Monthly Archives: October 2015

Review of The Dead Game by Susanne Leist

The Dead Game by Susanne Leist

Book 1 in Series

Can you feel your heart beating? Is it beating too fast? Do you feel trapped? This is because you are. You’re standing in a pool of water, in the basement of End House, wearing your party clothes. But there is no party, no host and no guests. The door behind you locks shut. The only way is forward, through the falling cages with their sharp edges, ready to ensnare their next victim. Circular saws begin to descend, looking for heads to slice off.

Meanwhile, Linda is upstairs with the rest of her friends being pursued by creatures through revolving rooms. Or are they illusions? What should she do?


The owner of End House takes no prisoners.

The Dead Game has begun.

My Review: 3 Stars

The Dead Game is a horror/paranormal story about a sleepy Florida town named Oasis. In Oasis, a deadly force of vampire activity overwhelms the tourists and younger inhabitants of the town.

Linda is one of the newer inhabitants….along with a handful of her friends. They soon learn there are treacherous secrets in Oasis….secrets that threaten their lives. After attending a party at End House, the scariest house in town, the secrets begin to unravel piece by piece. Linda and her friends find themselves in the midst of a dangerous plot; a plot schemed by wayward vampires.

The Dead Game started out very strong. There were many captivating scenes and quite a bit of interesting imagery. However, from the middle of the book onward, character development was somewhat lacking, which left the book a bit short on reader interest. The plot needed a touch more explanation and organization to add depth to the story as well.

Overall, it was intriguing as the book had some new, interesting twists on the “vampire scene”, but because of the concerns stated above, I had to rate this book a bit lower than I normally would have.

If you enjoy vampires and new twists on vampirism, you would probably enjoy reading this book.

~Spotlight: The Conspiracy of Silence by Augustine Sam~


The Conspiracy Of Silence by Augustine Sam

The conscience of a town steeped in sexism, vanity and hypocrisy is pricked by the brutal murder of a mysterious woman in a park in Los Angeles. But the shock is transformed into a steamy, seductive scandal when the body turns out to be that of Susan Whitaker, the flamboyant wife of the governor of California.
Soon, a dazzlingly intricate shuffle of volatile links leads the police to the delicate theory of secret lover/blackmailer, and to the indictment of Benjamin Carlton, Hollywood’s most influential black celebrity.
Then curious things begin to happen when Carlton’s ambitious girlfriend, Rita Spencer suddenly unearths the shocking secret that Susan Whitaker did not, in fact, exist. She little realizes however that her discovery of this colossal fraud is a mere curtain raiser to a chilling world of ugly skeletons dating back to the assassination of a U.S. senator in a Washington hotel sauna, skeletons connected to riveting sex scandals in high places, skeletons the FBI and political kingmakers will kill for…

1.  What prompted you to write your book?
My passion for storytelling obviously. I grew up in a town steeped in tradition and storytelling and from a very young age I was enthralled by folktales. When I was a kid I used to spend the evenings listening to stories from older folks, some of which were historical sagas that really fascinated me. But I think what prompted me to start writing in general was my first literature textbook in school, which, coincidentally, was a novel set in the port city where I grew up. It was the story of a weird, one-eyed man who spent his days and nights at the harbor contriving different kinds of mischief that captivated the local population. I had seen him at the harbor a few times when I was a kid, so reading about him in the literature textbook triggered my fascination with storytelling and gave me a whole new insight into how the written word can actually capture reality.

2.  What genre do you enjoy writing the most and why?
I love poetry a lot; it galvanizes me and humbles me at the same time. But as far creative writing goes, I enjoy writing thrillers the most. It’s a gritty, rousing, and fast-paced genre that helps the author simulate the reader’s moods by providing the sudden rush of excitement and exhilaration that eventually drive the narrative. What makes it enjoyable for me is that the thriller genre, by its nature, does not only spawn surprise but a high level of anticipation and ultra-heightened expectation as well.

3.  What celebrity would you like to meet and why?
No one particularly if by celebrity we are limited to movie stars and musicians. But I wouldn’t mind running into Umberto Eco (author of “The Name of the Rose”) for a chat about literature.

4.  What would you like your readers to know about you?
There isn’t much to know really, just what my bio says about me. Specifically though, I’d want readers to pay attention, not only to the story, but to the style as well because that, sometimes, makes a difference in literature.

5.  Favorites:  food, color, place, activity?
My favorite food is an Italian dish called Spaghetti alla Carbonara. My favorite color is black and my favorite place is Norway. I have more than one favorite activity, the main ones, of course, are writing and travelling, mainly to marvel at ancient architecture.

6.  If you could give me one piece of advice about life, what would it be?
It’d be an Oscar Wilde quote: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Where you can find Augustine:

Author’s website:



Google Plus:


Book Trailer:

Where you can find The Conspiracy  of Silence:


Barnes & Noble:

Delicious Pumpkin Seeds

After the fun of carving pumpkins, what do you do with all of those seeds? Wait!  Don’t throw them out! Here is a very simple yet delicious recipe for baking them! This recipe is so easy to make that it’s almost a crime to throw those seeds away! (Can you tell that I love them?)


What you need:
Pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. salt
seasoned salt to taste
Pam spray

First, separate the seeds from the pumpkin fruit. After you have separated them, place them in a bowl and cover them with water. Then add approximately 1/2 c. salt and stir it into the soaking seeds.

Allow the seeds to soak for 24-48 hours. I like to soak them for 48 hours because the seeds are softer and not so tough when cooked.

After soaking, simply pour the water out and spray a baking sheet with Pam spray. Spread the pumpkin seeds out on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with seasoned salt.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. When preheated, pop the pumpkin seeds in the oven for 3-4 minutes. Take them out and turn them with a spatula. Pop them back into the over for another 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and lightly sprinkle another layer of seasoned salt over the seeds. Voila! You now have a delicious, healthy snack in minutes!

Kids love to make these seeds. Create a family tradition each year after carving your pumpkins! It’s a great, inexpensive way to connect with your children and grandchildren!

Spotlight : Naked Tao by Robert Grant

Naked Tao by Robert Grant

Grant Li is a young Louisville attorney who is on top of the world, but his life is about to change.  Following his greatest courtroom victory for Pathogen, a pharmaceutical giant, Grant discovers his client is hiding an amazing medicine from the world.  Not only does it cure everything, it produces optimal health.  Even more astounding, his client has developed a bio-weapon and intends to use it against innocent people.  Grant sets out to stop them at all costs and along the way has a chance meeting with a lost love, Ginny Bardough.

Ginny left Louisville for college and didn’t look back until ten years later. She is forced to return in order to land bestselling author, Padma Ganesha, as the keynote speaker for her company-sponsored conference, “Ideas to Change the World”.  On the trip back home she runs into Grant at a wild party and the sparks begin to fly over their completely different views about love and sex.  Their problems grow when Grant is accused of a murder and Ginny disappears.
Where is Ginny?  Will Grant avoid prison?  Can Pathogen be stopped?  Will Grant and Ginny overcome their relationship issues enough to build the amazing life they both hunger for?

Interview with Robert:

1.  What prompted you to write your book?

As long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer.  Like many young people who are called to a creative life, I had to contend with well-meaning friends and family members who discouraged it.  While I have spent most of my career as a successful attorney, I never forgot my
dream.  In the meantime, I pursued many other interests and was fortunate enough to have some amazing adventures.  One of those interests was martial arts.  I spent many years studying and teaching Chinese Internal Martial Arts.  Before his death, I promised my teacher
I would someday write that book I always wanted to write and began to develop a story idea that pitted a young lawyer/martial artist against a powerful pharmaceutical company in a conflict over a miracle cure.  The hero wants to ensure the cure is freely available to everyone, but powerful enemies want to suppress it.

2.  Do your life philosophies coincide with the philosophies of your book?

Yes, my book provides a platform to discuss Taoist ideas about a well-lived life.  Taoism is the philosophical underpinning of Chinese Internal Martial Arts.  In a nutshell, it suggests strategies that help people live an authentic life and to minimize the harmful effects of well-meaning, but counterproductive advice from others.

3.  What genre of books do you like to read and why?

Over the years, my reading preferences have spanned many genres of books, but these days I read more thrillers than anything.    A good thriller builds suspense by revealing both the hero’s flaws and the overwhelming odds against her.  The stakes are high and she must overcome her flaws to succeed.  Becoming a better person in the face of what seems to be insurmountable challenges is what makes a person a hero.  I enjoy rooting for her.

4.  What are your hobbies and interests?

My wife and I love the outdoors, so we spend as much time as possible filling our senses with nature.  We are avid backpackers, motorcyclists, and kayakers.

5.  What would you like your readers to know about you?

I’m just a regular guy who likes to live large, so things don’t stay on my bucket list very long.  I’ll choose an adventure any day over a material possession.

6.  Favorites:  food, color, place, activity?

As long as I can remember I have loved the color red.  When I was a kid, my mother would have to chase me down on laundry day to get her hands on my favorite red shirt.  It never seemed to matter to me that I had been wearing it for days and it was filthy.

I love spinach and would eat it every meal if my wife didn’t revolt.

The woods are my favorite place. The instant I step on the trail anything weighing me down just falls away.  It is the best medicine I know of.

My favorite activity is story telling.  There’s nothing like a well-told story to bring us together.

7.  If you could give one piece of advice about life, what would it be?

I find the more I tend to my own life and allow others to tend to theirs, the happier we are.

Where you can find Robert:

Review of Catnip 3: Revolution by J. S. Frankel

catnip 3-second photo (1)

My rating:  4 stars!

Catnip 3:   Revolution is the third book in a series.  The story is a fantasy adventure about genetic engineering gone wrong!  Anastasia and Harry, two genetically engineered subjects, find themselves in the midst of a political controversy involving wayward scientists and unethical doctors who have decided to use their knowledge in hideous ways in an attempt to bring glory to themselves.  It is up to Anastasia and Harry to put an end to the madness:  an undertaking which involves mystery, death and mayhem!

Catnip 3:  Revolution is a very interesting story.  The plot is well conceived and the characters are very well developed.  Although it is a fantasy, the book is well constructed and the reader soon gets swept away by the story line.

If you enjoy fantasy, intrigue, a touch of romance and mystery, this book is for you!  It captivates the imagination and whets the imaginative juices of the reader!

Interview with J.S. Frankel:

1.  What made you decide to start writing?
I don’t know, really. I got into writing very late, in my late forties. My older son was around thirteen at the time and he mentioned a cartoon he’d seen on television, something about walking trees, and that night I had a dream and eventually that became The Tower, my first novel. It isn’t my best work, but it is my first, and that got me started.
2. How did you become interested in writing your genre(s)?
I’ve always been interested in science fiction and fantasy, ever since I was small. It has continued to this day and I like it because I can let my mind wander and dream up possibilities. Let the fantastic rule the day! That’s what I try to do in every novel, start out with the mundane and then toss in the fantastic.
3. What are your favorite books to read and why?
I read a variety of novels, mainly sci-fi and fantasy, but also historical and biographical. They all give me insights into the human condition.
4.  What are your favorites?  (food, colors, activities, places)
Okay, for food, give me pizza and pasta, and sushi! I live in Japan and I love sushi as long as it’s fresh.
Colors–anything dark. I don’t go in for brightness.
Activities? If I have any free time from writing and work (I’m an ESL teacher) I watch movies or play baseballl with my sons.
Places–I love Guam and would like to go back there for a visit if my finances improve. I just got back from a brief visit with my family to Kochi Prefecture. (We live in Osaka). We explored the castle, the beach, and saw a number of interesting sights. It was a short trip, but it was fun.
5.  What is one thing you want your readers to remember about you?
Ha, will they remember me? I hope so! All right, if they’re going to remember me for anything, perhaps it will be for the positive tone I bring to my novels. Yes, there’s action and blood and death. Yes, there is loss…but in the end I always manage to add in a note of hope. Hope is all we’ve got. If we give that up, we have nothing.
6.  If you could give me one piece of advice, what would it be?
If you’re a writer, start and don’t stop. As a person, be true to yourself, your loved ones, give each day everything you’ve got. At the end of the day, go to bed satisfied that you’ve done your best.
You can find Catnip 3:  Revolution here:


Connect with J.S. here:


Twitter:  @JessSFrankel