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Book Titles & Summaries

100 Strange Mysteries of World
 
100 Strangest Mysteries is an amazing compendium of the weird and the wonderful. The range of entries is extraordinary, from the bizarre to the horrific, and from the spooky to the just plain confounding. The book includes some of history’s most astounding tales of the strange and the supernatural, and tells in vivid detail the story of the events as well as the people involved, the impact of particular myths and beliefs and the latest investigations into the world’s most baffling phenomena. From Loch Ness to Big Foot, spontaneous combustion to Roswell, each entry is supported by a wealth of photographic evidence and fascinating illustrations. A compelling account of classic unexplained phenomena, 100 Strangest Mysteries is guaranteed to shock and amaze in equal measure.
 

Biker: Inside the Notorious World of an Outlaw Motorcycle Gang
 
You'll never meet the bikers in this book or visit the mythical rust belt city of Springfield. But through the eyes of Ned "Crash" Aiken, you will experience the real world of the outlaw biker gang-a world shaped by desperation, casual brutality and fascinating rites of passage. Biker follows the career trajectory of "Crash" from his days as a small-time high school drug dealer to his rapid rise through the ranks of a biker gang that is rapidly and brutally expanding its territory and criminal connections.
Aiken's story relates how an outlaw biker sees his gang from the inside. It is an experience shaped by seamy and ruthless characters waging a neverending battle to establish their supremacy. From drug running and gun sales, to prostitution and allegiances forged by violence, this is a struggle played out within biker gangs the world over. And as the reader discovers in this intense docudrama, this is not the romantic freewheeling beer-fest version of the Hells Angels, but a sleazy existence that draws social outcasts like moths to a flame.
 

Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief
 
Praised by Newsweek as -a compelling read- and Library Journal as -accessible and down-to-earth,- Dale McGowan-s Parenting Beyond Belief offered freethinking parents everywhere a compassionate introduction to raising caring, ethical children without religious guidance. Now, for the more than 40 million people in the United States who identify themselves as nonreligious, Raising Freethinkers offers solutions to the unique challenges secular parents face and provides specific answers to common questions, as well as over 100 activities for both parents and their children. This book covers every important topic nonreligious parents need to know to help their children with their own moral and intellectual development, including advice on religious-extended-family issues, death and life, secular celebrations, wondering and questioning, and more. Complete with reviews of books, DVDs, curricula, educational toys, and online resources relevant to each chapter topic, Raising Freethinkers helps parents raise their children with confidence.
 

The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College
 
The Naked Roommate is the #1 bestselling college life guide, and Harlan Cohen is the top voice on college life. Through his speaking engagements, college tour, music, and website, he has reached thousands of students with his message of relaxing, being yourself, and making the most of the college years.
With calendars, planners, and The Naked Roommate being used as the first year experience guide at colleges across the country, The Naked Roommate is the top name in college life advice.
 

Dog Training For Dummies
 
That innocent face. Those sad, puppy-dog eyes. Let’s face it: puppies can make anyone’s heart melt. But without proper training, they can make even the most doting doggie moms and dads’ blood pressure soar. So before your new puppy has you jumping through hoops, stop and ask yourself, “Just who is the trainer here?”
Dog Training for Dummies, 2nd Edition, shows you how to select the right training method for your puppy or adult dog, based on his unique personality, to reach your desired goals. Whether you want to teach Spike to sit, or want to help Rover master retrieving, this book gives training for you and your dog—to ensure a mutually respectful relationship with your four-legged family member.
 

Dog Diet Guide
 
This free Dog Diet Guide will help you select the right food for your dog. It will discuss the importance of what you feed your dog and how the wrong things can affect the health of your dog. Everything is spelled out clearly with easy to understand tips and recommendations.
 

How To Draw Things In Nature
 
The easy steps in this book emphasize careful observation of animals and plants in nature. The elements of light and shade, contour lines, and composition come together to achieve an accurate depiction of the artist's world. With practice, students will successfully capture the things they observe around them.
 

The History of Art: The Essential Guide to Painting Through the Ages
 
This work takes a fascinating and thought-provoking look at the major movements in the history of Western painting. It provides information about the topic ranging from the glories of High Renaissance Italy through the Romantics and Impressionists to the radical Abstract Expressionists. It contains a beautiful and colourful illustrated summary of painting's greatest works.
 

Good Home Cooking: Make it, Don't Buy It! Real Food at Home
 
Tired of eating bland, ready-made meals and packaged and processed food? Let Good Home Cooking be the answer to your prayers. You'll learn how to make tasty, healthy food, and discover that what you make is not only better-tasting than anything you can buy, it's cheaper, too! Good food shouldn't be a luxury; it's a right, and this book will show you how to make simple, inexpensive recipes that ensure you eat well every day of the week. From light snacks to hearty main courses and home baking, you will find out how a cleverly stocked store-cupboard and some simple recipes mean tasty family meals, whatever your budget. Here you can create everything from light bites and tasty treats to hearty main courses, while learning just how easy it is to prepare food from fresh ingredients with fantastic results every time.
 

Botany Illustrated: Introduction to Plants, Major Groups, Flowering Plant Families
 
This easy-to-use book helps you acquire a wealth of fascinating information about plants. There are 130 pages with text, each facing 130 pages of beautiful illustrations. Each page is a separate subject. Included is a coloring guide for the realistic illustrations. The illustration pages are composed of scientifically accurate line drawings with the true sizes of the plants indicated. Using colored pencils and the authors' instructions, you can color the various plant structures to stand out in vivid clarity. Your knowledge of plants increases rapidly as you color the illustrations.
 

The Wolf King
 
"The Wolf King" is a good read but a little disappointing. It is more plot-driven than character-driven as compared with "The Silver Wolf" and "Night of the Wolf." I was hoping that Maeniel would have a more prominent role because he's one of the main characters; he almost just faded away near the end. Like the previous books, this one has loose ends -- a lot of situations by many minor characters are left unresolved. Hopefully, there's gonna be a 4th in the series.
Anyway, the story is exciting -- though it could do with a lot more interaction between Maeniel and Regeane. This book's also very light on the sex scenes..
And hey, what's with the title? Who is the Wolf King? Maeniel didn't really seem like a king here; he's more like Charlemagne's minion.
 

The Silver Wolf
 
I read this book before I realized that Alice was Anne Rice's sister. Therefore, I developed a much less biased opinion than I might have. I think The Silver Wolf's style shares a lot in common with Rice's vampire novels, but this only became obvious to me after I made the connection. However, there's enough difference between these two authors that I think the constant comparisons going on are really unfair to them both. The Silver Wolf explores the werewolf legend from a fresh angle. There is no hint of any compulsive murdering on the part of the werewolves, or bloodlust for human flesh. Indeed, they are portrayed as more human and humane than anyone else in the plot. The imagery is rich and takes on the quality of a dream from time to time. The romantic subplot between Regeanne and Maniel (werewolf main characters)is convincing but I felt that it came too late and was hastily explored.
Overall, this was one of my favorite werewolf novels. The criticisms I've heard about it, such as the plot dragging in the first half and being a bit fragmented, are true enough in my opinion, which is why I rated only four stars.
 

The Devil's Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers
 
I spent 33 years at Lehman. As a VP and only a foot soldier, I witnessed from a distance much of what transpired at Lehman. I saw Dick, Chris, Joe, et al. "grow up" in the business. I saw and heard much of the yelling and screaming and phone tossing and banging on the desks over the years. Until, we became more civilized as we got down to the business of "one firm" and making money. While reading The Devil's Casino I enjoyed being able to match the faces to most if not all of the characters. I am in no position to pass judgment on anyone, nevertheless it does not diminish my disappointment in the actions by many of those I knew so well.
I'd like to share two anecdotes about Chris Pettit. In one of his town hall meetings he said to the sales and trading team, and I'm paraphrasing, Come in each day write a few tickets, make some money and if your not being productive at 4:30 pm go home to your family get a good nights rest and come in the next morning ready to do it again. Don't rush out an by the Ferrari and the home in the Hamptons just yet. Another and more personal anecdote occured during the 1987 stock market crash. As horrible as Oct 19, Black Monday, was for me, Tueday Oct 20, 1987 was horrific.
 

Dracula's Guest
 
Even had Bram Stoker not penned the fabulously successful Dracula, efforts such as the stories in this book would more than qualify him as a gifted, masterful writer, with a special penchant for writing horror. The most prominent story in these pages is of course "Dracula's Guest," a story excised from the final manuscript of Dracula. This is an interesting, well-told tale, but its exclusion from the aforementioned novel seems to me to be rather inconsequential. The real jewel of this collection is "The Judge's House." I have read this story several times over the last decade or so, and I must say that this is my favorite horror story of all time. It somewhat chagrins me to make such a pronouncement, thinking of the masterful tales of Lovecraft, Poe, and King, yet I am compelled to make it. The ending may be somewhat cliched , but the dark, brooding, smothering atmosphere Stoker creates in this house is powerful and brilliant. The Judge's House may well be the most haunted house in literature.
 

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
 
I adore Eat, Pray, Love for a variety of reasons. This book however, is not Eat, Pray, Love. Thankfully, it doesn't pretend to be. My advice: don't read "Committed" if you are hoping to lose yourself in a compelling story, because you might get bored. Read it if you are interested in learning about marriage - what it is and what it is not, why it sometimes works and why it sometimes doesn't - and are prepared to examine your own assumptions about this beautiful yet fraught concept.
Some readers may not consider this work an adequate sequel to EPL for stylistic reasons - the storyline is simpler, the tone more somber, and the laughs rarer. But I'm not one of them. For me (and I can only speak for myself), EPL was a pleasure to read because it helped me learn more about myself and my relationship to relationships, which is precisely what "Committed" succeeds at doing. What could be more useful than a book that celebrates not only marriage, but the self inquiry and interpersonal work required to sustain one? For that matter, what could be more romantic?
 

Silence of the Grave: A Reyjavik Murder Mystery
 
A corpse is found on a hill in the outskirts of Reykjavik. It looks like it has already been there for a long time, but the excavation goes terribly slow because a team of archaeologists is carrying out the work. In the meantime inspector Erlendur and his colleagues try to get a picture of what happened 50 to 70 years ago. Slowly but surely they find out the awful truth. In between the story line of the investigation, there is another storyline about a family consisting of a father, mother, 2 brothers and a handicapped sister. It soon becomes apparent that something horrible happened in the family and this is written down so vividly that I had to put down the book a few times because it nearly became too much. An in the meantime Erlendur's drugs-addicted daughter Eva Lind is in a coma and he finally finds the courage to tell her what he feels for her. In short, this is a wonderful, sensitive thriller with a lot of psychological insight, well-developed storylines and beautiful descriptions of the various characters.
 

The Desert Spear
 
The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett belongs to a special class of literature: a novel classified in a very specific genre that will also strongly appeal to readers outside of the fantasy realm. Brett's story is seamlessly told from various POVs, grips the reader with piercing imagery from page 1 and holds them throughout.
Brett creates a realistic world of darkness and demons that is populated by complex characters, many of whom we met in Brett's debut novel, The Warded Man. It is nice to get reacquainted with these old friends, and follow them throughout their newest journeys. The Desert Spear is also largely the story of Jardir, a Krasian man who believes he is The Deliverer and is focused on spreading that belief while attempting to save mankind. The Desert Spear provides us with a historical perspective on this self-proclaimed prophet and the moral code he follows, giving deep insight into who Jardir is at the core and the rationale for decisions he makes. Brett also displays his gift for development of multidimensional characters with the introduction of Inevera - a tough, clever, control-oriented woman who is introduced vividly. The scenes between her and Jardir are some of my favorites, constructed with some of the same fire and passion as the action scenes where Jardir and Arlen fight demons. Brett is excellent at showing the strengths and weaknesses of his characters, and at letting the reader decide whether they love them, or love to hate them.
 

Infamous
 
Set in 1933, Atkins's winning fourth history-based novel focuses on two figures who, as the author explains in an introduction, have been undeservedly lost in the shuffle of Depression-era gangsters: George Kelly, who ironically gets saddled with the nickname Machine Gun, and his wife, Kathryn. The fast-moving narrative spans a three-month period, starting with a fatal ambush in a parking lot outside Kansas City's Union Station in which hoods gun down several lawmen and the prisoner they were about to drive to Leavenworth. This massacre leads to the FBI obtaining the authority to make arrests and carry weapons. The bulk of the action concerns the Kellys' kidnapping of Charles Urschel, a wealthy Oklahoma oilman, and its aftermath. Atkins (Devil's Garden) brings to vivid life the henpecked George and the bloodthirsty Kathryn as he convincingly conjures up a past era. Not just for crime fans, this should appeal to a wide readership.
 

The Mage in Black
 
Former assassin, Sabina Kane has decided to travel to New York to meet her long lost twin at the Hekate Council. And being a vampire/mage hybrid, she can begin a more thorough training of her magical abilities. But after a couple attempts on her life, it seems that someone within the haven of mages wants Sabina out of the way. Meanwhile, her demon familiar decides to join a fight club, where the last rule is `no mercy.'
Sabina is a strong, kick-butt female, who doesn't easily trust people after the betrayal of her grandmother. Her sister and demon familiar are more light-hearted and upbeat characters that have a great contrasting affect on Sabina. They bring out a different side of her. Sabina also grows in her magical abilities, and is put to the test in several ways. And along the way, we learn that she has a mysterious destiny involving the unity of all the dark races.
 

The Keys to the Kingdom
 
Garth Nix, the New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed novels Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen, as well as the Seventh Tower and Keys to the Kingdom series, has had a long and varied career in the publishing world. After receiving his degree in professional writing from the University of Canberra, he started working in the publishing industry, steadily moving from the positions of sales rep to publicist. In 1991 he became a senior editor with a major multinational publisher. After a period in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, he left publishing in 1993 to work as a marketing communications consultant, but came back in 1999 to become a part-time literary agent. Garth Nix currently lives in Sydney with his family and lots of books.
 

Build My World
 
A new job. A new life. A new love. Casey Russo needs a change. Her husband is gone and building a new life for herself seems like the only thing to do. She never expects to wind up on a whirlwind tour with the world's hottest pop group, Quintessential. When a romance with singer Michael Brooks heats up, Casey learns that she can't run from her past and secrets never stay secret.
 

Save Me
 
Out of Control...
There was nothing exciting about Crossdale, North Carolina. For Hannah Doherty, that was a good thing. After twenty-one years of unpredictability, sadness and disappointment, she needed boring. A serious illness kept her close to home, and she believed that's where she would live and die -- alone in that small town.
Max Fitzgerald was living a dream as a member of the hottest "boyband" in the history of the world. He had it all, including a hole in his heart that he couldn't fill with fame, fortune, women and parties.
When Max finds himself stranded in Crossdale, it's the beginning of an adventure that neither he or Hannah are prepared for.
Can true love grow from a one night stand between strangers? And will it be enough to save them form the forces that threaten to tear them apart?
The Quintessential Series Continues...
 

I Am No One You Know: Stories
 
I Am No One You Know contains nineteen startling stories that bear witness to the remarkably varied lives of Americans of our time. In "Fire," a troubled young wife discovers a rare, radiant happiness in an adulterous relationship. In "Curly Red," a girl makes a decision to reveal a family secret, and changes her life irrevocably. In "The Girl with the Blackened Eye," selected for The Best American Mystery Stories 2001, a girl pushed to an even greater extreme of courage and desperation manages to survive her abduction by a serial killer. And in "Three Girls," two adventuresome NYU undergraduates seal their secret love by following, and protecting, Marilyn Monroe in disguise at Strand Used Books on a snowy evening in 1956.
 

Mr. Darcy Vampyre
 
Mr. Darcy, Vampyre starts where Pride and Prejudice ends and introduces a dark family curse so perfectly that the result is a delightfully thrilling, spine-chilling, breathtaking read. A dark, poignant and visionary continuation of Austen's beloved story, this tale is full of danger, darkness and immortal love.
 

Flawless
 
A former medical detective for the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Nate McCormick had seen enough suffering to last a lifetime. Now he’s left the CDC, determined to begin a new life with his girlfriend in San Francisco…until the vicious murder of a biotech researcher—an old friend—hurtles him back into the medical world he’d left behind. While the police hunt for a killer, Nate starts sifting through evidence, determined to find what his friend did to provoke his brutal death. And the truth he ultimately discovers far exceeds the very worst he had imagined.
 

The Living
 
Listening to Lawrence Luckinbill read Annie Dillard's historical novel The Living takes a little getting used to. The very first sentence reveals a pronounced and distracting lisp, but don't let that dissuade you from continuing. Luckinbill's voice also exhibits a simple honesty, a gruffness that is perfectly suited to the steely pioneer spirit of Dillard's story. Surprisingly quickly, the vocal idiosyncrasy fades away, leaving only the emotional resonance of Luckenbill's obviously heartfelt connection to this powerful tale.
 

The Lost Symbol
 
This is Dan Brown’s new novel, the eagerly awaited follow-up to his #1 international phenomenon, The Da Vinci Code, which was the bestselling hardcover adult novel of all time, just published on September 15, 2009. The Lost Symbol will once again feature Dan Brown’s unforgettable protagonist, Robert Langdon. “The Lost Symbol is a brilliant and compelling thriller. Dan Brown’s prodigious talent for storytelling, infused with history, codes and intrigue, is on full display in this new book. This is one of the most anticipated publications in recent history, and it was well worth the wait,” said Sonny Mehta, Chairman and Editor in Chief of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Brown’s longtime editor, Jason Kaufman, Vice President and Executive Editor at Doubleday said, “Nothing ever is as it first appears in a Dan Brown novel. This book’s narrative takes place in a twelve-hour period, and from the first page, Dan’s readers will feel the thrill of discovery as they follow Robert Langdon through a masterful and unexpected new landscape. The Lost Symbol is full of surprises.”
 
 
 

 

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