Thursday, February 28, 2013

Using YouTube to Market Yourself

Using YouTube to market yourself isn't as difficult as many may think. The power of video can work well for online resumes, portfolios of work, and much more. There are a few people out there who think that in order for a YouTube channel to be successful, you need to have high-end video and editing equipment. In actuality, that is farther from the truth. It doesn't take much in order to create a great video to promote your skills or even your business.

1. The Account - YouTube is linked to your Google account, if you have one. As Google acquired YouTube some time ago, all of your YouTube and Google activity are joined. This can be greatly beneficial for professional reasons as you can easily create a cross-promotional campaign.

When you create an account on YouTube, you will need to create a Google username first. This username is going to be used to link all of your Google tools including webmaster tools such as Analytics. This step can be skipped if you already have a Google username. Follow the registration steps to complete your YouTube channel.

2. Your Channel - Once you have created your account, it is time to set up your channel. On the top right, there will be a small down-arrow next to your name. If you click on it and then click on "My Channel" you will be taken to it where you are able to modify the settings in order to make it stand out. You can add background images, change colors, create a channel name, add a description, and even modify how viewers perceive your channel if they visit.

3. Videos - Now comes the time to create your own promotional videos. This can be accomplished by a number of ways. You don't need to be interested in video production in order to create a nice video to show off your talents.
(i) High-end Video Equipment - Although this isn't necessary, having high-end video equipment such as cameras and lighting will allow you to make extravagant videos.
(ii) Webcam - The webcam approach is very popular on YouTube for you don't need to spend a great deal of money to create videos for all to see. Many famous YouTubers started out with simple webcams and then moved up to full production equipment.
(iii) CamStudio - If you don't wish to be see or want to show images on your video to promote graphic designs, sites, or images of anything else, using CamStudio to record your videos is a free and easy to use tool. It records your computer desktop instead of through your camera.
(iv) Microphone - There are many YouTube channels that simply add music to their videos. A microphone of some kind is needed if you are describing the video, but it's not absolutely necessary.
(v) Editing - For those who have Windows Vista or later, Windows Live Movie Maker is an easy to use and free editing tool to help shape your video.

4. Uploading - The smaller the size of the video, the easier it is to upload. For those who have broadband, a 10-minute HD video could take anywhere from 40 minutes to over an hour. You don't need long videos in order to get your message across, however. This is also dependent on how your recording equipment and software are set up.

5. Track and Monetized - If your content is original without infringing on copyright laws, you can monetize it to make advertising revenue from Google. YouTube also has a great amount of tools that can help you track which videos have the greatest impact to your visitors. This can help you develop future videos tailored to your audience.

The YouTube website has provided a way for everyone to share originality and a venue to become creative. In order to promote yourself as a professional, video adds a more personal touch as those who are interested can see and hear you describe what it is your trying to communicate. Since YouTube is free to use for everyone, why not take the time and see for yourself the impact your own videos can make. You may become addicted to it and create more for your purposes.

Author Bio

Nancy Parker is a regular contributor to and she loves to write about a wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, Babysitting, nanny background check tips etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Book Review - Feathered: Being a Fairy Tale

Feathered: Being a Fairy Tale

By: Tom Weston
Publisher: Tom Weston Books
Publishing Date: December 2012
ISBN: 978-0-9850361-0-2
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: February 28, 2013

This is the third novel in the “Alex & Jackie Adventures,” and the one thing that all readers will agree upon is the fact that this series gets better and better with each and every book.

In this new tale, Alex and Jackie are heading to Dublin to stay with an Aunt and Uncle they’ve never met. Jackie, as always, is filled with spirit and can’t wait to learn all she can about Ireland. Not only that, but she would like a pint of Guinness to be waiting for them when they walk off the plane. Alex, on the other hand, just wants better reception for her cell phone so that she can text her friends back in San Diego. Alex is pure sarcasm (and completely hysterical); although she doesn’t mind ghosts and vampires, faeries are something she doesn’t quite believe in as much as her sister who’s absolutely bubbling over with excitement to immerse herself in Irish legend.

When they land, Jackie seems to hear an undercurrent of singing in the air, and when they arrive at the Gatehouse, which is the home/pub where their Aunt and Uncle and two cousins, Jeff and Mattie live, the girls discover a tree growing up out of the floor - a tree that, supposedly, calls out to the faery kingdom.

On one day of sightseeing, Jackie has a somewhat ‘strange’ moment when she kisses the famous Blarney Stone. Add to that a tour through a broken down castle and exploring the tunnels that reside underneath the pub, and Jackie is soon led by a ‘unicorn’ into another world. Waking up the next morning, she finds that her sister has turned into a pig.

Alex, however, finds herself waking in a pigsty on the grounds of an abbey back in the 1400’s. While she’s there, Vikings attack, and when she wakes up back in present day she has a legendary book in her hands - a book that comes across the news as having been stolen.

Going back and forth in time, Alex finds herself a Viking princess who’s scheduled to marry. While in the past she tries to save a monk, stop a war and return artifacts to their rightful owners. Jackie, on the other hand, heads to the faery kingdom trying desperately to save her sister and make a deal with the beings so that they can return home and leave behind the magical place forever.

Viking battles, legendary locations, Irish legend and history - this book has it all. Readers are not only granted a seriously cool story, but the historical information surrounding the tale is beyond exciting!
Quill says: Love, love, love! Tom Weston once again proves he’s a master at blending fact and fiction into a seamless recipe for fun!

For more information on Feathered, please visit the author's website at:

Book Review - Oodles of Poodles

Oodles of Poodles: A Pet Rescue Mystery

By: Linda O. Johnston
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0425259962
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2013

Lauren Vancouver's primary passion in life was to "find new families for homeless pets." She was the director of HotRescues and their benefactor, Dante DeFrancisco had called to ask her to do him a favor. Dante and Niall Cransley were co-producers of a film just getting underway. "Sheba's Story" would be a story about a rescued dog and would need supervisory assistance to make sure no animals would be harmed during production. Dante wanted her to step in during his absence to make sure all went well on the set. Lauren was more than happy to oblige, but if she had a Ouija board at HotRescues she just may have declined the offer.

Dr. Carlie Stellan, a veterinarian and good friend of Lauren's, was on board for the production. Not one to waste a golden opportunity, she would be doing a bit of filming for her own reality show, "Pet Fitness." Handlers, trainers, and people like Grant Jefferly, a "Certified Animal Safety Representative" were on the set when Lauren arrived. She would be taking a few pictures for Dante so he could see what was going on during the filming. Undoubtedly, the maudlin tale would be a runaway hit, would encourage pet adoption, and sell lots Kleenex. The entire experience would be a lot of fun and everyone was looking forward to working on the set.

Instead of being oodles of fun, tempers quickly began to flare. Director Hans Marford was clueless when it came to dogs and cars. Carlie began to lecture him, ending with the not-so-gracious demand, "No more endangering the animals, you freak." It wouldn't be problematic because someone kindly offed the director for her later that night by running over him. Detective Lou Maddinger had a few questions to ask, but so did Lauren. A mysterious dog who "might not have been an ordinary stray" was found and someone was sending not-so-subtle hints that Lauren should back off the investigation. It was only when someone "pulled the leash tighter " ... around her neck that she knew they meant business!

Lauren Vancouver was more than willing to find out whodunit to the director who was endangering dogs. Of course she was determined to make sure "no animals were harmed" during the production of "Sheba's Story," and was glad to step up to the plate to protect Carlie, the prime suspect. There's a hint of a future romantic clash between Matt Kingson, the man she's having a "sort-of-relationship" with and Grant. Lauren's "de riguer files on murder" kept growing as her suspect list grew ever larger. This light and sometimes humorous cozy mystery is one that certainly brings attention to what goes on behind the scenes when animals star in movies. The show must go on, and if you like Lauren Vancouver, you'll definitely enjoy her as she tracks down yet another murderer!

Quill say: Oodles of Poodles is oodles of fun and an entertaining read!

Book Review - Every Trick in the Book

Every Trick in the Book: A Novel Idea Mystery

By: Lucy Arlington
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0425251676
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2013

Lila Wilkins's pink slip from the "Dunston Herald" looked like a doom and gloom situation at the time, but that tacky cliché, when one door closes another one opens, gave her the opportunity of a lifetime. She ended up working for the "Novel Idea Literary Agency" and was loving it. Lila would soon be thinking of another superstitious cliché when she shattered a mirror. Seven years of bad luck was sure to head her way. Not. Her mom, whose "lifetime beau, Mister Jim Beam," was of another opinion altogether. "You're wrong, Lila. This is only the beginning." It was a mess, but other than that, it was nothing more than a simple accident and shards of glass certainly couldn't portend her future.

Inspiration Valley would be the home of the "Book and Author Festival," but the agency was in dire need of an intern. As luck would have it, Vicky Crump was self-confident and "possessed all the authority of charisma of Napoleon" so Lila hired her on the spot. As a one-time feature reporter Lila was fully capable of handling most anything thrown her way, including "flamboyant" clients like Calliope Sinclair who insisted on having their way and hopeful ones whose pitches were somewhat odd. Lila told her good friend, Makaya, that she'd have to "turn down dozens of them" at the book festival, but little did she know that the words "publish" and "perish" were going to go hand in hand.
Lila was stunned to find Melissa Plume, a senior editor for Doubleday Books, at her registration table. She was her "twin" in almost every sense of the word and the "overall resemblance was extraordinary." Once Lila started listening to pitches, things got particularly disquieting when a "sinister looking man" dropped a raven feather on her table and rushed away. Little did Lila know, it was only the beginning of a most unusual nightmare. It started when she and Sean were staring at Melissa's lifeless body in a deserted corridor. "Why? Why is she here?" She was determined to find out, but before she barely started, a "harmless murder mystery writer" was struck down in her own home ... it was one of Lila's authors!

Lila Wilkins finds herself in double trouble when an editor and author get bumped off. This mystery was intriguing in more ways than one. Lila gives us some insight into the real-life workings of a literary agency and why aspiring authors are so often rejected. She wasn't always cool, calm, and collected, but definitely determined to find out whodunit. Following the clues she finds in front of her, as well as those in a manuscript, made reading especially fun. Lila senses that the two murders are connected, but who, what, when, where, and how is only something a literary agent can figure out. No doubt, this is a novel new series that will keep me looking for more!

Quill says: This new mystery series is definitely one to watch out, especially when a little thrill is added to the cozy recipe!

Book Review - To Brie or Not to Brie

To Brie or Not to Brie: A Cheese Shop Mystery

By: Avery Aames
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0425255544
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2013

Police Chief Umberto Urso entered Fromagerie Bessette, better known to the locals as "The Cheese Shop," to order his usual sandwich and, like everyone else in Providence, to ask questions. "Hey, I heard you set a wedding date." Wrong. Charlotte Bessette, owner of the shop, was looking forward to getting married to Jordan Pace, the love of her life, but the bells weren't ringing just yet. On the other hand Pastor Hildegard was marrying her cousin, Matthew, and her best friend, Meredith Vance in about ten days. U-ey had a nose bigger than the roll his Jarlsberg was in, but so did everyone else. Matthew's ex, Sylvie, was calling foul, but she had left him and the twins to fare for themselves.

Jordan's sister Jacky's parting with her husband hadn't been as amicable. Giacomo Capriotti had been abusive and she'd secretly come to town to escape his wrath. Grandmère Bernadette was a regular old spitfire and between her Hamlet production and her "Stomping the Grapes" benefit race for the rescue shelter, the town was sure to see some action. Unfortunately, some of the action, aside from the usual quibbling and gossip, would really liven up the town. Instead of serving up hash at the diner, Delilah excitedly served up the bad news. "He's dead in the cooler at the Igloo." Someone had clunked Giacomo over the head with a bucket of Brie and blueberry at Hugo Hunter's ice cream shop.

Charlotte and her two shop assistants, Tyranne and Rebecca, were soon on the lookout for clues. "Miss Zook," Urso snapped at Rebecca, "do you know how psychiatrists define paranoia? Y-O-U." She was a big fan of television shows and had a slew of nutty ideas. Charlotte weighed her clues carefully, but eliminating suspects was not going to be easy. "C'est impossible. I saw her pacing at all hours with the baby." No, pépère wouldn't lie about le meutre, but someone was. Was everyone lying? Things would get even more complicated when the shop door slammed open and Rebecca gasped, "He's dead." At this rate, Charlotte wouldn't have any suspects if someone kept bumping them off!

Charlotte has her work cut out for her when murder and matrimony are on the menu. This mystery definitely is a lively one when everyone turns "into an amateur sleuth." Most of the characters have relationships that go way back and can be very candid with one another, something that makes the mystery even more fun. There are a lot of characters, but they are easy to sort out in this stand-alone mystery. There is a single clue that was thrown out that points the finger at someone, but only the real cozy mystery aficionado will catch it. In the meantime, the reader will have everything from Mafia-like characters, extortion, to the Witness Security Program to sort through in order to find out whodunit in this oooh la la delectable Cheese Shop Mystery!

Quill says: This fast-paced, exciting cozy mystery is a fabulously fun read!

Book Review - Holy Smoke

Holy Smoke: A Jerusalem Mystery

By: Frederick Ramsay
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: February 2013
ISBN: 9781464200908
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: February 26, 2013

Holy Smoke is the third novel in Frederick Ramsay’s The Jerusalem Mysteries series.

As the story opens, kohanim (Hebrew for ‘priest’) Josef ben Josef discovers the remains of an unknown man beneath the Veil of the antechamber to the Holy of Holies—the Temple’s sacred Chamber. The only remains visible to the kohanim are the ankles of the mystery person; bound in the heavy cord wrapped around his lifeless ankles. As priests gather ‘round the spectacle, it is only when Caiaphas, high priest of the Temple, arrives before initial shock begins to subside. Fear, however, remains high among the group. It is not until rabban of the Sanhedrin, Gamaliel, appears that a semblance of order begins to unfold. Gamaliel’s initial investigation tells him the mystery body is not the result of a divine or holy occurrence. Rather, someone has dumped the charred, lifeless body beneath the Veil and was careful to secure it with the cord in an attempt to stage the scene as a suicide. Sometimes what seems the obvious is nothing of the kind. Gamaliel intends to prove the body was placed there and, by no means, did that man take his own life.

The story is set in the year 29 C.E.—a time when more than distinct differences prevail between Jerusalem and the oppressive rule of the Roman Empire. Gamaliel is an arbiter—interpreter of the Law. Satisfied he has ruled murder being the obvious situation, his job now is to solve the egregious wrong doing. He elicits the help of his confidante, Loukas, a powerful healer among the Jewish community. It seems the further Gamaliel immerses himself into the quest for truth, the greater his challenges become to uncover the truth. There are foes among them who wish to bury the truth, no matter the expense to do so. If only it were one murder to solve, but as the story progresses, a trail of bodies mount the closer Gamaliel and Loukas get to the absolute truth. It would seem hul gil, a powerful opiate, is the key to unlocking the answers the two seek in order to gain ultimate resolution.

Frederick Ramsay has done an outstanding job of weaving fascinating and historical information under the cover and plot of a murder mystery. It is obvious to me he spent a respectable amount of time studying his periodic subject matter because of his confident delivery of a very credible story. This is what I call a successful formula. Ramsay is patient. He presents just enough to build intrigue across the pages, yet commands a willing readership attention in so doing. There is never a moment throughout Holy Smoke where the reader will experience a lull or plot confusion. Rather, there is a tremendous amount of history lesson going on and the treat is the reader gets to experience fascinating information from an epic period of time for mankind while collecting facts to solve the mystery. Ramsay captures the period with superb eloquence in his word placement. Holy Smoke is a terrific tale of murder, mystery and intrigue and what makes it so captivating is the period of time within which he elected to place the tale.

Quill Says: Holy Smoke is a worthy novel that will appeal to historians as much as murder mystery fans because of the religious and secular period of time it was written.

Book Review - Pitch Green

Pitch Green: Dimensions in Death, Book I

By: The Brothers Washburn
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press, LLC
Publishing Date: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0-9886491-1-8
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: February 26, 2013

Look out Grimm Brothers - there’s a new ‘team’ in town that knows all about how to combine YA with the realm of horror and suspense.

Trona, California is the location of this unique tale - an isolated mining town that’s beyond boring and basically filled with nothing but sand that sits between Death Valley and…the middle of nowhere.
When we begin, it is Halloween, and eleven-year-old Cammy is working hard to corral the neighborhood children as she takes them door to door to receive their candy. What she doesn’t know is that something truly evil is following behind. When a little boy from the Halloween group completely disappears - never to be heard from again - the story jumps forward seven years and begins a dark, eerie thrill ride of events.

Cal is Cammy’s best friend and has been since they were kids. However, as they’ve grown up, a little bit of romance is now flowing through their relationship (at least in Cal’s mind). Cal grew up to be a popular kid, and has tried his very best to forget about that awful Halloween so long ago. Unlike Cal, Cammy can’t forget about it. Ever since that night she has been wary of literally everything and everyone, especially a location in town that scares her to her very core.

You see, there is a dilapidated place in Trona called Searles Mansion. This is a house that everyone in town is frightened to even get close to because of a very odd past, but Cammy can’t shake the feeling that this mansion has something to do with the long ago disappearance.

When another child suddenly goes missing, Cammy and Cal end up caught in a truly twisted tale that involves everything from a horrific entity to a government conspiracy that will surprise every reader. One thing is for certain, when you come to the last page you’re going to seriously want Book II deposited in your hands as fast as possible. It’s THAT good!

Quill Says: It’s not a lie that the Grimm Brothers now have competition; this series is already proving to be a recipe of thrills, chills and suspense that YA fans will absolutely love!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Interview with Svetoslav. S. Elenkov, author of Theft is Legal

Today we're talking with Svetoslav. S. Elenkov, author of Theft is Legal: Gain Perspective from 13 Economic Stories and Concepts

FQ: You obviously feel very passionate about "Economic Terror." What made you decide to publish a book about the topic?

I have spent an enormous amount of time researching the causes of economic collapses and searching for an answer to the madness we see in our daily lives. I came to a point where I felt I was ready to share some of my findings and personal stories with the public in an effort to bring greater awareness and start some conversations on topics of dire importance.

FQ: Would you tell our readers a little about your life in Bulgaria - what you saw, the hardships, the mood of the population.

Poverty. Pacifism. Sense of peace and security. Economic stagnation. Social stagnation. No upward mobility whatsoever. Crushed and deceased entrepreneurial spirit. Strict government schools armed with big rulers and sticks. Indoctrination of socialistic values in all levels of schooling. Rewriting of history. After 1991 this started to change, but the "wild capitalists" would only be alive for a year or two until the printing press and corrupt congress with empty promises took power once again.

FQ: I was struck by your description of the marble walkway in your hometown of Plovdiv as well as the marbling at the train station in your grandmother's home city while all around the marble, buildings were crumbling. Did people talk about this and how things used to be or was it something that was never discussed?

Yes, it was discussed, but not very often, because under communist rule people were not able to freely express their opinions if they were considered anti government (a bit like libertarians are sometimes seen as traitors and terrorists when this couldn't be further from the truth =) ). My grandmother would sometimes talk about how good life was under King Boris (assassinated during WW2 we believe by Germany). However I think most of the expensive infrastructure was built with the money acquired when politicians nationalized all of the private wealth. There was a great amount of wealth to squander, and they sure did.

FQ: You talk about the cycle of capitalism and socialism and how it seems to happen over and over. I suspect that you see this happening in the United States now. What can be done to stop the cycle here/now?

That is correct. I do see this happening in the US. We seem to be in the middle of the socialization process. It happens differently and at different speeds in every country/empire, but it happens. The only thing I can think of after so much research is awareness. If people are aware of the true mechanics behind politics and economic incentive, then we would be much less susceptible to current policy and current and future oppression.

FQ: I found your suggestion about starting up your own insurance company interesting. Playing 'Devil's Advocate,' if this were instituted, what would happen to those with little or no income as well as those who had chronic illnesses that required constant medical attention?

Well, I don't believe it's a good idea to institute this kind of action per se. People should take the initiative to manage their finances on their own if they wish. It should be a personal choice. I am a big supporter of people taking responsibility for their own actions, and this is just one way way to do it. I hope it's clear that by "starting your own insurance company," I don't mean register the business name, acquire business license, open a business account, and pay taxes on it. I propose quite the contrary. The point of moving your own finances is to escape all of the red tape, and simplify your life.

Charitable organizations are a product of the free market. In the 1800's when the world witnessed unprecedented accumulation of wealth, private individuals driven by compassion organized the greatest effort to help those in need. We must keep in mind that without wealth and profits, there are no resources that can be donated and put to work for the good of the populace. So in effect, the best thing we can do for the poor and underprivileged is to ensure we have as free and vibrant market economy as possible. Where I grew up, no one would even speak about charity, because the notion almost didn't exist. Sure, an act of kindness was present here and there, but the kind of charity organizations on a massive scale like we see in the US were not present. We must ask ourselves, why? Under a socialist system, there simply isn't much concentration of wealth, and therefore no excess wealth which can be put into charitable action. Excess wealth was only generated by government.

If we recall, Batman asked "Why did Wayne Enterprises stop donating to charity?" "Because to donate, you need profits, Mr. Wayne."

At the moment, the government "crowds out" legitimate charity with its disability and unemployment insurance etc. Once the weeds are lifted, we will uncover the beautiful flowers that are underneath, which is human compassion.

FQ: I can imagine some heated discussions between you and your liberal friends about what to do to help the poor. The age old "they need to be taught to care for themselves so the cycle can end," vs. "we need to help them, give them handouts." What are some of the arguments you'd use to convince others that the poor need to be taught to help themselves?

You are right about the heated arguments. Nearly 100% of my family and friends argue passionately with me on such issues. I understand them, because a long time ago, I had sympathy with their positions, but as I researched more and more, and looked at more and more data, my views began to shift, and now I stand at nearly the opposite side of the compass. My intentions are still the same, as are theirs. We all want to help the poor. The difference is in the method as you pointed out.

Some things I like to point out are that, we are broke as a nation. You can't help anyone out of poverty if you are poor yourself. I also go into discussions about "enablers," and the consequences they bring about in other people's life when it comes to drug/alcohol addiction, or even extreme obesity.

FQ: You talk about the interference of government and their meddling with business with all sorts of regulations. Do you feel that there should be no regulations, a minimal amount, or ?

No regulation. However, there should be courts and a justice system to determine if an individual or a group of individuals ( a company/corporation ) is actually doing harm(which includes lying, deception, pollution, destruction etc.) onto others.

Other than the outlined crimes, there is nothing the free market cannot handle. Consumers will be protected by consumers, or consumer groups which quickly point out the flaws of malicious producers. If a business is to be profitable, they would need to provide quality or risk losing everything to the wrath of bad reputation.

FQ: Government seems to be its own worst enemy, with nobody to regulate them. They feed the populace with entitlements and that keeps people happy, and keeps the government growing. Is there any way to stop this?

Unfortunately I don't believe so. There is no example in history that I'm aware of where the creep of socialism has been completely reversed before a systemic collapse. I think the best thing we can do is try to educate ourselves and our friends and families of what is actually happening. I think learning about the virtues of capitalism, and dangers of socialism will allow a new more aware people to rise from the ashes. Hopefully in the future the cycle can be broken by help of technology or some kind of global awareness, and we could get rid of government for good. I hope one day we accept that social cooperation and not social dictation is what's best and most profitable in every way to humans. Until then, I think it's necessary we keep government at bay as much as possible.

FQ: Government officials again and again claim that they have created jobs. You argue that government can't create jobs. Would you elaborate on this?

Of course. First, we must understand that jobs are not an end, but a means to an end. If government hires a person to stand in one place all day and pay them, that is not a net benefit to society. In fact, it is a net negative. Nothing productive was achieved by a person standing in one place for a day. In a free market, no one would hire people to stand in one place all day, because an entrepreneur needs to gain more value from the worker than he/she is paying them. It's like renting a person. If I rent a person, I expect that person to provide to me more value than the money in my pocket, otherwise I wouldn't dish it out. Hair stylists are a good example of this, or personal trainers. In a free market, I would never rent a person to stand in place for an hour and not do anything productive. In reality, however, government does just that. Government is not very concerned about the productivity of their new worker, they just care that now they have bought a vote in the next election. We can see how this can lead in incredible waste and corruption. The money (taxes of productive citizens) have to be allocated somewhere, and many people with special interests compete for the troth.

We also have to remember that the money to pay for the government workers has to come from somewhere, and we must ask ourselves "Where does that money come from?" and "What would it have been used for if government didn't take it?" I discuss these two questions in length, so I think unfolding the answers here might be beyond the scope and intent of the interview.

Thank you so much for the questions! It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to shed some light on a perspective I've come to acquire through the years.

To learn more about Theft is Legal: Gain Perspective from 13 Economic Stories and Concepts please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review - Theft is Legal

Theft is Legal: Gain Perspective from 13 Economic Stories and Concepts

By: Svetoslav. S. Elenkov
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Publication Date: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1478715696
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: February 23, 2013

The distribution of wealth, the battle between the “haves” and “have-nots,” and the profit motives of capitalism – are these things bad or a necessary, and long-term, means to achieve a higher standard of living for everybody? In his new book, Theft is Legal, author Svetoslav Elenkov argues that while capitalism has some problems, it is far better than the alternative, which he proposes is socialism.

Elenkov begins his book by giving an overview of his early life under socialist rule in Bulgaria. He saw firsthand just what a socialist society can do to a community. The decay of the buildings, the dearth of food, and hyperinflation were all things he was forced to live with. One story he shared that truly brought the issue of hyperinflation home was how one day, on the way home from school, he stopped at a bakery for a pastry. His father had given him 20 leva (the currency in Bulgaria) for a special treat. Unfortunately, the least expensive delicacy was priced at 25 leva so the young boy had to go without. The next day, his father gave him 40 leva but by that afternoon the pastry’s price had jumped to 50 leva! Each day Elenkov came in with more money, and each day, the pastry’s price had increased beyond his meager funds. By the end of the week, the pastry was priced at 1000 leva! The youngster never did get his treat.

Fast forward to the day Elenkov and his family were allowed to immigrate to the United States where they would live under the rule of capitalism. Having now lived under both systems, Elenkov shares what he has learned about the two opposing forms of government. After a brief synopsis of life in Bulgaria, Elenkov gets into the meat of his book with a discussion of what capitalism is, its pros and cons, and how there is an inevitable cycle of capitalism leading to socialism, which in time leads back to capitalism. Indeed, many of the points he makes about the metamorphosis can be seen in the United States today. The author argues that a major component to capitalism is competition which leads to innovation. But as those who are innovative prosper, the disparity between them and those less inventive grows. This causes unrest, and the government steps in to redistribute the wealth and slap more and more regulations on those who benefit most from the wealth (typically businesses). With less incentive, productivity declines, living standards drop and eventually socialism steps in to try and equally draw everybody up out of poverty. Then, proposes the author, the reverse happens, leading to the eventual collapse of the socialist state. Elenkov makes it very clear that he feels capitalism is superior and this forms the basis for the rest of Theft is Legal.

Once his argument for capitalism is complete, Elenkov explores various ideas, concepts, and real-life problems and offers his suggestions on how best to attack each problem via the concepts behind capitalism. From a discussion on why starting your own insurance company is better than the system now in place, to how government habitually stands in the way of businesses, Elenkov is full of ideas. To help readers visualize the currency issues he discusses, there’s a chapter devoted to an imaginary island, where the currency of pumpkin seeds is replaced by magical leaves by an unscrupulous lender that draws interesting parallels to today’s banking problems.

There are thirteen chapters in this fairly brief 84-page book. With an easy, well-flowing writing style that doesn’t get bogged down with technical terms, it can easily be read in one sitting. The points the author makes are valid, and he certainly has the background to make compelling arguments. He strongly believes that free markets and individual freedoms, free from government meddling, is the best method for bringing prosperity to all. With the brief nature of the text, it is impossible to present detailed arguments on so many topics and so some of the ideas may seem overly simplistic. Further discussion of each is needed although this book is a good starting point for additional discussions.

Quill says: A good, easy-reading account of the perils of socialism and how to avoid the traps that can lead to the collapse of capitalism.

For more information on Theft is Legal: Gain Perspective from 13 Economic Stories and Concepts, please visit the book's website at:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review - He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not: My Boyfriend Is a Monster

By: Robin Mayhall
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Publication Date: January 2013
ISBN: 978-0761385486
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2013

Serena Stevens was totally disgusted that she had to transfer to a podunk town from San Antonio just a few weeks into her junior year. Her best friend, Consuela, tried to console her about all the dating possibilities, but dating guys who wore cowboy hats? Ugh!!! Consuela was a "dating whirlwind," and Serena was a bit more reserved. Looked like Rojo High, a school big on football, wasn't exactly going to be big time fun, but she and Consuela could Skype. At the Friday night game she spotted Cameron Jacobs, a hot guy, who blew her off claiming he "mostly studies at home." It didn't look like her dating prospects in Rojo were going to be all that promising. Like not at all.

Lance Hyland, the star quarterback, unexpectedly peeked over her shoulder when Serena got a note from the guidance counselor. "Aw, man ... called to Gary Barry's office already?" He was just kidding and offered to show her the way AND asked her out! Cam, who could easily be her crush was going to be her study partner. Things hadn't started out all that well at Rojo, but were looking up. To think she was going out on a date with a "star football player" would blow Consuela away.

Her meeting with Gary Barry went over all the standard new student stuff, but when she went to leave he offered up one bit of advice. "Be careful around Lance Hyland." What on earth was the guy talking about? Serena didn't have time to think about it because she had to study with Cam. They were going to work on "Jekyll & Hyde" and "list all the metaphors and similes" in one section. She wanted to study with Cam again, but there was her date. Lance became really crazy when he heard about Cam, calling him "a weakling, a freak." And then he slammed his fist into her locker. Just what kind of monster was she dating? Was it a simple case of jealously or something much more insidious?

Serena finds herself in a dating dilemma when her boyfriend turns out to be w-e-i-r-d. Things get really crazy at Rojo when two of the cheerleaders end up missing. Naturally, Serena starts to wonder if Lance is to blame for the disappearance. The storyline is more realistic than a few in the series, but nonetheless, there is still a monstrous personality lurking behind Lance's cool guy facade. The story moves right along, a facet that makes it perfect for young readers, especially reluctant ones. The black and white panels are detailed and do include a few pages of the "Jekyll and Hyde" story. If you have a youngster who likes their reading a bit on the freaky side, this is one series you may wish to consider.

Quill says: This series is an excellent choice for young people who enjoy quick, short, monstrous reads!

Read Across America

Join Five Star in celebrating Read Across America Day (March 2, 2013) with the children in your life! Between now and March 2, order books from our Children’s Section of the Five Star Bookstore online at and you’ll receive a free t-shirt for every order placed! After you place your order, we will follow up with you to confirm your t-shirt size & selection.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review - Through Irish Eyes

Through Irish Eyes: A Visual Companion to Angela McCourt's Ireland

By: Malachy McCourt
Publisher: Glitterati Incorporated
Publication Date: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0985169671
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: February 20, 2013

Having enjoyed reading Angela’s Ashes several years ago, I was excited to see this book come in for review. With a grandmother who grew up in Limerick, Ireland, the region this book explores, I wanted to learn more. I’d heard stories, and seen a few pictures of Limerick from the 1930s and 40s, and was eager to see what additional insight his book had to offer.

Immediately upon opening the book, I was struck by Malachy McCourt’s (brother to Angela's Ashes author Frank McCourt) Irish wit and frankness that came across clearly in his foreword. His words reminded me so much of my beloved grandmother, and her sense of humor that I admit, I didn’t always understand. When describing 'Mr. Kane of Dispensary fame,' a man known for his cruelty but given a media spin job to make the most savvy consultant proud, Mr. McCourt notes rather dryly, "Thanks be to Jesus [my grandmother's favorite phrase!] he didn't feel any deeper or he'd have us all shot to put us out of our misery."

Through Irish Eyes is a 64-page photo book with 75 black and white photographs, separated into various topics such as Limerick Landmarks, In the Fever Hospital, School Days, and The Emergency (World War II). Photos show inhabitants in all sorts of daily activities, with the abject poverty that permeated the lives of so many, screaming out from the pages. While a few photos show people looking quite happy (the workers in a garment factory), as McCourt notes in his forward, " never know who might look at a picture and spot sullen rebellion. Then where would you be, out on your arse for there's plenty more wanting your job."

Photographs are accompanied by quotes from various books, journals and poems, which add another dimension to the tale of the poor in Ireland. One that I found particularly interesting was a portion of the 1942 city council report on dwellings in one area of Limerick. "Walls of kitchen and bedroom damp...roof in bad floor 4" below lane and 4" below yard level...lime mortar floor in bad repair..." and on, and on, and on. It is hard not to stop at various photos to look into the eyes of those whose images have been captured forever and wonder... Through Irish Eyes is a fascinating look into the world of Frank McCourt's Ireland.

Quill says: Whether you're a fan of Angela's Ashes or you simply want to learn more about the Ireland of yesteryear, Through Irish Eyes is an excellent book to take you along the journey.

Book Review - Town in a Pumpkin Bash

Town in a Pumpkin Bash: A Candy Holliday Murder Mystery

By: B.B. Haywood
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0425251881
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2103

Cape Willington had little to offer once the leaf peepers went home, so Candy Holliday's father talked to Mr. Gumm and asked about the availability of his pumpkin patch, a possible money maker for Candy and Maggie Tremont. They agreed to "work the patch together," and it began to thrive. They were prepping for the Pumpkin Hollow Haunted Hayride, but were planning on meeting up with Sebastian J. Quinn early in the morning. Unexpectedly, he'd asked to rent Sapphire Vine's house. Sapphire, the Blueberry Queen, had been murdered a few years before and ever since then it seemed like she "somehow managed to continue to reach out from the grave." The place was downright haunted and why Quinn wanted to rent it was anyone's guess.

Quinn was a no-show, but everyone was in costume and excited to head out on the haunted hayride. Candy was slated to drive, but when a man named T.J. hopped on board, she tentatively decided to narrate those spooky tales and let Maggie do the driving. Of all things, he want to know about Sapphire's murder and her haunted house. Yup, Candy explained to a budinsky tourist, "her spirit looms over everything that's happened over the past few years." They wouldn't need to dwell on the past when they saw what was under a pile of pumpkins as they approached the fake tombstones.

T.J. scrambled out of the wagon when he saw a man's body eerily sprawled beneath a pile of pumpkins. Candy was immobilized with shock, but soon she realized that Sebastian had indeed showed up. "Something's not right about this, " she said to T.J. and quickly got her wits about her to preserve the scene. Chief of police, Daryl Durr, agreed with her. "It looks a lot more than suspicious, Ms. Holliday." It seemed like Sebastian wasn't the first to die there. The Woman Without a Name had died there twenty years before. There had to be a connection, but the clues would prove to be few and far between. Could she find out what that connection was and find the Pumpkin Patch Killer before he struck again?

Candy Holliday has her work cut out for her when she needs to solve a very unusual murder, as well as a mysterious disappearance. Not only does she have to find out who offed poor Sebastian J. Quinn, but once she finds out who T.J. really is, he sets her off on another direction to find a missing diary. To add to the conundrum, she also wants to find out about the identity of the woman who had been found in the pumpkin patch. This mystery was alive with intrigue, murder, conspiracy, secrets, and lies that made the reading exiting and fun. It's not the first in the series, nor hopefully the last, but definitely is a stand-alone mystery. This is a fun Maine cozy mystery with a creepy blast from the past.

Quill says: If you love a good Maine mystery loaded with old-time secrets and lies, you'll love the Candy Holliday mystery series!

Book Review - Knot What it Seams

Knot What it Seams: A Southern Quilting Mystery
By: Elizabeth Craig
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0451239617
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 19, 2013

Meadow Downey was in a serious snit over what Beatrice Coleman simply referred to as a "membership snag." There was a lull in membership and even Piper, Beatrice's daughter, didn't see fit to show up at all the meetings. Jo Paxton, who didn't see fit to deliver the mail on time, or even at the right house, was going to be the perfect recruit according to Meadow. Jo, who was probably leaving the Cut-Ups because of her less that stellar social skills, was a "quilt show judge." For all they knew, she was probably being tossed out on her sweet Southern derrière for being a pain in everyone else's. Unfortunately, it looked like the Village Quilters guild was going to be stuck with Jo.

"You might want to consider that pattern combination," Jo snidely exclaimed to Karen Taylor, "It's tacky." Dappled Hill's Patchwork Cottage was a veritable soap opera when Opal Woosley burst into tears at the mere sight of the woman. Miss Sissy was the only person on the planet who seemed to like Jo and Meadow was just going to have to eat crow. A lot of it. Beatrice couldn't resist showing up at the Patchwork to see what kind of "a mess the Village Quilters had gotten into," but also learned that Mayor Booth Grayson was planning on levying unnecessary taxes on the quilters.

Jo lambasted Grayson at the town meeting claiming, "I happen to know things about you that aren't so squeaky clean." The quilt show would go on in spite of the turmoil. Meadow was some miffed when her Looney Tunes ring tone blared during the show. Ramsey, her husband and chief of police, was calling. Jo had "driven her car right off the side of a mountain." Beatrice somehow knew she had been murdered. The mystery deepened when she went to "feel for a pulse--a pulse that wasn't there," on the neck of another quilter. Was there a serial killer on the loose? Would she be able to unravel the mystery and sew it up before the Village Quilters guild lost any more members?

Dappled Hills is alive with the sound of murder when someone starts bumping off the quilters. This is a series that really has what it takes to be a long-lasting one. Beatrice is the voice of sanity amidst a cast of crazy and quirky characters. Police Chief Downey, who adores Thoreau, is yet another voice of reason, in spite of his life of "marital bliss" with Meadow. The pacing is perfect, the characters well-rounded, and the marvelous touch of humor makes the Village Quilters group one I'll be looking forward to visiting with every now and then. Meadow claims that "Beatrice is a frustrated detective," but she's definitely one to watch out for!

Quill says: If you love a light, humorous cozy mystery sprinkled with crazy quilt characters, you'll love this series!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Review - Dance Team: Surviving Southside

Dance Team: Surviving Southside

By: Charnan Simon
Publisher: Darby Creek Publishing
Publication Date: January 2013
ISBN: 978-1467707077
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2013

Izzy Coleman was new to Southside High and was pleased that Olivia made the effort to be friends with her. They did have a lot in common, including the fact that they loved dance. Olivia urged her to try out for the dance team and because it was a new one, Izzy figured they might have a chance, even if they were lowly freshman. When she was in the Northside High School district, Leah Velasco, captain of the dance team, was her best friend. In fact, she had given her hints and nurtured her talents for years. The Northside dance team members were kind of blown away because Leah was a real star.

It was a bit touchy because when she told Leah she was trying out it kind of seemed like "all those years coaching her seemed like a waste" because she would "be on a rival squad." Leah was super nice and quickly forgot about the whole thing. Olivia and Izzy were psyched when they made the team, but soon found out that the team captain, Camilla, was the "most competitive person on the planet." She totally drove the squad and was critical of their moves. Izzy's triple pirouettes did leave a bit to be desired and she definitely needed to practice. Like a lot.

Izzy and Olivia got centered and practiced like crazy because the regionals were coming up. It would be Leah's fourth victory, but not if Camilla had anything to say about it. Camilla "was out for blood" and her attitude started to change big time. She was always intimidating, but now she wanted to push the envelope. "You know Leah," she said to Izzy, "You can help us take her out of competition." Strange and frightening incidents began to happen. Nailing to turn combinations were one thing, but actually hurting Leah was quite another. How far would the team go to hurt her and would they force Izzy into doing something crazy, something she'd regret?

This is an exciting tale of team rivalry, a rivalry that puts Izzy into a serious bind. Many young people don't quite know what to do when they encounter a moral dilemma and have to choose alliances. In Izzy's case, she has to figure out whether or not she wants to stay true to her best friend, keep the new ones she has, or do something totally against her moral fiber. The short read, which is perfect for the reluctant reader, comes with a free downloadable discussion guide that can be accessed on the publisher's website. If you have a young reader who wants a fast-paced, dramatic read, you may wish to consider checking into this series!

Quill says: If you are a classroom teacher and want the perfect series to discuss serious teen issues, this is one you may wish to consider!

Book Review - Know What It Seams

Knot What it Seams: A Southern Quilting Mystery

By: Elizabeth Craig
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: February 2013
ISBN: 978-0451239617
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 19, 2013

Meadow Downey was in a serious snit over what Beatrice Coleman simply referred to as a "membership snag." There was a lull in membership and even Piper, Beatrice's daughter, didn't see fit to show up at all the meetings. Jo Paxton, who didn't see fit to deliver the mail on time, or even at the right house, was going to be the perfect recruit according to Meadow. Jo, who was probably leaving the Cut-Ups because of her less that stellar social skills, was a "quilt show judge." For all they knew, she was probably being tossed out on her sweet Southern derrière for being a pain in everyone else's. Unfortunately, it looked like the Village Quilters guild was going to be stuck with Jo.

"You might want to consider that pattern combination," Jo snidely exclaimed to Karen Taylor, "It's tacky." Dappled Hill's Patchwork Cottage was a veritable soap opera when Opal Woosley burst into tears at the mere sight of the woman. Miss Sissy was the only person on the planet who seemed to like Jo and Meadow was just going to have to eat crow. A lot of it. Beatrice couldn't resist showing up at the Patchwork to see what kind of "a mess the Village Quilters had gotten into," but also learned that Mayor Booth Grayson was planning on levying unnecessary taxes on the quilters.

Jo lambasted Grayson at the town meeting claiming, "I happen to know things about you that aren't so squeaky clean." The quilt show would go on in spite of the turmoil. Meadow was some miffed when her Looney Tunes ring tone blared during the show. Ramsey, her husband and chief of police, was calling. Jo had "driven her car right off the side of a mountain." Beatrice somehow knew she had been murdered. The mystery deepened when she went to "feel for a pulse--a pulse that wasn't there," on the neck of another quilter. Was there a serial killer on the loose? Would she be able to unravel the mystery and sew it up before the Village Quilters guild lost any more members?

Dappled Hills is alive with the sound of murder when someone starts bumping off the quilters. This is a series that really has what it takes to be a long-lasting one. Beatrice is the voice of sanity amidst a cast of crazy and quirky characters. Police Chief Downey, who adores Thoreau, is yet another voice of reason, in spite of his life of "marital bliss" with Meadow. The pacing is perfect, the characters well-rounded, and the marvelous touch of humor makes the Village Quilters group one I'll be looking forward to visiting with every now and then. Meadow claims that "Beatrice is a frustrated detective," but she's definitely one to watch out for!

Quill says: If you love a light, humorous cozy mystery sprinkled with crazy quilt characters, you'll love this series!

Is Google+ Better for Business than Facebook or Twitter?

The New No. 2 Network is a Must for Entrepreneurs,
Says Social Media Coach

In the world of social networks, innovation can quickly change the field of frontrunners -- remember LiveJournal? 
We just saw it again as Google+ overtook Twitter to claim the No. 2 spot behind Facebook. And the new kid is already better than Mark Zuckerberg’s baby for small businesses, professional firms and entrepreneurs, says Alex Hinojosa, vice president of media operations for EMSI (
“I knew Google+ would attract a big following because it really lends itself to business uses and SEO,” says Hinojosa, who has witnessed the value of Google+ grow exponentially in the daily operations of his PR firm.
A new Global Web Index study show Google+ grew to 343 million users globally in December, or about 25 percent of global internet users. Facebook still accounts for 50 percent of the pie.
“Facebook continues to go through self-imposed changes that are seeing mixed responses from longtime users,” Hinojosa says. “The new No. 2 has much, much more to offer than simply being an alternative to the big dog.”
Hinojosa reviews the merits of Google+ as a business tool, and why he believes the social network will continue its meteoric rise:
• Power: Google+ may be the new kid when it comes to social media – it’s not even 2 years old yet -- but Google has become synonymous with anything online. The “new kid” offers something that no other social media platform can: Google power.
• Overwhelming advantage: “Google loves its newest offspring and it favors any post, article, picture and link posted on Google+,” Hinojosa says. “If you post a link on your Google+ about asthma remedies, and one of your connections is logged in to Google+ and searches for asthma remedies, your post will show up high in his Google search results.”
• In action: Let’s say you own an art gallery full of nature photos. Your website for promoting the gallery highlights “mountain photos,” “wildlife photos,” and “waterfall photos” and you’ve created matching URLs for each page, such as bobsnaturephotos. com/waterfallphotos. Now you head over to post your newest update on Google+. You post a message about the waterfall, then you add the link to your waterfall page, bobsnaturephotos. com/waterfallphotos. Now, whenever one of your connections types “waterfall photos” into a Google search, whether it’s days, weeks or months later, there you are on page 1 of the results. Your post shows up, your profile picture shows up, and your link shows up.
“Once upon a time MySpace was king, but over a period of about a year the world made a seamless transition onto Facebook, which may very well see a mass exodus of users,” Hinojosa says. “If your business or employer is not already on Google+, it’s time to make the move.”
About Alex Hinojosa
Alex Hinojosa is the Vice President of Media Operations at EMSI Public Relations, where he oversees the creative process and execution of print (traditional & online), radio, TV and social media campaigns.  He has an extensive background in radio, working as a national talk-show host and executive producer for CBS Radio, Clear Channel Media & Entertainment and ESPN in major markets.  Alex is also a (social) media coach and fill-in talk show host for Genesis Communications Florida.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Book Review - Out of Circulation: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery

Out of Circulation: A Cat in the Stacks Mystery

By: Miranda James
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 2013
ISBN: 978-0425257272
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 2013

Charlie Harris cringed every year when the Friends of Athena Public Library got together to decide where their annual gala was to be held. Diesel, his rescued Maine Coon cat, was probably more refined when he met up with an alley cat. "Vera, honey," crooned Miss Dickce, how is your poor brother doing these days? Is he comfortable down at Whitfield?" Naturally a question like that set Vera off like a firecracker because Whitfield was the local nut house and brother Armory was "crazy as a betsy bug." They were trading more barbs than were on a fish hook, but once they quit sticking it to each other, it was decided that the gala would be held at Miss An'gel and Dickce Ducote's antebellum mansion, River Hill.

Charlie knew the decision had already been made when he had his invitation in hand before the meeting closed. Vera Cassity was a force to be reckoned with and she'd be sure to exact her revenge. "How come you let that trash in this house?" Azalea Berry, Charlie's housekeeper, was incensed. It seemed that polite society had gone on vacation, least ways for the evening. Granted, Vera had grown up on the wrong side of the tracks, but why did even sweet Azalea detest her? Even Charlie wasn't going to be immune to Vera's wrath when she came to see him and Diesel in the library archives. Well, maybe Charlie because she didn't much like Diesel.

Vera threatened to get Charlie fired because he wouldn't let her examine the Ducote archival papers. Miss An'gel later prophetically declared, "Vera is headed for trouble, the kind of trouble she may never survive." When the gala rolled around, Charlie picked up Helen Louise, who was also feeling the sting of Vera's wrath. Azalea and Vera were at each other's throats again: "... pure evil. The Lord gonna strike you down one day for all your lies, and I'm gonna be there to sing his praises." Unfortunately for Azalea, she just might be singing behind bars because Sheriff Gerald Tidwell thought she helped push poor Vera down those little 'ole antebellum stairs!

Charlie Harris and Diesel really have their work cut out for them at River Hill. This fun and fabulous mystery was not only humorous, but fairly complicated. I couldn't help picture Carol Burnett and her curtain rod dress taking a tumble down the stairs as Vera was dressed as Miss Scarlett O'Hara. There were many intriguing elements in this cozy mystery including those mysterious archives, a journal, and hidden animosity that made it scintillating and a tad silly. This is Charlie's fourth encounter with a dead body and when Kanesha Berry yells, "I'm going to need your help. My idiot boss thinks Mama killed Vera Cassity," I knew it was going to be one of the best yet. And it sure was!

Quill says: This is one cozy mystery that will really be "in circulation" for a long, long time because it's sizzling hot, Southern style!

Book Review - Too Small for My Big Bed

Too Small for My Big Bed: Sleep Tight in Your Own Bed Tonight!

By: Amber Stewart
Illustrated by: Layn Marlow
Publisher: Barron's Educational Series
Publication Date: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0764165870
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: February 18, 2013

It was time for bed and Mommy Tiger came to kiss her son Piper before he fell asleep. But Piper was afraid; afraid of the dark, of the scary things that might be hiding and well, just afraid of the dark. Would he be able to sleep alone in his bed?

If you wake up during the night, “try counting to more than ten,” Mommy told Piper. And that is just what Piper did. He counted to ten, and then to “10 and a bit…” and then to “10 and a bit more…” but it just wasn’t enough! He wanted his mommy so into her bed he crawled. Once safely in Mom’s bed, the little tiger easily fell back to sleep.

The next day, Piper pounced and jumped through the Grasslands, confident and happy. “All by myself!” he exclaimed. But when night came, Piper did NOT want to be by himself. Would he ever be able to sleep alone in his bed?

This is a charming tale of a lovable little tiger who is afraid to be by himself in the dark, and of a mother’s love and patience as she guides him to overcome his fears. There’s a happy ending that wonderfully shows the love of both mother and child, and the illustrations, bright and happy, wonderfully compliment the tale. Whether you have a reluctant sleeper or one who simply likes to cuddle and listen to a nice bedtime story, Too Small for My Big Bed is just the right size!

Quill says: A sweet tale about a mother’s love and a child’s ability to overcome the fear of sleeping alone.

Book Review - Princesses on the Run

Princesses on the Run

By: Smiljana Coh
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Publication Date: May 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7624-4612-4
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: February 18, 2013

Poor Princess Antonia; whatever will she do? Life is just sooooo boring. She has all the clothes, toys, and newest gadgets a young princess could possible want and yet, she’s bored. Whatever will she do?

Antonia’s parents realize just how dull life must be for their daughter so they buy her more things, including a pet elephant. And yet, it’s still not enough to dig the young lady out of her doldrums. And then it happened! Antonia ran away from home.

Antonia ran and ran and then ran right into her friend Rapunzel. Rapunzel, who had been trapped in her tower for ages, loved the idea of escaping and followed Antonia. And they ran and ran until they ran right into Cinderella. Soon, a group of princesses was following Antonia, and soon after that, a band of forest animals joined in the fun. It was the best day of young Antonia’s life. What could be better?

Princesses on the Run is a lighthearted story about a group of princesses on a slightly zany romp in the great outdoors. Youngsters will see how much fun they too can have while playing outside. The illustrations are bright, with a strong hint of pink throughout, and combine fabric and textured artwork with a bit of digital landscape magic to produce a kingdom full of wonder and fun. If you have a young princess in your household, you might want to consider this tale for a bedtime story. A sweet book that teaches children that material things do not lead to happiness and that friends and playing outside are good for both the body and soul.

Quill says: Put down that remote control and follow the princesses on the run – you’re sure to run into some fun too!

Book Review - Ring Around the Rosy

Ring Around the Rosy

By: Jackie Fullerton
Publisher: Thomas House Publishing
Publication Date: December 2012
ISBN: 978-0-9843815-2-4
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: February 16, 2013

Anne Marshall and her fiancé, Jason Perry, are snow-birding to Florida in Jackie Fullerton’s third book of the Anne Marshall amateur sleuth series. The couple is looking forward to a Midwestern winter break, some warm tropical breezes and a quiet Thanksgiving holiday with Jason’s parents, Fred and Nancy Perry. What neither of them knew was quiet would be the furthest thing awaiting their arrival.

Fred Perry set out on his usual morning jaunt with his dog, Flash, a nine-year-old Dalmatian mix. Both creatures of habit, they could do the route blind—to the end of the block, past the tennis courts, left at the clubhouse… As they approached the clubhouse, Fred was having a tough time controlling Flash. He went nuts over those mini-geckos everywhere. No matter how many times Flash tried to catch one of them, he was never going to realize they would always outrun and outwit him. Flash practically pulled Fred off his feet to get to the hibiscus bush as he honed in on one particular spot. Grabbing a stick, Fred poked at the bushes. When he saw a leg sticking out from under the low hanging branch, his first reaction was to think some wisecrack kids had put it there as a prank. Upon closer inspection, he could see that leg wasn’t fake. Confused, he spread the bushes a little further apart and could see the body was wearing a woman’s dress. When he saw her face and realized it belonged to his wife’s best friend, Maude Allen, he let out an audible gasp.

In another part of town, Carl Martin sat on the edge of his bed trying to calm his shaking hands. He couldn’t erase the memory of them around that lady’s neck and how hard they squeezed the life out of her. It didn’t matter because Jeremiah was his friend. He was Carl’s only friend after losing his wife Emilee and their newborn daughter. That was another lifetime ago. The fact is nobody understood or cared more for Carl after his loss than Jeremiah. Carl snapped out of it and convinced himself there was no sense dwelling on that lady anymore. There was more work to be done and they were just getting started. He and Jeremiah couldn’t leave for Montana until all their work was done…

Jackie Fullerton accomplishes setting the plot within the first dozen or so pages, but accelerates too rapidly by incorporating too many twists and turns along with character introduction. In fairness to Ms. Fullerton, I have not read the first two books in the Anne Marshall amateur sleuth series and perhaps this is why I struggled a bit getting up to speed with the story. On more than one occasion I had to go back and refresh who was who and what was what before continuing forward. Overall, it was a book that was a bit too busy and character top heavy. I also found in Ring Around the Rosy, that there were periodic breaks in the flow when Ms. Fullerton would redirect the reader and take him or her back in time in order to connect the past with the present (i.e., she went too far back in the first victim’s family tree in order to tie everything together before the story would move forward again). However, I will give Ms. Fullerton credit in that she knows how to keep the anticipation alive for the reader.

Quill Says: Pay attention because there’s a lot more going on than a pocket full of posies in Ring Around the Rosy.