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Mama Says, Money Doesn't Grow on Trees ~ Spotlight

Dr. Iris Mack's financial literacy book 
Mama Says Money Doesn't Grow on Trees!'' 
is focused on teaching students that math can be fun 
and key to understanding money and interest.

Book Details:

Book Title: Mama says, ''Money Doesn't Grow on Trees!''

Author: Iris Marie Mack, PhD, EMBA

Category: Middle-Grade Non-fiction, 48 pages

Genre: Financial and Math Literacy

Publisher: CreateSpace

Release date: January 14, 2011

Content Rating: G

Tour dates: April 17 - 28, 2017

Book Description:

Globe Newswire reports that Dr. Iris Mack's mathematics edutainment book is "turning heads across the country in a response similar to the widely promoted 'Hooked on Phonics,' that improved children's reading skills." Her unique approach to math became one of Xlibris/Random House Publisher's top children's picture book royalty earners.

If there is one word that sums up our recent economic woes, it is interest. There’s interest on credit card balances, student loans, car loans, home mortgages, corporate borrowings and most prominently, on state and national debt. But there is surprisingly little interest in this interest. We all pay it. But not many of us really understand how it works. Dr. Iris Mack has filled the gap – and for young consumers.

Her financial literacy book Mama Says, "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees!'' is focused on teaching students that math can be fun and key to understanding money and interest. In today’s world of subprime mortgage crises, bankruptcies, massive credit card debt and predatory lending, Dr. Mack's book is more relevant than ever. In Mama Says, "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees!" a group of smart, animated characters explain how money and interest work, as young consumers are introduced to mathematics and financial literacy. Professor Ø, Ms. Madonna Sorenson and Dr. Mackamatix lead students Al G Bro, Frakshun, Nada, Queen% and Material Girl Ma$ through a fun-filled math class all about how money and interest work in their everyday lives.

Learn more: MathQED TV

Praise for this book:
“I think the work you do showing how math can be beautiful and practical is great, keep it up!” says Javier Tordable, Senior Software Engineer at the Google Corporation.

“Making math fun and relevant is a real public service. Old fashioned, boring textbooks aren't the thing that will capture the imagination and engage our children in the fun and yes, joy, in math and problem solving. Iris Mack has created a group of characters and scenarios that will draw young people into the fold of knowledge.” says Karen Pritzker– Producer of The My Hero Project and Editor of The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity website.

Buy the Book: Amazon 

Meet the Author:

​Iris Marie Mack, PhD, EMBA, earned a doctorate in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University. She was also awarded a Sloan Fellowship Executive MBA from the London Business School. Dr. Mack worked at various energy and financial institutions, acted as a faculty member at MIT, and worked at NASA and AT&T Bell Labs – where she obtained a patent for research on optical fibers.
Dr. Mack currently lectures on Energy Trading and Risk Management for the Fitch Learning Certificate in Quantitative Finance Program on Wall Street and at Tulane University. Because of Dr. Mack's extensive knowledge of the derivatives, energy trading, and investment banking world, she has been invited to write opinion columns for the UK edition of the International Business Times.

Dr. Mack has also been named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 Working Women, and she is no novice writer. This publishing will be her third financially-focused and published book – including her energy trading book published with Wiley Finance and a financial literacy book for teens and adults. With this breadth of experience and sheer intellectual prowess, Dr. Mack is more than able to help readers reach the financial stability they deserve.

In addition, Dr. Mack founded The Global Energy Post and MathQED - a homework help site for K-12 and college students. Previously known as Phat Math, this service has even been named one of the Top 50 Social Sites for Educators and Academics, 25 Savvy Social Media Sites for Grad Students and 25 Useful Networking Sites for Grad Students. Such accolades illustrate Dr. Mack’s ability to clearly inform the masses.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


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More Than a Soldier ~ Spotlight with Giveaway

More Than a Soldier 
~ based on a true story ~
is Angelo DiMarco’s powerful story of survival, 
resilience and courage.

Book Details:

Book Title: More Than a Soldier: One Army Ranger's Daring Escape From the Nazis

Author: D.M. Annechino

Category: Adult Fiction, 316 pages

Genre: Historical Biography, WWII

Publisher: CreateSpace

Release date: April 2017

Content Rating: PG-13 (A few four-letter words and violence associated with war)

Tour dates: April 24 to May 19, 2017

Book Description:

Feeling a patriotic duty to defend his country after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, seventeen year old, Angelo J. DiMarco, enlists in the U.S. Army. Severely short of frontline fighters, the Army rushes Angelo through Ranger training and sends him to Italy as part of the 1st Ranger Battalion. Their objective: stop the German invasion.

Fighting on the front lines in Italy, the German’s teach Angelo a sobering lesson on life when they capture him during the bloody battle of Cisterna. Against insurmountable odds, Angelo miraculously escapes in a way that stretches the imagination. He survives behind enemy lines for over five months, hiding from the Germans and trying to outmaneuver them. He begs for food, sleeps in barns and suffers from many ailments, including dehydration, malnutrition, malaria and exposure to the elements.

More Than a Soldier is Angelo DiMarco’s powerful story of survival, resilience and courage.

Buy the Book: 


Praise for More Than a Soldier:

Annechino colorfully draws the actions scenes, and richly brings the supporting cast of characters to life. A moving tale of survival in war-torn Europe.
- Kirkus Reviews

Nuanced and eloquently written, More Than a Soldier adds to the body of WWII literature an extraordinary story of survival and a deeply affecting portrait of a soldier’s coming-of-age.
- The iRead Review

Meet the Author:

Daniel M. Annechino, a former book editor, wrote his first book, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, while working as a General Manager in the automobile business. But his passion had always been fiction, particularly thrillers. He spent two years researching serial killers before finally penning his gripping and memorable debut novel They Never Die Quietly. He has written and published five novels—all thrillers. But his latest work, More Than a Soldier, is a Historical Biography set in Italy during WWII.

A native of New York, Annechino now lives in San Diego with his wife, Jennifer. He loves to cook, enjoys a glass of vintage wine, and spends lots of leisure time on the warm beaches of Southern California.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


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You'll Think of Me ~ Review

You'll Think of Me
By Robin Lee Hatcher

Brooklyn Myers left Thunder Creek, Idaho, behind forever when she was 17 years old. But soon after leaving everything from her life behind, her husband of a few months abandons her when he learns they are soon to have a baby.  Chad's abandonment is nothing Brooklyn shouldn't have expected - after all her mother left her and her father has wanted nothing to do with her her entire life. But Chad's abandonment was especially harsh as he was leaving not only her but their baby behind.

Eleven years have passed since Chad Hallston and Brooklyn Myers have eloped, leaving Thunder Creek and the Hallston property behind. The Hallston property is just what Derek Johnson hopes to soon add to his own land - expanding his organic farming business. After all, Chad promised him the opportunity to buy the land as soon as he had saved up the down payment. Derek is close to his goal when he receives word that his best friend has died, leaving his family home and property to his abandoned wife and the daughter he never met. In an instant Derek's plans for the future are frustrated and once again Brooklyn has come between him and something he valued. But he has been given a final request from Chad - to be the father to Alycia that he refused to be.

Moving back to her childhood hometown is the last thing Brooklyn wants, but this may be her only chance to give her daughter Alycia any type of life that is better than the paycheck-to-paycheck existence that she has had. And Brooklyn is no longer the frightened, abused girl she was when she left home. She's got a plan to make a life that is beyond what she ever dreamed was possible.

But moving back home means that Brooklyn must also face the father who convinced her that she was worthless. And facing the pain of the past is the only way she can truly move forward in her life. As Brooklyn creates a place for both her and Alycia, she finds a place where she might truly and finally belong. And Derek may learn that sometimes God's plans for us are not what our plans are. And sometimes learning to wait is the best thing in the world when there is someone special to think of at the other end.

This is a book that focuses on the absence of a father figure in the life of children (especially girls) - the absence can be physical or emotional.  A powerful message is wrapped up in these pages, one that will make the reader stop and think about those around them who are in a similar situation. This is a book that entertains while making the reader stop and think. I highly recommend this book.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Thomas Nelson through BookLook with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Her mother abandoned her, her father disowned her, and her husband left her. Can Brooklyn be convinced that it is possible to forgive the greatest of betrayals?

Brooklyn Myers escaped her broken home and her embittered, unloving father by eloping to Reno at the age of 17. But when she was pregnant with their first child, her husband abandoned her as well. Not welcome back home in Thunder Creek, Brooklyn stayed in Reno and raised her daughter Alycia on her own, doing her best to make sure Alycia never knew the heartache and rejection Brooklyn herself had known.

When her estranged husband Chad Hallston dies, he leaves the family home in Thunder Creek to his daughter. Believing it is the best way to give her daughter a stable home, Brooklyn does what she thought she would never do. She goes home to the orchard and wine country of Southwest Idaho. There, she encounters Chad’s best friend, Derek Johnson, a part time sheriff's deputy who also owns an organic produce farm next door. Derek was never a fan of former bad girl Brooklyn Myers, but he made a promise to his dying friend that he would be the father to Alycia that Chad had never been.

Although Derek and Brooklyn get off to a bumpy start, he and Alycia quickly form a bond. And soon, Derek realizes that he wants Brooklyn to trust him too . . . even knowing that her trust won’t come easily. And then he realizes he wants even more than her trust. He wants to win her love.

While Brooklyn may be tempted to give her heart to Derek, risking her daughter’s happiness is another story. Will Brooklyn hold onto her self-reliance for dear life, or will she come to understand that the greatest gift she can give her daughter is showing her how to love and trust others?


Beyond Justice ~ Review

Beyond Justice
By Cara Putman

Hayden McCarthy is all about doing her job and doing it well. She doesn't have time for a personal life at the moment as her focus has to be her job if she's to make partner at Elliott and Johnson and be the youngest to do so. When Hayden is given a case that could make or break her career she determines to bring this case before a judge and win justice for her client - the mother of a young man murdered while in US custody.

This case doesn't fit any particular mold making it a challenge. Add to that her client's obvious reluctance and fear and Hayden knows more is at stake than she first imagined. And time is short as the evidence trail will soon vanish if she doesn't act. But someone seems intent on ending her case and anyone connected to it is in danger.

But who is trying to end this case? Is it someone in the US government or someone with far-reaching power who is pulling strings he should never have had access to?

Thanks to her roommate Emily, Hayden has another distraction in her life - Emily seems intent on playing matchmaker between Hayden and her cousin Andrew Wesley.  And Emily seems purposefully oblivious to the fact that Andrew and Hayden aren't keen on her attempts. But when Hayden's case seemingly has links to Andrew's work this case and their non-relationship are about take an unexpected twist.

Looking for a legal thriller to read Beyond Justice is worth giving a try.  This was my first time reading any of Cara Putman's work and it was well worth the time spent perusing the pages.  Fans of Randy Singer and Robert Whitlow will enjoy Cara Putman's work and attention to details.  I personally look forward to reading more of this author's work in the future.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher through BookLook with no expectations of a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:

Hayden McCarthy is on track to become the youngest partner in her prestigious D.C. law firm . . . if the case she's just been handed doesn't destroy her first.
Hayden McCarthy knows firsthand the pain when justice is not served. It's why she became an attorney and why she's so driven in her career. When she's assigned a wrongful death case against the government, she isn't sure if it's the lucky break she needs to secure a partnership—or an attempt to make sure she never gets there.
Further complicating matters is Andrew, her roommate’s distractingly attractive cousin. But Andrew’s father is a Congressman, and Hayden's currently taking on the government. Could the timing be any worse?
The longer she keeps the case active, the higher the stakes become. Unknown enemies seem determined to kill the case—or her. Logic and self-preservation would indicate she should close the case. But how can she, when justice is still just beyond her reach?
"Cara Putman's expert legal mind shines in Beyond Justice as she weaves a gripping, suspenseful tale of intrigue that takes on one of the hardest issues of our time. Hayden McCarthy is one feisty heroine that doesn't let anything get between her and the truth." —Jordyn Redwood, author of the Bloodline Trilogy and Fractured Memory


The Domino Effect ~ Review

The Domino Effect
By Davis Bunn

Esther Larson is the top risk analyst at her bank, which also happens to be one of the largest within the US. Her job is, officially, to warn the investment powers that be of any foreseeable risks before investments are made. Unofficially she's supposed to find high-risk investments with big quick returns and not mention the potential downside.

But when a series of banking investments start pointing to a potential financial disaster Esther has to come out of the shell she's constructed around her life. To truly help prevent this looming and imminent threat she'll need to let someone into her life - someone who can help her get the word out before it is too late.

The Domino Effect takes the reader into the high risk world of speculative investing where everything is one trade away from bringing down not only a bank or a nation but the world's financial infrastructure. This is a world most are unfamiliar with so this is an enlightening reading experience even as the suspense builds with each flip of the page.

This was my latest up all night reading choice which may or may not be a good thing if you plan on getting a good night's sleep in. This is an excellent book if you are looking for suspense with a twist. Even as Esther attempts to prevent the disaster she sees coming someone is determined to stop her - silencing her voice permanently before she can reveal their darkest secrets.


An Uncommon Protector ~ Review

An Uncommon Protector
A Lone Star Hero's Love Story #2
By Shelley Shepard Gray

Laurel Tracey has inherited her family's ranch and she is carrying the burden alone. But several 100 acres would be daunting to manage even if she were a man with no other problems. But she's dealing with squatters, 2 useless, opinionated step-siblings, unwanted marriage proposals, purchase offers, and normal day-to-day upkeep. All Laurel wants to do is run her family's ranch, carrying on the dream she shared with her late parents and brother.

When the opportunity to acquire the services of a convict for one year presents itself Laurel is desperate enough to do so. But is this truly the wisest choice - after all the man was in jail? This decision is about to make her the fodder of the newest Sweetwater gossip, but Laurel needs the help if she hopes to keep her ranch and make it in any way profitable.

But just who is Sergeant Thomas Baker?

Thomas has once again made a decision that has cost him. He never claimed to be a good man, just a man who tried to do the right thing when it mattered. And gambling wasn't one of his finest moments and the debts he accrued landed him in jail. When presented with an opportunity to work off the rest of his sentence by working for one year, Thomas accepts. But the job that he agreed to is about to because much harder when someone starts targeting Laurel's cattle. Can Thomas keep the woman needs him safe? Or will they both become the next targets of whoever wants Laurel gone?

If it becomes more than he can handle on his own will Thomas reach out to the men who were there for him during his imprisonment on Johnson's Island? And if he does will they keep the promise they made to one another? And will they get to Thomas's side in time to save Laurel and her ranch?

This book flashes back to 1865 and Thomas's time on Johnson's Island in Ohio as a Confederate prisoner of war. The present story is set in 1867 Texas and surprising covers just a few days time. (I personally thought the romance moved a little too quick.) There is a whole lot of story packed in between these covers. Fans of post-Civil War historical romance fiction will enjoy this book.

This is the second book in A Lone Star Hero's Love Story series and I have not read the first book. But that didn't keep me from easily following this book from the opening page. I'm interested in reading about the others that Thomas served with.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher through the Fiction Guild with no expectation of a positive review. All expressed opinions are my own.

About the Book:
Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch 
on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict—
a man who’s just scary enough to take care of squatters 
and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post.

The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two hundred acre ranch as best she can.

When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail. If she agrees to offer him room and board for one year, he will have to work for her to pay off his debt.

Former soldier Thomas Baker knows he’s in trouble when he finds himself jailed because he couldn’t pay a few fines. Laurel’s offer might be his only ticket out. Though she’s everything he ever dreamed of in a woman—sweet and tender-hearted, yet strong—he’s determined to remain detached, work hard on her behalf, and count the days until he’s free again.

But when cattle start dying and Laurel’s life is threatened, Thomas realizes more than just his freedom is on the line. Laurel needs someone to believe in her and protect her property. And it isn’t long before Laurel realizes that Thomas Baker is far more than just a former soldier. He’s a trustworthy hero, and he needs more than just his freedom—he needs her love and care too.

The Dog Who Was There ~ Review

The Dog Who Was There
By Ron Marasco

This is an Easter book unlike any I have ever read. This is an emotionally moving book that follows the journey of a small dog by the name of Barley. Barley's life takes several dramatic turns throughout the story. There are flashes showing Barley's early life and how he came to be where he calls home when the book opens. The book is set in Israel on the outskirts of Jerusalem during the final days of Jesus life.

The book is told entirely through Barley's perspective. And due to an unforeseen happening Barley finds himself in Jerusalem at the same time as the Teacher that everyone is speaking of. Barley observes the brutality of a land under Roman rule as well as unexpected pockets of kindness. And he observes the transforming power of the Teacher, the triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, and the cruelty of the Crucifixion.

The loyalty, the love Barley displays is touching even to the point of moving the reader to a tear or two. These two emotions are the catalysts that propel the story to its conclusion - a conclusion that will leave the reader satisfied and rejoicing in the transforming power of Messiah's message. This cover perfectly depicts this book.

I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher through the Fiction Guild with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
No one expected Barley to have an encounter with the Messiah. He was homeless, hungry, and struggling to survive in first century Jerusalem. Most surprisingly, he was a dog. But through Barley’s eyes, the story of a teacher from Galilee comes alive in a way we’ve never experienced before.

Barley’s story begins in the home of a compassionate woodcarver and his wife who find Barley as an abandoned, nearly-drowned pup. Tales of a special teacher from Galilee are reaching their tiny village, but when life suddenly changes again for Barley, he carries the lessons of forgiveness and love out of the woodcarver’s home and through the dangerous roads of Roman occupied Judea.

On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Barley meets a homeless man and petty criminal named Samid. Together, Barley and his unlikely new master experience fresh struggles and new revelations. Soon Barley is swept up into the current of history, culminating in an unforgettable encounter with the truest master of all as he bears witness to the greatest story ever told.