Archive for June, 2012

Katie MacAlister Talks on Her Light Dragons

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Interviewing Katie MacAlister, a Seattle-area author of fiction and non-fiction, had been as interesting experience  for us as  exciting her works are for her readers. We had Katie on a conversation on her well-received Light Dragon Series and her ideas as a writer.

Her most popular titles are historical, contemporary, and paranormal romance, which frequently features strong and anglophilic heroines. She also writes young-adult books under the pseudonym Katie Maxwell and mysteries under the pseudonym Kate Marsh.

Everyone is eager to learn about the new installment, Sparks Fly, of your Light Dragon Series. Can you give us a hint as to what it’s about?

It’s the story of Ysolde de Bouchier and her Light Dragon mate Baltic, who is still at odds with just about everyone, starting with his former guard Thala and her outlaw posse, right down to his dragon god father. Ysolde herself fairs no better, since the First Dragon has her in his sights as well, demanding that she right past wrongs…and her time to do that is quickly running out.

Can you give us a brief of the previous books — Love in the Time of Dragons and The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons — of the Light Dragon Series.

Love in the Time of Dragons starts out with Tully Sullivan. She’s just like any other suburban mom—unless you count the days every year that she zones out and turns base metals in to gold. Those are weird.

And now she’s woken up in a strange place surrounded by strange people who keep insisting they’re dragons—and that she’s one too. But not just any dragon. She’s Ysolde de Bouchier, a famed figure from dragon history.

Tully can’t shape-shift or breathe fire, and she’s definitely not happy being sentenced to death for the misdeeds of a dragon mate she can’t remember. All Tully knows is that she wants her son back. So she’ll have to find a way to solve the crimes of a past she has no memory of living…

The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons picks up about two months after the first book. In it, Ysolde de Bouchier is a woman beset with trials. The dragon part of her buried deep for centuries is still making itself known, but in ways that just don’t make sense. She’s continuing to have visions, but now they involve events she wasn’t present to witness.

As if that isn’t enough, she’s caught up in a tangled web of plans that seem to grow more complex each day. Not only does she have to work out peace between her Light Dragon mate Baltic and the weyr, she also has to free his friend, convince an archimage to lift the spell controlling her magic, figure out what it is that the First Dragon expects her to do, rescue a half-dragon damsel in over her head, and once and for all clear Baltic’s name of murder charges that continue to plague him.

Is Sparks Fly a penultimate of The Unbearable Lightness of Dragon? How far the former complement the latter?

Yes, it is the last book in the Light Dragons series. Although Ysolde and Baltic will appear in subsequent dragon books, they will do so as secondary characters. I love Baltic too much to ever leave him out of a book. :)

Tell us something about the upcoming books of this series.

I’m not sure what book I’ll be writing next for the dragons. I suspect it will be Kostya’s story with the Black Dragons, but I haven’t made a final decision yet. There’s still Bastian to take care of, and the mysterious Jian of the Red Dragons, so…it just depends on what my muse wants me to do.

What made you to come up with this series? How did you get the idea for this?

I started You Slay Me with Drake Vireo and Aisling Grey because I wanted to write a series where the love story was NOT resolved in one book. I knew that I wanted an antihero as the main male protagonist, and somehow, the idea of a thief came to mind. From that it was a short hop to having the gold-loving thief be a dragon in human form.

Once I settled on the idea of dragons, I started exploring the politics of all the dragon sects, and how they worked (or fought) together. I was smitten from the start, and after ten dragon books, still love writing about them. They have such a complex world!

You are a New York Times bestselling author and have written books/novels on multiple genre. Which genre you love the most to write on?

Pretty much whatever book I’m writing now is what I love the most. Paranormals give me the ability to do some major world-building, which is great fun. But I do dearly love historical, and love the free and breezy tone of the contemporaries, so it’s really not an easy decision. Right now I’m writing a paranormal, so that’s my favorite genre at the moment. I’m sure it’ll change with the next book.

Who were and are your major influences as a writer?

I read a lot as a child, and I am positive that I would never have been a writer if I hadn’t been such a voracious reader. Since I’m a die-hard mystery reader, I’d say that all those years of reading Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers and Rex Stout instilled in me a love of fiction, and are responsible for me writing today.

Being a bestselling author, what would you like to say to the aspiring authors?

Don’t obsess about the minutiae, and focus on writing (and then polishing) the best story you can. I see so many new authors worrying about things like manuscript borders and font, etc. and not paying nearly as much attention to making sure the story is brilliant. It’s the story that should always be the primary focus!

Any message for your readers!!

I’d like to thank my readers for all their support, and for going along with me when I have a story to tell them. I love it when they take the time to let me know when a book has touched their lives, and I love it when they tell me about all the odd looks they get when they laugh out loud while reading in public. My readers are the very best readers, and I love them all. Especially the ones who send me dashy guy pictures. :)

Click Here to access all the other books by Katie MacAlister

HarperCollins Publishers: Serving to literary world since 200 years

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

Some businesses need no introduction but are consistently pressed for the wonderful contribution they make to their trade. “HarperCollins Publishers” is one of such names being applauded, respected and awarded for their consistent input to the literary world since nearly 200 years.

Headquartered in New York City, the company is a subsidiary of News Corporation, and has a broad-base with publishing groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and India. The company publishes fiction, non-fiction, academic, and reference titles.


HarperCollins was founded in New York City in 1817 as J. and J. Harper, later Harper & Brothers, by James and John Harper. The name HarperCollins is a combination of Harper & Row, an American publishing company acquired by News Corporation in 1987, itself the result of an earlier merger of Harper & Brothers and Row, Peterson & Company; and British publisher William Collins, Sons (founded 1819), acquired in 1990 by the News Corporation.

Did You Know

In a span of 200 years of its existence, HarperCollins has earned the pride of publishing some of the world’s foremost writers from classic era, with authors published originally by Harper are Mark Twain, the Brontë sisters and William Makepeace Thackeray, and that by Collins include H. G. Wells, Agatha Christie and J. R. R. Tolkienviz.

Also, this globally recognized publishing house has won numerous awards including the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, the Newbery Medal and the Caldecott.


HarperCollins has over 30 book imprints, most of them are based in the United States. Collins still exists as an imprint, chiefly for wildlife and natural history books, field guides, as well as English and bilingual dictionaries based on the Bank of English, a large corpus of contemporary English texts.

Some of the popular HarperCollins imprints are:

Avon, Broadside Books, Ecco, Harper paperbacks, Harper Perennial Modern Classics, HarperBibles, HarperCollins e-Books, Rayo, William Morrow, Balzer + Bray. Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Children’s Audio, HarperCollins Children’s Books, HarperCollins e-books, HarperTeen, Katherine Tegen Books, Rayo, Walden Pond Press

Highlights from the Last Year

HarperCollins had been continued with its outstanding publishing services throughout the 2011, which brought to us a number of notable bestsellers, including Pinheads and Patriots by Bill O’Reilly, Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? by Steven Tyler, and Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever by Justin Bieber, Pulitzer Prize winner The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, etc.

Popular Books by HarperCollins Publishers of The Last Decade

American Gods by Neil Gaiman (2001)

Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan (2002)

Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson (2003)

Where’s the Poop? by Julie Markes and Susan Kathleen Hartung (2004)

The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard (2005)

Next, Michael Crichton (2006)

The Children of Húrin, J.R.R. Tolkien (posthumous, compiled by Christopher Tolkien) (2007)

The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power by Jeff Sharlet (2008)

Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin (2009)

Just Kids by Patti Smith (2010)

Click here to explore more books from HarperCollins Publishers

Top 5 Musical Sagas

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

Since June is remarked as an African-American Music Appreciation Month, our editorial team has fished out from the vast ocean of well-composed novels those volumes that have story based on music. Out of such musical fictions, we then have shortlisted top five well-received titles for our those readers who are as much interested in music as they love reading. Let’s take a look on the list:

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett – Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country’s vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera’s most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening until a band of gun-wielding terrorists breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage. During this hostage foir weeks, Roxanne keeps singing for everyone’s moral support. As she practices day after day, her gorgeous singing shakes up everyone from captives to captors, this in turn has formulated an unexpected bonds between them. Under the spell of beautiful music, everyone becomes equal. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.

The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason – An extraordinary first novel that tells the story of a British piano tuner sent deep into Burma in the nineteenth century. In October 1886, Edgar Drake receives a strange request from the British War Office: he must leave his wife and his quiet life in London to travel to the jungles of Burma, where a rare Erard grand piano is in need of repair. The piano belongs to an army surgeon-major whose unorthodox peacemaking methods – poetry, medicine, and now music – have brought a tentative quiet to the southern Shan States but have elicited questions from his superiors. This novel can be precisely described as a novel that is sensuous, lyrical and rich with passion and adventure.

The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather – This coming-of-age classic by Willa Cather has the story of a young artist who, when realizes her talents as an opera singer, leaves the mediocrity of her home town to seek fame and success in the big city . A bittersweet reflection on severing oneself from one’s past relationships and surroundings, The Song of the Lark explores the loss that ultimately accompanies an artist’s highest achievements.

The Loser by Thomas Bernhard – This is a brilliant fictional account of an imaginary relationship among three men – the late piano virtuoso Glenn Gould, the unnamed narrator, and a fictional pianist, Wertheimer – who meet in 1953 to study with Vladimir Horowitz. In the face of Gould’s incomparable genius, Wertheimer and the narrator renounce their musical ambition, but in very different ways. While the narrator sets out to write a book about Gould, Wertheimer sinks deep into despair and self-destruction.

Music of a Life by Andrei Makine – His father is a well-known dramatist, his mother an opera singer. But during Stalin’s reign of terror in the late 1930s, both parents are harassed, proscribed. Young Alexei Berg’s musical talent, however, is such that he is allowed to continue his studies. His first concert is scheduled for May 24, 1940. Two days before the concert, on his way from the dress rehearsal, Alexei arrives to find his parents being arrested. He flees, and thus begins his endless journey, through war and peace, until he lands, two decades later, in a snowbound train station in the Urals, where he relates his harrowing saga to the novel’s narrator.

Novels with Strong & Inspiring Female Protagonists

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

Here, we have compiled a list of the books that portray the female protagonists who are strong, inspiring, and dependable; who can get rid of the predicaments around them by their own. There are innumerable books with moving female heroes. We compiled this precise list by extracting the books that received high number of reviews, and then randomly picked some titles out of them. Here goes a few titles:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – The central character of this novel is Elizabeth Bennet, the second eldest of five daughters whom Mrs Bennett is anxious to put into marriage. Her vivacity and wit, her hasty dismissal of superior Mr. Darcy – the most disagreeable man in the world, how he improves his manners and Elizabeth changes her mind, are at the centre of this Jane Austen book. This volume is loved by book-lovers for its depth, humor and playfulness.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – An orphan girl’s progress from the custody of cruel relatives to an oppressive boarding school culminates in a troubled career as a governess. Jane’s first assignment at Thornfield, where the proud and cynical master harbors a scandalous secret, draws readers ever deeper into a compelling exploration of the mysteries of the human heart.

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – This novel offers the reader an impression of a single June day in London in 1923. Clarissa Dalloway, the wife of a Conservative member of parliament, is preparing to give an evening party, when the shell-shocked Septimus Harding, a war veteran, hears the birds in Regent’s Park chattering in Greek. There seems to be nothing, except perhaps London, to link Clarissa and Septimus. She is middle-aged and prosperous, with a sheltered happy life behind her; Smith is young, poor, and driven to hatred of himself and the whole human race. Yet both share a terror of existence, and sense the pull of death.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Set in Scotland in 1743, this is the story of Claire Randall, a former combat nurse in the year of 1945, when she returns from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon. Actually, this is a story in which time travels back to the era of Our Lord, 1743, in Scotland, taking Claire back in time by forces. There she meets James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, and becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire, and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford  – This is the story of Emma Harte, a successful entrepreneur, who built her retail empire on her own.  Her journey started as a resourceful servant girl who a shrewd determination to make her mark on the world. She honed her skills, discovered the meaning of treachery and learned to survive. She rose from poverty to magnificent wealth which attracted enemies around her. This is a story that presents a vicious cycle of Emma’s struggle and success.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, is forced to represent her district in an annual deadly event called, “The Hunger Games,” a fight to the death on live TV. She regards it as a death sentence when she proceeds to participate in the game, but she has been close to dead before, and survival, for her, is second nature. If she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

A War Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

“Our efforts to promote development and fight drugs and crime will be more effective if they are rooted in partnerships with the young, civil society, governments and the international community. Working together, we can alleviate the suffering of millions and break the hold of drugs and crime on countries, communities and families.”

                                                          — the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon—

Twenty Four years back the United Nations declared a global war against drug abuse and illegal drug trade by proclaiming June 26 to be the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking for each coming years. This day is solely zeroed in on to generate and strengthen universal action and corporation towards achieving an international society free of drug abuse.

So, being an online retailer of books, decided to support this noble cause by compiling some well-composed and result-oriented Books against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in a single list. These books might be helpful in many ways but will elicit a single greatest result: a global society with no case of Drug Abuse. Here’s the list:

Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You: A Guide for Parents of Drug and Alcohol Addicted Children – This is a self-help recovery guide for parents in the devastating situation of realizing that they are powerless to stop their children from self-destruction through drug and/or alcohol abuse. It is dedicated to letting parents know when it is time to start saving themselves from being dragged along to destruction as well, and to providing skills that prevent it. With the anecdotes and quotes from parents who have had to cope with kids on drugs and/or alcohol, this book urges other parents to attain a healthy balance in their lives through the letting go process.

Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide to their History, Chemistry, Use, and Abuse – A comprehensive guide on every drug currently prohibited by law in the United States, this book includes their histories, chemical properties and effects, medical uses and recreational abuses, and associated health problems, as well as addiction and treatment information. Additional survey chapters discuss general and historical information on illegal drug use, the effect of drugs on the brain, the war on drugs, drugs in the workplace, the economy and culture of illegal drugs. Further, it gives information on thirty-three psychoactive drugs that are legal in the United States, from caffeine, alcohol and tobacco to betel nuts and kava.

Addict In The Family: Stories of Loss, Hope, and Recovery – Witnessing the addiction of a family member or loved one is a heart-rending experience. But hope can be prevailed, says this compelling new book. Here, the gripping stories of fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters of addicts offer important lessons on loving, detachment, intervention, and self care. Based on conversations, this book brings a great hope and help to the families of the newly recovering addict.

The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade – The first book to prove CIA and U.S. government complicity in global drug trafficking, it includes meticulous documentation of dishonesty and dirty dealings at the highest levels from the Cold War till today. Maintaining a global perspective, this groundbreaking study details the mechanics of drug trafficking in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South and Central America. New chapters detail U.S. involvement in the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan before and after the fall of the Taliban, and how U.S. drug policy in Central America and Colombia has increased the global supply of illicit drugs.

The Drug Effect: Health, Crime and Society – Offering new perspectives on critical debates in the field of alcohol and other drug use, this book draws together works by respected scholars in Australia, the US, the UK and Canada in an attempt to explore social and cultural meanings of drug use. In doing so, it addresses key questions of drug use and addiction through interdisciplinary, predominantly sociological and criminological, perspectives, mapping and building on recent conceptual and empirical advances in the field.

Popular Books on Fashion and Style

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

For all trendy and style conscious folks, today, we have brought forth a list of some popular Books on Fashion and Style, written by globally acclaimed fashion gurus and experts of the contemporary world viz. Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia, Rachel Zoe, Clinton Kelly, etc. Offering the bliss of a attention-grabbing appearance and striking presence, these books will bring a qualitative shift in one’s life, not only in personal but on professional ground as well. These books can be a perfect pick and a perfect gift for every fashionistas and style freaks. So what are you waiting for, just go through the entire list and pick the ones that excites you the most.

Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style – Famous American fashion consultant and television personality, Tim Gunn discusses every aspect of creating and maintaining your personal style: how to dress for various occasions, how to shop (from designer to chain to vintage stores), how to pick a fashion mentor, how to improve your posture, find the perfect fit, and more. He’ll challenge every reader, whether a seasoned fashionista or a style neophyte, to “make it work!”

The Little Black Book of Style – In this wildly popular book on style, fashion authority Nina Garcia showed women how to think about personal style in an entirely new way. Encouraging readers to creatively assert their style identities, Nina showed women of all ages how to hone and self-edit a distinct fashion voice. Including tips on how and when to wear an outfit, occasion-appropriate wear, advice on how to combine colors and textures, and inspiration on how to achieve your own signature look, in this book you learn how to experiment, storyboard, archive, and play.

The One Hundred: A Guide to the Pieces Every Stylish Woman Must Own – A must-own and must-read book for women folks, this is another great work by Nina Garcia. With illustrations from world-renowned fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo, this book offers a thoroughly researched list of the classic items that every woman must own, from fashion and garments to lipsticks and perfumes that Nina believes will never go out of style and that have become absolutely indispensable for any woman attaining her own eternal fashion look.

Style A to Zoe: The Art of Fashion, Beauty, & Everything Glamour – Have you ever dreamed of having your own red carpet moment? Or wondered how to emulate the effortlessly chic style of the most photographed trendsetters? In this essential guide on fashion and style, Hollywood’s hottest celebrity stylist, Rachel Zoe, shares her insider tips to the art of a fashionable, behind the velvet-rope lifestyle. With an eye toward living the luxe life, even if it’s on a dime, Zoe zeroes in on the must-have accessories and wardrobe staples for all occasions, when to splurge and save on handbags and heels, how to decorate, entertain, and travel in style.

Oh No She Didn’t: The Top 100 Style Mistakes Women Make and How to Avoid Them – In the same straight-talking style that has made TLC’s What Not to Wear a smash hit for eight seasons, the cheeky media personality Clinton Kelly shows women how to outfit themselves with confidence and style as he pokes fun at fashion “don’ts.” From the most obvious faux pas to borderline offenses, Clinton offers detailed and entertaining critiques of our top one hundred sartorial slip-ups. He turns his keen eye to wardrobe, color, cut, cleanliness, hairstyle, accessories, and even posture.

I Love Your Style: How to Define and Refine Your Personal Style - The former muse and creative director for designer label Tuleh, and author of the blog “In Her Eyes” for Men′s Vogue, Amanda Brooks empowers and inspires women to dive into the challenge of defining, or refining, their personal style. With fully illustrated chapters, sidebars, shopping lists, and personal stories devoted to a range diverse styles and shopping techniques – Classic, Bohemian, Minimalist, Street, High-Fashion, Cheap Chic, Amanda helps women of all ages begin to cull through the frighteningly vast world of fashion, from its staid basics to its trendiest moments.

InStyle: Secrets of Style: The Complete Guide to Dressing Your Best Every Day – Since its launch eight years back, In Style magazine has built a readership more than seven million strong and become the pre-eminent publication for style-conscious women for its lively mix of fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and celebrity has created a strong base of readers who consider In Style their most reliable fashion advisor. Secrets of Style: Complete Guide to Dressing Your Best Every Day is the magazine’s first book dedicated to its signature subject, fashion, offering a full range of timeless advice, including tips on dressing the best for you and your life, developing a personal style, and shopping strategies, beginning with the basics.

Explore an eclectic collection of Books on Fashion and Style on and

Books that Interconnect Music, Mind and Soul

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination

and life to everything.” –Plato–

Happy World Music Day!

Music often helps us in many ways. It can make a day, change our mood, whet us towards positive thinking, amp us up for exercise (an essential activity for a healthy life), and help us recover from mental or emotional injuries. But, do you ever bother to ponder upon how music works and why it makes us feel the way it does? In an attempt to answer these questions, today, on World Music Day, we have come up with some essential books on music that dig up at that intersection of our system where brain ends and soul begins.

This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession – Whether you load your iPod with Bach or Bono, music has a significant role in your life -even if you never realized it. Why does music evoke such powerful moods? The answers are at last be- coming clear, thanks to revolutionary neuroscience and the emerging field of evolutionary psychology. Both a cutting-edge study and a tribute to the beauty of music itself, This Is Your Brain on Music unravels a host of mysteries that affect everything from pop culture to our understanding of human nature.

Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Revised and Expanded Edition – In this book, Oliver Sacks explores the place music occupies in the brain and how it affects the human condition. He shows a variety of what he calls “musical misalignments.” Among them: a man struck by lightning who suddenly desires to become a pianist at the age of forty-two; an entire group of children with Williams syndrome, who are hyper-musical from birth; people with “amusia,” to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans; and a man whose memory spans only seven seconds for everything but music.

Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination – What makes a distant oboe’s wail beautiful? Why do some kinds of music lift us to ecstasy, but not others? How can music make sense to an ear and brain evolved for detecting the approaching lion or tracking the unsuspecting gazelle? Lyrically interweaving discoveries from science, psychology, music theory, paleontology, and philosophy, Robert Jourdian brilliantly examines why music speaks to us in ways that words cannot, and why we form such powerful connections to it.

Why Music Moves Us – Music has extraordinary power to move us, but how and why does it affect us? What is going on, emotionally, physically and cognitively when listeners have strong emotional responses to music? This is a highly readable, original and philosophically important book for anyone who has ever been moved by music.

Music and the Mind – Drawing on his own lifelong passion for music and synthesizing the theories of Plato, Schopenhauer, Stravinsky, Nietzsche, Bartok, and others, distinguished author and psychologist Anthony Storr illuminates music’s deep beauty and timeless truth and why and how music is one of the fundamental activities of mankind. He further sheds light on some of the most elementary questions about music, like why a minor scale always sounds sad and a major scale happy, and describes an evidence-backed human grand theory for the very purpose of music: Peace and serenity of soul.

Browse through a wide assortment of Music Books on and

John Kennedy Jr., My Inspiration Behind ‘Fairy Tale Interrupted’

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Every book/novel has an inspiration behind. So had RoseMarie Terenzio after her New York Times bestselling book “Fairy Tale Interrupted“. Here in this post she shares with us what set her off to compile this anecdotes and why?

Author: RoseMarie Terenzio

I was John Kennedy Jr.’s Executive Assistant and publicist from 1994 until his death in July of 1999. I spent on average, 10 hours a day with John at George magazine and got to see a side of him that few knew. We laughed and talked and argued and it was the best job I could have ever imagined. Some called me his “gatekeeper,” as a big part of my job was controlling access to him.  It was my job to appease those who wanted access to the most famous man in the world, and to assist those who had it. It wasn’t an easy job, but I loved every minute of it.  Even the times when I found myself in tears in the bathroom over some mistake or stressing about the latest headline, I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.

If one had to conceptualize the type of person who would have worked for John Kennedy, a working class girl from The Bronx wouldn’t have been be the first image that came to mind. But that’s who I was and still am: a fish out of water thrown into a world I knew nothing about.  Although I was self-conscious in this land of Ivy League educations and New York elite, I managed to forge a friendship with John and his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. They became part of my family—John was the older brother I never had and Carolyn was my fairy godmother—and I was fiercely loyal.

When John and Carolyn were gone, so was my life as I knew it. My earth cracked in half and it was the most inconceivable blow I could ever have imagined. I missed them; the world missed them. They were so young and had had so much to give to the world. John’s sense of service and Carolyn’s generosity would have benefitted so many. It’s impossible to imagine what could have been for them or for us.

For years after their deaths, I was approached time and time again to write a book. I turned down the million dollar offers and never had a second thought about it. I had no interest in dissecting or defending every tabloid rumor.

But when I did an interview in 2009 on Good Morning America to talk about the charity John founded in 1989, Reaching Up, I saw a renewed interest in John’s life and was approached again to write a book. Ten years had passed and I had gained some perspective so I was willing to reconsider. I started to realize that no tribute to what John accomplished with George magazine existed and he certainly wasn’t being remembered as the genius editor of a political magazine.

I wondered if there was a way to tell MY story; MY fairy tale interrupted, and for John to be remembered for an idea that was ahead of its time.

So here I am, telling my story about me and a John Kennedy that very few got to know. It’s the story of an ordinary girl whose life was intertwined with an extraordinary man.  It’s the story of two different people coming together and seeing that differences can be much less significant than similarities. The most unlikely pair becoming the best of friends.

This book is my tribute to two people who took me under their wing and protected and cared for me. I thought it was about time to honor them and remember them for more than the way they died and the fodder that followed. 

Bestselling Novels by Dan Brown

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

Dan Brown is the author who requires no basic introduction as his books can possibly be found on the bookshelves of every bibliophiles. Popularly known for his bestselling novels, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons that have also been adapted into feature films and done great on screen, this author of thriller fiction has written five novels till date, including the former two, but all are highly received across the world.  Brown’s novels, which are treasure hunts set in a 24-hour time period, feature the recurring themes of cryptography, keys, symbols, codes, and conspiracy theories.

Here, in this post, we have enlisted all the five novels by Dan Brown in order to offer our readers a brief of all his popular literary works on a single platform. This list, we believe, can be turned out as a great feast for book-lovers, especially for Dan Brown’s fans. Take a look:

The Da Vinci Code – An ingenious code hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. A desperate race through the cathedrals and castles of Europe. An astonishing truth concealed for centuries . . . unveiled at last.

Opened amid great controversy, this thought-provoking novel brought huge popularity to Dan Brown. Despite being a controversial novel, it became a worldwide bestseller that sold 80 million copies as of 2009 and has been translated into 44 languages.

Angels and Demons – Based on the ancient secret brotherhood, this is the next bestselling novel by Dan Brown.

When a world renowned scientist is found brutally murdered, a Harvard professor, Robert Langdon, is summoned to identify the mysterious symbol seared onto the dead man’s chest. His conclusion: it is the work of the Illuminati, a secret brotherhood presumed extinct for nearly four hundred years – now reborn to continue their bitter vendetta against their sworn enemy, the Catholic church.

The Lost Symbol – In this stunning follow-up to the global phenomenon The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown demonstrates once again why he is the world’s most popular thriller writer. The Lost Symbol is a masterstroke of storytelling–a deadly race through a real-world labyrinth of codes, secrets, and unseen truths, all under the watchful eye of Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol accelerates through a startling landscape toward an unthinkable finale.

Deception Point – This is a 2001 released techno-thriller novel by Dan Brown, having a plot concerns to a meteorite found within the Arctic Circle that may provide proof of extraterrestrial life.

When a new NASA satellite detects evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory. To verify the authenticity of the find, the President dispatches White House Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton to the Arctic, where she unveils the unthinkable – evidence of scientific trickery – a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy.

Digital Fortress – Another bestselling techno-thriller by Dan Brown, this is a novel of deception and betrayal in the nation’s most secret and powerful government organization, the National Security Agency (the NSA). Technocrats must like this book as it explores the theme of government surveillance of electronically stored information on the private lives of citizens, and the possible civil liberties and ethical implications using such technology.


Autism: Not the Matter of Shame but of Pride

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Author: Sherry Helms

Today is June 18, the day which is marked as the Autistic Pride Day summoning people worldwide every year to celebrate  the neurodiversity of people on the autism spectrum. Autistic pride is pride in autism, about shifting views of autism from “disease” to “difference”, emphasizing the innate potential in all human phenotypic expressions and celebrates the diversity various neurological types express.

To add more strength to noble cause of Autistic Pride Day, we’ve joined this celebration for (mentally) differently-abled by compiling a list of those Books on Autism that shatter the myth that a person with any of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) cannot do anything sensible and remarkable, and that call them exceptional instead of abnormal. Now, we urge our readers to heed the call of this very day and join us in the celebration by reading out these enlightening books. You can also gift and recommend the same to those including children who have autistic brain(s) in their family or vicinity. We believe these books surely make a difference in the way people think about the persons suffering from ASD.

Here’s the list:

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew – Winner of an iParenting Media Award and Honorable Mention in the 2005 ForeWord Book of the Year Awards, this book by Ellen Notbohm is a must-read for every parent, teacher, social worker, therapist, and physician. The author composed this book with both humor and compassion to better define the top ten characteristics that illuminate the minds and hearts of children with autism. His personal experiences as a parent, an autism columnist, and a contributor to numerous parenting magazines coalesce to create a guide for all who come in contact with a child on the autism spectrum.

The Autism Acceptance Book: Being a Friend to Someone With Autism – Written by Ellen Sabin, this book is an interactive, educational, and character-building book that introduces children to the challenges faced by people with autism while also supporting their personal journey toward appreciating and respecting people’s differences. It offers educational information, conversation-starters, and engaging exercises that invite children to “walk in someone else’s shoes” as they learn to treat others the same ways they would like to be treated themselves.

Engaging Autism: Using the Floortime Approach to Help Children Relate, Communicate, and Think – Grateful parents and professionals worldwide highly recommend this essential guide based on Floortime approach for treating children with any of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Unlike other approaches that focus on changing specific behavior, Greenspan’s program promotes the building blocks of healthy emotional and behavioral development.

Now available in paperback, Engaging Autism includes new, exciting information on neuroscience research into the effects of this approach, plus guidance for parents navigating the controversies surrounding the treatment of autism.

Autism’s Hidden Blessings: Discovering God’s Promises for Autistic Children & Their Families – God has a unique and magnificent purpose for every child-a purpose that is no less important for special-needs children. Through the story of her own ongoing struggles and victories raising her autistic son, Kelly Langston brings to light God’s promises for exceptional kids and highlights covenants that assure special-needs parents of their children’s potential and beauty. This is a book that has great encouragement and inspiration for special needs families, that can change the views of parents towards their autistic children or family member.

Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes – Fully illustrated in color and written in child-friendly language, this book has a story of eight-year-old Quinn, a young boy with Asperger’s Syndrome who tells young readers about the achievements and characteristics of his autism heroes, from Albert Einstein, Dian Fossey and Wassily Kandinsky to Lewis Carroll, Benjamin Banneker and Julia Bowman Robinson, among others. All excel in different fields, but had one thing in common that they often found it difficult to fit in-just like Quinn.

This book introduces children aged 8 to 12 years to famous, inspirational figures from the world of science, art, math, literature, philosophy and comedy, who were like Quinn but made a great difference.

The list of books is just scratching the surface. You can get a wide range of Books on Autism on our official website,

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