Category Archives: Opinion

Captivating ~ Exceeding Expectations (Book Review)

Exceeding ExpectationsExceeding Expectations by Lisa April Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Exceeding Expectations Lisa April Smith

Sure, there’s the old adage about not judging a book by its cover and all that, but what about judging a book by its title? In the case of “Exceeding Expectations” by Lisa April Smith, readers certainly have just cause to judge it by the title because, after having had the privilege of reading it, I can personally attest that this book went well beyond exceeding my expectations.

Lisa April Smith, who also penned “Dangerous Lies”, has woven an intriguingly rich tapestry of delightful well-developed characters into a perfectly balanced plot bursting with riveting mystery, crimes of the petty and the horrible sort, suspenseful twists, and romantic tension complete with love scenes that sizzle and pop. If you’re looking for a suspenseful romantic mystery novel that you’ll find virtually impossible to put down, even for much-needed sleep, “Exceeding Expectations” contains all the ingredients you seek and more. Continue reading


“Excelsior” Ever Upward! ~ Book Review

Please allow me to begin by saying what an honor & privilege it is to review “Excelsior” by George H. Sirois for the Indie Book Collective’s incredible Veteran’s Day event, Blog Tour de Troops. Would you, my wonderful readers, like to read “Excelsior” for free as well as have a copy sent to a soldier just for leaving a comment? What about nearly fifty free ebooks, giving you & our troops the chance to discover some new authors to love? Sound good? I thought you might like that. Details will follow my review of “Excelsior”.

On the surface, it may seem that “Excelsior” by George H. Sirois is simply going to be a fun read—one of those great little sci-fi gems to be enjoyed as an escape or distraction from everyday real life. While it is definitely one of those great little gems, with the usual good versus evil to save the world themes, I must forewarn you—the undercurrents of the basic overlying theme of “Excelsior” takes the reader far deeper than simple escapism. It is exciting, inspiring, intensely gripping, & even spiritual if one allows one’s self to feel it in the soul rather than simply reading it. The world of “Excelsior” grabs you & just doesn’t let go. I found myself glued to my Kindle, eagerly anticipating what might be just around the corner on that next page. The excitement & tension continue to ratchet up from beginning to end. To say this book had me breathless at times would be an understatement. Continue reading

The Judgment of Horror or the Horror of Judgment

Yep! This about says it all! ~ Image sourced from

Whilst perusing a guest blog on my friend LizzieBeth’s site, I found myself utterly aghast at what I was reading. That, in & of itself, came as a shock to me as I generally come away from her blogs in a happy-go-lucky ‘yay I got to know another cool author’ mood. To be clear, my shock had absolutely nothing to do with LizzieBeth’s writing or with the fact that the guest blogger, Fiona Dodwell, is a published horror fiction novelist. I was taken aback by some of the judgments Ms. Dodwell says some people pass on her & probably others for simply being a horror novelist.

I just can’t fathom why people would pass such harsh &, in my opinion, strange judgment on a person for writing fiction—regardless of the genre. The things mentioned in that post regarding those who choose to write horror, though, are outright appalling & definitely blew my mind. I had no idea. To say it’s ‘unhealthy’ or there ‘must be some deep-rooted issue’ for someone to be entertained by, let alone write in, the horror genre sounds incredibly insane to me. It’s fiction—pure & simple. One either enjoys reading/writing fictional horror or doesn’t. There’s no need to pass judgments on the readers or the writers of this or any other genre. Continue reading

Life Lessons From A Fiction Novel? Yes! (Book Review)

Among WomenAmong Women by J.M. Cornwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh Yes You Can Learn From A Fiction Novel ~ I Just Did

Among Women J.M. Cornwell

I have to say it’s been quite some time since I’ve been so personally pulled into a book that I literally felt as though I was experiencing every emotion, touch, sound, sight, taste, & smell as I did while reading this book. Naturally, those emotions & sensations were not always pleasant. However, the ability of Ms. Cornwell’s writing causing me to truly feel what the characters were feeling was definitely a pleasant surprise.

I did not, in any sense of the word, simply ‘read’ this book. I walked with Pearl on her journey–through the harrowing angst of uncertainty, the unexpected joys, the formation of friendships & adversaries alike, & ultimately through Pearl’s self-discovery. Pearl is simultaneously none of us & all of us. As I was, you will be stunned to discover that, more often than not, you can relate to Pearl on some level–most likely multiple levels. For instance, like Pearl, I generally have a tendency to find difficulty in truly bonding or getting along with & understanding other women. That’s merely one example–I don’t want to spoil the book–of Ms. Cornwell weaving the reader into the story. Continue reading

To The GOP Presidential Hopefuls

Dear Republican presidential candidates & current Republican elected officials,

In light of recent events, I am writing to all of you today, as one who considers herself to be a moderate Republican with beliefs leaning toward those of the Republican Liberty Caucus, out of concern for the direction it would appear the vast majority of the Republican Party candidates are headed—a direction which causes me even greater concern for the United States of America as a whole.

It seems, for all intent & purposes that the Republican Party has morphed into a radical extremist fear & hate mongering party that no longer represents the views of moderate Republicans or even those of many average Americans at all, for that matter. I find myself rapidly becoming increasingly disgusted & disenfranchised by all the divisive hate speech, pledges, & rhetoric being tossed around. Maybe it’s simply that these members of the Republican party cannot hear the voice of the oft-silent moderate over their own boisterous bellowing & preaching or the frantic scribbling sounds of their pens busily signing the pledges of special interest & lobbyist groups, but it certainly appears that they have completely turned their backs on & lost touch with the more moderate-minded & lifelong backers of their party. In doing so, these extremist Republicans are not only committing political suicide for themselves, they are virtually ensuring another four years of Barack Hussein Obama which, in my opinion, is the equivalent of signing the death warrant for the America that most of us grew up in, take pride in, pledged allegiance to, & love. I would sincerely hope that is not what the Grand Old Party honestly wants & that they will begin hearing the voices of the concerned moderate Republican.

I implore each & every one of you not to continue to delude yourselves with the notion that, simply because I & most other moderate Republicans or Independent voters sincerely want Obama out of office for the good of this nation, we will vote for whomever the GOP ultimately endorses, regardless of any extremist actions of said candidate. There are a good many moderate Republicans or Independents who will not or cannot, in good conscience, vote for whomever the Republican Party chooses to run against Barack Obama in 2012 just to ensure that Obama does not get reelected. However, I don’t believe those individuals would vote for Obama, either. Essentially, considering the copious amounts of venomous hate speech, pledges based on personal religious beliefs, & divisive rhetoric the current GOP field of presidential hopefuls have been rabidly spewing, they are virtually revoking the right to vote at all from any conscientious moderate Republican or Independent who just cannot swallow enough antacid tablets in order to stomach casting a vote for one of these hateful, theocratic, far-right conservative Republicans who may run against Barack Obama.

I don’t think there are many American citizens who would wish to be ruled under Sharia Law here in the United States of America but, oddly enough, upon reading the full text of one particular pledge—“The Marriage Vow” by The Family Leader church group—after having watched the HBO documentary “Love Crimes of Kabul”, I found “The Marriage Vow” pledge to be frighteningly similar in many ways to the very Sharia Law it rallies against. Shame on those who have signed or plan on signing this document!

I believe I speak for most moderate Republican or Independent voters when I ask that the GOP please present us with a balanced candidate that we can truly believe in & cast our vote for with a clear conscience. One that has not already signed a theocratic pledge filled with racism, homophobia, & anti-female sentiment thinly veiled under the guise of ‘family values’. Present us with a candidate that tells us exactly how he or she intends to work with American citizens to fix the dismal economy, bring good jobs back to the United States, defend our borders, & stop illegal immigrants from leeching off of the American taxpayer’s dollars for education or welfare programs. Show us the candidate that will assist us in reforming the aforementioned welfare programs so that the average hard-working American taxpayer isn’t forced to stand in line at the grocery store behind people in designer clothes buying expensive name-brand foods with food stamps/bridge cards only to see them walk out & load those groceries into a luxury SUV said hard-working American taxpayer could ill-afford. Present us with the candidate that will ensure fair & equitable international trade while rekindling reasonable relationships with the decent allies we’ve unfortunately lost while being forced to endure the Obama administration. Give us a viable Republican candidate that isn’t patronizing lobbyists of various organizations by signing or saying things that promise us only what liberties they intend to revoke from the American citizens once they’re elected & start telling us what they’re going to do to defend our Constitutional freedoms—and that means liberty, the pursuit of happiness, & justice for all American citizens.

I praise former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman for his courage in repeatedly ‘pledging’ to his audiences to sign no pledges & for his clear statement regarding said pledges: “I don’t sign pledges–other than the Pledge of Allegiance & a pledge to my wife.”

I’ll be blunt here. Just because I happen to like steak in general doesn’t mean that you can just throw any rotting, toxic, ill-cooked cut of beef on my plate (the random GOP candidate) & expect me to eat it only because you know I definitely despise the only other entrée choice of liver & onions (Obama). I’ll more than likely starve first, as will the rest of America should Obama be reelected. The way many members of the Republican Party have been behaving lately, it looks like I may become a very skinny woman.


Cari L. Pedstelak

Note: The following is a list of some of the pledges I’ve found that GOP candidates and/or current GOP officials have signed. Speaking for myself, I take strong issue with the first two, although I honestly believe that the only pledge any candidate or politician should ever make is to We, the People of the United States of America–their potential employers (lest you have forgotten that the taxpayer is, indeed, your employer as this is a government of the people, by the people, & for the people–not of the politicians, by the politicians, or for the politicians).