Sunday, November 22, 2009

Triangle of Deception

triangle-of-deceptionby Haggai Carmon

This is the write-up featured on the author's blog:
"Working in a joint CIA/Mossad sting operation, Dan Gordon chose the path of deception – a triangle of deception.

In this fourth installment in the Dan Gordon intelligence thriller series, Dan is on the hunt for the source of funding to terrorist group Hezbollah. He infiltrates the Lebanese network in the Paraguayan terrorist hub, Ciudad del Este, through a Lebanese expat in Sierra Leone, only to realize the operation is even more far-reaching than he has been told. A chase for false documents turns a Shakespearean drama of double identities and uncertain loyalties into a web of lies.

Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, Dan lands in a grim Romanian jail. Was it a security leak that got him in trouble? Why was he told to abandon top-secret CIA documents in a hotel room in Turkey? Was Dan made a sacrificial lamb for the CIA to make their plan look credible? Has he stumbled on a much bigger plot, one with the potential to unlock Al Qaeda’s machinations in the Americas? And how will he extricate himself from his stickiest situation yet?"

The Author

Haggai Carmon is an Israeli-born international attorney sharing his time and practice between the United States, Israel and the rest of the world. Since 1985, he has represented the U.S. Department of Justice in its Israeli litigation. Several other federal agencies have also assigned him with worldwide responsibility for undercover legal intelligence gathering outside the United States in complex, multimillion dollar cases, most involving money laundering.

He has performed this sensitive investigative work in more than thirty foreign countries.

The Story Behind My Stories: What Inspired My Intelligence Thrillers

By Haggai Carmon
My intelligence thrillers were inspired by my professional Israeli background, as well as by twenty years of service for the United States Government. During those years, I had a publicly known “daytime” job as well as a covert “nighttime” job. Since 1985, I have represented the United States Government in its Israeli civil litigation, appearing in Israeli courts in lawsuits to which the U.S. is a party. However, away from the public eye, I was also engaged by the U.S. Government to perform intelligence gathering in multi-million dollar, white-collar crime cases that required sensitive undercover work in more than thirty countries. Obviously, while working for the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies, I could not share the hair-raising aspects of my assignments with anyone but my supervisors, and some adventures not even with them. Sadly, many of these events, which are sometimes more fascinating and breathtaking than the best fiction I have ever read, will never see the light of day. The story of Dan Gordon and his battle against the invisible, but very real FOE – forces of evil – is my idea of the next-best thing.

A globetrotting legal practice has left little time in my life for hobbies. However, one night in a small hotel in a faraway country, I finally had the time to fulfill my urge to write. I was on U.S. Government assignment collecting intelligence on a particularly vile and violent criminal organization. Earlier that evening, I’d received a phone call from my local INTERPOL contact. “You’ve been exposed. I suggest you stay in your hotel. We’ll arrange for your safe departure tomorrow morning.” Is it any wonder I couldn’t sleep that night, between jet lag and the rage that came from being unarmed and unable to leave the hotel without my hosts’ protection? I poured it all into the writing, and the result was my first novel, Triple Identity.

This book gives a very real look into the world of undercover operations.  I found myself wondering, "Why would anyone let themselves be talked into this job?"  This is a man's book.  By that I mean it's a book men would feel comfortable picking up and then find themselves totally captured while reading.  That's not to say this is a book women would not enjoy because it is.  I found it captivating as well as interesting. 

Triangle of Deception is the fourth in a series featuring Dan Gordon.  I had not read the first three, so you can easily pick this one up and read it as a stand alone.  I'm looking forward to reading the earlier books and look forward to future releases.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blogging Around the States - Arkansas

Today we are visiting Melissa from Arkansas.  She is known in the book blogging world as Gerbera Mom and her blog is Gerbera Daisy Diaries.   I love this quote (right) by Marjorie Pay Hinckley that she has posted on her sidebar.  Melissa is a good example of laughing her way through life.  Her positive attitude infuses her posts and blog.  Her favorite quote is also on her sidebar:  "Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and smile on your face, but with great purpose in your heart."  - Gordon B. Hinckey.   Thanks, Melissa, for sharing those inspirational thoughts.

One think I really like about Melissa is that she's 'real'.  In a post earlier this month she shares the feelings every mother in the world experiences in great quantities:  "I’m not sure I do anything right as a mother: I yell too much, I criticize too much, I don’t cook well enough, I don’t craft at all – OK let’s stop there because I’m depressing myself."  Doesn't that sound familiar?!  But she goes on to acknowledge that she has done one thing right.  Recently Melissa started a mother/daughter book club.  I know a couple of you belong to mother/daughter clubs and I think it sounds so fun.  I'm envious.  You should stop in for a visit on Melissa's blog and read about the joy she experienced watching and listening to her daughter and the other young ladies in the group.

Melissa also belongs to an adult book club.  For their November meeting they discussed The Omnivore's Dilemma and enjoyed a Thanksgiving Pot Luck.  YaUMMMM!  Melissa shares a recipe she discovered through Amy's Fall Recipe Exchange for Pumpkin Dump Cake.  It sounds so delicious.

A now Melissa answers a few of my questions about her and her state.

1. Start by telling us a little bit about yourself.

Melissa Mc (aka Daisy Mom): I am a 42 yr old mother of 3; wife of 1; daughter, sister, friend, aunt; lover of football, politics, food, travel, walking, theatre and all things literary. I currently work part-time at our local library branch – I’m in charge of JUV fiction and Mysteries. I’m also President-elect of my kids elementary school PTA. I am without talent in most normal Mormon activities – I don’t paint, sew, craft, scrapbook or quilt. I can be found in front of the TV during every March Madness college basketball tournament and on every Saturday during college football season. My youngest was born with a congenital heart defect and had open heart surgery at 5 weeks. I know more about Children’s Hospitals than I ever wanted too. And when I grow up, I want to be the first female commissioner of the NFL.

2. What do you love about your state?

I’m not a native of Arkansas. We moved here 8 years ago from NYC when my husband changed jobs. There are LOTS of things to love about Arkansas: First, it is absolutely gorgeous. Most of the state is located on the edge of the Ozark Mountains – not the Rockies, but spectacular terrain, nonetheless. It is a great recreational state – hunting, camping, rafting, hunting for diamonds (– of course, my husband and I are city-folk, so we don’t partake in those activities like we should. It also is incredibly affordable!! And during this national recession, that has been a huge blessing!

3. Is there anything you don't like about where you live?

The HEAT! It is oppressive here in the summer. The heat and humidity can knock you flat. But other than that, we’ve loved our years in Arkansas.

4. If job, money, family did not enter the equation, would you prefer to live in another state? Which one? And why?

I’ve lived a lot of places – and if I had my choice I would move back to Washington DC in a heartbeat (and not suburb – like Arlington VA -- the heart of Washington DC, preferably the Capitol Hill neighborhood). It’s where my husband and I met – and I had my first job. It’s a magical place for me. And if money wasn’t an object – I’d transport myself there immediately.

5. If I visited your state what cities, sights, and/or activities would you recommend I check out, see and/or do?

In Little Rock they have a fabulous “River Market District” ( that positions itself on the banks of the Arkansas River. Lots of fun shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Just a few blocks from the River Market District is the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Center ( – a must see for any visitor. Little Rock is also home to the only professional theatre in our state – The Arkansas Repertory Theatre ( They self-produce and design 6-7 shows a season. Little Rock is also home to the Arkansas Symphony and the Arkansas Arts Center.

Little Rock Central High School famous for the desegregation movement is shown below.

NW Arkansas – you must got to Fayetteville and visit the campus of the U of Arkansas – and go “call the Hogs” at an Arkansas Razorback game. In Bentonville – you would visit the Walton/WalMart Museum and see where Sam Walton started it all!

For an Ozark get-a-way – you would visit Mount Magazine state park ( and rent one of their wonderful cabins! We did that as a family, and it was one of the best vacations we’ve had.

6. Who are some authors that currently live in your state? Any famous authors from the past?

National Book Award winner, Ellen Gilchrist, lives in NW Arkansas.

Charlaine Harris – author of the Sookie Stackhouse series lives in Magnolia AR.

Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead, lives in Little Rock.

John Grisham, is originally from AR (born in Johesboro) – but lives inMississippi.

Charles Portis, author of True Grit, Norwood and The Dog of the South, is originally from El Dorado AR, and lives in Little Rock.

Dee Brown, author of Bury My Heat at Wounded Knee, after retiring from the U of Illinois, retired and died in Little Rock.

7. Do you have a favorite book set in your state?

Now you are going to test my knowledge of Arkansas literature! Two that I highly recommend: The Painted House by John Grisham. It’s a fictional account of his childhood in NE Arkansas on a cotton farm. It’s a wonderful book. So different from his legal thrillers. And, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou – her autobiography of her childhood in southern Arkansas. It is a must read.

I want to thank Melissa for taking the time to share information about herself and about Arkansas with us.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading her responses and getting to know her better.

Friday, November 20, 2009

3rd Degree

by James Patterson

 Lindsay Boxer a homicide detective, Cindy Thomas a reporter, Claire Washburn the Chief medical Examiner and Jill Bernhardt a lawyer form the group that meet together as friends that collaborate on solving murders.

One of the girls becomes seriously involved in a dangerous situation in this 3rd installment of the Women's Murder Club.

The Spotlight's on Me!

I'm being featured on Elizabeth's blog As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves.  She hosts this cool feature called 451 Fridays.   451 Fridays is based on an idea from Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. In his novel, a group of people (Bradbury calls them Book People) are trying to keep the ideas found in books alive. Instead of actually saving the books, the Book People each "become" a book - memorizing it, word for word, and passing it down to the next generation.

451 Fridays asks what books you feel passionate about. What book do you think is so important that you would be willing to take on the challenge of "becoming"?

Skip on over to Elizabeth's blog and see what 5 books I feel passionate about and which book I would choose to 'become'.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Friday's Contest Central for Nov 20-27

Are you hosting a giveaway, a contest, a scavenger hunt, a chance to win something?  Let the blogging community know about it.  This is the "Farmers Market" of contests.  If you are hosting a contest of any kind and want to spread the word, just sign up usingMckLinky.

Where MckLinky asks for the title, please type what you are giving away, the deadline date and if the contest is Int (international) or US/Canada.

Example:  $25 Gift Card to GameCentral (10/30) Int

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Winner of Looking After Pigeon

Our spontaneous road trip clouded my mind and I totally forgot I was suppose to draw a winning name on Sunday.  Luckily, the clouds cleared.

The winner of
Looking After Pigeon by Maud Carol Markson

Congratulations, Les!  I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading this book.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Syren: Septimus Heap Book Five
by Angie Sage

I hardly know where to start telling you how much I enjoyed this book.  Syren is written for ages 9-12 and yet it held my interest for all 630 pages.  Many Junior and YA adult books are not so well written and as interesting as Angie Sage's series featuring Septimus Heap.  I often find myself thinking, "I can see how this would be good for a younger reader."  Syren draws that same thought and this additional one, "Totally enjoyable for readers 9 through 99."  I loved it.

The writing, the story, and the characters all drew me in.  There were several tales of adventure that intertwined throughout and kept me interested.  Syren has so many endearing characters that are so vividly described, like Aunt Zelda who looks more like a quilted tent than a woman. 

The Septimus Heap series is one of the better fantasy novels I've read and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An Offering of Leaves feel very fortunate to participate in this very first Green Books Campaign. Today at 1:00 pm Eastern time 100 bloggers will be posting their reviews of 100 different "green" books. The common thread is that each book is printed in an eco-friendly manner.

My book choice was influenced by yoga-guru and longtime blogging friend, Jenclair.  I only have a rudimentary knowledge of yoga but have been interested in her studies and training which she talks about occasionally on her blog, A Garden Carried in the Pocket.

I discovered, after receiving An Offering of Leaves by Ruth Laurer-Manenti, that it is not about yoga but rather a collection of stories "Lady Ruth" shares with her yoga students.  The stories are based on her personal experiences and represent the yogic commitments to non-violence, compassion, and service.  Ruth's stories gently infused my soul with an increased understanding of the philosophy of yoga. 

 One of my favorites was the story of quiltmaking - Handmade Perfection.  She tells of the beauty and perfection of a quilt.  My mother makes beautiful quilts and I have enjoyed making a few quilts myself.  Perhaps this is why I liked this story so much, but I think the concept will resonate for most of us.
    When you look at these quilts, you would never think that because one square is different from the rest, these quilts aren't perfect.  They're complete.  Nothing is missing.  They're stunning.  All the hardship, resourcefulness, and love that is in these women is woven into these quilts.  They're handmade.  They reflect depth of chara ter and depth of life.
   I think sometimes we have a conditioned idea of what perfect is.  Perfect would be like every square being the same, or having exactly the right amount of fabric.  But in thiss case, the perfection of these quilts, just like our perfection, is large enough to contain imperfections, irregularity, or surprise.

An Offering of Leaves is published by Lantern using FSC certified paper.  FCS stands for Forest Stewardship Council, which is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.  Established in 1993 as a response to concerns over global deforestation, FSC is widely regarded as one of the most important initiatives of the last decade to promote responsible forest management worldwide.

The Green Books Campaign has been organized by Eco-Libris and aims to encourage both publishers and readers to get greener and make sure books are printed responsibly.  Visit this page of the Eco-Libris blog to see the entire list of books being reviewed all at the same time, as well as a list of all the bloggers participating.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Green Book: 1 Day, 100 bloggers, 100 green books, 100 reviews

Logo design by Susan Newman
On Tuesday, November 10, 2009, at 1:00 PM Eastern Time over 100 bloggers will take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of more than 100 such books.

Organized by Eco-Libris, this campaign is aiming to promote “green” books by reviewing more than 100 books printed on recycled paper or FSC-certified paper.

To see a list of the books that will be featured and the bloggers participating in this ground-breaking event click HERE.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Blogging Around the States

My apologies but I'm going to miss posting this week because of our spontaneous road trip. I haven't had much internet time so I will be posting our visit to Arkansas next Saturday. Stay tuned because we will be visiting Daisy Mom from Gerbera Daisy Diaries.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Contest Central Fridays

Are you hosting a giveaway, a contest, a scavenger hunt, a chance to win something?  Let the blogging community know about it.  This is the "Farmers Market" of contests.  If you are hosting a contest of any kind and want to spread the word, just sign up using MckLinky.

Where MckLinky asks for the title, please type what you are giving away, the deadline date and if the contest is Int (international) or US/Canada.

Example:  $25 Gift Card to GameCentral (11/30) Int

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I saw this last week on Aarti's blog, Booklust.  The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett will be released in the US on Nov 24, 2009, so it's not such a terribly long wait.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Folks Aren't Home

Hi, y'all.  Candleman and I are on the road again.  Monday we went out to lunch and just in the short jaunt from out house to the restaurant we decided we needed a little trip.  Candleman had invited my brother to take a trip with him this week to Island in the Sky in southern Utah, but he couldn't go because of previous arrangements.   So I stepped up to the plate and said I'd go.  All I need is a small opening when it comes to traveling.  I love roadtrips with my personal driver! 

We rushed home after lunch and quickly packed and hit the road aiming for Moab.  On Tuesday we decided to not go to Island in the Sky so that Candleman and Steve could still do that trip.  Instead we drove south to Blanding, then west to Hall's Landing.  We thought we'd ride the ferry across Lake Powell to Bull Frog and follow the Burr Trail over the Water Pocket Folds.  When we arrived at Hall's Landing we discovered they weren't doing the ferry until spring. 

We didn't feel too bad because the drive was remarkable.  We turned around and back tracked 50 miles and then drove up 95 to Hanksville.  I could not believe how incredibly, strikingly beautiful this route was.  We both commented that it may be the most beautiful place we ever visited.  I'm sure that I was able to enjoy the sights because it was the first part of November rather than the scorching days of July.  We enjoyed temperatures in the 60s  - it's been so pleasant.

Tonight and tomorrow night we are staying in Torrey, Utah.  We'll be doing some sight-seeing tomorrow. 

Check out our travel blog - The Folks Aren't Home.  Candleman is a wonderful writer and has written a couple of really good posts already.  I wish I had his talent for writing but I'm pretty happy to be able to read and appreciate his talent.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Looking After Pigeon Review and Giveaway

looking after pigeonOne spring day in New York City, five-year-old Pigeon’s father disappears, leaving her to face a new and bewildering life with her mother and older siblings in an uncle’s house on the Jersey shore.
“Our mother named her children after birds” – so begins a now grown up Pigeon as she describes the tumultuous events of this pivotal childhood summer with her brother Robin, and her older sister Dove. In the heat and unfamiliarity of a beach town near Atlantic City, each member of her family looks for a caretaker of some kind—Robin in a fortune teller, Dove in older lovers, her Uncle Edward in the feckless owner of a diner, and her mother Joan in a religious cult. All the while, Pigeon, the youngest, searches for her father, believing he will return to the family to care for her. Through the course of the summer, Pigeon comes to the realization that, in spite of disappointments and grief, she has become quite capable of looking after herself. And through the course of narrating this story, the grown-up Pigeon comes to the further realization that she is willing finally to trust in love.

When I was offered this book as part of a TLC Tour, I thought it sounded very interesting.  Unfortunately, I did not connect with the characters or the story.  It may have just been the wrong time for me and this book to come together.  

The first page introduces us to a grown-up Pigeon who is beset with moodiness and bad memories.  Her live-in boyfriend encourages her to seek counseling, which she resists, but she does succumb to his suggestion to write down the events of that summer before she turned six.  That is the summer that troubles her even after 20+ years.   The book is told from the voice of 5-yo Pigeon with some insights thrown in from the grown-up Pigeon. 

I didn't feel like the events of that summer were impressively traumatic to cause Pigeon such unrest for that many years afterwards.  She seemed like such a independent child and so resourceful in entertaining and taking care of herself that I would think she could have healed better than she did.

As a reader of mysteries and thrillers this book seemed quite uneventful.  I expected something more to happen and was disappointed that it didn't.   All that said, I think this book will appeal to many so I'm offering my copy in a


Be forewarned - the title page has a little water damage, but the outside covers are in great shape.

To enter:
  • Leave a comment with your email - encode it something like this: booklogged at gmail dot com
I will draw for a winner on Nov. 8 - one week from today.  This drawing is open to U.S. readers only.