road in a Pennsylvania snowstorm that he conceived of a rebuttal. It would encompass the dark realities of the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, and it would begin with the lines: �This land is your land, this land is my land….”

In This Land That I Love, John Shaw writes the dual biography of these beloved American songs. Examining the lives of their authors, he finds that Guthrie and Berlin had more in common than either could have guessed. Though Guthrie’s image was defined by train-hopping, Irving Berlin had also risen from homelessness, having worked his way up from the streets of New York.

At the same time, This Land That I Love sheds new light on our patriotic musical heritage, from �Yankee Doodle” and �The Star-Spangled Banner” to Martin Luther King’s recitation from �My Country ’Tis of Thee” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963. Delving into the deeper history of war songs, minstrelsy, ragtime, country music, folk music, and African American spirituals, Shaw unearths a rich vein of half-forgotten musical traditions. With the aid of archival research, he uncovers new details about the songs, including a never-before-printed verse for �This Land Is Your Land.” The result is a fascinating narrative that refracts and re-envisions America’s tumultuous history through the prism of two unforgettable anthems.

This book is more than just about two men who wrote songs. The author not only gives you an over view of their lives but also a history lesson on music. The songs of our country from the Revolution thru the civil war, the war of 1812, world war one, world two and beyond. He goes into the back ground of songs and their makeup, the way they have change over the many years. The types of rhythms, or beats. How some songs started in churches, or your field songs, (slave songs) that is where the songs originated and moved from the fields and churches to homes. Then he went into how ragtime music came about and other bar type songs, then the start of show tunes. During this time Irving Berlin who had migrated to this country from what is now Belarus. Came to this country in 1893 with his family because of Jewish prosecution, over 4 million Jews leave Russia during this period. By 1901 is out on his own peddling his songs trying to earn a living. By the time Woody Guthrie, is born in 1912, Berlin has written over a 100 songs and had more than enough money to buy his mother a home in the Bronx. Guthrie born in Oklahoma spent part of his childhood their and a place called Pampa, Texas. They moved there after his mother was put in a state hospital in Oklahoma. He grew up during the dust bowl and it would have a profound effect on him for the rest of his life. He lived in Pampa during what was called black Sunday April, 14 1935. They say 300,000 tons of topsoil was airborne that and the picture in the book is nothing like I have seen when they talk about the dust bowl. I can’t image anyone living through that day but they did. Berlin wrote God Bless America, in 1938 for the 20 year anniversary of the end of world war one. Kate smith sang it and for the most part it was a hit right away. War was looking closer so people were playing it on the radio. Guthrie thought the song was full of it. He did not see a country beautiful or anything that the song talked about. He saw people out of work the government taken farms, long lines for food, everything was backwards unless you had money. So he wrote a song to go against God Bless America. This Land is your Land. Once you break down the song and understand where Guthrie was coming from I can see what he was trying to say, I did not see that before. I have to say I already liked both of these songs so this just gave me a better appreciation for the songs and the men who wrote them. I got this book from net galley.


LEONIE                                                   SVEVA CASATI MADIGNANI
Posted:  Jan. 21, 2014

Léonie by Sveva Casati ModignaniThe Cantoni family lives in a luxurious mansion right outside Milan. For three successful generations, the Cantonis have been running a prominent faucet-manufacturing business. Despite their respectable appearances, every member of the family has secrets and scars that they want to hide. The family rule is to sweep uncomfortable truths under the rug; the streak of madness afflicting Bianca, the dynasty’s matriarch, is therefore kept quiet.
The newest addition to the family is Léonie Tardivaux, a penniless young French girl who marries Guido Cantoni, Bianca’s only grandson. Léonie becomes so much a part of the family that she too adopts the belief that some facts are better left untold. And yet she is a consummate wife, doting mother, and talented career woman who guides the family business through the rough waters of the economic recession. Meanwhile, she harbors her own secret: Every year, for just one day,
she leaves it all behind and drives off to a romantic hotel on Lake Como.
This story is about a women named Leonie and the family that she married into. Each chapter goes back in time and explains the life of the grandparents, parents, and then her husband and her. Where they came from and how they got to be where they are today as a family. Like any good Italian family and other families there are secrets, stories some you tell some you don’t. Some you don’t until you are so old it does not make a difference. Why? Because you are still family and you still have the love of the family. What this book did remind of was one of my aunts who like some of the women in the story just said what was on her mind and that was it. If you had food on the table and a roof over your head you were loved. The women in this story are strong, powerful women. They not only run the home but some also run a business as well. But as Leonie spends time with each one she goes back in time herself and she remembers her childhood and how they took her in after she married there son. Now she is wondering about her and her husband as their five children spend Christmas and they all leave. Will they have a sixth child you have to read the story? A beautiful story set in Italy translated into English. I liked the book the more I got to know the characters and the family. It is a journey through a person’s life who ever that person could be. A good book. I got this book from net galley.


Posted:  Jan. 21, 2014

The Mile Marker Murders by C.W. Saari  When Caleb Williamson, a career officer with the CIA, disappears, officials are left wondering whether he is a spy who has defected or the victim of a crime. Meanwhile, Williamson's friend, FBI agent Tyler Bannister, is focused on catching an extortionist who has threatened to unleash a biological poison if a multimillion dollar demand is not met. When Williamson turns up dead alongside the corpses of two women near a northern Virginia highway, Bannister is assigned to a task force to identify what looks to be a cunning serial killer. While Bannister becomes obsessed with finding the murderer before he strikes again, a fourth body is discovered. The stakes become personal when the killer targets a beautiful woman at the FBI Academy who is Bannister's new love interest.

The Mile Marker Murders is a past grand prize winner from the Public Safety Writers Association for best unpublished fiction.

This was a really good book with a lot of twists and turns. You really don’t find out who the murder is until closer to the end of the story. The suspense towards the end makes it that much better. The main character is an FBI agent but he is not over the top like in some books I have read. Really most of the characters in this story seem real and just people from all walks of life. I think that is one reason why I liked this story so much. Secondly the author has two different main story lines going on, so that keeps you going. Once you think you got one figured out he takes you back to the other story so now your mind is away from those characters to some other ones. Very good writing but I did not think about what he was doing until after I had finished the book. I very good book! I got this book from net galley.


OUT OF TUNE                                          MICHELLE D. ARGYLE
Posted:  Jan. 21, 2014

Out of Tune by Michelle D. Argyle  **Clean New Adult/Young Adult Fiction**

Twenty-year-old Maggie Roads’ parents are legendary in the country music world. She wants nothing more than to follow in their footsteps, but the limelight isn’t reserved for singers who can’t carry a tune, let alone keep a rhythm.

When her parents tell her they’re getting divorced, Maggie decides it’s time to leave home and take her future into her own hands. Moving in with Cole, her best friend and sometimes boyfriend, might not be the best of ideas, but she’s got to start somewhere. Their off-and-on romance gets even more complicated when Maggie crushes on her new voice teacher, Nathan, who unlocks her stunning potential. A sensational music career of her own is finally within reach, but Maggie might need more than perfect pitch to find what she’s really looking for.

The main character in this story is Maggie, she is the daughter of a famous country singing duo. She has been told her whole life that she cannot sing, she cannot carry a tune at all. As she graduates high school her best friend leaves for college, her friend from her parents band quiets and she gets in a fight with her parents and moves out. people all around her keep telling to just keep writing songs not to worry about the singing part but that is what she wants to do. She then found a vocal coach who starts to help her and then she finds out her parents are getting a divorce. She is still in love with her ex-boyfriend who she still can’t figure out why they broke up. She goes along and gets a place of her own and when she finally is able to sing in front of people she decides she doesn’t like it as much as she thought she would, but people are still wanting her songs that she is writing. She also finds out that her ex had a son he did not know about and that he was now responsible for. He is in a hospital because of an accident that killed his mother. This is something they work through because everyone around the band always treated her differently. She was trying to show her, parents her friends and her ex that she was growing up if they would let her. A good story. I got this book from net galley.


ONE KISS                                                 LISA FOX
Posted:  Jan. 21, 2014

  Sometimes one kiss can change everything.

New Year’s Eve is supposed to be a night for celebration and new beginnings. For best friends Kat and Dean, it is a nightmare filled with disastrous dates and enraged ex-girlfriends!

Lucky for them, they’ve got each other to help laugh off the embarrassing, and downright inappropriate, moments. But then midnight rolls around and neither of them have anyone to kiss…

There’s no doubt this is a night they will always remember.

The real question is whether it will be a night they want to forget…


          It’s New Year’s Eve.  Two work/BFF’s friends are checking in with each other for the holidays.  Dean calls to say hey and that he broke up with his longtime girlfriend Marine before Christmas.  Kat can’t say she is heartbroken because really she could not stand her.  At first Kat didn’t see anything wrong with it but then he explained…he said once again it stemmed around money.  That if he stayed at the job he was at he would never get ahead in order to have the life style basically she wanted.  By the way he is a designer with boutique web designer and marketing firm.  He could write his own ticket anywhere, but this is where he’s happy.  Marine on the other hand is only an aging model with her biological clock ticking.

     Kat is there on the line ready to do the happy dance because she has never liked Marine.  Yet, she wanted to be there for Dean and felt bad he wait so long to tell her.  She was also feeling bad because she had accepted a blind date fix up.  Since it was work related and family she invited Dean since he would know people since it was work friends and family.  He says no at first but then agrees which makes Kat happy to have a buffer for the blind date too.  He could figure out why she allowed herself to be talked into it.  So, he ask…

     You see Kat’s background had to have been awful for her that he knew.  Her going home for Christmas is just not good for her mind, body, or soul.  She’s so stressed before she leaves and quiet and depressed for weeks after she comes back.  Not just days either but weeks.  It just kills him to see her this way, especially since he grew up with the Brady Bunch life style where everyone loves one another and she didn’t.

     This party will be good for both of them but when he gets into the cab with her and kisses her hello there’s that one moment when they both linger and their eyes meet causing them to feel things that they had both suppressed over the years.  Then in a couple of blinks the moment passed.  Dean doesn’t let it completely pass he continues to hold her hand and intertwine their fingers.  Kat not really being into feelings is somewhat confused since she likes what she feels but continues to talk herself out of it, yet already knowing he and Marine have broken up allows her to daydream…

     I really enjoyed this very short story, it was only 71 pages long but it told a whole love story.  This was nice because it was all contained within those pages.  I love how she shows you how they met and their love intertwined as BFF’s who worked together and that finally put an official name to something that was already there in place and in play.  Their love.

     Neither in the end allowed the past or the past bad relationships to keep them apart or down.


KNOCK OUT                                              MICHELE MANNON
Posted:  Jan. 21, 2014

Knock Out by Michele Mannon  Logan Rettino never imagined she'd fall so far. Dropped by her ex on national TV, she's gone from prima ballerina to ring card girl, reduced to revving up the crowds before MMA bouts. However distasteful she finds her new job, it pays well…and she needs the money if she's ever going to rebuild her life. Promised a huge bonus if she can convince a brooding, gifted welterweight to keep fighting, she'll do whatever it takes to earn his trust.

Keane O'Shea is unbeatable in the octagon. A former marine, he fights with a ruthlessness no gym jockey can match. He knows his brutal strength is too much for the delicate ex-ballerina, regardless of how fascinating he finds Logan's tight dancer's body. But one private performance and he's drawn to her in a way he can't—or won't—resist.

As Logan discovers the heartbreaking truth that lies beneath this handsome warrior's rage, she'll need to forfeit everything she thought mattered for the one thing that matters the most: saving Keane from himself.


     Logan Rettino should have been dancing at Lincoln Center in a ballet, any ballet.  Instead, due to lies told by her ex Pierre, who talked her into a ridiculous reality TV show.  She was now an Octagon Girl.  What’s that you ask?  She would be better known as the number card girl or the ring girl for MMA.  To make it worse the ex-drops her on TV.  Now telling everyone who will listen the real reason he broke up with her is that when she broke her ankle dancing with him during a lift, it was because her breast were so large no one could see past them to catch her. 

     When really he made an error during the lift and dropped her shattering her ankle where she now has a metal plate.  Therefore, being told she can never dance again professionally.  Losing her job with the dance company, getting behind on her rent and medical bills all because of him.  But she swears to get even.  She really needs this job with the MMA, it pays so well that with just four days she is almost out of debt.  Which is a great relief.

     There’s a problem she works for an ass better known as “Ol’ Squirrel.”  He has been on her about not showing up on time so at the very next fight she’s coming off the ramp when the next fighter, Keane “Boom-Yay” O’Shea, well really she falls into his arms, no, no, really she was thrown in his arms.  Anyway, when she lands not only is she grateful she is awed by his eyes, size and his beauty that she can’t stop herself she leans forward and kisses him.

     At that moment millions of flashes go off.  One because Ballerina Girl/Card Girl just kiss the surliest fight known to man.  Keane is surprise because he can’t believe this little spit of a thing is not afraid of him for one thing, the other is why?  So, instead of just dropping her on her feet he slides her the length of his body to scare her off.  I think it scared him more.  He goes into the ring and before you know it 7 seconds later he had knocked out the guy.  He’s not happy like a normal fighter would be he is meaner looking.  As he is coming down the ramp out of the ring he sees Jerry (Squirrel) manhandling Logan and he’s not happy.

     Things get out of hand because Squirrel wants him to meet with the press.  Which Keane never does they have words.  Keane throws his sweat towel at him, in the face.  Logan tries every which way she can to keep from laughing but for once Squirrel is getting his.  Then she can spot and now it’s a rip roaring barrel laugh Squirrel tells her she’s fired and goes to grab her on the arm again and she flinches Keane sees that ask if Squirrel did it just by her face he knew he did.  So, he quit.

     Logan’s in a panic she needs her job so she makes a pack with the devil or Squirrel (same thing.)  To get Keane back to fight she has 2 weeks to get it done.  Now she has to find him…So it begins.

     I thought overall this was a really good story.  I loved the characters a lot.  My only problem and why I gave it 4 stars is there were several times for me where it got to wordy.  Saying some of the same information already told again, got old.

     I started spacing out it was like an overload.  I like that being an ex-ballerina the audience would naturally assume she would be meek.  Not the case with Logan.  She is a spitfire, FYI my daughter is a ballerina along with her friends, and they can put most boys sport workouts to shame.  It was nice she gave her tenacity to keep going when everything is going crazy around her.  She does not run when she finds out about Keane’s PTSD that he doesn’t believe he has.  Good story just would like to have seen more talking to each other and less in their heads.  Just when I was about to give up hope that these two would get together the author pulls out the HEA.  In a way though at the end it felt like it could have happened at least 60 pages earlier.  Also, it might have been better had the author used a different name for the female during this story it took me about half of the book the get it set in my head that it was a girl because I keep forgetting it is not being used as a guy’s name.  I really did like it, I did.  Provided by


THE PRACTICE DATE                            VICTORINE E. LIESKE
Posted:  Jan. 21, 2014

The Practice Date - A Novelette by Victorine E. Lieske From New York Times bestselling author of NOT WHAT SHE SEEMS...

Jane’s been in love with her best friend Lance since they were kids. Best friend, that is, until he ditched her for the more popular crowd. What’s a computer nerd doing spending time with jocks anyway?

When he asks her for help getting a date to the prom with the most popular girl in school she almost tells him to take a flying leap. But she’d be spending time with him, teaching him to dance and he’d be holding her...that sounded like heaven.

So she says yes.

But how much practice can her heart take?

The Practice Date is a novelette, 11,000 words, 50 pages in paperback.
     Jane had been friends with Lance her neighbor since they were kids, she now 16 and he is now 17.  They used to hang out playing the video game Avengers, but for a little over a year now he has been hanging out with the popular kids.  Not once thinking to include her or visit her.
     On this day on her way home from school he is waiting on his porch as she passes so he can talk to her.  When he speaks to her she acts like she didn’t notice him.  Then he asks if she wants to hang out.  She knows there is something up and wants to get mad but instead says okay to see what it is.  When they get all settled in her den playing several rounds of Avengers, he drops the bomb.  He needs a complete makeover to get the right to ask Tiffany, the most popular cheerleader out.  The love of his life, out to prom.  With each word he is stabbing her in the heart.
     Of course she wants to drop kick him at this point for not seeing she is in love with him.  She agrees to help only because she thinks of all the time they will spend together, in each other’s arms while she teaches him to dance.  Some time with him is better than no time with him.  During the last event a kiss was stolen and the nerd who was turned into the swan panics and leaves.  He tells her he will be back tomorrow.  She thinks she’s blown it.
     Does he come back?  Can Jamie ever tell Lance her true feelings?  Or is she doomed to create but never be the princess at the ball?
     I really enjoyed this young adult short story.  Lance ended up being a really sweet guy that brought a happily ever after to this story.  Which was nice truly a sweet story.
Got it free from Amazon.


Posted:  Jan. 21, 2014

Surrender to Temptation by E.B. Walters  A playboy in hiding
A woman searching for answers
Will he let her in or send her packing?

After a tragic accident, Chef Chase Fitzgerald left his life in Los Angeles behind and moved to a ranch in Montana. He's convinced that all he needs to be happy are his horses, a few ranch hands and the Big Sky Country. Until one day, Nikki Savoy walks through his doors with her city clothes, sexy mouth, and a body designed to drive a man insane.

Nikki wants to know the truth about the accident that left her sister in a coma. Getting a job at Chase’s ranch is just the beginning. Throw in a crafty housekeeper, a cantankerous old cowboy, a few adorable horses, and an attraction that can’t be denied, and you have a recipe for disaster or romance. Will Nikki get her answers or will Chase offer her something better?


     Nikki wants to find out why Dee is said to have attacked her boss, Case Fitzgerald.  Also, why she would burn his restaurant down after he’d just promoted her.  She just could not wrap her head around it.  Here Dee was in a medically induced coma as they performed surgery after surgery as it allows her body to heal from the 40% burns of her body. 

     Nikki needed rest and answers so she was going to Montana before she got sick herself to get away from the hospital.  It would be a working vacation that her friend Amelia and parents didn’t know about.  She needs to go into enemy territory to get her answers on what happened that night at that restaurant even if it means Dee was the cause.  That meant meeting with Chase Fitzgerald.  The best way to do that was to be hired as the web designer he needed so badly for his ranch.  Took a lot of jumping through hoops but she was hired by his Uncle Mo the lawyer owner of the firm her friend Amelia works for.  Now she just needed to get Chase to accept her help.

     You see Chase was blinded in the fire and had to have surgery also and is recovering but slowly and painfully still.  No longer a restaurateur but a horseman, owner and breeder of race horses.  He needed help on getting his files on line and a website created for his business but his sight was causing delays.  All the help sent so far had been unqualified sexy women who had come to only get laid.  So, when Nikki showed up he thought it would be the same so he ordered her to be returned to the airport.

     Until she doesn’t back down to him, she becomes his match.  At first that is not what really unnerves him it is the fact that her voice reminds him of the fire and him being unable to find Deanna (Dee) in the flames.  (Dee being Nikki’s sister which he doesn’t know about).  But Nikki looks nothing like her sister and they don’t even have to same last name.  What was going on?  How could that be?  Why was this woman making everything in him react to her?  She had to go she was bringing out all these feelings in him and memories too.

     For unknown reasons he allows her to stay she’s glad, he’s not.  They start really enjoying each other’s company.  They establish this fun bantering that is so sexually charged it’s like a branding iron.  As they try to get to find out information about one another there are truths left out but one thing is clear they want each other.  Chase being who he is states the obvious asking straight out when will it happen?  Now she is really on edge.  For this and for lying as to why she is there in the first place.

     Is this a no win situation?  Will it all blow up in Nikki’s face?  Will Chase hate her for lying to him?  Will either of them ever find out the real truth of what really happened?

     I enjoyed the fast paced read.  Chase and Nikki have such a great chemistry that you can’t put the book down.  I loved Mrs. B. and Winston too.  E. B. Walters knows how to make the characters come to life.  There’s a mystery, a love story, and a family saga all rolled up into one book, can’t beat that.  Provided by


LET’S WELCOME SHIRLEY JUMP   AUTHOR OF: Rad-Reader:  How did you come up with this concept for this book? Sh...