Thursday, October 24, 2013

What’s so funny by Tim Conway with Jane Scovell

Genre: Memoir

Pages: Hard Cover

Publishers: Howard

Reviewer: Joe Dekyser  

Release Date: October 29th 2013
Rarely will a comedian make Television history, or span a career for more than 70 years. In Tim Conway’s memoir, “What’s so funny?” he explains just that. As an only child, born in a small town in Ohio during the Great Depression to what he considers slightly askew parents with odd tendencies, he grew up with a love of horses and the dream to one day become a jockey.

Known as a prankster throughout his years in school, Tim went on to Bowling Green State University before he went into the army. His break into entertainment was the year 1958, where he started as a Disc Jockey for KYW-Cleveland playing records and telling jokes. Shortly after, a job opening for regular TV spots featuring Rose Marie from the Dick Van Dyke, which ultimately landed him a role on the Steve Allen Show. He was then casted as a regular for the Dean Martin Comedy hour. All these minor rolls lead up to the role that would make Tim Conway a television legend, the coveted part on the new Carol Burnette Show. Looking back on his whole life, Tim realizes how wonderful, unpredictable and blessed his life was. “What a ride!” as likes to say.

What’s so funny, is a memoir describing a life well lived. The humor was laugh out loud enjoyable in certain parts, but dry in others. Knowing, and watching the comedic styling of Tim Conway’s TV career, I found myself enjoying more of his expressions, characters on screen than in the book. Overall, Tim Conway is, and will always be one of the funniest men in show business.

“We received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for our honest review. The opinions expressed here are our own.” –The Jag Review

Friday, October 18, 2013

Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

Genre: Fiction

Pages: Hard Cover

Publisher: Penguin

Blood Oath is not your typical vampire novel. Zach Barrows is a 25 year old up and coming White House Aid with his eyes set on being the youngest ever White House Chief of Staff. What he didn’t anticipate, no matter how much you plan in politics, namely your career, can change in an instant. One second Zach’s star is on the rise and he is both cocky and confident, the next, he is being reassigned to what he thinks is a position beneath his political status.

Imagine a branch of Government that has no Congressional oversight, no acronym, and only answers to whoever sits in the office of the President of the United States. Imagine that same branch of government with only one main asset and his handler. Now imagine that asset is a vampire who has sworn servitude for the last 140 years to ensure the survival of the United States of America from all forces seen and unseen-natural and unnatural.

Blood Oath takes political espionage and adds a flare of supernatural to the story that will sure to please any horror or action reader. Some parts are confusing, but the overall plot is refreshing and face-paced. If you are a vampire buff, this will be a fun read. If you are a Tom Clancy fan, you will enjoy. If you are neither, you will still enjoy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

Pages: Hard Cover

Publisher: Grove Press

Reviewer: Courtney Van Dyke

Frazier’s Cold Mountain tells the tale of Inman, a Confederate soldier who refuses to die, despite the massive injury he endures during his fighting in the Civil War.  Inman has enough of all the fighting and war, so he abandons the Southern Army and sets off on a long dangerous trip back to North Carolina to reunite with Ada, his love.  

While Inman is fighting in the war, Ada finds herself out of food and money. This makes it necessary to keep her recently inherited farm afloat, however difficult it will be. Thankfully Ruby comes to her rescue and the two work vigorously together.

This book is the poster child for the saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”.  Separated for years they never seem to lose sight of each other.

While I am not a history buff, I did enjoy the way the author took me back in time to the Civil War era. The story was well written and described the scenery so well that I felt like I was there.  It was a bit hard to get into though, being that Frazier wrote the book as it would have been wrote during the Civil War, making the wording something to get used to.

It also took me a while to relate with the characters, which made the first half of the book less enjoyable.  That being said, by the end I was emotionally attached to all of the characters, and rooting for their success.

This is a fabulous novel, based on a true story, which gives such great insight into the lives of those living through the mid 1800’s

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Genre: Fiction

Pages: Paper

Publisher: Quirk Books


Jacob Portman’s life changed the night his Grandfather died-little did he know his world was about to also change and not for the better. Jacob’s journey started long before he found his grandfather murdered in the field behind his house. Instead, it began the moment Grandpa Portman told Jacob all about the mysterious island, Nazi soldiers, and an orphanage that housed strange and magical children when he was a boy.

Ten years later and his grandfather’s death still fresh in his memory, Jacob and his father take a trip to a remote island off of the coast of Wales. For Jacob’s father, this trip is a chance to catch up on his passion of bird watching. For Jacob, this is the opportunity to find the answers about his Grandfather’s past and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

MissPeregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a wondrously filled book of imagination and old photographs. Ransom Riggs perfect blend of vintage photos and an unforgettable story of originality is not only a great read for a young adult, but the perfect read for any book lover.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Bee Society by Georgie Bee/ Illustrated by R. Morris

Genre: Children’s Book

Publisher: The Bee Society

Pages: Soft Cover


If you think you know all there is to know about Bees, think again. Meet Georgie Bee, the only Honey Bee on the planet who can speak both Honey Bee and English, and he thinks it is about time to clear up some misconceptions humans have about bees. Georgie Bee’s  tell-narrative  is about all the hidden secrets of the world of the honey bee.

The Hive and Georgie Bee’s hilarious read, is their petition to humans for a coexistence of peace, harmony and the pursuit of liquid sweet gold. Like his human counter parts, The Bee Society is a farfetched series of stories explaining the connections of the human and bee worlds and how important that we coexist.

The BeeSociety is a cliché of words that would be a perfect read for a parent to introduce their child to not only the wonderful world of reading, but to the life of the Honey Bee.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Not Even the Sky is the Limit by Denise Zarrella

Genre: Children’s Book

Pages: Hard Cover


Not Even the Sky is the Limit by Denise Zarrella is a colorful picture book featuring children with Down Syndrome doing everyday activities like; Playing, Dancing, Baking Brownies, Horseback riding, working on the computer, and even walking the dog. Author Denise Zarrella’s powerful journey showing the world that individuals with Down syndrome can lead productive and well-adjusted lives, is a glowing example of a mothers love.

Inspired by her daughter who was born with Down syndrome, Not Even the Sky is the Limit, is a simple but powerful insight to the world of people with disabilities and how their lives are just like everybody else’s. The beautiful pictures and colorful design will catch the eye of any child, and would make for a great book for a parent to share, introducing their child to the world of reading.

Proceeds from each sale are donated to organizations that improve the lives of people who live with Down syndrome.

Photography by: David Uschold

Graphic Design: David Kiehl

Made in America by Sam Walton and John Huey

Genre: Memoir
Pages: Hard Cover
Published by: Bantam
Reviewer: Virginia Armstrong
Made in America by Sam Walton tells a passionate story of founding Wal-Mart, driven with ambition and competitiveness, while overcoming the odds others have placed against him.  Starting at the very beginning of his retail life, he details the ins and outs of first running a Ben Franklin franchise, to opening a few Walton stores and then Wal-Mart.  From there, he goes on to open a Wal-Mart distribution center, purchases a bank and an airplane, all in order to get the job done more efficiently.
With enthusiasm, Sam gives the reader sound advice for starting a business as he relates his own personal story of growth.  Along the way, the reader is introduced to many of Sam’s business partners who are driven hard to succeed while reaping the rewards as well. Always putting the customer first, he also tells how he had to deal with manufacturers to get the best quality at the lowest possible price for the consumer.
Sam’s story is very well written, leaving the reader feeling as if they know him personally.   It was very clear Sam’s passion and life was surrounded by his work.  At times, the story read like an espionage novel; just replace countries with retailers as Sam went about spying on other stores, stealing the best of their ideas and implementing them, which he readily admits to.
It seemed Sam Walton tried to paint a picture of him in a certain light, yet I could not help but read between the lines.  I found his writing to be passive-aggressive toward other people and groups, choosing his words very carefully. For me, the last chapter summed it all up when he listed all the things he would do if he hadn’t been sick.  He listed his store, his dogs and tennis, but never mentioned spending time with his family.
This book would do well for those raging with ambition.   For those who like to keep their family close, it’s a great reminder of what you have.