Tuesday, December 31, 2013

a series within a series.

Dark Lycan by Christine Feehan is the 24th book in the Dark series, and Book 1 in a Special Carpathian Trilogy within the Dark series. It’s a series within a series basically.

A little background for those who are out of the loop: This is a series about supernatural beings called Carpathians. The basic gist about this group is that all Carpathian males must find their life mates before they turn vampire or greet the dawn. Without a life mate, the males no longer see in color, feel pain or experience emotions. A life mate is the light to their dark. She is the keeper of his heart and the keeper of his soul.

Our main character is a half Carpathian, half wolf named Fenis. Being that he is “mixed” he could be killed by either race. Fenis meets Tatijana, a feisty Carpathian woman and quickly realizes that he found his life mate. However, his life being in constant danger proves to constantly test the survival of their love and their lives.

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Monday, December 30, 2013

if you’re looking to be transformed this new year...

Susan Shumsky, D.D. has divided her book, The Power of Auras into four sections. Part 1 introduces the human energy field (aura) and explains how it brings life to individuals. Part 2 helps you see, feel, and experience subtle energy through several different methods, exercises, and other tools. Part 3 helps you heal not only your own auric field, but also energy fields in your environment. Part 4 teaches methods for augmenting and enhancing your energy field, and energizing your body through meditation. If you’re looking for benefits such as energy, eliminating negativity from your life and finding peace, this is the eclectic book for you.

Friday, December 27, 2013

this doesn’t end well.

Dallas Noir is a collection of short stories set in a mix of neighborhoods in and surrounding Dallas, Texas. The “noir” part of the title refers to the literary genre that usually includes a protagonist who does not save the day, but is a victim, a suspect, or a perpetrator. Other common characteristics include the self-destructive qualities of the protagonist. While some of the 16 selections are better than others, David Hale Smith has compiled a great collection of brand new short stories written by various authors. So if you’re looking for a tale that doesn’t end well, you’ve found a bunch.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

quirky characters.

The Cleaner of Chartres, a novel by Salley Vickers was one of those stories that just absorbs the reader. Agnes Morel is a loveable young woman who arrives from nowhere, belonging to no one, and makes her living cleaning the cathedral of Chartres. The heart of this novel is not the story of Agnes cleaning this extraordinary cathedral in this small French town, although she does it well, and helps many people along the way. The heart of the novel is the painful story of her past.

Alternating between present-day, The Cleaner of Chartres is filled with quirky characters and shares the message that although it may be difficult, it IS possible to separate who you were in the past from who you want to be in the future.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Merry Christmas to all. I got the latest Stephanie Plum novel AND Elizabeth Gilbert's newest fiction, so merry merry Christmas to me! Yay yay. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

what a great premise.

Ghost Gone Wild is the fourth installment of the Bailey Ruth Ghost series by Carolyn Hart. Bailey Ruth is a ghost that is allowed to return to earth as an emissary from Heaven’s Department of Good Intentions. Her latest mission seems to be off the grid, and right from the start she suspects that something is different, as the Rescue Express seems uncertain about her destination. Luckily arrives in her old town just in time to rescue wealthy Nick Magruder from being shot. After she saves the Nick, Bailey finds out she is stuck on earth because it was not a true mission from the Department of Good Intentions. Using her sleuthing skills and sweet talk, Bailey goes undercover in different disguises to find out who would have the motive to harm Nick, and why this victim is now a suspect for murder.

Monday, December 23, 2013

because grief hits hard this time of year.

Not to be a downer during the holiday season, but we do need to remember that there are a lot of people out there dealing with the loss of loved ones, and whether it’s been a week, a year or ten, that grief is especially hard to handle this time of year. Christina Rasmussen’s Second Firsts: Live, Laugh, and Love Again is the perfect resource for those of you who are experiencing the pain of loss. Rasmussen's five stages of "Life Re-entry" are: Get Real, Plug In, Shift, Discover, and Re-enter Life. She virtually holds your hand and walks with you through these different stages, leading the way for you, helping you regain your life. This author is not only trained on the topic, but she experienced her own personal loss when her husband died of cancer in her early thirties. So if you’re hurting, if your days have been long and dismal, consider this book fate stepping.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Vanished: The Sixty Year Search for the Missing Men of WWII is an excellent account of Dr. Pat Scannon’s search for the lost soldiers of the Pacific Theater. This plane and crew was pronounced MIA during the World War II battle in the Pacific, and never heard from again. Although Scannon first got involved purely due to obsession with finding answers, it soon became about providing closure for the family members.

Author Wil S. Hylton has expertly combined the stories of the missing men, their families and friends left behind, the history of the time period, AND the modern day search to find what vanished so long ago. Impeccable research, and putting together the pieces of the lives that were lost, I’ve never read anything like it.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

beaders of the world, unite!

What am I looking for in a good craft book? Oh, I’m glad you asked. Well, I look for easy to understand directions with A LOT of illustrations, as I am a visual learner. What am I looking for in a good beading book? That’s easy, anything by Diane Fitzgerald. This chick keeps coming out with the best illustrated bead books I have ever seen, and she outdoes herself with her latest, Shaped Beadwork & Beyond. This is a resource that should be gifted to every artsy-crafty-jewelry making person on your Christmas gift list as it includes 40 amazing projects that are super unique and adorable. It is heavy on the necklaces, leaving only a few bracelet and earring projects, but every project is super inspiring, so who knows? You may use these ideas and begin designing your own.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

a home run.

Every company is now a media company whether they like it or not, which is why Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy, Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk is a book for the employee, employer, social manager, or even consumer, aka EVERYONE.

Vaynerchuk covers ways to market on the major social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and tumblr. He put the majority of his effort into the Facebook chapter, which will likely be the most beneficial to readers. Included are actual examples of what doesn't work when it comes to social media marketing, what does AND how specifically to do it. Get ready for some one-on-one mentoring!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

an appalachian debut novel.

Karen Zacharias is known for her non-fiction works. Mother of Rain is her first novel, and fans couldn’t be more pleased with it.

After her mother passes away, Maizee Hurd is sent to live with her childless aunt and uncle in Tennessee. After facing major tragedy at such a young age Maizee suffers from mental illness in a time when there are not a lot of resources for her. Although her aunt and uncle love her as if she were their own, this is a story about how love does not conquer all. Maizee eventually falls in love with a kind man named Zeb, and it appears as if he is what she needs to calm the voices in her head. When Maizee discovers she’s pregnant, she and Zeb marry. All is going well, despite the surprise bundle of joy, until Pearl Harbor is attacked and Zeb feels he must enlist. While he’s gone, Maizee’s voices come back and she struggles to fight them.
You’ll find it hard to put this novel down until it’s finished, and after, you’ll wonder if it was really fiction at all.

Monday, December 16, 2013

when i get that feeling, i want natural healing.

Heart disease kills more people than any other medical condition. Fact. Cardiologist, Chauncey Crandall, who has to spend his time elbow deep in heart surgeries would like to prevent this, which is why he has developed a 90-day program to stop and reverse heart disease in his medical reference titled The Simple Heart Cure. Just because you’ve been eating like a savage and not exercising your whole life, doesn’t mean that it’s over for you. You can reverse the effects of your unhealthy lifestyle by MAKING A CHANGE, or four.

Dr. Crandall lays out his plan very clearly, so it’s easy for anyone to understand. He explains how your lifestyle choices affect your life, and includes lots of advice and recipes to follow in order to get you off the path to heart attacks and medications and on the path to health and happiness.

Friday, December 13, 2013

required reading for politicians.

Authors Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson are here to explain why some nations are prosperous and others not in their economic resource titled Why Nations Fail. These two have spent 15 years collaboratively studying many nations around the world, and with their collective research have drawn some interesting conclusions. I thought the very first example touched on was particularly interesting regarding Nogales which borders the US and Mexico. The observation is made that the wealth on one side of the border is very different from the other despite the populations having the same ancestry. The facts are told in a narrative voice rather than in graph/chart form which I personally enjoyed. But I know that many of you economists out there prefer your charts so that you can get your information quickly. There is a lot of history in this book, which could bore some of you who are just looking for the answers, but if you have some time, I suggest picking up a copy.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

well that was uncomfortable.

Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower is a fascinating case study of a dozen women, detailing the roles they played before, during, and after the Nazi era. It is actually pretty horrendous. Not the writing of course, but the content. Lower exposes these Nazi women as murderers and thieves. Just as heartless as their male counterparts. Although many German women during WWII were not as cruel as the ones in this book, they did do their part to help the system function and let’s be honest, that was enough to lose sleep at night.

If you find it hard to believe that women were active participants in the destruction of the Jews, check out the citations. Lower has done her research.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

not that you’re planning for it, but just in case it happens.

Divorce. Bah, what an ugly word. I hated that my parents were divorced growing up. Coming from a broken home and having a different last name than my mom, it sucked. I didn’t want my parents to still be together by any means, I just wished my mom had picked a different guy to marry and have babies with the first time around. The thing is, divorce happens and it could happen to anybody – EVEN Christians. No one is safe. Elisabeth Klein Corcoran is sharing some details from her own divorce in hopes to help others in her book titled Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith Through the End of a Christian Marriage. The absolute best thing about Unraveling is how candid Corcoran gets with readers. She is honest and real, and this is what makes this self-help so helpful. In each chapter of Unraveling, she walks us through a different emotion you will feel if your marriage is coming apart, and after each chapter she leaves us with a Prayer - and A Next Step - and A Way Forward. So instead of feeling defeated, you are filled with courage and hope for the future. Amen to that!

Monday, December 9, 2013

the delphi trilogy.

I love me some young adult suspense, and I am totally loving this new trilogy by Chris Everhart, so much in fact that I read Book 1 & 2 in just a few days. It is definitely the type of series that will catch the attention of more reluctant readers, as Everhart’s writing is very descriptive (in a good way) giving teenage readers the ability to easily “see” the characters and environment they are reading about. And the Delphi aspect comes from real ancient Greek history incorporated into the books. Very cool.

In The League of Delphi, book 1 of the Delphi Trilogy, 17-year-old Zach has returned to his hometown to rediscover who he is. He has spent that last ten years hiding out on strict orders from his mother to never reveal his real true identity. Now that she has passed away from cancer, he finally goes home to find some answers. In the midst of his digging to figure out what happened in his own past, Zach teams up with a girl named Ashley and discovers that the entire town is being controlled by a secret society that has the entire population under surveillance. And the secrets just keep on coming out…

In book 2, titled The Delphi Deception, Romance continues to brew between Zach and Ashley, and when trouble strikes he will do anything to save her. Zach and an unlikely accomplice team up to try to solve the mystery that surrounds the entire town and save his first love. This installment delivers the same page-turning action and suspense as the first, turning this series into one that both teens and adults can enjoy.

Friday, December 6, 2013

must-read memoir.

The title Preemptive Love by Jeremy Courtney already had me thinking at first glance. First the title, Preemptive Love, which is a love that is both proactive and preventative. A love that saves people. Along with a strong anti-violence message, that is what this memoir is all about.

Jeremy, an American who was working in Iraq couldn’t help but notice the huge backlog of children waiting for heart surgery. He, his family and other supporters established a non-profit organization called the Preemptive Love Coalition in hopes to save as many sick children as possible. This is his story including all of the life-threatening challenges he faced in a country that is known for its violence and chemical warfare. One of his mantras, “love first, ask questions later” will stay with you long after the last page.

I have received a free copy of this book from Howard Books, for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

a masterpiece cookbook.

Food Network darling, Sunny Anderson has welcomed us into her kitchen with her very first cookbook Sunny’s Kitchen: Easy Food for Real Life which includes 125 easy AND affordable recipes that everyone in your family will love. I would make a solid 75% of these recipes just based on my first look, and that says a lot. Most cookbooks have me weeding through a lot of unnecessary recipes before I get to the good stuff.

I make an excellent meatloaf that’s a real crowd pleaser with my dinner guests, but I decided to try Sunny’s Spicy Garlic Meatloaf to change it up a bit, and oh my! All of the recipes I’ve tried so far are super tasty with clear directions. Sunny’s got my recommendation for sure.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

a great debut.

Valerie Plame is an undercover CIA agent turned author, and apparently she took the advice to write about what you know based on her debut novel Blowback and her spy main character Vanessa Pierson. In this story, Vanessa has one all-consuming goal, to catch the international arms dealer and terrorist known as Bhoot. This is a spy thriller, and it reads like one, filled with suspense, fast paced split second decision making by our heroine, and lots of intensity. The best part? Authenticity. I mean, these two kick ass ladies have the same initials for a reason.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

get some suspense back in your life.

Barbara Rogan’s A Dangerous Fiction is full of twists and turns that keep you guessing into the very end. My favorite kind of murder-mystery.

Jo Donovan is a successful literary agent. One night after work she is approached by a wannabe writer who insists that she take a look at a manuscript that her agency had already turned down. Saved by her colleague Jean-Paul, Jo tries to disregard her stalker situation until there are attacks against her business and even her clients. Enter Tommy Cullen, a homicide detective whom Joe had a past relationship with. But even he can’t be trusted to help a girl out because in Jo’s opinion, no stranger could hate her this much.

Monday, December 2, 2013

prairie style.

I would believe anything that Rachel Ashwell has to say about interior design based on the look of her Rachel Ashwell Couture Prairie book alone. It’s so gorgeous; I use it as home d├ęcor. I don’t know about prairie style, but shabby chic is right up my alley, and that is what Ashwell is about. I bought a house four months ago, and am taking a long time to decorate because it’s so hard for me to commit when I don’t find exactly what I’m looking for. It appears as if anything old that Ashwell touches turns to gold, so if it’s inspiration that you’re looking for, you’ve found it.