Sunday, August 31, 2014

MR. TALL, A Novella and Stories by Tony Earley

Mr. Tall is a collection of seven novellas each with its own interesting story of men and women who show that communication is one of many keys to a successful and lasting friendship whether married or not.  



Haunted Castles of the Barrier Islands starts with Darryl and Cheryl visiting their daughter Misti at college and meeting her boyfriend Kyle for the first time her father says in response to the t-shirt he is wearing, “Nice asterisks, Slick.” (Darryl had randomly selected “Slick” from a list of diminutions that included “Buddy,” Chief,” and “Sport.”) Kyle blinked and let go of Darryl’s thumb. He either didn’t know what an asterisk was, or couldn’t believe that Misti’s dad had just called him “Slick.”

Cheryl and Darryl departing from the short visit decide to drive along the coast for sightseeing adventures. Darryl has concerns about their marriage relationship and how long it will last since they no longer own and operate the defunct newspaper, Daily Argus that brought them together as a couple.




Mr. Tall begins as Plutina Scroggs and Charlie Shires marry and as a result causes restrained relationships with her family because she her shared role as a caretaker for her mother will fall upon her sister and father.

Charlie begins working at a railroad company and stays Monday through Friday leaving Plutina alone in their cabin. Charlie warns her never to visit the neighbor over the hill because of town gossip about William Tolliver, who is referred to as Mr. Tall and his willingness to shoot anyone who steps foot on his land. Plutina ignores Charlie’s warning and ends up trapped in Mr. Tall’s barn with no way to escape.


The Cryptozoologist is Rose who fell in love at the tender age of eighteen with her forty-three year old college professor Fieldin whom she married but after years of marriage became ill and passed away. The night Fieldin died Rose saw a creature she believed to be Bigfoot and starts her research on the creature hoping it will return for her to snap a photograph.

Yard Art Cammie Carson is in the middle of a divorce from renowned country singer Keith Carson and having a discussion with her plumber Arlen about a William Edmondson sculpture she owns when Arlen states that the woman who babysat him when he was younger had an Edmondson sculpture in her backyard. While Cammie thinks she will be able to acquire an undiscovered work of art she learns a lesson concerning the ‘haves and have-nots’ of the world.



Have You Seen the Stolen Girl? zeroes in on Mrs. Wilson who lives in the house where Jesse James hid while evading the law in 1875 and every Halloween shares the story with the children who come for tricks or treats. Realizing her story is of no consequence at all to this generation of children she stops giving the candy treats and focuses instead on a ‘stolen girl’ that lived on the same block in her neighborhood trying to remember if she ever saw the little girl.

Just Married is comprised of four vignettes about married couples and their situations.

Jack and the Mad Dog is a surprisingly quirky sequel to the nursery rhyme ‘Jack and Jill’ that went up the hill to fetch a pail of water. This sequel is written with an interesting plot twist that is very enjoyable to read.



Mr. Tall: A Novella and Stories is a good collection of short stories surely to pique the interest of relationships genre book lovers alike. Even though the tales are short in length, they do pack a punch in their individual way. I recommend to avid readers who will enjoy this collection of works and tempted to use as a gifting opportunity.


I received this book free from Little, Brown, and Company Publishing through the Net Galley reviewer program in exchange for an unbiased opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

TODAY! - 'I LOVE BOOKS' Special Guest Author: Tess Thompson

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TESS THOMPSON
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LOCK IN by John Scalzi

Haden’s syndrome is a physical and mental condition and disability with initial flu-like symptoms followed by possible secondary stage of meningitis….leading to complications in the third stage of complete paralysis of the nervous system…..not more than 100,000 people worldwide….experienced no physical or mental declines despite significant changes in their brain structure….this latter category would go on to become “Integrators.” Integrators are people who for a price allow their bodies to be used by Haden victims by the neural network placed in the brain allowing life experiences and adventures otherwise not available because of their current disability.

FBI Law Enforcement partners Agent Vann and Agent Shane investigate crimes committed by Integrators and begin their first case together collecting evidence on Integrator Nicholas Bell who allegedly murdered another Integrator in a hotel room meeting. As the case, moves forward Agents Vann and Shane discover a sinister plan to monopolize the neural network industry and produce a neural brain mesh net that takes total control of Integrators and their bodies enabling restricted access to perform unlawful deeds against the will of the Integrator. With the investigation at full speed, the Integrators are staging walkouts, traffic jams, and protests against the Abrams-Kettering Bill that cuts subsidies and programs for Hadens that would leave Integrators and Haden victims without opportunity for employment.

Lock In is a futuristic novel complete with mystery, suspense, intrigue, and a lesson in Neuroscience mixed
with computer technology. The storyline is believably written with clear explanation of the subject matter and recommended to add on your bookshelf and as a possible gifting opportunity to fellow book lovers.

I received this book free from the publisher Macmillan-Tor Forge through the Net Galley review program in exchange for an unbiased opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Friday, August 29, 2014

HOW TO WRITE ANYTHING by Laura Brown


“There’s nothing wrong with the six-step process…The real key to success is not going through these six steps in any particular order but simply in ensuring that you’ve touched all bases at least once as you go through the writing process.”
 –Laura Brown

How to Write Anything begins with the basic six-step process of writing as know your purpose, know your reader, brainstorm, organize, draft, and revise to create and finalize your writing project. There are several areas covered in this handy reference book from preparing a simple note to constructing a working resume to producing detailed recipe cards for the chef in you or gifting opportunity. The information contained within includes ‘do and don’t’ tips for every writing entry along with sample writings to ensure you generate the best-written communication possible.

Do you have a concern about communicating through business and social emails or social media message ads? There is no cause for alarm because information is plentiful in length including newspaper articles and a very useful section on creating surveys and survey questions. For high school and college students there is a dedicated section for an essay, thesis, resume, and cover letters adding an additional part for ‘Action Verbs for Resumes’ for those currently seeking employment. Again, all subject matter has detailed explanations, annotations, and summaries from writing a brochure and sales proposal to wedding vows to apology letters.

This book is a handy reference guide for producing or creating written communication for personal or public use including novelists as I found good pointers on blogging and recommend to all who write for business or pleasure.

I received this book free from W.W. Norton & Company through the Net Galley reviewer program in exchange for an unbiased opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

BLUE MIDNIGHT by Tess Thompson



“Are the panties for wearing or flossing my teeth?”
–Text from Blythe to her sister Bliss
“This gift unsettled me more than the wrinkles, gray hair, and subsequent makeover. I stuffed it all back in the bag.” 
–Blythe Heywood Graham

Blythe Graham is freshly divorced and packing the last of her possessions found in a drawer when she discovers a scrap of paper with Finn Lanigan’s phone number from the three-day folk music festival she attended before her marriage to Michael. She begins to reminisce of her time with Finn, decides to telephone him for old time’s sake, and finds the number belongs to a new customer.

Meanwhile, Blythe’s sister Bliss conveys the message that Blythe needs a makeover and re-ignite her passion for photography with her newfound freedom by vacationing in the same place as the folk music festival she attended years ago. Bliss makes reservations at a bed and breakfast inn for Blythe along with a complete makeover of clothing, hair, makeup, and a new car for her vacation adventure while her children are away for three weeks with Michael in Hawaii. Arriving in Idaho Blythe makes inquiries about Finn discovering startling information regarding the Lanigan clan having her think revisiting the past stirring old memories might be a regretful choice.

Tess Thompson writes a mystery tale of lost love, newfound love, and family relationships that exposes family secrets, blackmail, and murder in the Lanigan dynasty. A compelling story full of emotions and drama is a recommended read for mystery suspense booklovers to place on their reading lists as the author has penned another gripping plot twisting end novel.

I received this book free from CLP Blog Tours in exchange for an unbiased opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines.



CLP BLOG TOURS presents LOSING HIM, GAINING YOU by Corbin Lewars Excerpt




From 
Chapter 11: Your Body


Reacquainting Yourself With Your Body

You painted your bedroom a luscious eggplant color. You’ve taken a good look at your finances and figured out how you can make it through the next few months or maybe even year. You’ve reached out to other divorced women. You’ve taken some time to be by yourself and cry, rage, mourn, and consider your part in the divorce. Now, it’s time to take a look at your body.

 “What?!” you say.
That’s right lady, time to take it off. You’ve been looking at your emotional state, now it’s time to look at your physical state. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s had the occasional affair with a pound cake. There’s nothing wrong with that, I love a good treat. It’s only a problem if the chocolate bar became your way to cope, and way to not cope. When that happens, you’re no longer treating yourself, you’re ignoring reality.

Speaking of ignoring things, when is the last time you looked at your naked body? If you can’t remember, we’re in trouble. When you took a gander, did you groan or smile? Or was it all a blur because you were running so fast to put on your natty old bathrobe? Don’t worry, I won’t make you get rid of said bathrobe, but I will encourage you to stop hiding behind it.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

ENTICING JOURNEY Book Promotions presents FRAGMENT by Elle Wade (Excerpt)



Synopsis
What happens when something so terrible tears you apart from the inside out? 

You become a fragment of yourself. 

On the right path to achieving her hopes and dreams, Campbell Stevens has always been a model student. The first time she lets loose during her senior year of high school, she loses everything. 

Living in a nightmare after surviving the most traumatic event, Campbell learns to be content by walking through life single and unattached, free of the uncertainty that relationships bring. She isn’t looking for love. In fact, she goes out of her way to avoid it—that is, until she runs into Deacon Montgomery, a kind and handsome Chicago firefighter. She denies her instant attraction to him, only making him more persistent in his pursuit of her. Despite her desire to be with Deacon, Campbell is too damaged to share herself with anyone else. 

Life left Campbell shattered. Can Deacon help put the fragments back together? Or will she forever be broken?

Buy Now
Excerpt
With a half sob, I scream into the air that's charged with the scent and flavor of sex, like an electrical storm of raw pleasure. I feel the warmth flush through my body and I lose my mind to the pleasure it brings. Deacon continues to taste below as he holds my quaking thighs. The ecstasy exits my pores, leaving my skin covered in head-to-toe goose bumps.

My shaking finally starts to slow as Deacon’s tongue mirrors the decelerating cadence. I breathe in and out, deeply trying to regain my equilibrium. My skin glistens with a thin sheen of sweat, my heart racing while my mind and body are in a post-orgasm utopian fog.

What the hell was that?

MeetTheAuthor
Ellie Wade resides in southwest Michigan with her husband, three young children, and two dogs. She has a Master’s degree in education from Eastern Michigan University and is a huge University of Michigan sports fan. She loves the beauty of her home state, especially the lakes and the gorgeous autumn weather. When she is not writing, you will find her reading, snuggled up with her kiddos, or spending time with family and friends. She loves traveling and exploring new places with her family.
 



HOSTED BY:
EJ Button

CLP BLOG TOURS presents PLEASE, PRETTY LIGHTS by Ina Zajac Excerpt #clpblogtours


Chapter 4


***Via
Via leaned against the side of the 7-Eleven and pounded her third mini bottle of chardonnay. After leaving the Space Needle, she had walked around the same block three times, past that same Pink Elephant Car Wash, three times. She couldn’t find her car to save her life, which was proof she had no business behind the wheel anyway. She had called a cab company, but they could only take her as far as the West Seattle ferry terminal. If she were to walk onto the ferry, she would have to go to the upper deck and just knew she would run into people from church. And she didn’t want to go home anyway. Her chest felt toasty warm.
She scarfed down her last mini powdered donut and threw away the wrapper. It was a sign, an actual, literal sign. In the next parking lot over, the Hotties marquee changed colors for the two-hundredth time—hot pink to purple to white, and then red, red, red, and then hot pink to purple to white. The letters flashed, “Gallery Night. She’s a Masterpiece. Amateur Night. Win $750.”
She had nowhere else to be. Screw it. Why not? Before she’d started dating Dan, she and her college roommates had often gone dancing at the Blue Tonic, a bar just over the Canadian border where the drinking age was just nineteen. Its big dance floor had two dancing platforms, each surrounded by a gilded cage awash in spotlights. Toward the end of the night, the bouncers invited a few girls to go inside and dance a song or two. Ceremoniously opening the side doors, the bouncers escorted the chosen ones inside. There was no lock. The bars were wide enough that the girls could climb out at any time. Via had gone in often and never gotten out early—not once. Drinks could wait, her bladder could wait, flirting could wait. A fire alarm could wait, because her time there had felt precious and fleeting, and her soul had wanted to stay and dance forever. Rarely making eye contact with the men watching her, she’d felt their lustful stares. She had fed on their energy and lit up from the inside out.
This is how it is supposed to be, she had realized, lost in the lights. Her opera-obsessed parents had chosen this life for her the day they had chosen the name Violetta over Brunhilde. The day they had chosen Verde over Wagner. They could have named her after a Norse warrior woman who rode a flying horse and kicked ass, but instead they’d chosen an Italian slut who coughed blood into a hanky. She could have gone by Hilde or Hil. Maybe she could have been brave. A badass.
The Hotties sign drew her in even more. The flashing neon began to morph, then hum and buzz. She blinked. Wait, she realized. Wait, she knew those lights. Their unadulterated love blazed toward her. They danced and shimmered just for her. They vibrated their epiphany. Pretend, pretend, they urged. Don’t you remember? The recollection teased her, but retreated before she could fully recognize it. Instead she softened her focus, and let them blur and buzz and snap her into a new state of being.
She tucked her last mini bottle into her purse for later. While crossing over into the Hotties parking lot she tripped, but caught herself. She just laughed it off, too wasted to care. Should she take her mother’s ring off? She wondered. No, it would be safest right where it was. She skimmed her thumb back and forth over it for luck, for courage. She didn’t let herself pause at the tinted double doors for fear she would change her mind. Just one night dancing. Lost under the lights. She couldn’t stand being alone with herself, so she would just be somebody else. Just for the night.



GOODREADS  -  BARNES & NOBLE




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

THE MESSY BAKER by Charmian Christie

“I stand on a chair pulled up to the counter….as I strain to see everything she is doing….I will be good, better than I’ve ever been before, simply because she has answered my prayers and is teaching me to bake.”

The aforementioned quote is the introduction to The Messy Baker by Charmian Christie, which is a warm and touching tribute to her mother, the ‘Kitchen God’ in Charmian’s eyes as a child.  Charmian further shares, “Never trust a person with a clean kitchen. Baking is a messy art….it means she’s baking….creating…..Be messy with me.” Now begins the journey turning ‘baking messy’ into something good and tasty.

There are the lists of essential items needed as most cookbooks have, and the “I’m-a-baker-and-I’ve-earned-it-items, which includes a stand mixer and candy thermometer. If you are willing to roll up your sleeves and let the flour and sugar fly, you are ready for this baker’s cookbook.

What I like in a cookbook is section titles and how creative they are. The sections in Messy Baker are Pastry, Flaky, Crumbly, Dippable, Sloppy, Smudgy, Gritty, and Drippy. Each recipe has two or three sentences explaining what your baking experience should be, giving it a personal feel and touch.

A few recipes I believe worth the messiness are Lime-Cilantro Dipping Sauce, Spinach and Dill Pockets, Fig and Apricot Newtons, Balsamic Roasted Strawberries, Smoked Paprika Corn Fritters, and Dill Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Tzatziki. 


Charmian Christie delivers her recipes in a relaxed and humorous fashion. I recommend this cookbook to the true baker at heart, who does not mind a messy kitchen. This would also be a great gift to a happy chef with baker’s hands. 

I received this book free from Rodale Books through the Net Galley Review Program for an honest and unbiased opinion.



Monday, August 25, 2014

CLP BLOG TOURS presents PLEASE, PRETTY LIGHTS by Ina Zajac #clpblogtours


It's September when good girl Via Sorenson stumbles into a Seattle strip club, drunk and alone on her twenty-first birthday. Matt and Nick--best friends, bandmates, and bouncers--do their best to shield her from their sadistic cocaine-trafficking boss, Carlos. They don't realize her daddy issues come with a forty-million-dollar trust fund and a legacy she would do anything to escape.



She is actually Violetta Rabbotino, who had been all over the news ten years earlier when her father, an acclaimed abstract artist, came home in a rage, murdered her mother, then turned the gun on himself. Young Violetta was spared, hidden behind the family Christmas tree, veiled by the mysticism of its pretty lights whose unadulterated love captivated and calmed her.

Now, desperate to shed her role as orphaned victim, Via stage dives into a one-hundred-day adventure with Matt and Nick, the bassist and drummer of popular nineties cover band Obliviot. The rock-and-roll lifestyle is the perfect distraction--until she is rattled by true love. As Christmas looms closer, her notorious past becomes undeniable. How will she ever untangle herself from her twisted string of pretty lights?


Find the Book!




Praise for Please, Pretty Lights:
Dark, gritty, and intoxicating...exactly how I like it. Please, Pretty Lights, a poignant portrait of music, drugs and relationships, is harrowing at times and masterly written. It's easily one of my favorite books of the year. – Marni Mann, author of Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales

Zajac is a strong, STRONG writer with a touch
that can be poetic or gritty, as the situation requires.
—Conrad Wesselhoeft, author of Adios, Nirvana and Dirt Bikes, Drones,
and Other Ways to Fly




MEET THE AUTHOR:


Ina Zajac is an award-winning journalist, avid people watcher, and lover of quirk and contrast. Her writing is heavily influenced by her fascination with music, art, and her hometown of Seattle. 








Social Media Links:
Website: 
http://www.inazajac.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InaZajacWrites
Twitter: @InaZajac




CLP BLOG TOURS presents LOSING HIM, GAINING YOU by CORBIN LEWARS Excerpt




From Chapter 11: Your Body

Reacquainting Yourself With Your Body

You painted your bedroom a luscious eggplant color. You’ve taken a good look at your finances and figured out how you can make it through the next few months or maybe even year. You’ve reached out to other divorced women. You’ve taken some time to be by yourself and cry, rage, mourn, and consider your part in the divorce. Now, it’s time to take a look at your body.
 “What?!” you say.
That’s right lady, time to take it off. You’ve been looking at your emotional state, now it’s time to look at your physical state. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s had the occasional affair with a pound cake. There’s nothing wrong with that, I love a good treat. It’s only a problem if the chocolate bar became your way to cope, and way to not cope. When that happens, you’re no longer treating yourself, you’re ignoring reality.
Speaking of ignoring things, when is the last time you looked at your naked body? If you can’t remember, we’re in trouble. When you took a gander, did you groan or smile? Or was it all a blur because you were running so fast to put on your natty old bathrobe? Don’t worry, I won’t make you get rid of said bathrobe, but I will encourage you to stop hiding behind it.




BARNES & NOBLE

Losing Him, Gaining You is a refreshingly honest and uplifting guide through divorce. Based on research and her own experience, Corbin Lewars coaches her readers through tough territory with a direct, straightforward step by step approach to divorce. With inspiration and a large dose of humor, Corbin offers a way forward that will help others trust themselves and make wise choices for their new life.


MEET THE AUTHOR:



Corbin Lewars is the author of Creating a Life: The memoir of a writer and mom in the making, which was nominated for the 2011 PNBA and Washington State book awards. Her essays have been featured in over twenty- five publications as well as in several writing and parenting anthologies. For the past fifteen years she has worked with other writers as a developmental editor, coach and writing instructor. She lives in Seattle, WA with her two children and very large cat. 







Social Media Links:


Twitter: @CorbinSeattle


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WHAT'S DONE IN THE DARK by ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Felise awaits the arrival of her husband Greg at home to celebrate their fifteenth wedding anniversary with rose petals leading upstairs to the bedroom. Greg comes in and begins vacuuming the petals believing someone spilled something creating a mess all over the house, which causes an argument with Felise regarding his forgetfulness of their anniversary. Felise flees the house, heads straight for the Four Seasons Hotel bar, and sees her best friend from college, Steven, who is now married to her best friend Paula from Felise’s matchmaking efforts.

Paula, mother of four, is at her limit being a housewife with no reprieve in sight while her husband Steven works and able to enjoy work-related out-of-town trips resulting in Paula’s decision to terminate her marriage as soon as Steven come home. After refusing Steven’s invitation to join him at the Four Seasons Hotel bar lounge for his business meeting, Paula may regret her decision once she realizes that Steven is never coming back.

Felise and Steven’s night turns into an evening to remember which brings deep secrets, blackmail, loss of friendship, destruction of marriage, and forgiveness painfully to the forefront for everyone involved. How will Felise survive relationships built on love and trust that are currently thriving on lies, deceit, and guilt?

What’s Done in the Dark has an interesting storyline of betrayal and forgiveness between friends that have years of friendship teetering on a high rope towards destruction. The novel keeps you engaged as the pages turn leading into a long dark tunnel with a speck of light at the end. The story may have been enhanced with the cutting of one or two chapters through the editing process as it grasped for extra wording to complete a novel already brought to full completion. Nonetheless, this book is a necessary read to finish a summer reading list or to begin a new list in the fall months.


I received this book from the publisher Gallery Books through the Net Galley reviewer program for an unbiased opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

VICTORY THROUGH THE LAMB by Mark Wilson

Victory Through the Lamb examines and interprets the full Book of Revelation including the Seven Beatitudes in relation and summarization to the Book of Revelation’s unnumbered Beatitudes.

 Further into the discussion of Revelation are the “weaknesses in each of the Seven Churches when they have fallen short of His Kingdom living expectations.”
Christians in the churches of:

Ephesus, Pergamum, and Thyatira --false teachings and compromise
Sardis and Laodicea –complacency
Smyrna and Philadelphia –persecution from local synagogues

Mark Wilson shares his interpretation and explanation of the symbolisms used throughout the Book of Revelation to enhance understanding of the event concerning the return of Jesus Christ on earth and the victory of the 144,000 with the seal of Jesus and His Father on their foreheads.

Each chapter starts with a ‘Martyr Account’ from the New Testament taken from New International Version Bible followed by “Author’s Translation” taken from the Book of Revelation and concluding with descriptive clarification of those individual chapters.

Mr. Wilson ‘s guide to the Book of Revelation is easily comprehensible and used as a study or reference book  to your personal Bible of choice such as the King James, New International, and Amplified Versions as well as the Women’s Daily Devotional Bibles. I recommend those of faith who study their respective bibles consistently to include this guide for easy referencing.


I received this book from Cross Focused reviewer program for an unbiased opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

SWEETNESS #9, A Novel by Stephan Eirik Clark


“….what are the most popular flavors for snack foods?....Those that overwhelm the taste buds and disappear almost immediately. Sounds a little like the digestive equivalent of crack, doesn’t it?” 
–Priscilla Leveraux

David Leveraux is employed with Laboratory for the Development of Substitute Materials as a Flavorist-in-Training and testing a sweetener for human consumption including unauthorized home testing with his wife Betty. David consumes the sweetener twice per day as his wife consumes the sweetener no less than five time a day as does David’s close friend and associate named Ernest.

The laboratory rats and monkeys being monitored begin deteriorating and succumbing to various illnesses and death related to the artificial sweetener. David returns to the lab one evening to discover the monkey’s weight gain increase rapidly causing obesity but the next morning replacement animals represented are thin in physical appearance and he is led to believe hallucinations from stress and overwork are the results and ultimately causes David’s release from his position.

David notices changes in the behavior of his family and relates the changes to the consumption of Sweetness #9 that are similar to the laboratory animals testing results. Complicating matters further, David’s daughter Priscilla decides to write an expose in her school newspaper regarding processed foods to include Sweetness #9 but how will David handle the expose and his involvement in the creation of Sweetness #9 with its side effects and his family’s life hanging in the balance?

You will not perceive food the same again after reading this suspense drama as seen through the eyes of a fictitious chemical Flavorist engineer. With a little scene editing, this novel would lean toward superb and recommended to drama, suspense, and family relationships booklovers. Worth the read!

I received this book from Little, Brown and Company through the Net Galley reviewer program in exchange for an unbiased opinion in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines.