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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Winner - Marilee Brother's contest

And the Winner is....


Please e-mail me your contact info to claim your price.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Hi Everyone,

My blog will be on hiatus. I have some personal problems that I need to resolve, it has been a hell of a weekend and I am sorry that this has to happen.
I will be back and hopefully soon. For the authors and publishers that have sent me their book. I promise I will still review your books and when I get back it will be all reviewed.
Thank you for understanding and support.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Karma Girl (Big Time 1) by Jennifer Estep


where I got my copy: Barnes & Noble

Bigtime, New York, is not big enough for both Carmen Cole and the superheroes and ubervillains who stalk its streets. An intrepid reporter, Carmen's dedicated her life to unmasking the spandexwearers, all because her fiancé turned out to be a superhero, and a cheating one at that-sleeping with none other than his nubile nemesis.

Exposing the true identities of the nation's caped crusaders and their archenemies has catapulted Carmen from her sleepy southern hometown to the front pages of the country's biggest newspaper, The Exposé. Hobnobbing with millionaires and famished fashionistas is all in a day's work for a woman on the trail of the Fearless Five and Terrible Triad. But when Carmen gets the scoop of her career, her life comes crashing down around her. And even Bigtime's sexiest superhero, Striker, may not be able to save her.

Hell hath no fury than a woman scorned.

On Carmen's wedding day she found out that her fiance and her best friends were entangled in a very shocking way. She literally caught him with his pants down while her best friend moan with pleasure, after her heart shattered into million pieces, the shock did not end there, in the throes of undressing, she caught a glimpse of another clothing underneath, and found out that her fiance was a superhero named Machinator  (controls machines with his mind) and Crush (freakishly super strength). So what do you do if you are an investigative report scorned and heartbroken? You take a picture and turn your humiliation into a headliner. And that was exactly what Carmen did, she made it her personal vendetta to expose superheros and ubervillains so nobody won't feel cheated like her ever again. And more months / years she was successful at it, people are fascinated by her skills on uncovering who is behind those mask and spandex until one of the superheroes group member called Fearless Five committed suicide after being exposed.

Booed and threatened by the public, Carmen was forced to write the society page of the newspaper. But her life got even more complicated when she was kidnapped by the ubervillain nemesis of Fearless Five called the Terrible Triad. She is of course being black mailed and was given some nasty image of how they are going to torture her but then she met Striker (leader of the Fearless Five) and she never thought a superhero can be so good looking with a spandex. Conflicted with the past and stressed out by what is happening in the present, Carmen still did what she does best, nosy, sarcastic, funny and impressive on everything.

I love the story the plot, the humor, the characters and the ending. I haven't read much of a superhero vs. villains book but every time I do, I always end up wanting more and Jennifer Estep's is no exception.
I wish Big Time series could be all about Carmen and her superheroes... a girl could dream

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Author Post: Marilee Brothers

The Bad Mother

Relationships. They’re hard. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Husbands and wives. Fathers and sons. Mothers and daughters. One of the themes in my YA Unbidden Magic series is the relationship between my protagonist, Allie Emerson, and her young, single mother, Faye. It’s true; Faye isn’t exactly “Mother of the Year.” Still, I was unprepared for the reaction of some reviewers. After reading Moonstone, one reviewer hated Faye so much she wanted to “smash her in the face.” Another resorted to a string of fake profanities like *#*$**! Yet another felt compelled to address her remarks directly to Faye by shouting, “GET OFF YOUR LAZY ASS AND GET A JOB!”

Okay, people, let’s all take a deep breath and think about it. Why did my portrayal of Faye hit so many hot buttons? The obvious answer: Bad mother, Faye, tapped into their own experiences, dredging up bitter mother-daughter memories. If this is the case, I completely understand and sympathize. However, there may be another explanation. Smother mothers. Women who live their lives through their children at the expense of their own identity. I believe there is a distinct possibility that some of the horrified reactions to Faye’s character may be code for, “Look at me! I devote every moment of my life to my children. I am the poster child for good mothering. Faye should be more like me.” Of course, there’s also a distinct possibility that I’m wrong!

Like most writers of fiction, my books are based on the real world. When I worked as a counselor in an alternative school, I encountered many “Fayes” and “Allies,” mothers and daughters whose relationships were totally upside down. In other words, the kid was the adult, the adult the kid. I learned a valuable lesson from this experience. One might think the teen forced into early adulthood would be hateful toward such an immature parent. Quite the opposite is true. These kids love their mothers.  And Allie, despite having moments of extreme anger and frustration, cares deeply for her mother. As I write each book in the series, I make an effort to deepen the relationship between Faye and Allie even though it remains dysfunctional. It’s called keeping it real. Time (and reviews) will tell me if I succeed.

I’d love read your comments and opinions on good and bad mothers, as well as answer your questions. If you leave a comment, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a signed copy of any of my books. Many thanks to Pat for allowing me to express my thoughts.

I've been in love with the written word since the age of four when I sat on my mother's lap, scanning the newspaper for the simple words she'd taught me. One of my first memories is of visiting the public library and returning with an armload of books. Even now, you can find me standing over the stove, stirring spaghetti sauce with one hand, an open book in the other.
Early on, I began to create my own stories. Elaborate fantasies with a full cast of characters played out in my mind. I made people fall in love, killed off a few and continued to tweak plots vowing, some day, I would write a book. Some day.
Well... some day is here. I now write full time, and, with the support of my husband and an eighty-five pound black Labrador Retriever sleeping on my feet, I'm working on my fourth book. I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I've enjoyed writing them!

 My reviews of Marilee's books here:

Moonspun - Soon (book to be release this July)

Contest: Marilee Brothers Book

Win any book of your choice signed and directly from Marilee Brothers.

 My reviews of Marilee's books here:

Moonspun - Soon (book to be release this July)

Mandatory: Leave a comment for Marilee here
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contest ends: 07/21
  • You must provide a working email when you leave a comment so that I can notify you should you win.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls 4) by Ally Carter


where I got my copy: Planned Television Arts

When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start as soon as her junior year. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when she faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most trusted allies is actually a rogue double agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers — or even her own heart.

In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth as they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past.

Oh.My.Gawd! This is by far the most exciting and my favorite in the series. Book three left us wondering why the bad guys from Circle of Cavan is after Cammie, here in book four we found out why. The opening of the story starts in London while Bex and Cammie were ice skating when all hell broke loose. An ally is being accused of being a double agent! An ally that are very close to them, somebody that they trust and somebody they look up to. I wasn't really shocked that this happened, I've seen too many spy and action movies where in the good guys turned into or accused as being one of the bad guys. But it is still hard to tell because the premise of the book... Spies, which means they all lie! How can you tell if people around you are lying to you? Would you leave it to faith? Intuition? Or are you going to put matters into your own hands?

When you are Cammie and friends you sleuth your way into the mystery until it is solved.
A lot of the questions were answered. Like... who is Zac Goode, really? Where is Blackthorne? What really happened to Cammie's dad? Is the "Ally" really a bad guy? Book four marks the true nature of this series, my doubts were straightened out and I am really impressed on how the story from book one to four evolved. The characters matured and in every book the gravity of the career that they will have in the future is being shown. It wasn't over the top yet filled with actions, and gadgets that seems unattainable yet not impossible.When I reach Chapter 40, I seriously want to hit something, a scene like that being read at three a.m is dangerous for me, if what I thought really happened I would lose Friday sleep altogether. This is how I read books, if I am really into it, it get way too much involve but usually after I finish reading it I get back to reality. LOL. No but seriously, I think this is what the fans of this series are waiting for. The ending left me wondering how Cammie is going to do it? Is her friends going to follow her? and other more pressing questions that I cannot really write because it will spoil yourreading pleasure.

Dont Judge the Cover by Her cover (Gallagher Girls 3) by Ally Carter


where I got the copy: Barnes and Noble

When Cammie “The Chameleon” Morgan visits her roommate Macey in Boston, she thinks she’s in for an exciting end to her summer break. After all, she’s there to watch Macey’s father accept the nomination for vice president of the United States. But when you go to the world’s best school (for spies), “exciting” and “deadly” are never far apart. Cammie and Macey soon find themselves trapped in a kidnappers’ plot, with only their espionage skills to save them.

As her junior year begins, Cammie can’t shake the memory of what happened in Boston, and even the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women doesn’t feel like the safe haven it once did. Shocking secrets and old flames seem to lurk around every one of the mansion’s corners as Cammie and her friends struggle to answer the questions Who is after Macey? And how can the Gallagher Girls keep her safe?
Soon Cammie is joining Bex and Liz as Macey’s private security team on the campaign trail. The girls must use their spy training at every turn as the stakes are raised, and Cammie gets closer and closer to the shocking truth. . . .

Let's face it, the moment Macey stepped out of that shiny black limousine when we first met her in I'd tell you I love you but I have to kill you. We were all expecting that her political background will be a good plot to write a kidnapping story. When's a better time to do it? Election day of course. And that's is how it all started.

Cammie accepted Macey's invitation to go to her while she is attending the campaign for her Senator father. A detour via elevator to the roof top had them faced to face with kidnappers riding on a helicopter. But since they are no ordinary silly teenagers they got away via trash chute but not unscathed. Besides scratch and bruises Macey and Cammie were somewhat traumatized but when you are a spy in training this nightmares cannot hinder what is in front of you. A group of people is out there wanting to hurt them and they must find out who they are. Armed with their wits, girl power, disguise and other knowledge from their Covert Operations classes Cammie, Macey, Bex and Liz with the help of the mysterious Zac head on to the mystery that lead us to some shocking twist and a revelation that will completely change the course of this series.

Twice Bitten (Chicagoland Vamps 3) by Chloe Neill


where I go my copy: Penguin
release date: July 06, 2010

Merit, Chicago’s newest vampire, is learning how to play well with others. Other supernaturals, that is. Shapeshifters from across the country are convening in the Windy City, and as a gesture of peace, Master Vampire Ethan Sullivan has offered their leader a very special bodyguard: Merit. Merit is supposed to protect the Alpha, Gabriel Keene—and to spy for the vamps while she’s at it. Oh, and luckily Ethan’s offering some steamy, one-on-one combat training sessions to help her prepare for the mission.

Merit must accept the assignment, even though she knows that she’ll probably regret it. And she’s not wrong. Someone is gunning for Gabriel Keene, and Merit soon finds herself in the line of fire. She’ll need all the help she can get to track down the would-be assassin, but everywhere she turns, there are rising tensions between supernaturals—not least between her and a certain green-eyed, centuries old master vampire.

Before reading this book, I recalled how I came across this series. I've never heard of it and did not read any reviews when I decided to purchase its first book Some Girls Bite. I am always happy when I find a book on my own and influence friends int o reading. It is really awesome that I found this book and my bloggers friends seem to love it like I do.

Since this book has not been released yet, I will try to avoid spoilers as much as I can.
So remember where we left off in Friday Night Bites? The Shifter leader - Gabriel Keene and his Apex pack are in town to have some convocation about staying in the area and maybe allying with one of the Vampire Houses. Ethan and Merit were in the center of it all. The story was not as highly political as I would think it would be which suited me just fine. Gabriel is a pretty interesting character he has valor, intelligence and a genuine love for his people and family, a sign of a great leader. I hope to see more of him in the future Chicago Vampire books.

This is by far my favorite book in this series. I love every page of it. This is what I've been waiting for (what we've all been waiting for); a start of something, a pace in the series... A more up close and personal profile of Cadogan House, Master Vampire, Ethan Sullivan. And a newly improved Sentinel of the Cadogan Merit. These two kept me all night robbing me of sleep, whether because of a training scene in the Sparring room, the constant bickering and there is great amount of foreshadowing that heightens their undeniable attraction for each other. Ethan made me swoon, broke my heart, then got me back to swooning some more. And Like I said have improved, in every thing fighting skills, she had fully embraced vampiredom but still has the heart and stubborness of the former human version of herself, and she is really coming out of her own. Even if other elements are trying to influence her.

Chloe Neill did it again, and I think she especially did a splendid job on this one. It has plenty of action scenes that will give you a good imagination on how dangerous and awesome Merit has been. A fair amount of humor. Romance that everybody will be rooting for. Intrigue that will categorize this book as unputdownable. And a heart of a writer that puts in a lot of thought and emotions into her. It has all the elements that will get a reader hooked.

Still Sucks to be Me by Kimberly Pauley


where I got my copy: Raab Assoc.

With vampire boyfriend George and best friend Serena by her side, Mina thought she had her whole life—or rather afterlife—ahead of her. But then Mina’s parents drop a bomb. They’re moving. To Louisiana. And not somewhere cool like New Orleans, but some teeny, tiny town where cheerleaders and jocks rule the school. Mina has to fake her death, change her name, and leave everything behind, including George and Serena. Not even the Vampire Council’s shape-shifting classes can cheer her up. Then Serena shows up on Mina’s doorstep with some news that sends Mina reeling. Mina may look a lot better with fangs, but her afterlife isn’t any less complicated!

In this eagerly awaited sequel to the popular Sucks to Be Me, Kimberly Pauley addresses many of her fans’ most pressing questions (Will Serena become a vampire? What happened to Raven? What’s next for Mina and George?) with signature humor and breezy bloodsucking style.

I haven't read the first book but I love Mina. Sure some parts were missing but short details that can fill some blanks are provided here on the second book so I'm good. Have I mention that I love Mina? Well... she is hilarious, I love her sarcasm and her stubborn way of dealing with the changes in her life, not only of the undead vampire part but also the moving to Cartville, (out of nowhere) Louisiana part since the vampire authorities forged their death. A necessary precaution yet Mina insists to be unnecessary. There is also the part that her boyfriend George decided to go to Brazil to look for his undead parents which means not only did Mina is far away from her best friend Serena, George might be prancing around Brazil not to just look for his parents but might also meet some Brazilian hottie.

Mina isn't depressed as what she believe she would since stuff at Cartville keeps her pretty occupied. The next door neighbor's son who seems to have a mean girl on his tail, a vampire hottie that is a member of some controversial vampire clan (that screams suspicious), parental comedies, teenage worries, powers that came along with being a vampire, etc. Mina found out that vampires like her and her mom who feed on animal blood has a very lovely nickname called the Pig Swigger or the Cullenist depending on who is saying it. And these stuff would be just boring without a mystery so of course our witty heroine is sitting on one. An unexpected visit from her best friend and a reappearance of her psycho enemy named raven from Book 1 and some very questionable stuff about Cameron and his clan. A quick read full of laugh out loud moments, sarcasm, wit.

Insatiable by Meg Cabot


where I got my copy: Barnes & Noble

Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper.
But her bosses are making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn't believe in them.
Not that Meena isn't familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you're going to die. (Not that you're going to believe her. No one ever does.)

But not even Meena's precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side. It's a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.
The problem is, Lucien's already dead. Maybe that's why he's the first guy Meena's ever met whom she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena's always been able to see everyone else's future, she's never been able look into her own.

And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.

Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future…
If she even has one.

I have only read one Meg Cabot series and I thought it was excellent, I still read them from time to time whenever I needed s character with enough moxie to make a dull day. Yes it is Suze from the Mediator series, then I started with Airhead series but I cannot seem to find a day to pick up the next book. And now this... Meena Harper was awesome. She can predict when somebody is going to die and how they are going to die. Not the coolest gift ever since people kind of don't want to know that they are about to die? I don't know I think its cool, you can save lives... but that is of course easier said than done. Her career is a script writer for the soap Insatiable, which took off on a different direction since vampire is all the rage. She has charm and humor.

Prince Lucien and his cronies of vampire screams ancient. He is the direct descendant of Dracula, they stalk at night, use compulsion as they wish, get ashed when sunlight touch their skin and is being hunted by Vatican vampire slayers. Typical and late, I think Cabot jumped too late on the vampire novel wagon. I got bored when I got to the middle part, too cliche and too predictable but the ending is something else. I felt genuinely weepy and heartbroken for Meena.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Shadow Hills (ARC) by Anastasia Hopcus

where I got my copy: One ARC Tour
where to buy: Amazon, BN, Indie Bound
release date: July 13, 2010

Since her sister’s mysterious death, Persephone “Phe” Archer has been plagued by a series of disturbing dreams. Determined to find out what happened to her sister, Phe enrolls at Devenish Prep in Shadow Hills, Massachusetts—the subject of her sister’s final diary entry.

After stepping on campus, Phe immediately realizes that there’s something different about this place—an unexplained epidemic that decimated the town in the 1700s, an ancient and creepy cemetery, and gorgeous boy Zach—and somehow she’s connected to it all.

But the more questions she asks and the deeper she digs, the more entangled Phe becomes in the haunting past of Shadow Hills. Finding what links her to this town…might cost her her life.

Shadow Hills got me hooked from page 1! Our heroine Persephone Archer was on a mission, to find out why and what is the purpose of her disturbing dreams, about people she never met, creepy prophetic scenes, building she have never seen before and centuries old graveyards. Creepy doesn't even enough to describe it. After her older sister's untimely death she found out that she was keeping a diary; her dreams written in it, dreams that are strikingly familiar with hers. After months of grieving and contemplating. She decided to leave L.A and her best friend that she will go to this boarding school where her sister planned to go. Devenish Prep located in Shadow Hills Massachusetts to find some answers. Did she get them? Yes and more...

The first chapter describe the picturesque, gothic and creepy architecture of Devenish Prep. The place was just full of fascinating history. Anastasia Hopcus took me somewhere between a visual of old middle of nowhere England and a quaint modern little American town. The story, the people, the main characters, beliefs, music and trends are very up to date.

I love the characters.Persephone, Phe for short is a very likable character from her choice of music (Gogolo Bordello, Japanther, M.I.A, etc...), friendliness, to her inquisitive nature, and the "you-cannot bully-me" persona is simply refreshing. Whether being taunted by the creepy and dangerous Trent or the overprotective Corrine, sister of the love of her life. Hanging out with her friends, doing some sleuthing. She did not irritate me, not even once, not even when she gets butterflies in her stomach every time she's with her boyfriend. She doesn't give the impression that she is clingy, head over heels or sickly in love. Yet you get that vibe that she is all of the above. Speaking of her boyfriend... his name is Zach. He is beyond gorgeous and smart. Aside from that there is an air of mystery around him and an unanswered part of his nature. That pulls you toward him. Who he is and the local resident of Shadow Hills is a very unique type of fictional being. All I can say is, it is portrayed as both scientific and supernatural. The background characters also played a major role in the success of this major characters. Adriana's primadonna nature. Graham's laid back, California vibe, Brody's sarcastic and stoner fascade, and Toy's nerd-ish demeanor, etc...

In conclusion, Shadow Hills is craftily written love story about a girl who has a destiny that she is trying to understand which also leads her to the boy of her dreams. A story  that has a little bit of everything; suspense, mystery, mythology, mild reference on alcohol and drugs, comical moments and anger. Watch out for formidable scenes and unexpected twist and turns. Anastasia Hopcus did an excellent job on weaving her story and characters. It has depth and impressive conceivable meaning and she have left trails of excitement for the next book.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Soul Stalker cover is here!!!!

Laura Kreitzer's book 2 cover of her Timeless series is out!!!

Being the Illuminator is not all happiness and light, especially when everyone thinks you are dead. When Gabriella decides to finally let her angels know that she is alive, Joseph and an unexpected friend help her. The Darkness Illuminator is not as in control of her power as she believes, which makes for a very comedic and endearing relationship that blooms between the three. A fender-bender debacle, a run-in with the cops, and a hiccup at the airport seem to all be worth it until Gabriella finds out her plan has backfired.

The three angels are missing, more mysteries pile up, and a new evil is brewing – so terrifying, in fact, that even the Soul Stalker herself is cowering in fear. Our heroine begins a jarring, romance-filled, heart-breaking journey that will lead her back to Italy, and ultimately to the answers she is desperately searching for. What will she do when they aren’t the answers she expected? What happens when she unveils a truth, so deeply hidden, that it causes an angelic war?
You guys got to read the book 1 - Shadow of the Sun
It still tops as my favorite angel book (adult) that I've read so far.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Book of Eli dir. by: Albert Hughes

In a violent post-apocalyptic society, the drifter Eli has been wandering to west across North America for the last thirty years reading a unique book that he brings with him. He survives hunting small animals and seeking goods in destroyed houses and vehicles to trade in villages for water and supplies. When he reaches the village ruled by the powerful mobster Carnegie, the man offers a job to Eli to join his gang. Carnegie presses his blind lover Claudia to send her daughter Solara to convince Eli spending the night with him. The girl sees the book of Eli, and when Carnegie beats up on Claudia, she reveals that Eli has the sought book. Carnegie sends his gang to take the book from Eli, but the man is up for protecting the book with his life. (source:

My family is big on movies. One definition of a perfect weekend is with 10 or more dvds to watch. And after every movie there is always a big discussion about the whole film. The Book of Eli was the biggest topic of discussion since... I don't even remember what movie. I love watching post apocalyptic genre. All those human survivors who prevail despite insufficient water to maintain hygiene, whom developed skills that dated back from the homo erectus stage and as barbaric as Braveheart. Yet I have never seen a film that I could say was really awesome that I'd care to have shouting match with my husband because he cannot agree with me. That... until The Book of Eli dvd was rented last Saturday.

We always start our debate on how the ending was portrayed. Husband (Migs) and his cousin (Dax) think it was over the top and there were a lot of consistency, they felt cheated because Eli was blind! They said it was beyond impossible that a blind man can dodge bullet and fight that well. They said that the movie was supposed to be realistic and that they could have accepted if the ending was like this ---> Eli (Denzel Washington) said he is the King James Bible, Carnegie (Gary Oldman) saw it was in Braille and then we all get impressed because Eli after 30 years of roaming the USA somehow learned to read Braille. Seriously they would have been content with that. I and the little brother in law (Carlos) on the other hand thinks this was a perfect twist and that they were just mad because they did not catch the clues trailed inside the movie. Plus the whole blind thing was a perfect touch for his role as the Prophet, don't you think? The debate was then followed by the barter of menial stuff like KFC wet ones, an ounce of shampoo, gloves to a bottle of water, charging of batteries, and whatever it is that you might need. Dax then questioned how white Solara's teeth (Mila Kunis) were, considering that the world's condition was in dire reflection. Hello leather?! duh then there were a bunch of other ridiculous theories about what Carnergie's harlot (Jennifer Beals) did after the chaos, was Eli blind before of after the war? Is he human?

Contest: 13 to Life by Shannon Delany

I am not a fan of the Werewolves but Shannon Delany's novel was too awesome to be biased
and I want to give away 2 (two) copies to two of my lucky followers.
All you have to do is leave a comment on why would you rather pick a Werewolf than vampire.
And no Jacob is not a valid answer :)

check out what other readers are saying about this book:

+ 2 new/old followers (must)
+ 2 Tweet this contest. Spread the love.
+ 2 Add me on Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads
+ 3 Leave at least two new comments on my post.

contest ends: 07/15
  • You must provide a working email when you leave a comment so that I can notify you should you win.
  • Contest is open to Blogger and Non-Blogger and must be US  residents only.
  • Winner will be notified via email and has 48 hours (two days) to respond with a mailing address. If the winning contestant does not respond after 48 hours a new winner will be drawn.

Guest Author Post: Barbara DeShong

How Far Is Your Body from Perfect?
   And Why You Don’t Need to Know
by: Barbara DeShong

The Story Behind the Story: TOO RICH and TOO THIN, Not an Autobiography

On a Saturday afternoon when I was fourteen, my older sister invited me along on a guest pass to the fancy spa where she was a member.  The idea appealed to me as a kid who spent fifteen to twenty hours a week riding horses, but had no experience with the more glamorous side of exercise. I donned my shorts and T-Shirt, excited and ready for my introduction to the world of women’s fitness. 
On arrival, my sister greeted her spiffy pony-tailed trainer and I tagged along, spasmodically trying out a variety of machines that looked suspiciously like some I’d seen pictured as favorites of bitter European queens during the Dark Ages.  But, I was having a good time, all and all. With my outdoor schedule, I wasn’t likely going to end up a regular at the spa, but I was enjoying the heck out of my guest pass.
At least I was having fun until a spandexed trainer roaming the spa with a clipboard spotted me floundering naïvely amongst the equipment and offered me a free body appraisal.  Free being in my price range, I jumped on the opportunity to add value to my guest pass. The pretty lady led me into an office and whipped out a tape measure. As a fourteen year old with the above mentioned lack of spa sophistication, I sat, stood, turned, held out my arms, and offered up my sunburned neck. She was at least twenty-five and had instruments.  Thus, I obeyed. Also, remember, at fourteen free was still a big draw.
Then the woman took the page off her clipboard and made entries into a calculator on her desk. After a few minutes of electronic humming, she swiveled her chair to match up her knees to mine. She knitted her forehead with great importance and proceeded to inform me that: my upper arms were 1.4 inches too big, my forearms and wrists were slightly out-of-sync, but perhaps, acceptable given my overly large hands. My waist-to-hip ratio was off by 2.4 inches, my neck was .4 inches under-sized which could be my age, and my ribcage was too large for my breast size. I lost conscious attention before she got to my thigh and lower leg deformities.
Amazingly, after informing me of the specifics of what was wrong with my body, with an absolute straight face the woman looked me straight in the eyes and asked if I would like a copy of the information.  A free copy.  I declined. Talk about some information a fourteen-year- old doesn’t need.  Something no woman needs. 

We have mirrors.  We have clothes that fit and those that don’t.  I couldn’t possibly think why any woman could possibly benefit from to the decimal records on how her body differs from the “ideal.”
When I chose the cover and the title for the humorous mystery, TOO RICH and TOO THIN, Not an Autobiography, I reflected on my teenage spa experience. The women who come into my psychology office, like the one who peers at me out of my mirror, tend to see a face and body worse than the reality. The cover for the book shows a regular-sized, normally saggy, middle-aged woman with un-fussed-over hairdo painting a self-portrait using a mirror.  On her easel she has painted a slender woman with great hair. Studies show that people who over-estimate their physical and social desirability have more fun in life.  Knowing those studies, I’ve often thought, “What if, as a psychologist, I could help people see themselves as better-looking than they are?

To approach the body image issue a bit differently through fiction, one of the lead characters is so obsessed with the way she sees herself that she has her bedroom walled in distortion mirrors reflecting a younger and slimmer woman. 

Behind the mystery in TOO RICH and TOO THIN, Not an Autobiography is the story of women’s struggle with self image in an image conscious world. 

Barbara DeShong is an award-winning speaker, practicing psychologist, and the author of “Too Rich and Too Thin: Not an Autobiography,”  a humorous mystery novel. For more information, please visit  or
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