Thursday, June 27, 2013

"Alizel's Song" - Bill Pottle (Virtual Book Tour Cafe Blog Tour)

"An unranked angel, Alizel, tells the inside story of the rebellion of Lucifer and the fall of man. Join him as he strolls through Heaven’s gardens, ponders theological questions with other angels, and battles against others who have turned away.

This epic tale will take you from the inner workings of the quark to the interplay between galaxies, from what lies hidden in the soul to the fundamental questions of good and evil."

Bill is a martial artist, author, and university professor in Colorado. He tries not to take himself too seriously while his work explores the interplay between religion and science, fantasy and technology, and what it means to be a human. Bill earned his Master's Degree in Biological Engineering from Cornell University and lives happily ever after with his wife and daughter.

As a budding theologian, I'm rather curious about interpretations of anything surrounding God...particularly of angels.  Particularly of angels!  Despite intricate descriptions of certain dreams, expositions on one thing or another, and simply confusing parables, we get very little about angels other than they exist (of this I personally have no doubt - ask and I'll tell you why).  Oh, there is something in Genesis about the angels guarding the entrance to the Garden of Eden, and Revelations speaks of angels flying 'round God singing praises all day.  Balaam spoke to an angel after his donkey spoke to him, an angle went around and killed first-borns in Egypt, an angel heralded Jesus' birth to shepherds, etc....though we get some stories, we get nearly nothing about angels in Heaven.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Soft Scrub with Bleach Cleanser

"Soft Scrub with Bleach Cleanser cleans and starts disinfecting on contact, killing 99.9% of household germs.*  This powerful formula is tough on stains and gentle on surfaces, so it's easy to achieve a sparkling, scratch-free shine on most surfaces.  

*Leave product on surface for 3 minutes."

Cleaners that do what they claim are hard to come by.  Do they actually knock out the stains without damaging the surface?  Do they really kill 99.9% of germs?  Will it be worth my money?

The Good
The good about this product is that it is worth its cost and then some!  Okay, so it may seem odd that there is a review of cleaner on a blog that does mostly book reviews, but a few products, most of which are baby related.  This product just impressed me that much!

A little background: my kitchen sink was grubby.  I don't like grub.  Try as I might, the brown stains were just barely lifting when my trusty scrubby and I tackled it with all our combined might.  My kitchen sink is porcelain, and it actually isn't mine - it belongs to my in-laws, so it especially bothered me that it was stained.  I originally bought the Soft Scrub to scrub out my bathtub, which is growing a ring due to the muddy antics of my one-year old, but upon getting frustrated at the sink, I spied the Scrub under the sink and decided to give it a try.

I wish I had a before and after picture.

I didn't realize it was going to work so danged well!

I really wish I had a before and after picture.

Let's just say my husband said "holy...." and didn't finish the phrase when I showed him the sink.

Soft Scrub with Bleach Cleanser works amazingly well!  Now, I expected it to soften the stains so scrubbing them would be easier, maybe to lift them a little bit since there was bleach.  I did not expect it to completely annihilate the stains...which is what happened!!  After leaving the product on my sick for the required amount of time, I returned to scrub the sink and was pleasantly surprised to see a nice, sparkling white sink!

I'm not a chemist.  Chemistry is not my favorite portion of science (I'm partial to biology).  I don't understand the chemical stuff that happened.  What I know is that my grubby sink is nice and white.  It's neighboring sink is nice and white.  The toilet I subsequently dumped this product into is almost nice and white (there is still a bit of stubborn limification that I need to get rid of, but for the most part it is completely clean).

It is amazing what clean sinks can do for a momma's mood.  : )

The Bugly (bad/ugly) is toxic.  That may seem obvious, but in a house with a toddler present who likes to stuff everything into his mouth, a toxic chemical is a bad thing (this kid keeps figuring out the safety latches that go on the sink doors...for now we've got one on it he has not defeated...yet).

It didn't work quite as magically in the bathroom sink as it did everywhere else.  It removed most of the grub, but the stuff left behind is more oily in nature.  Not sure how in the heck that happened or where it came from, but some elbow grease will be required to get rid of those stains.

Overall I wish this product could be used on more surfaces, and that it came in a larger container.  Seriously, I love it!  Anything that could get rid of those nasty brown stains in my kitchen sink and make the sink sparkly white with no more elbow grease required from me than that used to spread it around the sink gets high marks!  LOVE IT!!!  Sure, it is poisonous, but that is kind of a given "duh!"  I'll buy this again, and recommend that you do as well for your kitchen/toilet/sink needs!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this product a 9.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

"Celebrate the Sinner" - Steve Scott (Virtual Book Tours Blog Tour)

"Unsettled conditions anywhere give rise to fear,” Old Ted remarks. “Fear finds scapegoats and easy solutions.”

In 1924, Marie walks through the Waverly Baby Home and chooses Teddy because he looks like the child she deserves...but the boy has hidden defects. Five years later, against a backdrop of financial ruin, KKK resurgence, hangings and arson, Marie's husband, Merle, struggles to succeed, Marie loses her way, and troubled seven year-old Teddy begins to see what he and his family are missing.

CELEBRATE THE SINNER unfolds with the onset of The Great Depression after Teddy’s father buys a bankrupt sawmill and moves his small family to an isolated Oregon mill town. Merle feeds his hunger with logs and production, while his young wife feels like rough-cut lumber, unworthy of paint and without a future. When a conspiracy threatens the mill, Merle adds the powerful KKK to his business network. Untended, Teddy strays as he searches for a connection outside himself. He loves the machines that take the trees, but he also worships his new, young teacher. He discovers the Bucket of Blood Roadhouse and begins spending his Saturday nights peering through its windows, gaining an unlikely mentor: Wattie Blue, an ancient, Black musician from Missouri, by way of Chicago, plays the lip harp and calls out square dances. When Wattie faces the Klan and his past, Teddy and his family are confronted with equally difficult choices.

Framed by solitary, narcissistic, ninety-year-old Ted, this story of desperate people contains humor, grit, mystery and an ending that surprises, even stuns. "Spines and bellies soften and round off with the years," Old Ted muses. "Thoughts, too, lose their edge, but secrets scream for revelation. Perfect people, after all, don't hold a monopoly on the right to tell their stories."

 S.M. Scott was raised and educated in Oregon, Alaska, France and Africa. Born in the Willamette Valley, his father, grandfather and great grandfather were Oregon lumbermen. When he was eight, his parents packed up the family and their portable sawmill and moved to Anchorage, Alaska where they began cutting homesteader timber in the summers and teaching school each winter.

He later returned to Oregon to pursue undergraduate studies at Linfield College. Along the way, he has studied economics, biology, French and medicine. He attended medical school in Colorado, undertook surgical training at the University of Utah and completed his cancer training at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He and his family now live in Salt Lake City in the warm company of Saints and sinners. He is a practicing orthopedist and cancer surgeon.

Historical fiction is a tricky beast.  An author must weave an engaging story while maintaining historical accuracy, an accuracy that shifts as each successive generation sees past events through eyes shaped by different, more recent events.  How many times have each of us heard and uttered the phrase "if only I knew now what I knew then"?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"Running Into the Darkness" - D.A. Bale (Tribute Books Blog Tour)

"Death follows Dr. Samantha Bartlett throughout her life until it claims everyone close to her. There's one powerful man responsible on whom Samantha sets her sights for revenge. The price is her soul. For centuries, sex has been the weapon of it's her turn.

“I never intended to kill the President. As a doctor, I swore an oath to protect life – not take it. But that was before...”

Second year resident, Dr. Samantha Bartlett, is swept from the frigid New York winter to once again confront the sting of death back home – and face those she left behind. But she’s not alone. A strange man she dubs Shades haunts her every step as she seeks answers to the inferno which claimed her grandmother, an eerie reminder of her parents’ deaths. The secrets Samantha uncovers forever changes her image of those she only thought she knew.

Confronted by Shades, Samantha joins a secret underworld known only as the Elite, where a web of power and control is woven deep within governments worldwide. Their sights are set on the power structure of the United States, and Samantha becomes the unlikely key to infiltrating the White House at its most intimate levels.
The quest for blood threatens to destroy Samantha. From the darkness there is no escape. 

Sometimes life emulates fiction.

Life is filled with tragedy and Ms. Bale's writing reflects this reality. However, there is always a silver lining...even if one must spend their entire life searching for it.

In her previous career, Ms. Bale traveled the United States as a Government Relations Liaison, working closely with Congressional offices and various government agencies. This experience afforded her a glimpse into the sometimes "not so pretty" reality of the political sphere. Much of this reality and various locations throughout her travels make it into her writing.

She dreams of the day she can return to visit Alaska.

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For some reason, we seem to enjoy a good crime thriller.  Maybe it is the psychological Gestaltian moments of "ah ha!" that we love as we learn something new about how a crime scene works, or when we finally figure out whodunit.  Perhaps it is purely an interest in the macabre that draws us to this genre.  Maybe, perhaps.  What is assured is that this genre is so popular that many have delved into works depicting various aspects.  "Law & Order" is insanely popular in its many incarnations, "Castle" has many devoted fans (myself included!), etc.  Stories are done and done to death.  Multi-millionaire dead?  Suspect children.  Beautiful model bit the dust?  Try a rival model, or jealous boyfriend.  We kind of know what to expect...

Not here.