This site is basically targeting all of you book lovers out there who may be in the process of looking for a great book to read! I have a lot of things to say, so sit back and enjoy a quick peek inside some amazing works of art. This site is also for authors. if you would like to have your book considered for review, please email me at ashley.denis@maine.edu <3 Ashley

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage

Okay, instead of me giving my input on this book first, you guys have to read the review, then you'll understand why I'm doing what I'm doing....


Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage-Unlocking the Secrets to Life, Love, and Marriage
Mark Gungor
February 2008

The very first thing I noticed with this dynamic book is that I laughed. I laughed hard. When it comes to books that touch on a certain serious subject and are filled with advice, I don’t usually find myself laughing. I ponder, I learn, I wince, I come to terms, but I don’t laugh. This is what makes this book so special, and kick starts it for the reader right from the get go. I mean, who wouldn’t laugh when a man of religion compares ox poo to marriage!
This unique book had me shaking my head in agreement more times than not. It’s not that it told me anything I didn’t know, but it helped me to look at my marriage in a whole new light. I already know that my husband is going to annoy me and stare at the television while I try to talk to him. I took that as a sign that he was not interested and I would get mad and berate him for it. This book showed me to look at it in a way that does not cause a fight. Men will be less apt to want to do something if they are berated, and women tend to get so mad when they are not being paid attention to because they want to be “chosen” by their husbands. Mark Gungor explains that being chosen is the feeling we have on our wedding day when our man say, “I do”, which translates into him “choosing” us. It is a one of a kind feeling and we want to feel it more often!
Mark Gungor gives great advice for men and women and explains that it is okay us to be so different, it’s accepting it and living with the knowledge that life is not going to smell like roses all the time. My only criticism is that he starts out so hilarious in his stories, like revealing his secret of wearing his wife’s underwear instead of going commando, but these stories become few and far between as the book continues. I didn’t laugh half as much in the middle and end as I did in the first part of the book. I don’t think that it affects the book much though because by this time the reader is already at full attention and has no plan on putting the book down.
Like Mark Gungor says in his book, it is important to realize what needs fixing in your relationship before you get to the point where you don’t care anymore. This book is perfect for any and all couples, even ones who don’t think there is anything drastically wrong with their relationship. If nothing else, you will learn how to view your husband/wife in a very different way, and hopefully the ox poo that is in your marriage will come out smelling a little bit more fresh.



check out www.frontstreetreviews.com for more of my reviews, and more!

Now that you know what the book is about, we'll be on the same page! I have been trying some of these tricks with my husband that the book talks about! For instance, the book says to stop feeling bad when you want to ask your husband to do something. If you hope that your husband will just do it because he wants to, then you are wrong and you will be waiting for ever for him to do it! The author says not even to ask only once, repeat your needs many times, in a respectful way. Ususally, I ask John (my husband) once, or hope that he will notice the problem on his own and fix it....and I usually end up sorely disappointed. So ladies!!! apparantly it is okay to ask and ask and to be a nag...and when your husband finally does what you ask, compliment him, acknowledge it, smile...and you will slowly condition him to WANT to do what you ask because he gets such a good positive response from it. He suddenly feels like the man, the provider, THAT guy.
I tried it all day yesterday and sure as shit it worked!!! I have asthma and we got a crap load of groceries that have to be lugged to the second floor. I asked him to take them all in, and I would do one load on my way up, or else I'd be wheezing my ass off. Usually I suck it up and hope he'll offer to do it because he knows how hard it is for me, and the end result is me with an asthma attack. The result of yesterday was different! I asked him three times on the way home, he said yes, and once he came up with the last load, huffing and puffing I got up, gave him a huge hug, kissed him, smiled and said thank you so much, you have no idea how awesome that was. He was freaking walking on cloud nine the rest of the night. He was feeling like the friggin man! it was awesome. He was happy, I was happy, and I could breath! :-)
The moral of my story is....read this book...it really has some good tips in it!
<3ashley

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A death in Pilsen

Hmmm I have never been a huge mystery fan, and by that I mean that I have never actually seeked it out at a book store, but every time I come across one by accident, or in this case, so review, I always end up enjoying it. As you'll read in my review, I felt the book was nothing superb. Good story line, likeable characters, although the author doesn't tell you enough about them to make you really fall in love with them or hate them, and the ending is pretty good. When I read a mystery, I want to either love or hate the characters so much that when you finally find out 'who done it' your emotions run rampant. To me, a truly powerful book is going to make me jump up and down in my head with happiness that it was 'the jerk in the book who deserved to be caught' or that it was 'that super sweet loveable lady who i would have never thought could have pulled the trigger'. I think that's why I found this book so mediocre; I never really felt that connection with the characters. All and all, it's worth reading because it is enjoyable, so keep my words in mind, but enjoy the story all the same :-)
-ashley

A Death in Pilsen
Robert Goldsborough

In his mystery book, Robert Goldsborough does a great job at including both an entertaining story line as well as some great historical facts. Based in the 1940’s, Tribune police reporter Snap Malek winds up doing some detective work that touches close to home. His cousin’s wife, Edwina, is stabbed to death in their apartment and the cops are convinced it is her husband that is the guilty culprit so they do not lift much of a finger to indict anyone else. Malek is convinced that his cousin would never do such a thing so goes out of his way to interview some likely suspects, only to find himself in a bit of a pickle, and an ending that causes your eyes to go wide with surprise.
While this book was very well written and entertaining to read, I did not find it overly so. I got through it very quickly and took frequent breaks due to a few dry spells. I particularly liked how the back few pages discuss some of the actual historical references that were made throughout the book. It gives the reader a chance to read up on some events that really took place in history. Another positive point was the chapter lengths. I think that having them as short as they were really helped to minimize some of the more dry aspects of the story.
I found that Robert Goldsborough has a unique style for dialoguing in his writing. I felt that when characters were talking to each other, they were using words that one would actually say in a face to face conversation, making it more enjoyable and believable to read. This is something most readers may not pick up, but in a lot of books I find that the dialogue is fine for the story, but is something that would not run as smoothly if it were an actual face to face conversation.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a mystery fan and looking for a good, quick read. There are two other Snap Malek mystery books which I have not had the opportunity to read and may find myself seeking out at some point in time!


check out my review and more at www.frontstreetreviews.com

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mating in Captivity-Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

Well folks sorry for the delay in posting more reviews, had kind of a dry spell with this book. Don't get me wrong, it was really informative, and for those of you going through a rough patch in your sex life, this is your new holy bible. Since I am currently not having any problems in that department, I got a big head and rolled my eyes at some of the things Esther Perel said....A few years from now I'm sure I'll be eating my words.
Here is the review! Enjoy!


Mating in Captivity-Unlocking Erotic Intelligence
Esther Perel
February 2008

This is a very dynamic book that is quite an eye opener for anyone who is in a relationship. The author, Esther Perel is a couple’s therapist who takes her experience in life, and with her clients and puts it all together in her book. Not only is this book filled with great information, but you also get a glimpse inside of the complicated, less than perfect lives of some real human beings.
Broken up into topics, each chapter helps to answer questions relating to intimacy, eroticism, sex, seduction, etc. We used to have sex all the time, so why do I find myself waning? Why am I not turned on by him anymore? Why is it that the more I fall in love with her, the less I want to have sex? These are just a few of the questions that Esther Perel answers in her book. One of the most astounding pieces of information I found was that sometimes when you get comfortable in your relationship, you move in together, and get into a routine, sex becomes boring and you stop having it as much as you did when you first met. This is so frustrating for couples and they yearn for answers. Esther Perel explains that it is because you cannot have eroticism and security at the same time. What makes things hot is the unknown, the unsafe, the mystery, etc.
This book does a variety of things for its reader. It validates their feelings, it opens their eyes, and it can strengthen a relationship by giving it new ideas. All of that is what makes this book so dynamic. This isn’t one of those books you pick up for a good read, or one that is going to put you and your lover in the mood for sex, this is an educational book that takes you on a tour into your own relationship and helps to show you where it needs some tweaking. For some people it is a crystal ball that will show them what is to come.
I would recommend this book to anyone out there that is in a relationship, no matter how good or bad your relationship currently is. This is worth reading. As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”.
you can also check out my reviews at www.frontstreetreviews.com

Is there anyone out there who sees this as a possible salvation to their dried up sex life? if any of you are willing to buck up and talk I'm sure we can get an interesting conversation going! I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul" review!

Just as promised here is the review I wrote for the Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul. It was a FANTASTIC read and I would highly recommend it to anyone!!! I cannot find one bad thing to say about it, except that it made me yearning to learn more about each and everyone of the people who wrote a story about their lives. My emotions were rampant while reading this! One story I was laughing and two minutes later as I was reading the next story I was bawling. Anyways, enough said, enjoy the review! :-)

Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul
-Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Debra Halperin Poneman

Reviewed by Ashley Merrill
February 2008

As someone who has only read one Chicken Soup book, and at that I was pretty young, I did not quite know what to expect. What I got out of these short stories was dynamic. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, I felt joy. For people who did not get hooked to the show by seeing it on television, reading this was sure to do the trick!
I cannot even begin to appropriately describe how wonderful each and every one of these stories was. One that touched my heart a little more than the rest was of a teenage girl who wrote about seeing Clay Aiken’s music video “invisible”. The movie did not have much of a message according to Clay, but this young girl saw him standing on stage in his video singing with an ‘average’ looking girl who was not ‘model thin’. This opened up her eyes and what she saw was an American Idol who was happy to be in the presence of a normal, average girl. It changed her whole perception on life, and when she finally got the opportunity to tell him, he made it so that in each of his videos he only allowed ‘average’ girls and ‘average’ boys to be in it. He would always let the heavy man win the model girl, and vice versa. Such a small gesture has changed the perception of so many people.
Another, more tear jerker story that stuck in my mind was a three year old little girl who was battling leukemia and was told she was going to die. Her favorite American idol was Ace Young. He heard of the little girl, Mackenzie, and not only invited her backstage when she saw one of his concerts, but he also showed up to visit her while she was in the hospital battling another relapse. He not only was an amazing singer, but he used his status to help and inspire people. He made dreams come true.
All of these stories are no more than 2-4 pages long, but pack such a punch. They are simple words that come from simple human beings. It’s easy to see them as just like you or I when we are reading their stories. They all have had problems just as bad, if not as bad as ours. For me, it made me want to watch them on television and to watch them all succeed. I no longer see them in a different light than anyone else; they are just as vulnerable as you or I, they just have the opportunity to use their gift and make a huge difference, and for that, they are blessed.
Whether you are looking to know your favorite American idol more intimately or to just have a good read, this Chicken Soup book should be at the top of your list. You will finish the last page with a smile on your face, a refreshed feeling in your heart, and dried tears on your cheeks.

you can also check out my review at: http://www.frontstreetreviews.com/

Please let me know what you think! :-)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

For all of you American Idol fans!!!

Hello all! This is my very first post and I'd like to start right in by telling you about a book I am currently reading. It's called "Chicken Soup for the American Idols Soul". I am not going to give anything away, but it is a great read and in the next few days I will have a post up of the review that I wrote for it!
For those of you wondering why the heck I write reviews, let me explain. I am a freelance reviewer for Front Street Reviews http://www.frontstreetreviews.com/. It is an amazing site that Barb, my editor, created. All of the books that I review for her site are also going to be posted on here for your viewing pleasure! Reading has been a hobby of mine for as long as I can remember, and writing has always come easy for me, so I put the two together and have been able to create some pretty decent stuff!
Back to the American Idol book though...like I said, I'll be done reading it soon, so stay tuned :-) and make sure to add my site to your favorites list!
have a great night!
<3 ashley