Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Line Between by Tosca Lee

Title: The Line Between
Author: Tosca Lee
  • File Size: 7456 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books; Reprint edition (January 29, 2019)
  • Publication Date: January 29, 2019
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English

When Wynter Roth finally escapes from New Earth, a self-contained doomsday cult on the American prairie, she emerges into a world poised on the brink of madness as a mysterious outbreak of rapid early onset dementia spreads across the nation.

As Wynter struggles to start over in a world she’s been taught to regard as evil, she finds herself face-to-face with the apocalypse she’s feared all her life—until the night her sister shows up at her doorstep with a set of medical samples. That night, Wynter learns there’s something far more sinister at play: that the prophet they once idolized has been toying with the fate of mankind, and that these samples are key to understanding the disease.

Now, as the power grid fails and the nation descends into chaos, Wynter must find a way to get the samples to a lab in Colorado. Uncertain who to trust, she takes up with former military man Chase Miller, who has his own reasons for wanting to get close to the samples in her possession, and to Wynter, herself.

Filled with action, conspiracy, romance, and questions of whom—and what—to believe, The Line Between is a high-octane story of survival and love in a world on the brink of madness, from “the queen of psychological twists” (New York Times bestselling author Steena Holmes).

My  Thoughts

I picked this book up on Halloween and started it and then did something I seldom do - I put down this pandemic apocalypse read. The only explanation is I was already bothered with the costumes of the day and character Magnus Theisen was creeping me out. 

I did eventually pick the book back up and thought I would share that this book 
is a compelling read and works well with the “flashbacks”.  

Wynter, along with her sister Jaclyn fled their alcoholic abusive father and enter the doomsday cult, New Earth, with their Mother. 

Growing up with a new family for 15 years, Wynter finds herself isolated and oppressed.  She’s been sheltered inside the Enclave ( cult’s compound) and is seeking something more.

Mangus, a former scientific researcher, is bringing on chaos and destruction to prove his prophecies are true. 
Wynter is aware. She's expelled from New Earth, back to the larger world where there is a disease with rapid onset of dementia and death. It's surging throughout the United States.

Months after Wynter has been banished, Jaclyn shows up with samples that could save all and Wynter must get them to Colorado, and with a handsome Chase by her side, this book drifts into a romatic  thriller.

I received this book from Publicists, Mickey Mikkelson with Creative Edge Publicity 

About the Author

Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of eleven novels including A SINGLE LIGHT, THE LINE BETWEEN, THE PROGENY, THE LEGEND OF SHEBA, ISCARIOT, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker. Her work has been translated into seventeen languages and been optioned for TV and film. A notorious night-owl, she loves movies, playing football with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband.

You can find Tosca on social media or hanging around the snack table. To learn more, please visit

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Dead Man Dreaming by Uday Mukerji

Title: Dead Man Dreaming
Author: Uday Mukerji 
Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Adelaide Books (October 12, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1951214463
ISBN-13: 978-1951214463

Dead Man Dreaming is a literary fiction about one man's fight against hereditary genetic diseases – from losing his girlfriend to finding love again – and how he overcomes his fear and frustrations and comes to terms with his own Huntington's disease.

The confirmation of HD brings the senior resident physician, David’s life to a halt. His three-year-old relationship with his girlfriend, Chloe, also comes to an end. But instead of resigning to his sorry state, he dreams of finding a solution to prevent all hereditary genetic diseases. With his high school friend, Jessie, he starts an awareness campaign for Carrier Screening Tests for all before becoming a parent. The movement brings an overwhelming response, but not without condemnations. And through all that, David finds new love and new hope in life again.

It’s the journey of a desperate man with a death sentence hanging over his head that makes this book inspiring and riveting.

My Thoughts

Uday Mukerji introduces us to David and we learn through this book, written like an autobiography, what it means to be faced with a genetic disease. 

If a parent has a dominant genetic disease, then that person's child has a 50% chance of inheriting the disease.

When David was only 12 years old his dad passed away with Huntington's Disease. HD causes a progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain causing a person's physical and mental deterioration.  As such, David's memories of his dad were watching him through a window either bound by his wheelchair or to his bed

David and his girlfriend Chloe both practice medicine. David learns he too is HD positive. Soon after, he dumps Chloe and turns down his dream job of becoming a Heart Surgeon. He decides, instead, to focus his attention on building a barrier for passing diseases onto the next generation. 

In pops an old classmate, Jessie, and her son, Lukas, who has hemophilia.  And through this book, we see the courage it takes to face a hereditary disease and learn that life is about living in the moment.

I received this thought-provoking novel through the generosity of the author, Uday Mukerji, for an honest review.

About the Author

Uday Mukerji was born in India and had worked as a creative director in advertising agencies in Singapore for nearly twenty years. However, in 2009, he left his job to pursue a career in writing. His first literary fiction, a 2017 Readers’ Favorite Award Winner, Love, Life, and Logic was published by Harvard Square Editions, NY in November 2016.  

Friday, December 13, 2019

Chats with God in Underwear by Eduardo Chapunoff

Title: Chats with God in Underwear
Author: Eduardo Chapunoff
Paperback: 154 pages
Publisher: Independently published (April 4, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1090979983
ISBN-13: 978-1090979988

God decides to visit the Earth disguised as a regular man and holds (among other terrestrial activities) inquisitive dialogues with religious personalities (catholic priest, evangelist pastor, agnostic philosopher, Buddhist and Islam representatives).

 The conversations deal with life conflicts, happiness and faith and explores religious questions. He selected a psychologist who will be his "close friend" and will share wit him a number of experiences, some of them displaying humorous situations. Some chapters deal with God taming a horse, another doing aerial acrobatics, visiting a gym where he picks up 500 Kg weight with no difficulty whatsoever and nobody ever knows that they are dealing with the Supreme. 

In another chapter he plays Chopin impromptu as a virtuoso and also attends an Argentine Night Club where he dances a tango as a foremost expert. After leaving the Restaurant Club He and his friends are assaulted by a band of criminal. Again, his identity remains secret except for the man (a psychologist) who shares all of these experiences with Him. 

The last two chapters deal with an unprecedented conversation between God and his friend and they explore questions of deep spiritual issues and values and the last chapter describes his departure which takes place with an intense emotional farewell. Eduardo Chapunoff

My Thoughts

When I was younger, I was drawn to Eric Bazilian's songwriting. And, in Chats with God in Underwear, we're taken on a journey of God disguising himself as an ordinary man to learn more about human perception in life and spiritual issues.

Johna psychologist, is the chosen one. He rushes to meet God (Rogelio) who survived the storm and John gives God a colorful gift of underwear.

I enjoyed how the book is set up much like the Bible where we are introduced to who begat whom. From there, reader's witness many examples of symbolism throughout the book.

John's life is fraught with uncertainty. John's wife is a nymphomaniac who tries to seduce God and one of John's sons is in failing health due to Leukemia. 

God arranges to meet an agnostic, Buddhist, evangelist, Islamic scholar, priest, and a rabbi at John's playground. While the scents of the olive family vines surround them, they consume empanadas and participate in a debate. 

We witness God in a variety of dauntless circumstances. This undoubtedly helps us recognize how many times it is we rationalize things and affords us the opportunity to acknowledge the existence of miracles

Chats with God in Underwear is a catchy title with prose which is both eye-catching and stimulating. Undeniably, reality, many times exceeds our imagination and defies our logic and that is often where we rely on faith.

This book was made available to me through the generosity of the Author Eduardo Chapunoff

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Kidnapped on Safari by Peter Riva

Title Kidnapped on Safari
Author Peter Riva
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse (January 21, 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1510749004
  • ISBN-13: 978-1510749009

Expert safari guide Mbuno and wildlife television producer Pero Baltazar are filming on Lake Rudolf in Northern Kenya, East Africa, when they receive news that Mbuno’s son, himself an expert guide, has been kidnapped while on a safari five hundred miles away in Tanzania. After gathering the clues and resources needed to trek through the wilderness, they trace the kidnappers back to an illegal logging operation clear-cutting national park forests, manned by sinister Boko Haram mercenaries. There, they find not only Mbuno's son but also a shocking revelation that has terrifying and far-reaching consequences.

Relying on Mbuno’s legendary bush skills, the pair must overcome the danger both from inside and outside the camp to bring Mbuno’s son out alive. In doing so, Mbuno and Pero discover that kidnapping and deforestation are only the beginning of the terrorist group's aspirations, and they realize a threat that would herald an even more dangerous outcome for Tanzania—a coup. A rescue might just risk the entire stability of the region.

Exciting and expertly plotted using facts ripped from news’ headlines, Kidnapped on Safari is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller set in deepest, darkest, Machiavellian, East Africa.

My Thoughts

People select a book for a variety of reasons, mine being, I was aware Peter Riva's done documentaries and soon learned this book was the third book in the Mbuno/Pero series.

What I love most about this read is the Riva gives us a map and uses his gift of prose to recreate a situation. 

This is is an impressive thriller! I'm transported to a mysterious place that feels authentic and I lose myself in the scene and language.

A group including protagonist Mbuno and Pero are along the shore of Lake Rudolf in northern Kenya on a filming project involving spearfishing and I soon learn Mbuno's adopted son/nephew, Ube, who is a guide, disappears while on Safari in a wildlife park in Tanzania.

Mbuno and Pero improvise and create a search and rescue mission which is a feat in itself.  

found my heart pounding in anticipation of their quest and appreciate how they use digital images to figure out why Ube was kidnapped.

Their mission was not without troubles. And, in an area filled with wildlife and known for hunting, we learn of honor.

I received this advance reading copy from FSB Associates. 

About the Author Peter Riva 

Saturday, December 7, 2019

My Review Process

I've read and reviewed over 50 books this year and wanted to mention a little about how I go about my process of reviewing for those that are new to Lori's Book Loft.

I receive multiple book requests daily so if I agree on a book it is placed on a list to read and review.  And, yes, I do receive a lot of electronic books but I also still receive copies through the mail too.

When I've selected a book, graphic novel or comic it is typically a straight read for me and the only distraction is for another cup of coffee, tea, or an occasional call. 

I do keep notes and highlight points that speak to me and then when I'm finished I start typing my review because I want everything to be fresh.

To those who come here to read reviews. I typically like to think of things I find interesting. This is generally personable and might not be to everyone's liking but I don't struggle with the thought of writing something that is different, as my writing is sincere. 

After I've posted the review on my blog I  then share my content with some other networking sites. 

Thank you for stopping by my blog, and if you are searching for the perfect gift for the Holiday, please consider a book, graphic novel, or comic. 

Friday, December 6, 2019

American Barbecue Sauces by Greg Mrvich

Title: American Barbecue Sauces: Marinades, Rubs, and More from the South and Beyond
Author: Greg Mrvich 
ISBN-13: 9781641529501
Publisher: Callisto Media
Publication date: 11/26/2019
Pages: 130
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)


Kick up your cookout—barbecue sauces, marinades, and more from across the country

Every barbecue master knows—the secret’s in the sauce. American Barbecue Sauces is packed with savory recipes for bastes, glazes, mops, wet and dry rubs, marinades, condiments—and of course, sauces—from all over the United States. Fire up the grill!

From Central Texas to Chicago, and Memphis to the Southwest and beyond, get to know America’s barbecue belt with these explosively flavorful sauces and seasonings. Complete with classic favorites, creative concoctions, and a list of online resources that offer even more mouthwatering recipes, this book has everything you need to take your taste buds on a delicious road trip across the country.

This saucy book includes: Barbecue basics—Discover details about American barbecue, including the big four BBQ regions, the five mother sauces, lesser-known BBQ styles, and more. Marinades, mops, and more—Explore other ways to heat up your barbecue game, with recipes like Cowboy Coffee Beef Rub, Basic Poultry Brine, and Old-Fashioned Glaze. Essential equipment—Convenient lists for stocking your kitchen include pantry items, necessary tools like basting brushes, and nice-to-haves like disposable gloves.
Make your cookout really cook with tasty barbecue sauce recipes from the heart of America. Let’s get cooking!

My Thoughts

I have to admit that this book rocks when it comes to appetizing images of ingredients.  

The book starts off with an outline of where you can find the basics,  a list of dry rubs and seasonings, wet rubs and marinades, bastes, mops and glazes, sauces, condiments and finally base barbecue recipes.

What I like best about this read besides the recipes is that it tells you what sauce goes well with which cut of meat and provides a flavor profile.

While most of the country is aware of tomato-based sauces, if I were to open my fridge a Sticky Spiced Apple Glaze,  would be able to be readily made and the recipe provided explains to allow the sauce to come to room temperature before using it again. 

When dining out,  we often eat our Barbecue dry with the sauce on the side. More often than not we have a Memphis style Barbecue sauce but when there's been a selection of sauces available, I tend to gravitate to a  mustard-based sauce which is probably why page 62 with the image of Carolina  Gold sauce made my mouth water. 

Over the years, I've read many recipes for barbecue sauces but I don't recall coming across the Alabama White Sauce until now.  I like the idea of a  mayonnaise-based sauce so I will definitely try out this recipe.

So, what's the most popular sauce in our neck of the woods, you ask. I'd have to say it's likely the Apple Butter Barbecue sauce. 

I received this delectable read from Callisto Media.

About the Author

GREG MRVICH is the author of Sous Vide Barbecue: Delicious Recipes and Precision Techniques That Guarantee Smoky, Fall-Off-the-Bone BBQ Every Time and the host of Ballistic BBQ, a YouTube channel with over 275,000 subscribers and 42 million views. He lives with his wife and son in San Diego.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Author Spotlight Carew Papritz

Carew Papritz, also known as The Cowboy Philosopher, is the author of the multi-award-winning book The Legacy Letters. Though fictional, The Legacy Letters has won acclaim as a life lessons book for all generations, gaining the distinction of being the only book in publishing history to win awards in both fiction and non-fiction categories.  Carew kindly agreed to an interview.

Carew, can you give us a glimpse into your first year of life?

The first day of my life was lived in Yosemite National Park.  To be born in Yosemite Valley, the land of John Muir, and in the shadow of Half Dome and El Capitan—what a great beginning.   Why Yosemite?  My dad was a backcountry ranger, and my mom, a teacher. I was delivered in the small rock house that served as the doctor’s clinic for the Park and spent the first year of my life in a tent cabin.  

Breathing in the glacier-infused mountain air from the Sierras and the lush grass of Tuolumne meadows, I would spend hours at time playing in my crib outside the cabin or swaddled up in my mother’s arms, gazing up at the Lodgepole pines and Cedar trees.  My Yosemite DNA was the wellspring for my tremendous love of the outdoors that would be integral to every adventure I would seek for the rest of my life.

Tell us a little about your stint on an American children's television series. Please explain the thought process that brought you to write a book that afforded you a national writing award at the young age of 12.

My debut television appearance was as a guest “Romper-rite” on the national children television series, “Romper Room.” As a kindergartner, I was fascinated with the magic mirror, loved the reading time segment, and couldn’t wait for the daily riding of the stick pony!  Oh, for the simple pleasure of being a kid . . .   I asked my mom if I could be on Romper Room, and she said okay—as if it was the most natural thing for a mom to do.  In kid time, it seemed like forever to get on the show.  And to this day, I have no clue how my mom pulled it off.

Next thing I knew I was on Romper Room!  I have three very distinct memories of my time on there.  

To my delight, the riding of the stick pony came first.  I remember the glee I felt riding around in circles on that wild mustang of a stick as if in some wild west cowboy race.  The fun was making my horse go as fast as it could which meant bumping the other horses out of the way.  That’s what five-year old cowboy did back then . . .
Then came the magic mirror moment.  I vividly recall the exact second the teacher brought out the magic mirror from her desk, waving it in a circle until the alchemy of TV made the middle of the mirror disappear.  Sitting right next to the teacher, I so wanted to watch the magic before my eyes. She started moving the mirror as the TV camera moved in closer.  Here it was . . .  the moment I had been waiting for!  Then she stuck the magic mirror back into her desk and pulled out a mirror frame with nothing in the middle.  I was both crushed and fascinated at the same time.  Crushed by the discovery that it wasn’t magic.  Fascinated how adults could so easily claim it was magic.

My last memory was during the reading time.  The teacher read “Rich Mouse, Poor Mouse.”  I couldn’t understand why Poor Mouse couldn’t be like Rich Mouse.  I raised my hand to ask the fated question:  “Why?”  “Why what?” replied my teacher.  “Why couldn’t Poor Mouse be like Rich Mouse?”  “Because he wasn’t the Rich Mouse.”  A perfect adult reply meant to immediately quell all curiosity . . .  It was at that exact moment my political consciousness was born.

Romper Room was strangely a metaphorical template of my life-to-be.  Working as a cowboy, writing books, working on feature films, and of course, questioning the world as I did in The Legacy Letters. 

Please explain the thought process that brought you to write a book that afforded you a national writing award at the young age of 12.

What I wrote at the age of 12 was an essay for Sister Cities International.  The submission was on “What influences have other countries had on the culture of the United States.”  With my family having moved to England for a year and my attending the local public school, I was familiar with the story of the Earl of Sandwich and how his contribution to the lunch world changed the way we ate in the U.S.  I can’t remember the other English contributions in my essay but was overjoyed that it won first place.  I received five hundred dollars and a trip to the Sister International conference in New York, where I was given my prize and certificate.  
Little did I know how much that writing award would set the stage for my writings later in life.

While being a freelance journalist, how did you choose to select and handle assignments? 

The beauty of being freelance means you get to choose what you want to write.  When I was seventeen, I was fascinated with how war affected people and chose to travel to Lebanon to write about it.  My curiosity about the human condition was what motivated me to write.  Again, I think this was all a prelude to my writing The Legacy Letters.  You choose to write your passion and that passion inspires others to read and react.

What possessed you to do a signing on top of a still-active volcano?

As you already know, I love being outdoors.  I also love signing books.  The overall premise of The Legacy Letters is living life to the fullest.  I wanted a way to “walk the talk” of my book, be outdoors, and sign books.  Thus, was born the “First-Ever Book Signings.”  The first “first-ever” was a book signing I did on horseback at Barnes & Noble bookstore in Tucson, Arizona.  I rode up to the front of the store and not only signed books from the back of my horse, Boots, I also did another first-ever book signing where I electronically signed my name to the online version of The Legacy Letters.  (Boots was also the horse I got married on—but that’s another fun story!)  We had a great crowd for the event and the video of it is a hoot.

The first-ever book signing on a volcano was on top of Mt. St. Helens.  I had witnessed the explosion of Mt. St. Helens when I was a teenage kid out rock climbing.  It was a phenomenal sight.  And here I was, all these years later, signing copies of my book on the crater’s rim.  I even did a live radio show with one of the major radio stations while still on top of the crater.  (Maybe that’s another first?)  You can hear the interview and see the video of the signing here.

Part of the experience is also “paying it forward” for charities.  I’m a big believer in community service and for every “first-ever” book signing there is a charity for which the proceeds from the signing go to.

I’ve had so much fun doing these first-ever book signings.  Here’s a partial list of some of them:

First-ever Modern-Day Whistle Stop Book Tour.  (Signed books onboard Amtrak while traveling through 13 different cities on the East Coast.  Started in Orlando and ended at Niagara Falls.   
First-ever Book Signing on a Glacier (With Princess Cruises in Juneau, Alaska)
First-ever Book Signing while Stomping Grapes  (In Seattle Washington)
First-ever Book Signing in Cuba (Post Castro!)
First-ever Drone-Delivered Book (We did it before Amazon!)

The Legacy Letters is written lyrically. In expressing your emotions, what are you striving to get across to readers? 

When you write a wisdom-giving book that wisdom better be worth reading.  It better be told in a way that is fresh and fascinating otherwise your wisdom-giving quickly becomes wisdom-garbage.  

Only after being neck deep in the thickets of my writing The Legacy Letters did I realize what a wisdom-giving problem I created for myself and consequently had to solve. Every word, sentence, paragraph had to work their magic.  I wanted the reader to crave every single line in The Legacy Letters and make them want to read it again.  And every letter had to be believable, beautiful, moving, and most importantly, timeless. 

When you look at any great painting, it contains time. When you figure out how to weave time throughout your work, you’ve really begun to learn about timelessness, which is for any artist one of the holy grails of creating.  With the writing of The Legacy Letters, I began to deeply understand how difficult it was to create timelessness with words and how wondrous it was when I could achieve it.

Which authors are your favorites and what are you reading now?
When you ask a writer what their favorite authors or books are, you’ve really opened up a Pandora’s box.  I’ve read many interviews where the author only talks about one or two books that are their favorites.  I want to give your readers a smorgasbord of my favorites and not in any particular order.

Bartlett's Book of Quotations & The Rand McNally World Atlas (Quotations and Countries—you can’t lose)
The Bible.  The writing of Psalms is other worldly—as it should be.  
Anything by Charles Dickens.  My favorites would be A Tale of Two Cities, (Madam Defarge will scare the pants off you), David Copperfield, and Great Expectations.
The Little Engine That Could and Goodnight Moon—I like the pictures.
Mother Goose, anything Shakespeare, and all of Louis L'Amour 
Any book on any explorer from any time period
All of H. G. Wells—especially The First Man on the Moon and The Time Machine
Any Joseph Conrad novels or short stories.
Any Sherlock Holmes and all of Tarzan by the Tarzan man
Moby Dick—Even the whaling particulars are fascinating.
Anything by John Le Carré or Graham Greene
Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer by Mr. Twain, and any John Steinbeck novels
The Arabian Nights (by a passel of ancient Persians) 
Man and his Symbols by Carl Jung
Anything by Lincoln, Jefferson, or Hamilton
Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran and Montaigne’s Essays  
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (and his short stories).
The Little Prince, The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Iron Mask
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe 
The poems of Robert Frost and Yeats, and The Rubáiyát 
History of the Persian Wars by Herodotus and The Iliad by Homer 

Reading Now?  Here’s my current bedside stack of books:
A Life on the Edge—Memoirs of Everest and Beyond by Jim Whittaker
Upheaval by Jared Diamond
The Wilderness World of John Muir—Selections from his Collected Works
Pablo Ruiz Picasso: A Biography by Patrick O'Brian

Is there anything else you'd like readers to know?

I love inspiring kids to read so I created the “I Love to Read” YouTube series.  These are short 1-3 minutes videos which catches me reading from The Legacy Letters and then looking up and saying something like, “You know how much I love to read.  And I also love to . . . “ride horses, ski down mountains, river raft, drive go-karts, build snowmen, play putt-putt, hike in the forests, whale watch, drive dump trucks, read in front of the Parthenon, in Scottish Castles, next to canals in Amsterdam, or while wearing lederhosen in Germany.” 

Why YouTube videos?  If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!  With kids glued to their electronics and YouTube these days, I figured out the back doorway to get their attention.  If I have to create videos to get them to read books, then so be it.  As long as they ultimately end up reading a real book, I’m a happy camper!

Children and teachers can use the educational primers provided with the series to ask author questions, geography or vocational questions, or just why does this guy do what he does?  It’s a way getting kids to ask questions, and getting them inspired about reading, being outdoors, and all the things you can become in the world. 

The series has garnered over a million views on YouTube.  Please pass the word on to teachers, parents, and, of course, kids about the “I Love to Read” series.  You can also check out my “CarewTube” channel, my Facebook page, or to discover out all the different ways I strive to inspire not only kids but the rest of the world to live life to the fullest! 

Lastly, I want to thank you, Lori, and all your readers for this interview.  Your passion for connecting authors and readers is inspiring.  I’ll make sure to pass the good word so that others can discover your wonderful work! 
Best regards, Carew