Posted:  April 24, 2015

Molina: The Story of the Father Who Raised an Unlikely Baseball DynastyThe inspiring true story of the poor Puerto Rican factory worker, Benjamin Molina Santana, who against all odds raised the greatest baseball dynasty of all time: Molina's three sons & Bengie, Jose, and Yadier & have each earned two World Series rings, which is unprecedented in the sport, and his story is told by one of them, Bengie.

A baseball rules book. A tape measure. A lottery ticket.

These were in the pocket of Bengie Molina & father when he died of a heart attack on the rutted Little League field in his Puerto Rican barrio. The items serve as thematic guideposts in Molina &  beautiful memoir about his father, who through baseball taught his three sons about loyalty, humility, courage, and the true meaning of success.

Bengie and his two brothers & Jose and six-time All-Star Yadier & became famous catchers in the Major Leagues and have six World Series championships among them. Only the DiMaggio brothers can rival the Molinas as the most accomplished siblings in baseball history.

Bengie was the least likely to reach the Majors. He was too slow, too sensitive, and too small. But craving his beloved father & respect, Bengie weathered failure after deflating failure until one day he was hoisting a World Series trophy in a champagne-soaked clubhouse. All along he thought he was fulfilling his father & own failed dream of baseball glory & only to discover it had not been his father & dream at all.

Written with the emotional power of sports classics such as Field of Dreams and Friday Night LightsMolina is a love story between a formidable but flawed father and a son who, in unearthing answers about his father & life, comes to understand his own.

This is the story of Bengie Molina, and his fight or struggles to become a major league catcher. He was born and raised in Puerto Rico along with two brothers who also play baseball. He describes what it was like struggling to first make a team in Puerto Rico, but also how his father would have him leave the game for some of the things he did when he did not show good sportsmanship. Even though this is a book about his struggles to become a professional ball player. I found I was drawn to the part of him going back home after his father passed away and how he found out so much more about the life of his father after he was gone. He found out the reasons why he turned down a contract to play in the U.S. when he was younger and how he won a batting title and other awards but never displayed them. His friends opened up to Bengie after the funeral to tell him the stories and of the different major leaguers that had played for him. That for me is what made this book different than some of the other baseball books. To think that three brothers would all make it to the major league is incredible, but it happened. Yadier, the youngest playing for the Cardinals went back to their home town and built a new little stadium and named it after their father, so that right their shows you the importance he had in their life along with their mother. This is a book about baseball but also about family and I thought it was a very good book. I give this 4 stars. Provided by Net Galley.


CRUSHED                                                      LAUREN LAYNE
Posted:  April 24, 2015

Crushed (Redemption, #2)Lauren Layne’s latest novel about the healing power of redemption tells the story of a crush gone wickedly wrong, proving that what you want isn’t always what you need.

Growing up in New York, Michael St. Claire never expected to spend his twenties wearing cowboy boots. But that was before he learned about his real father, a total stranger with a family in Cedar Grove, Texas. Once in the Lone Star State, Michael meets Kristin Bellamy, who is exquisitely refined and everything Michael always thought he wanted in a woman. The only problem is that Kristin is dating Michael’s new half brother, Devon.

Kristin’s mouthy, curvy sister Chloe has always been in love with Devon Patterson. So when Michael offers to help Chloe break up Devon and Kristin, Chloe agrees to a deal that seems too good to be true. Before long, Chloe finally gets her man, only to make a startling discovery: She no longer wants the guy she had to fight for—she wants the one who stood by her side.

After all he and Chloe have been through, Michael swears he’s damaged goods. Can Chloe convince him that love is worth the risk?

This story starts with Michael St. Clare, who is from New York and found out a secret about who is his birth father. That took him on a journey to Dallas, where he gets a job as a tennis pro, and trainer at a private club there. This is while he sorts out what he is going to do about his birth father and the family that he has. He does want to make things difficult for his would be half-brother by breaking up his relationship with his girlfriend, but that does not go as planned. Kristen the girl friend is totally looking at Devon. But Kristen’s sister Chloe, who looks at herself as an ugly duckling. They strike up a friendship. He finds that he is attracted to her and is more and more attracted as she decides to work out and change her eating. Michael of course blows it with her when he needs to step it up and make a decision so she does the right thing and goes back to school to finish her degree and have fun in her senior year in college. While Michael, stays in Dallas and still figures out what he is going to do. For him it really is settled by other people with his birth father, but Chloe is a whole different matter. I like how the author has Chloe change from the beginning of the book to the end, but even as she changes her personality is still there as in the beginning. She does become more confidant so that when she tells the man she loves what she wants she is able to walk away when she gets know response. The author makes you want to turn to the end to find out what happens but don’t, you will miss some good parts of the story and what ends up happening to her sister Kristen, whom everyone always thought had it together. A good book. I got this book from net galley.  I give this 4 stars.

Mississippi River Tragedies: A Century of Unnatural Disaster

Posted:  April 24, 2015

Mississippi River Tragedies: A Century of Unnatural DisasterAmerican engineers have done astounding things to bend the Mississippi River to their will: forcing one of its tributaries to flow uphill, transforming over a thousand miles of roiling currents into a placid staircase of water, and wresting the lower half of the river apart from its floodplain. American law has aided and abetted these feats. But despite our best efforts, so-called “natural disasters” continue to strike the Mississippi basin, as raging floodwaters decimate waterfront communities and abandoned towns literally crumble into the Gulf of Mexico. In some places, only the tombstones remain, leaning at odd angles as the underlying soil erodes away. A Century of Unnatural Disaster reveals that it is seductively deceptive—but horribly misleading—to call such catastrophes “natural.”  Authors Christine A. Klein and Sandra B. Zellmer present a sympathetic account of the human dreams, pride, and foibles that got us to this point, weaving together engaging historical narratives and accessible law stories drawn from actual courtroom dramas. The authors deftly uncover the larger story of how the law reflects and even amplifies our ambivalent attitude toward nature—simultaneously revering wild rivers and places for what they are, while working feverishly to change them into something else. Despite their sobering revelations, the authors’ final message is one of hope. Although the acknowledgement of human responsibility for unnatural disasters can lead to blame, guilt, and liability, it can also prod us to confront the consequences of our actions, leading to a liberating sense of possibility and to the knowledge necessary to avoid future disasters.  Christine A. Klein is the Chesterfield Smith Professor of Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and is co-author of Natural Resources Law: A Place-Based Book of Problems and Cases (Aspen Publishers). Sandra B. Zellmer holds the Robert B. Daugherty Chair at the University of Nebraska College of Law and is co-author of Natural Resources Law (West). 

This book was full of information but done in a way that makes the reading enjoyable. The flood plans for the Mississippi River and the river itself has changed over the years some good some not so good. The author goes into detail with how floods from storms has changed the path but also man has put his hand on it as well. Also goes into the many dams that have been built in Minnesota, which has something to do with the flow, along with hurricanes and other storms. The author also discusses the legal side of loss of property when a flood happens, risk and prevention, compensating for rebuild or loss, and insurance. This does not just include New Orleans but many along the Mississippi. A through look at the river and the good and bad that goes in living so close to it. A good book. Much more information than I am giving you. I got this book from net galley. I give this 4 stars.


Posted:  April 24, 2015

Hornet: The Inside Story of the F/A-18The fascinating true story of the controversial development and deployment of the supersonic fighter jet that changed aerial warfare foreverThe McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet was born in 1978, a state-of-the-art supersonic fighter and attack aircraft with a top speed of Mach 1.8, more than one thousand miles per hour. It was versatile, fast, and reliable, and no war machine in the air could match it. The marines adopted it first, followed by the navy, impressed by its incomparable ability to engage in close aerial combat while at the same time efficiently delivering explosive payloads to designated enemy targets. It became the aircraft of choice for the US Navy's famous Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron in 1986 and served ably in combat from its first mission--America's launched air strike against Libya that same year--through 1991's Operation Desert Storm and well beyond. Yet the Hornet has always been shrouded in controversy, and while still in its planning stages, it sparked an unprecedented political battle that nearly doomed the miraculous machine before it could take flight.Orr Kelly, the acclaimed military author who has notably chronicled the remarkable histories of the US Navy SEALs and other branches of America's Special Forces, tells the fascinating true story of the F/A-18 Hornet--how it came to be, how it almost wasn't, and how it forever altered the way our nation's wars are fought.

The plans for a new jet fighter began after a spy plane took a photo of a Russian T-4 plane, much like the F-111, that we were using and had been since May of 1965. So two men who at one time friends were tasked by congress and a committee to come up with a new aircraft. The author takes you back in time to the very beginnings of flight and through some of the development from WWI. He does give credit to Germany, France, and Britain for different improvements that were made during the war. He also gives you a look into some of the pilots of that time as well. He then talks about that lack of any real improvement in aircrafts for the U.S. during this time. It was not for the lack of trying, for men were coming up with plans but were being voted down. Along with building up the Navy. It really wasn’t until the attack on Pearl Harbor that really got the ball rolling. Again once the war was over nothing was done until 65 with that being a new fighter jet. Now seeing that the Russians had a jet equal or more powerful had gotten people attention in the Pentagon. Both the Marines and the Navy wanted their hands in the project and a say so in the design. The back fighting between the two branches along with the aviation contractors coming in towards the end really caused for a bitter fight. As the story goes along the Marines get the contract but the plane has flaws because it cannot meet the specs for carrier landings which is what they mostly needed the aircraft for. A very good book in looking at all of the fighting it takes to get something done. Overall a good book. I got this book from net galley.  I give this 3 stars.


BURNING FOR YOU                                    MICHELE DUNAWAY
Posted:  April 24, 2015

Burning for You by Michele DunawayMark your calendar: The Man of the Month series is back—with a sexy new hero who will definitely heat things up... 

The Man of the Month The last thing Taylor Krebs wants is a man. Her crazy, possessive ex-boyfriend has caused her enough drama to last a lifetime. Putting drama and men behind her she focuses on her fledgling photography business. That is, until gorgeous fireman Joe Marinootherwise known as Mr. September on the Sexy Public Servants Charity Calendarwalks into her life. Joe wants Taylor to photograph burn victims pro bono for a book he’s spearheading for the Burn Recovery Support Group...and he’ll do everything in his power to persuade her to take on his cause.

Taylor soon finds out that she isn’t immune to Joe’s persuasive charmsboth professionally and personallyand soon they are burning up the sheets. But will Joe’s secrets and Taylor’s need for quiet stability tear them apart? Or will this Man of the Month also end up being Taylor’s love for all days?

     This couple meets under unusual circumstances.  Taylor Krebs is a photographer and Joe Marino is a subject for a calendar shoot she is doing for “The Sexy Public Servants of St. Louis.”  Joe is a fire fighter and “Mr. September.”
     Taylor is a huge romance novel reader who bounce in and out of reality to historical story lines in her head at the beginning of the first chapter.  Kind of funny because it lets you know just how long it has been since she has had a man.  Doing that though she has to shake herself out of it in order not to miss conversations and what not.  From the minute she sees Joe something pulls her towards him.  Unfortunately, he ends up being the last on the list to have his picture taken causing Taylor to overheat big time.   Joe seems to notice and becomes flirty as the shoot goes on.
     Due to her last relationship she’s more than stand-offish with most guys with Joe she doesn’t feel it.  During the shoot she has to move a piece of his clothing grazing his chest and a hiccup escapes meaning she is nervous.  Then she’s asked by the client to mess with his hair to make it look sexy.  Way to close.  After the shoot he ask to see the last couple of pictures she took, he liked them.
     Joe flirts some more then all flirting stops.  He becomes very professional and tells her he has a project that he thinks she would be wonderful for.  He liked the way she worked with each person she took pictures of and the client.  She thanks him and continues packing up.  He asks for a business card, then say good-bye and walk away.  Super weird.  She doesn’t hear from him after a few days figures she won’t either.
     She’s up late nights working at a restaurant and then working on the photos.  She can’t sleep so she starts reading and can’t put the book down.  So goes her circle of life.  She goes into work on this day a little late from oversleeping to find out that they are having the charity fire fighters night.  Where the local fire fighters come in to help serve food and part of the money earned goes to charity.  As they were being briefed with at least 20 fire fighters she is in the back.  She thinks she saw Joe in the mix but wasn’t sure.  When all her boss is down with the briefing and they start to be assigned Joe is there in front of her and he points to her and looks at her boss and says he’s working with her.  Her boss said okay.  There was just an hour to go before the guys would be leaving when Taylor’s ex comes walking in and the hostess seats him, his date and another couple at one of her tables.
     Thank goodness she was at the work station and she sees them come in.  She hides and ask her friend Beth to take that table with Joe and she will switch sections with her for the rest of the night.  But before she can tell Joe he is taking their drink order.  He looks back for her to be shadowing him and she is not there.  Beth takes the order from him and he looks at Taylor like “what’s up?”  She tries to say nothing when Beth says it’s her ex at the table he just was at.  He can see that Taylor is shaking and that raises his blood pressure.  He asks how he can help.  She says by working with Beth on that station until they leave.  He’s not happy but agrees.
     But then the phone in her pocket rings.  It’s the hospital she needs to leave now.  She talks to her boss he’s not happy but he understands he too is a man with kids.  Joe was worried about her and went with her.  He asked what was up.  She told him she was on her was to take a picture of a baby that passed away.  The parents want picture with him to be able to remember and to have pictures to show his twin sisters when they grow up.  It’s time sensitive.  She told him about her sister having a stillbirth and taking pictures and finding out it was a gift she could give these families.  This act of heroism seals it for Joe she is the one he needs for his project.
     After the pictures before she goes back to work they stop for drinks and a snack.  Joe asks her finally about his project.  He wants her to do a book of pictures that helps burn victims feel beautiful/handsome.  He would write the narration and stories and she would do the pictures.  It would all be for the charity his sister is involved with for burn victims.  At first she says she can’t.  Then Joe asked how much it cost Virginia for the calendar project for the charity.  She tells him and he says he can’t afford it and neither can the charity.  He asked that since she is going to school to teach photography can you teach me so I can practice with my sister then I’ll also pay you to do a family portrait and my mom can make connections for you.  She said yes for the sitting fee and cost.
     As they talked more she became more comfortable with him.  Started thinking she’s been turned down by her professor 10 times for her master’s project.  That Joe’s project could just do the trick for both of them.  So, she told Joe yes after all.  In her head she decided even if her professor doesn’t approve it its what is right for right now.  She can feel it.
     So it begins.  Taylor gets swept up in the hugs of Joe’s large family.  They all love her from the moment they meet her.  Yet, Joe holds back he holds a secret that has turned other women away and he can’t be hurt again.  Yet, he has such mixed feelings because more than any of the others he likes talking to her from the heart and gut.  They laugh and she pulls no punches and take no crap.  Yet, Joe sees that she needs help and protection too even if she won’t ask.
     This is a wonderful heartfelt story of love of family, facing fear, meeting challenges, and loving to the fullest.  I could not put this down.  This was a brilliant story line done with dignity and love.  It was a painful subject to some and a badge of courage and triumph for others to be on the other side.  Bravo to Michele Dunaway for a funny fun loving piece.  I give this 5 ++++ stars.  Provided by Net Galley.

Taylor Krebs, is a photographer who is doing a fireman’s calendar for charity thinking that this will help her business, she is also having to come up with a concept for a masters project that her instructor will finally approve of. Joe Marino, is one of the firefighters that she is taking photos of for the calendar. He asks her if she would be able to do photos of his family, after she agrees she becomes more attracted to him and they start spending more time together. She finds out that he also boxes and goes to one of his fights. As they spend more time together they find out that each have secrets that they are slowly letting each other in on. They still have a way to go and the author makes the story interesting and enjoyable along the way. I found this to be a good book and enjoyed the characters as well. I got this book from net galley. 

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