Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Book Review: Jezebel's Wish by A.J. Nuest

Title: Jezebel's Wish
Author: A.J. Nuest
Paperback:  298 pages
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press (March 14, 2011)


★ ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

Jezebel has returned to her family after the death of her fiancée. She thought going home would make her feel better but she's wrong. She couldn't escape the past because of a secret that has been haunting her since the day her ex died. Everything seems so wrong in her life until her mom pushes her into riding lessons with the vet Matthias Saunders. Slowly, she finds happiness with the stallion and the vet. However things are not that easy to forget. Her past is still haunting her. 

The plot of the story is great, the characters are likeable especially Matty, the local vet who falls in love with Jezzy. The conflict of the story was believable, the story had me crying. I can feel Jezzy's pain. This is my first book by AJ Nuest and I will definitely look out for her other books.

About the book:

Haunted by nightmares, tormented by guilt, Jezebel came to Redemption Ranch to escape the past—except now she's stuck in the middle of nowhere with no redemption in sight. When her mother pushes her into riding lessons with local veterinarian Matthias Saunders, Jezebel balks. Sure, the doctor is gorgeous, but he’s completely obnoxious and knows how to push every one of her buttons.

Only her deep connection with The Reverend, a gentle stallion who guards her darkest secrets, has her agreeing to spend any more time with Dr. Saunders. Caring for the stallion is the first bright spot in her life in months, and if being around the horse means she has to deal with Matthias Saunders, then so be it. Surely a city girl like her can handle one country vet—even one with disturbing blue eyes. Can't she?

About the author:

AJ Nuest resides in Northwest Indiana with her loving husband and two beautiful children. She is the author of two published romance novels.


I received a review copy of this book free from the author, A.J. Nuest. The review posted above is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Author Interview: Katie Salidas

Bookingly Yours would like to welcome Katie Salidas, author of the Immortalis Series - Carpe Noctem and Hunters and Prey (read my reviews here). 

Hello Katie, can you please tell us something about yourself, your background, (where you were born, live? Your work prior to becoming a writer)

Hmm, let’s see, background on me. I was never very good at just talking about myself. I’m a complete introvert, which I guess helps with writing. I’m much more comfortable with my notebook and pen, writing down stories than I am in public speaking about things. So, really, my life is not hugely exciting. I grew up in a small town in Texas and at the age of 14 moved to Sin City, Las Vegas, Nevada.  Being an introvert, I spent a lot of time people watching , which I think also helps when it comes to creating characters. You learn a lot by observation.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

I spent a lot of my teenage years reading books and writing down my own silly stories. I never expected them to become a career. It was always just a fun hobby. As I got older, I really wanted to share them with others. That’s when I started seriously considering publishing.

I love your Immortalis series!! Is this your first book series? If not, what were your previous writings?

The first thing I ever wrote, was a YA vampire romance tailored after the Vampire Diaries. However, during my move from Texas to Nevada, I lost the manuscript and it never got the chance to see the light of day. I was so upset over losing it, I refused to rewrite it. The Immortalis series is a much more grown up version of that type of story. It’s not the same, but it has some of those elements of love and growing up that I felt were important to show. The main character, Alyssa, starts off very naive in many respects and as the series progresses, you see her strength and character form.

How did you come up with the idea for the book?

I’ve always been a fan of vampires and have read as many books about them as I could. When it came time for me to write my own, I wanted to try and take a slightly different approach. Most books gloss over the actual transition from human to vampire, but I wanted to really focus on that change. I wanted to try and depict the actual hardship involved in the transition.

How could a regular person, who for all intents and purposes is “good, be able to kill another human being for sustenance? Would hunger alone do it? Many might just starve themselves at the idea. From there I had to ask what might motivate a person to finally make that kill? What would the bloodlust be like and how would that kill ultimately affect my main character?

For every question that came up, I found an answer and the scenes began to play out. Over time, Immortalis took shape and with it, the reader gets to experience Alyssa’s journey through the transition to this frightening new world, first hand.

If you’ve read the books, then you know how she ultimately deals with it, but here’s the question: Could you? If you were in the MC shoes in this world, would you be able to deal with the need to drink blood? Would you be able to kill to survive? 

Yay, no! Ewww. How about the characters? Are they based on people you know?

There are a few characters in the Immortalis series that are based off of people I know, and those people know who they are. =)  Nicholas, Rozaline, Alyssa, Crystal, & Drew. Though they are based on real people, their mannerisms are embellished a bit.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I’m a paranormal addict. I love reading anything with a vampire or a werewolf, and even a witch too! It would be unfair of me to pick one over the other because each story, each series becomes my favorite for the time that I am reading it. I just finished the Charlaine Harris series and loved those, but when I was reading Patricia Briggs, I couldn’t get enough. I love them all and even more, I love discovering new and indie authors too!

What are you reading right now?

I’m actually in-between books right now. Have any good suggestions?

Oh yes! Vampire Academy and Succubus series by Richelle Mead, loved those series! For the last question, what do you do when you are not writing and reading?

That’s an easy question. Family . I do so much work on my books that when I am not nose-deep in my laptop or Kindle, it’s all about my family. We’re actually planning for a fun summer this year! I can’t wait to get started.

Thank you so much Katie for joining us here today! Can't wait to read Pandora's Box!  

About the author KATIE SALIDAS

Katie Salidas is a Super Woman! Endowed with special powers and abilities, beyond those of mortal women, She can get the munchkin off to gymnastics, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, and swim lessons.  She can put hot food on the table for dinner while assisting with homework, baths, and bedtime… And, She still finds the time to keep the hubby happy (nudge nudge wink wink). She can do all of this and still have time to write.

And if you can believe all of those lies, there is some beautiful swamp land in Florida for sale…

Katie Salidas resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mother, wife, and author, she does try to do it all, often causing sleep deprivation and many nights passed out at the computer. Writing books is her passion, and she hopes that her passion will bring you hours of entertainment.





Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Witches of East End Release Day

Bookingly Yours reviewed Witches of East End, read here.
Expected publication: June 21st 2011 by Disney-Hyperion 
From the author of the highly addictive and bestselling Blue Bloods series, with almost 3 million copies sold, comes a new novel, Melissa de la Cruz's first for adults, featuring a family of formidable and beguiling witches.

The three Beauchamp women--Joanna and her daughters Freya and Ingrid--live in North Hampton, out on the tip of Long Island. Their beautiful, mist-shrouded town seems almost stuck in time, and all three women lead seemingly quiet, uneventful existences. But they are harboring a mighty secret--they are powerful witches banned from using their magic. Joanna can resurrect people from the dead and heal the most serious of injuries. Ingrid, her bookish daughter, has the ability to predict the future and weave knots that can solve anything from infertility to infidelity. And finally, there's Freya, the wild child, who has a charm or a potion that can cure most any heartache.

For centuries, all three women have been forced to suppress their abilities. But then Freya, who is about to get married to the wealthy and mysterious Bran Gardiner, finds that her increasingly complicated romantic life makes it more difficult than ever to hide her secret. Soon Ingrid and Joanna confront similar dilemmas, and the Beauchamp women realize they can no longer conceal their true selves. They unearth their wands from the attic, dust off their broomsticks, and begin casting spells on the townspeople. It all seems like a bit of good-natured, innocent magic, but then mysterious, violent attacks begin to plague the town. When a young girl disappears over the Fourth of July weekend, they realize it's time to uncover who and what dark forces are working against them.

With a brand-new cast of characters, a fascinating and fresh world to discover, and a few surprise appearances from some of the Blue Blood fan favorites, this is a page-turning, deliciously fun, magical summer read fraught with love affairs, witchcraft, and an unforgettable battle between good and evil.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Guest Author: Melissa Crandall

Diary of a Storyteller:  How It Begins

Weathercock is the offspring of ménage a toi between a two-person role-playing event (what, as children, we called "playing pretend"), a 1980's era liquor billboard advertisement, and a song by Jethro Tull.

Being a writer from a very young age, rather than put away the art of playing pretend when I entered high school, I submerged it.  (I was already viewed as a total geek, so I'm not sure what I was afraid of.  More ridicule?  How could there be more?)  Fortunately, I made a few friends in those dire halls of academia who also looked back with fondness on their childhood days of pretend.  We wrote stories together and play-acted scenes from Star Trek, Here Come the Brides, Starsky & Hutch, the Pern books of Anne McCaffrey, and our own first endeavors at original story-telling. 

One afternoon, a friend and I acted out a story about Kinara, a young woman on a quest (played by my friend) who ends up joining forces with mercenary soldiers Reynard (yours truly) and Banain (also yours truly).  We did the entire story start-to-finish (a fairly unusual occurrence) and something about it stayed with me, percolating in the back of my mind.

Fast-forward about 10 years.  I'm driving through Albany when two things occur simultaneously:  the song on the radio (Jethro Tull's "Weathercock") reaches the martial-air bridge, and I spy an enormous billboard advert for Rumple Minze in which a big-boobed warrior broad carrying a sword sits astride a raging polar bear.  (Seriously.  I'm not making this up.)

Honest to God, I heard the tumblers fall into place -- click, click, click, Ka-CHING!  I went home that night and started Weathercock, incorporating the tale of Kinara, Reynard, and Banain, the name Weathercock, and the idea of a female warrior savior.

It was awful.  Total dreck.  The worst possible rip-off of every bad fantasy you've ever read.  I got about twenty-five pages into it and the manuscript plowed face first into the ground.  It laid there, snout buried in the soil, rolling its eyes at me and whimpering until I kicked it to death.  And that was that.  I figured it was a done deal.  No story.

But Weathercock wasn't through with me yet.  It started to whisper.  And I listened.

I changed gender on every character.  Kinara became a young boy named Kinner, Reynard became a ragamuffin soldier named Rai, and Banain morphed into Banya.  And the story -- God bless it -- took off like a rocket.

There were six drafts of Weathercock before I was done -- everything from epic-length all the way to its present pared-down (and much improved) incarnation.  This story, the story within the story, and its determination to live taught me to listen to my inner voice.  It taught me to believe my characters when they tell me something is wrong, to trust my instincts when I stray from my personal truth, and to hold my feet to the fire if I'm tempted to do anything less than my very best.

And for that, I am forever grateful.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

In My Mailbox

IMM (In My Mailbox) is a weekly meme hosted and created by Kristi at The Story Siren.

This is a way to share the books we received for review, bought and borrowed from friends or library.

Received for review

Haunted by nightmares, tormented by guilt, Jezebel came to Redemption Ranch to escape the past-except now she's stuck in the middle of nowhere with no redemption in sight. When her mother pushes her into riding lessons with local veterinarian Matthias Saunders, Jezebel balks. Sure, the doctor is gorgeous, but he's completely obnoxious and knows how to push every one of her buttons. Only her deep connection with The Reverend, a gentle stallion who guards her darkest secrets, has her agreeing to spend any more time with Dr. Saunders. Caring for the stallion is the first bright spot in her life in months, and if being around the horse means she has to deal with Matthias Saunders, then so be it. Surely a city girl like her can handle one country vet-even one with disturbing blue eyes. Can't she? - Amazon

Vermont. Picturesque and lovely, especially in the spring, Vermont attracts visitors from across the country. Even Stansbury, with its old, covered bridge that spans Stansbury Lake and goes nowhere, attracts many in search for maple doughnuts, maple syrup and even miniature trebuchets built by Stansbury’s one-armed tourist shop owner, Gil. The tourists eventually leave Stansbury, but not its residents. They can never leave. When they try, they die. Except for Gil. He never dies. The bridge keeps bringing him back. He knows the bridge is responsible. It is responsible for every horror that ever befell the people of Stansbury: the people who fear the bridge but will not speak of it. The bridge makes people do things – bad things – so that it can continue to love and care for them all. Some have tried to destroy the bridge, but as long as the bridge is fed with the lives of the innocents of Stansbury, and as long as it can keep Gil from leaving, it will go on – loving the people of Stansbury. - Amazon

Black swirling holes churning madly in the center of every corpse. This is how eighteen-year-old Chelsan Derée sees the deceased. Her ability to connect to the black spinning holes allows her to control every dead thing within a four-mile radius. But that's the least of her problems. It's 2320 and Chelsan Derée has to survive another year of high school, which for her is pure and utter torture, mainly due to the fact that her schoolmate Jill Forester's favorite activity is making Chelsan's life a living hell. If that isn't enough, Chelsan's impossible crush on Ryan Vaughn makes her brain do somersaults on a regular basis, especially since she is positive he doesn't know she exists. And being eighteen Chelsan has to deal with the pressure of whether or not she should take a little pill called Age-pro, which cures aging, making the world eighteen forever and highly over-populated. When Chelsan's mother, Janet, is brutally killed, along with everyone else in her trailer park, Chelsan finds out that she was the intended target. Chelsan must use her power to raise and control the dead to save herself, protect her friends and take down the man responsible for murdering her mother. - Amazon

At 17 years old, Acacia Moirgetes is starting to feel like her boring, lonely existence is something of a tragedy. 

A Greek tragedy, that is. Acacia quickly learns that the life she thought she knew is a lie. More disturbingly, it’s a lie she’s been telling herself to avoid the terrible truth. Now she’s on a mission to corral the Greek gods of myth back to Mount Olympus before all Hades breaks loose. 

With the help of her guide, a curmudgeonly former goat named Amal, and her two Pyroskia— devastatingly handsome bodyguards, Blaise and Ash, whose devotion to Acacia runs deeper than either ever imagined—Acacia must follow the truth to its darkest ends. 

Along the way, she’ll have to recover her forgotten powers, come to terms with the woman she once was, and perhaps most importantly, discover why she left Olympus in the first place. - 

The debut of an exciting new mystery series featuring a sarcastic television producer turned amateur sleuth. 

The cause of death is "undetermined," but the cops peg Chicago television producer Kate Conway as the main suspect when her soon-to-be ex-husband, Frank, is found dead. To make matters worse-and weirder- Frank's new girlfriend suddenly wants to be friends.

Happy for the distraction, Kate throws herself into a new work assignment for the television program Missing Persons: the story of Theresa Moretti, a seemingly angelic young woman who disappeared a year earlier. All Kate wants is a cliché story and twenty-two minutes of footage, but when the two cases appear to overlap, Kate needs to work fast before another body turns up-her own.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Guest Author: Darcy Pattison

How do you Find your Way?

I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and was raised on a 1000-acre ranch 100 miles north of there. We lived just one mile from the Continental Divide, the mountains that divide the rainfall into western bound streams or eastern bound streams. Often, we would see rain on the other side of the Divide that never made it over to our side. Once, I even climbed the Divide with my brothers.

A number of years ago, my family decided to go back to New Mexico and try to revisit sites we recalled from childhood. We rented a hostel for a week. It had two long bunkhouse rooms for the children and private rooms for the adults. The cousins entertained us every night with Terrace Entertainment-skits, jokes, and songs that they put together. During the day, we took excursions to local places.

It was June 17th, when we decided to take a hike in the mountains. The hike began at about 10,000 feet elevation and was planned for a four hour journey. Hiking were myself, my husband, my brother, and three kids. It started very well with an easy trail to a placid lake, where we halted and ate lunch. We skipped rocks and played because there was time. Finally, we chose to move on.

Moss hanging from trees decorated the way. Sometimes, we found a muddy spot, where someone had laid some short logs creating a dry walk. Soon, however, the trail led through a stand of pines. June 17th! Beneath the pines there was still snow, at the least 8-10 inches deep. In places, my boot slid in so deep that slushy snow fell in the tops of the boots.

It didn't take us long to realize that something was wrong. We ought to have been near the end of the walk. Instead, we came to a trail sign that baffled us. Apparently, the winter had been harsh and had knocked down trail signs. We tried hold up the marker and figure out which way was "down, from the mountain." But it absolutely was impossible to know. By now, the sky had turned very cloudy.

We traipsed through more alpine meadows, full of bright yellow flowers, and up and over ridges. But we'd not a clue where to go. Suddenly-June 17th-it started to hail on us! We had dressed for hiking in only shorts and T-shirts. I did have a sweater with me, but my ten yr old daughter claimed it. Among everyone there, only Dwight, my hubby, had thought to bring a tiny pack with emergency supplies. He removed his red plastic poncho so we all huddled under the single poncho. Within a few minutes, hailstones the size of grapes had covered the ground with a white blanket.

I never believed that it was possible, but we could not tell directions in the least. The cloud cover diffused the light so much that you couldn't tell exactly where the sun was. When the hail quit, we struggled onward, hoping that the trail we were following would sooner or later lead down.

We passed through far more meadows where the ground was so wet that you could stand on it and bounce, like it was a sponge. Water ways ran through here. They were about one or two feet wide, but if we thrust a stick into them, we discovered they were probably 8-10 feet deep. They were small enough to step across easily, but deep enough in places to drown you in the event you misstepped.

It hailed again, and just as before, we huddled underneath the red plastic poncho, trying to make sure everyone stayed fairly dry and didn't get hit with the hailstones.

My daughter and her cousin were each sure that we would die at the top of this mountain. I knew we'd leave the mountain, however , I was afraid we would have to spend the night.
Now-if you've done much backpacking, you've already been asking yourself the following. There are actually two things we should have used that could have made it easier for us at this point.

Can you imagine what those two things might be?

A map. My brother owned a map. He left it in his van. A compass. We owned a compass, however had left it home in Arkansas.

How could we Find our way home? How do we Find our way?

It's a question that I found fascinating and was partly the inspiration for writing THE
WAYFINDER. In my story, "wayfinding" is a extraordinary skill you either have or don't
possess. If you do have the skill, then it can be developed and trained till the Finder is equipped to find anything. To quote from my book: "The Finder's Guild was expert at Finding anything and everything: lost rings, the prettiest blue dress in the market, a lost child, the way home."

I didn't have a Wayfinder on that June 17th. But I'll never be with out one ever again!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book Review: The Scar by Michael S. Weiner

Title: The Scar
Author: Michael S. Weiner
Paperback: 152 pages
Publisher: Vanguard Press, First Edition (November 25, 2010)


★ ★ 
★ ★

My thoughts:

A very good mystery-thriller book, I couldn't put it down! It was a very fast read, only took me two hours to read the whole book.  I thought the story was predictable at first because the story of the killer was provided in the story. But the twist in the story was non-stop, so every page I was like "what has just happened?!" I had to go back and check if I got it right. 

The plot was great and just when I thought the story is over, the author gives us another shocking twist. If you're looking for a great mystery-thriller book, don't miss this one.

About the book:

As a homicide detective, David Seff witnesses some of the most gruesome things life has to offer. He puts his life in danger everyday that he comes to work, visits perilous areas most people wouldn't step foot in, and deals with the scum of the earth. Catching criminals is what Detective Seff does best. This is why he was chosen to lead a task force to discover who shot and killed the well-respected Reverend Michael.
At first, the detective thought it was a random act of violence, but it turns out to be the first victim of a homicidal serial killer.
Throughout the story, you will go back in time to the killer's life as a boy and his desolate life at home with an abusive father, a terrifying encounter in New York City after running away from home, and the grisly murders. The hunt is on.
Will Detective Seff catch the mysterious man causing hysteria amongst the people of Pennsylvania, or there will be no end to the bloodshed? 

About the author:

Michael S. Weiner Esq grew up in New York State and graduated from the University of Albany. After college, he graduated from Touro Law School and became an admitted attorney in the state of New York. After practicing corporate and criminal law for several years, Weiner decided to become a middle school teacher for the New York Board of Education. Weiner still enjoys teaching, and is currently working on his next novel.

Note: I received a review copy of this book free from the author, Michael S. Weiner. The review posted above is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Guest Author : Nemo James

A Musician Unknown

Musicians have always been with us. Amongst the original cave dwellers you can be sure there was always some show off who had discovered a way of knocking out a tune on a blade of grass or laying down a beat on an empty skull. Some would have been so good that they would have gone from cave to cave entertaining others in return for a hog's head and a jug of whatever constituted special brew in those days.

When emperors sat in the Coliseum with thumbs poised deciding whether an unfortunate gladiator should live or die what would they have used to increase the suspense…. a drum roll of course. Some soldiers marched off to war armed with nothing more deadly than a bugle or a snare drum to motivate their comrades whilst at home music was played to help a terrorised public deal with the daily bombing raids. Some conspiracy theorists even maintain that The Birdie Song was written and promoted by the KGB in order to bring about the downfall of western civilisation and some might argue it succeeded.

Like it or not, music plays a major part of our lives and although I have actually met one of the few people on the planet that claim they don't like music even they admit that to be condemned to watch films or television in total silence would be unthinkable. So while music is taken so much for granted it is not surprising that the people who play that music are also overlooked. There is no shortage of autobiographies written by famous musicians that generally follow the well trodden road of boy meets band, band gets famous, boy overindulges, boy loses band but in writing my autobiography "Just A Few Seconds" I wanted to tell what life is like for most working musicians who although never becomes famous still have stories to tell.

Contrary to popular belief not all musicians spend half their lives playing in seedy bars and the other half waiting to be serviced in soup kitchens. I made a very good living as a musician and so did most of my colleagues and let's face it, who wouldn't prefer to work 2 or 3 hours a night playing music rather than 8 hours a day behind a desk or shop counter. {Jenai - agree! I wanna be like you!} I also got to travel the world and meet some amazing characters as well as backing lots of famous artists in concert. There was an abundance of work in a large variety of venues. {Jenai - Now, now...  uhum, I can sing you know?}

One night I would be working in a small jazz club and the next in the orchestra pit at Jesus Christ Superstar. One day in a well paid studio session and the next at the Grosvenor House supporting Petula Clark. Some mornings I woke up to find an envelope on my doormat containing a cheque for repeat fees for a BBC radio session I had done years earlier. 

Trying to make a living as a composer however is a very different story and one I will tell in my next post.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Review: What The Heart Sees by Kathleen Fuller

What The Heart Sees

Author: Kathleen Fuller
Paperback: 423 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (March 8, 2011)

Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

This book is a collection of three Amish love stories, (1) A Miracle for Mirriam, (2) A Place of His Own, and (3) What The Heart Sees. 

The first one I read was the 3rd story, What The Heart Sees. It was a beautiful, sweet and unique love story that had me crying. After reading the 3rd story, I tried reading A Miracle for Mirriam. It was a slow read, I finished reading it after two days. A Place of His Own is a great story too.

This is my first Amish book and I found the second and third stories enjoyable. I definitely look forward to reading more Amish romances! Thanks to the author, this book is a great introduction into Amish fictions.

About the book:
Together for the first time, three Amish romances from Kathleen Fuller.

"A Miracle for Miriam" from An Amish Christmas
Miriam fell for Seth, but he broke her heart. Years later, after he's nearly killed in an accident, Miriam sees him at a Christmas party and notices something is different about him-not just how he looks, but how he acts. When Seth pursues her, she must decide whether to guard her heart or accept his love.

"A Place of His Own" from An Amish Gathering
When Josiah left Paradise the first time, he didn't even say good-bye. Now he's back, ten years later, and he's changed. Why is he so distant and bitter? Where is the boy who used to be Amanda's best friend? Amanda is learning that there are things even a capable Amish girl can't fix. But can she stand there and watch him walk away...again?

"What the Heart Sees" from An Amish Love
A tragic accident rocks a peaceful Amish community, leaving Ellie Chupp blinded and Christopher Bender's future shattered. But they find love and forgiveness in a place they least expect.

About the author:
I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, lived in Geneva, Ohio for 16 years and now make my home in lovely Cabot, Arkansas. I've been married to James for 17 wonderful years (really, they have been wonderful!) We have three terrific children and four dogs. e have also raised cattle, pigs, and chickens at various times over the years. We would have gone into the goat business, but I had to draw the line somewhere. I started writing in 2000, and published my first short story a year later. Since then I have authored several short stories, novellas, novels, and have done a lot of freelance non-fiction work. I have also worked as an editor. I have a Masters degree in Special Education, emphasis on teaching the blind and visually impaired, and a Bachelors in Early Childhood/Elementary Education. I have taught all age groups ranging from age 4 to age 18. A few of my favorite things: my relationship with Christ, chocolate (of course!), autumn, a satisfying book, good friends, a sense of humor, people who don't take themselves seriously, haunting melodies, NFL football, and did I mention chocolate?

Note: I received a review copy of this book free from BookSneeze. The review posted above is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guest Author: Carolyn CJ Jones

Thank you, Jenai, for the wonderful opportunity to blog on your site. I am grateful to be sharing with your audience. In deciding on what to blog, I would like to talk about honesty, openness, and willingness to share with others who we are. These tools go hand-in-hand in helping us reach peace.

I think willingness is the first step, as it opens our hearts and, thus, allows us to give and then to receive. That willingness starts by just being okay with stretching our heart, allowing it to open a bit, just a bit to let others see who we are, just a bit to show we are committed to the journey.

What I mean by being committed to the journey is, being able and willing to experience, with an open mind and an open, non-judgmental heart, events that occur in the course of living our life on any particular day. Willingness attracts openness, others who are willing, who are on their own journey. We will recognize these people, and glean knowledge from the lessons they teach. And that is the receiving part of it.

The giving part of it is that which we share with others, the interest we take in them. It is also about sharing of ourselves. Honesty is a central tool to employ, as we want to portray to others the true person we are. This can be frightening for some of us, especially if we came from an abusive background of any type. We have had to hide who we are for our very survival. Now, however, that behavior is getting in our way.

Little-by-little, we share about our deepest thoughts, give hints to others about who we are and what we believe. Having been cautious about this step, I can say that people have received me with open arms. It has been safe to share who and what I am.

These three tools - honesty, openness, and willingness - are indispensable in the pursuit of peace, and once we practice them, we will experience gratitude for the experiences that flow as a result.

Carolyn CJ Jones is the award-winning author, photographer, and publisher  of the book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. If you are celebrating a transitional journey you have navigated, if you would like to embark upon such a journey, or if you are in the middle of one and struggling, this book will speak volumes. You will want to experience in your own journey what the author has experienced in hers. This book uses a collection of compelling and joyous verses, which, when coupled with photographs of wrought-iron gates, shows one soul's way to inner peace. More information about her and her book can be found at www.gatelady.com. Carolyn resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her feral cat, Izzy.

- Best Fine Art Photography Book, 2011 Bay Area Independent Publisher's Association
- Honorable Mention, Spirituality, 2010 New York Book Festival
- Honorable Mention, Photography/art, 2010 San Francisco Book Festival
- First Prize, Poetry, 2010 Do-It-Yourself Book Festival

Gate Lady Publishing
off:  415-883-8325
fax: 415-532-2381


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Book Review: How To Improve Your Life by Raymond Scudder

Title: How To Improve Your Life
Authors: Raymond H. Scudder
Paperback: 210 pages
Publisher: Mill City Press, Inc. (March 28, 2011) 


★ ★ ★   

My thoughts:

Need guide on how to improve yourself, health, relationships,  etc? How about changing jobs and questions about your finances? The book has all these topics discussed and the approach used by author is simple, therefore pretty easy to understand.

The book is divided into twelve chapters and the author ends every chapter with a summary. The best part, for me, was the guide on how to improve your career. The author provides cover letter, resume' sample and even sample questions used for job interview! I also enjoyed reading the guide on how to increase your income, eliminating debt and spending your money wisely. 

This is a great book to help you succeed in any area of endeavor. 

About the book:

A must-read for anyone who wants to improve their life but doesn't know where or how to begin. The author provides a life-changing Improvement Process you can easily follow to take control of your life and achieve whatever you want.

The simplicity and beauty of this process means that in a very short time, you will:
• start thinking and behaving in a positive, can-do way
• target the areas of your life most in need of improvement
• begin using your vast personal potential
• notice and explore opportunities you never considered before
• stay motivated and focused on what you want in life until it becomes reality
• monitor your progress and celebrate your improvement accomplishments

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE also offers a wealth of improvement tips and expert advice on how to:

• live a healthy life
• build and strengthen your relationships
• boost your career
• achieve personal financial success
• make internal changes that maximize your ability to accomplish whatever you want to do

About the author:


Improvement of himself and others has been a driving force in the life and career of RAYMOND H. SCUDDER (Ray). Born and raised in Los Angeles, he has enjoyed a distinguished forty-five-year career as a human resources and quality improvement professional. A graduate of the University of Southern California with a BS Degree in Public Administration, he is also a Six Sigma certified process improvement specialist. Ray served as director of human resources for one of the largest medical centers in the state of Oregon and then as vice president of human resources and quality management for one of the largest medical centers in the state of Washington. In 1994 he founded Human Resources Consulting & Training which provided consulting and employee training programs to over 30 hospitals in the Pacific Northwest and served as its president until retiring in 2006. He and his wife, Jan, live in Lake Stevens, Washington.

Note: I received a review copy of this book free from the author, Raymond Scudder. The review posted above is based on my personal thoughts while reading the book.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Guest Author: Daniel Wright

Write a Book?
Becoming an author was the last thought on my mind as I graduated college. I had just started a small plastics business, recently been married, and witnessed the birth of my first niece. At the age of 23, the roadmap for my life seemed to be pointed towards the typical American dream of finding a reliable job, settling down in a nice suburban home, and raising a family. I had no idea that my life was going to change in a very drastic way.
Remembering the Stories
I could not ignore the requests. My Dad was a master story teller. Growing up, Papa Wright would often accompany me to father/son camp. Right around the time that the lights were suppose to go out, all the campers in our cabin would gather around his bunk and wait for the next installment of his adventure stories; many of which were loosely based on his own experiences backpacking in the Alaskan wilderness. It was quite an anomaly to have 15 young boy campers stay silent for hours on end, breathlessly waiting for my father to continue his story from the night before.
The fascination with my father’s storytelling ability continued as he became a teacher. I cannot even begin to count the number of former students and parents that would come up to me and ask if “Mr. Wright” was still telling his “wild adventure” stories. My friends and I would often sit around and recount our favorite stories he had told us. One day, while enjoying lunch with a friend, the conversation again turned to my Dad’s stories. “You know, I think they would make a great plot for a book,” my friend remarked. A light bulb went off in my head. My father did not have the patience or writing ability to create a book, but I did.
I called my Dad that night. Over dinner at a local restaurant, I pitched the idea to my father. We talked wildly into the night, carefully laying the foundation for what would become The Wild Adventures of Eli Johnson and Curly Bill, the first book in our series. We were convinced that these stories had enough action and adventure to lure even the most resistant kid away from video games, and into a lifelong love of reading. The next day I went right to work on writing the book.
Tragedy Strikes
A few months into brainstorming ideas for the book, I received a knock on my door at three o’clock in the morning. There stood my father standing in the doorway, sobbing uncontrollably. Through painful words he told me that my sister had been killed in a car accident. It’s hard to describe the pure unadulterated pain that shot through my body as my mind tried to wrap around the concept of what was being told to me.
As the weeks dragged on, the book became an afterthought. I felt like a walking zombie. The creativity that had existed between my father and I was gone. The will to act like a functioning member of society had ceased, replaced by a longing for things to be as they once were.
A New Day Arises
Like the sun rising after a rainy night, hope began to filter through the cracks of our misery. Six months after the tragedy of my sister’s death, I began to sit down and write again. It must have been God’s great mercy, for the words began to flow. I finished the entire manuscript in two months. I rushed over to my parent’s house and showed my Dad the final version of the story. As he read, a smile began to appear on his face; the first smile I had seen from him in a long time!

Flash Forward
As I reflect back on the last two years, I can clearly see that The Wild Adventures of Eli Johnson and Curly Bill was the catalyst that brought our family back from the brink of despair. It gave my family something to be proud of again.  Within the first four months of the books release, I visited dozens of elementary schools in support of the book. I passionately spoke to thousands of students on the joys of reading, and the need to get up off the couch and explore the wonderful outdoors. The storytelling baton has been passed from my father to me, as I got the opportunity to watch his stories captivate a larger audience than ever before.
 The proudest moment of my life came recently, as I preformed a speaking engagement for students and parents at the Elementary School where my father teaches. The school graciously allowed my dad to deliver the introduction before I spoke. There were few dry eyes in the building as my Dad announced how proud he was to call me his son. Many of those in the audience had stood with us during our time of need. As father and son walked off the stage, arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders, a feeling of peace came over both of us. Though neither one of us could have created the book by ourselves, together we were able to accomplish our goal.
The Wild Adventures of Eli Johnson and Curly Bill, is an action/adventure story written for Junior level readers between the ages of 7-12. Set in the 1800’s, the book follows Eli and Curly Bill as they try to survive wild animals, bandits, and hostile Native American’s in their quest to find gold. These days Dan remains busy touring local schools promoting the joy of reading and inspiring children to develop a love for Michigan’s great outdoors. You can obtain a copy of the book by visiting Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble.com. To learn more about Dan, or see pictures of his presentations, visit www.danwrightbooks.com.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

In My Mailbox

IMM (In My Mailbox) is a weekly meme hosted and created by Kristi at The Story Siren.

This is a way to share the books we received for review, bought and borrowed from friends or library.

Received for review

As a homicide detective, David Seff witnesses some of the most gruesome things life has to offer. He puts his life in danger everyday that he comes to work, visits perilous areas most people wouldn't step foot in, and deals with the scum of the earth. Catching criminals is what David Seff does best. This is why he was chosen to lead a task force to discover who shot and killed the well-respected Reverend Michael. At first the detective thought it was a random act of violence, but it turns out to be the first victim of a homicidal serial killer.Throughout the story, you will go back in time to the killer's life as a boy and his desolate life at home with an abusive father, a terrifying encounter in New York City after running away from home, and the grisly murders. The hunt is on. Will Detective Seff catch the mysterious man causing hysteria amongst the people of Pennsylvania, or will there be no end to the bloodshed? 

Even seasoned reporters have admitted that "Clark Rockefeller" spooks them. For over thirty years, the man born in Germany as Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter has been reinventing himself with ever more elaborate ruses, eventually reemerging in New York City in the early nineties as a counterfeit Rockefeller heir. By then, he was quite possibly a double murderer: In 1985, his San Marino, California landlord and wife disappeared; ten years later, a skeleton, believed to be one of the pair, was dug up in their backyard. In March, "Rockefeller," already serving for another crime, was formally charged with murder. Mark Seal's new book takes us as close into the mind of this strange man as we can ever hope (or wish) to be. The shocking odyssey of a human chameleon.

More than 400 years after the death of Elizabeth I, the last and longest-reigning of the Tudor monarchs, the dynasty continues to fascinate us, living on in Hollywood blockbusters like “The Other Boleyn Girl,” television series like Showtime’s “The Tudors” and books like Hilary Mantel’s award-winning Wolf Hall. ELIZABETH I (Viking; ISBN: 9780670022533; On-sale Date: April 5, 2011; Pages: 688; Price: $30), by Margaret George, one of our premier writers of historical fiction, is one of the few works to explore England’s most famous queen at the height of her powers, picking up where other books leave off—just as the Spanish Armada is about to invade. In truth, the Armada was the beginning of a great era, not its finale.

Picking up the story of Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) thirteen years later, the sequel El Filibusterismo, presents a gripping tale of obsession and revenge. Gone are the Noli’s themes of innocent love, its hero, Ibarra, a man of great integrity and vision, replaced by the mysterious jeweler Simoun and a venal—and reprehensible—cast of characters. The result of Rizal’s growth as writer and influenced by his exposure to international events, El Filibusterismo is a riveting and suspenseful account of Filipino resistance to colonial rule that still resonates today.

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