January 31, 2010

Blog Tour: Capturing Karma by K.M. Daughters


Blurb:

Veterinarian Matty Connors’ visions lead her to homicide detective Brian Sullivan once again despite her resolve to remain anonymous the past four years.  Her official work with the police in California resulted in the brutal murder of her fiancĂ©, and since, a recurrent nightmare she barely survives.  Brian, the reputed ladies man of the Sullivan family, has yet to give his heart to a woman until Matty lays claim to it.  His black-and-white approach to solving crimes doesn’t jibe with Matty’s spooky pronouncements or her reputation for alleged infallibility.  A wild goose chase searching for a murder weapon casts doubt on Matty’s “truths” and threatens their smoldering romance.  Is Brian her nightmare slayer and ultimate truth?  When the puzzle pieces fall in place for Brian, will it be too late to save Matty? 

EXCERPT:

Matilda braved a glimpse in her dresser mirror and assessed the toll nightmares had etched on her face this time. The cut over her eye had scabbed over. Were those dark circles under both eyes from the accident or lack of sleep?
Her finger traced around the scalloped rim of the framed picture of her and Eric. Smiling, carefree, linked together side by side in the blazing sunshine—foolishly in love and unaware that there wouldn’t be a long string of lazy days at that beach in their future. Who could have guessed that three weeks after the picture was snapped Eric would be dead and she would be alone?
Tears welled. Four years, eight months and twenty-two days without you, and I wish I could stop counting. Maybe then the nightmares would stop.
Brian Sullivan’s request had triggered a cyclone of dreams: Eric-haunted nightmares and Brian-laden fantasies. Dreams featuring Brian admittedly caused most of the tossing and turning last night, but she wouldn’t linger on that. If she did, she’d have to acknowledge the heady reawakening of his fantasy kisses, the yearning he stoked in her while defenseless in sleep.
Dreams could be denied and forgotten in daylight. But she couldn’t deny how many times thoughts of Brian had upped her pulse and shot suggestive musings through her brain during her routine yesterday. Why am I letting this happen? Tempting as the man is, I can’t risk the danger.
A red rubber ball bounced against her foot. Clyde clamped his mouth around the ball, lifted it off the ground with a yank of his neck and dumped it again on her foot, demanding her attention.
She stooped and picked it up. “Want to play? Dumb question, right Clyde?”
The Boston terrier cocked his head, trained his screwy eyes at her, dashed out of the room and took off down the hall. Nails clicking against hardwood flooring, Clyde pulled up short, skidded to a halt and turned around toward Matilda, anticipating her toss. Bent halfway out the door, she pitched the ball; he retrieved it, raced back into the bedroom and dropped it on her foot again. The mind-numbing game of fetch continued as Matilda varied the directions she heaved the ball, in the intervals applying her make up and managing to finish dressing. Clyde was Eric’s dog. Eric and Matilda would sit for hours in their backyard in California sipping wine, watching the sunset, and throwing the ball for the then frisky puppy until they both ran out of steam—Clyde always won the fetch “endurance” contest.
“OK, kiddo, time to go to work,” she commanded. 





GUEST POST: Our First Hero

For most little girls, their Daddy holds a special place in their hearts – that’s the case for “The Daughters”.


Our Dad was a paratrooper in World War II. The sparse stories he related about his experiences during the war – usually funny anecdotes that had nothing to do with the grim reality of serving our country, under fire on foreign battlefields – captured our imaginations, instilled an awed appreciation in us for men in uniform, and entrenched our Dad as the ultimate hero in our hearts.


He sent us our first Valentines, and every Valentines Day thereafter, we received another card from him, signed, “your first Valentine.” He adored our mother, and even to sheltered little girls (who he intended to protect from lustful males forever) he modeled the romantic love of a man for his woman.


Daddy died when Pat was 19 and Kathie was 15. Shoveling snow after a freaky Easter snow, he halted before he finished the driveway and weakly made his way back inside. Three terrified females: Mom, Pat and Kathie, watched helplessly while the paramedics carried him to the ambulance. Eleven days later, he lost his ultimate battle against acute leukemia.


Mom was only forty-four years old when she lost her first and only love. She never remarried. For her, after him, no other man compared - a sad, but gloriously romantic influence on her daughters.


All our romance novels explore and celebrate the healing power of love, and our characters overcome loss and grief in pursuing their “happily-ever-after”.


We take after our dad in our love of language and the written word, and the craft of writing itself. He penned children’s stories, so story-telling runs through our veins. Our father, Michael Lynch, inspired us to write about unforgettable heroes who capture their ladies’ hearts.

K.M. Daughters, in addition to the autographed copy of AGAINST DOCTOR'S ORDERS for a randomly drawn commentator (as well as the tour host with the most comments), will be giving away charms to randomly drawn commenters-- two sterling Chamilia “Sisters” charms and a Claddagh charm (fitting for a Sullivan Boy) that fit Pandora style bracelets.

January 30, 2010

Review: Angel and Apostle by Deborah Noyes


THE SCARLET LETTER by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a legendary classic. If you are like me, you can't help but wonder what happens to the characters after such an incredible first novel. ANGEL AND APOSTLE tells the story of Pearl who had to endure a lot of humiliation because of her status as a bastard child. Pearl grows up and marries her close friend Simon's brother. Simon is blind but he is the only one that is able to fully understand who Pearl is and loves her unconditionally. Pearl knows that there is more to life than black and white, sometimes in order to live life to the fullest, you have to think in shades of gray.

Deborah is a writing genius whose knack for writing becomes apparent in the first few pages. It's pretty hard to live up to the standards when writing a sequel to a timeless romance novel but Noyes carried through with shining colors!

Book Information:
Angel and Apostle by Deborah Noyes
Unbridled Books
9781932961294
304 pages
$14.95 US



Disclosure: I received a copy of this book so that I could write an honest review.


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The Devil In Merrivale by Jackie Griffey


You thought high school was hell, but it's nothing compared to being a teenager in Merrivale. When the body of a local teen, Denise, is found savagely butchered, the town is shocked. Things become even more strange when the town sheriff finds out about a clique that's determined to raise hell. Literally. Devil worship is the in thing and the sheriff is forced to look deeper into this cult. What he finds is more terrifying than he could have ever imagined.

I was sucked in to this book and it was impossible to put it down. It's one of those thrillers that sinks it's teeth into you and life outside of you and your book ceases to exist. Jackie knows how to tell a story and keep a reader entertained! I hope she has more books in the works!

Book Information:
Zumaya Enigma
9781934841846
December 2009
262 pages
$14.99 US

Visit Jackie's website.



Disclosure: I received a copy of this book so that I could write an honest review.

Who Owns The World by Kevin Cahill and Rob McMahon


Interesting bits that can be learned from this book:

--Only 15% of the world's population lays claim to landownership, and that landownership in too few hands is probably the single greatest cause of poverty.
--Queen Elizabeth II owns 1/6 of the entire land surface on earth (nearly 3 times the size of the U.S.).
--The Lichtenstein royal family is wealthier than the Grimaldis of Monaco.
--80% of the American population is crammed in urban areas.
--The least crowded state is Alaska, with 670 acres per person. The most crowded is New Jersey, with .7 acres per person. --60% of America's population are property owners. That's behind the UK (69% homeownership)

These numbers are unbelievable! I had never really given much thought to this subject but now that I see the numbers, it's astonishing. This book can be a bit dry in places but overall it is an interesting piece of information.


Book Information:
Grand Central Publishing
9780446581219
1/29/2010
384 pages
$15.99/$19.99

Visit the website.


Hachette has given me permission to give away 5 copies of this book
Open to residents of the US and Canada
Cannot mail to a P.O. Box
The books will be mailed out by the publisher

WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book so that I could write an honest review.

January 29, 2010

Original Sin by Allison Brennan


Moira hasn't had an easy life. After being possessed by a sadistic demon and witnessing brutal murder, she is now searching for her mother, Fiona. Having a hell raising mother hasn't been easy for Moira, but she isn't letting that stand in her way. Moira is determined to stop her mothers evil deeds at any cost. The problem is, her mother is using the seven deadly sins to her advantage. Will Moira be able to stop her mothers destruction or will mankind cease to be?

My heart about beat out of my chest when I was reading this. I think I forgot to breathe while reading a few pages too... The suspense was electrifying and I felt like I was right along-side Moira. If you like the "on the edge of your seat" then you will like this book.

Book Information:
Original Sin by Allison Brennan
Random House Publishing Group
9780345511676
January 2010
464 pages
$7.99 US

Read an excerpt.
Visit Allison's website.



One of my readers will receive a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US and Canada
The book will be mailed out by the publisher

GIVEAWAY ENTRIES HAVE CHANGED!
LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL ENTRY.

(EXAMPLE: if it says +5, leave 5 separate entries)

ENTRIES:

Leave all entries in one comment or separate comments:
+1 for commenting
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+5 for sharing this contest -make sure you leave the link in your comments (on your blog, -sidebar counts, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) THIS CAN BE DONE ONCE A DAY
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+1 for friending me on Facebook here.
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+2 for following my girl Krista's blog

*Current friends/followers receive the extra points as well - just make sure you remind me in the comments*

**Must leave an email address in comment or must be visible in blogger profile**

Winners will be chosen Feb. 14th and notified via email. The winners will have 48 hours to send me their mailing info or another winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book so that I could write an honest review.


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Blog Cleaning

I have cleaned up my blog a little bit and just wanted to let my lovely readers know about a couple of important points:

1) Giveaway entries have changed once again (I have decided to make the list smaller so that I can keep up with them easier) - they will be listed on each giveaway

2) If you would like to have your button added to my blogroll (left sidebar, under IMPORTANT POSTS) in exchange for placing my button somewhere on your blog, please email the code to bjhopper(at)me.com and I will add it

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Just Don't Fall by Josh Sundquist


When Josh was nine years old, he was told that he had cancer and one of his legs would have to be amputated. Even as a young boy, Josh proved that he is a fighter. When he decided to become a ski racer, he didn't let anyone or anything stand in his way. His determination is remarkable and his story is a positive affirmation that life is what we make it.

My heart goes out to Josh. He is a true hero, who has such an uplifting voice that can change your life and make you realize that you too can make your dreams a reality.

Book Information:
Penguin Group (USA)
9780670021468
January 2010
336 pages
$25.95 US

Visit Josh's website.

2 of my readers will each receive one copy of this book
Open to residents of the US only
The books will be mailed out by the publisher

WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book so that I could write an honest review.

January 28, 2010

Just Cages

I found this great site called Just Cages and they have some awesome supplies for pets. As an animal lover, I try to research different products so that I can give my animals the best of the best. I would love to have an entire zoo in my house but that isn't possible at the moment. I love dogs, birds, lizards, pretty much any animal. Finding dog crates and bird cages isn't always easy. There are so many different brands and each individual cage has to be inspected for quality, as well as safety. Just Cages has so many to choose from that are stylish and would look great in my home. They have a variety of prices too, so it should be easy to find exactly what you need. The site is easy to navigate and they offer help 24 hours a day. Just Cages has a secure server so you don't have to worry about your information turning up in the wrong hands. If you aren't satisfied with your order, they also have a 30 day money back guarantee. They even have a clearance section, so if you are tight on cash, you could check there first. If you are looking for a cage, this is a great resource.


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National Finals Rodeo

I have not had the chance to visit the Rodeo yet but I hope to do so sometime in the near future. I like to watch different events because it helps break up the monotony of everyday life. The Rodeo has always been somewhat fascinating to me because I like that the animals are able to fight back. If you are interested in getting Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Tickets, now is the time! You don't want to miss your chance to get your hands on some tickets and have to wait for the next show. People on just about any budget can enjoy this event. The range in price goes up as the quality of your seats goes up, just like most events. The good thing about stadiums is that you can see from just about anywhere, the view is just more clear if you are up front. I love the crowd atmosphere and watching a ton of people get together to have a good time. There is something about being together with others who have the same interests as you. It is almost like you are all family. I have had some really great times at the stadium and I hope to have many more!


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Women Are Crazy, Men Are Stupid by Howard J. Morris


Men and women have different ideas about how to express their love. When you're a little girl, your parents tell you that when a boy hits you or pulls your hair, it's because they like you. That should have been my first clue that maybe they had a different interpretation of how to show they care. I've always found the human mind fascinating and so I had to read this book. Once you realize that the people in your life have a different perspective, it's a lot easier to accept them for who they are.

It was so funny, I literally spit my drink all over the living room. I was cracking up so loud that my Aunt in California heard me (I live in Kentucky). That's a bit of an exaggeration but I think it helps get the point across that this book was hilarious!

Book Information:
Women Are Crazy, Men Are Stupid by Howard J. Morris
Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
9781416595052
Sept. 2009
256 pages
$22.99 US



One of my readers will receive a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US only
The book will be mailed out by the publisher

GIVEAWAY ENTRIES HAVE CHANGED!
LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL ENTRY.

(EXAMPLE: if it says +5, leave 5 separate entries)

ENTRIES:

Leave all entries in one comment or separate comments:
+1 for commenting
+1 for following this blog
+1 for following me on twitter
+5 for sharing this contest -make sure you leave the link in your comments (on your blog, -sidebar counts, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) THIS CAN BE DONE ONCE A DAY
+1 for following my other blog freebies4meandu.
+1 for faving me on Technorati (right sidebar)
+1 for friending me on Myspace here.
+1 for friending me on Facebook here.
+1 for connecting with me via Networked Blogs (right sidebar)
+1 for grabbing my button and placing it on your sidebar - leave link or your this entry does not count.
+2 for every meaningful comment you leave on any of my posts - excluding giveaway posts - make sure you come back and leave a comment on the giveaway post you would like to add your entries to
+2 for clicking on my Social Vibe icon (left sidebar) and filling out the information These entries can be used in any of my giveaways (both blogs). Email me or leave a comment somewhere on my blog letting me know how you want to use your entries.
+2 for following my girl Krista's blog
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+2 for sending Krista a Facebook friend request
+20 Make a purchase using the icon below, email me the receipt at bjhopper(at)me(dot)com and receive 100 extra entries (per item) into the giveaway of your choice. This goes for both of my blogs.

+20 entries for each item purchased from my Amazon aStore (at the top of my blog). You can use those entries in any of my giveaways (both blogs). All you need to do is email me at bjhopper(at)me(dot)com your receipt and let me know how you want to use your entries.

*Current friends/followers receive the extra points as well - just make sure you remind me in the comments*

**Must leave an email address in comment or must be visible in blogger profile**

Winners will be chosen Feb. 11th and notified via email. The winners will have 48 hours to send me their mailing info or another winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book so that I could write an honest review.

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Sleep No More by Susan Crandall


Abbey has some dark secrets. While sleeping one night when she was young, she started a fire that hurt her little sister. Unfortunately, her problem has resurfaced. When a young man is killed in a car accident, Abby can't help but wonder if she is to blame. She begins seeing a psychiatrist to try and make sense of all of her repressed issues. The results are electrifying!

This is the first book of Susan's I have read and now I need to add her to my favorite authors list! If you like the synopsis, you will like the book.

Book Information:
Forever
9780446556842
1/1/2010
400 pages
$6.99 US/$8.99 CAN

Visit Susan's website.


Anna over at Hachette has given me permission to give away 5 copies of this book
Open to residents of the US and Canada
Cannot mail to a P.O. Box
The books will be mailed out by the publisher

WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Disclosure: I received a complementary copy of this book for review purposes.  This post contains affiliate link(s).


January 27, 2010

Author Guest Post: Pamela Samuels Young



Pursue Your Passion!
by Pamela Samuels Young

You can hardly believe it! The new year is already here and last year’s resolutions are still undone. Don’t fret. Today is a new day, which means you have a fresh opportunity to pursue your passion.


Have you been thinking about changing careers? Perhaps you’d like to go back to school or start your own consulting firm. Maybe being a stay-at-home mom is your dream job. Unfortunately, every time you think about taking the first step, the fear of leaving the virtual security of your current job floods your head with dozens of sound reasons why you should stay put.


Whether your dream is to write a novel, become an interior decorator or start your own catering business, you can make it happen. Here are five tips that will help you begin your journey.


1. Find Time To Plan Your Career Move


With the demands of work, family, church and community activities, you may think you don’t have a spare moment to even think about, much less pursue, your dream career. You’re wrong.
If someone had told me I could’ve published four novels in four years while still practicing law, I would’ve said, “No way.” The key is having a passion and a plan.


It won’t be easy, but you can find free time where you least expect it. The next time you’re taking a neighborhood jog or walking on the treadmill, use the time to think about possible locations for the day spa you’ve dreamed of opening or mull over the plot for that book you’ve wanted to write. Instead of listening to your favorite CD during your morning and evening commute, use the time to work on the business plan for your jewelry-making business. A Dictaphone can be a pretty handy tool in that situation. Your lunch break and the two to three hours you spend in the beauty shop can also be put to good use. With your family’s support, you might even find an evening or two to run off to your local library or a nearby Starbucks for some business-planning time. Even if it’s only an hour a week, use it.


2. Don’t Reinvent The Wheel


You may not realize it, but you have a multitude of resources all around you -- family, friends, colleagues, church members, sorority sisters, and even strangers. Don’t be afraid to request an informational interview. If you want to run a bed ‘n breakfast, call up the owners of a similar establishment in another community, invite them to lunch and tap their brain. People love to talk about themselves and many will be flattered that you want to ask them for advice. The Internet is also a valuable resource. You can enter a few key words on Google and thousands of helpful articles will appear right before your eyes. Just remember: research, research, research!


3. Join Professional Organizations


It’s a good idea to surround yourself with others who share your interests and passion. There are hundreds of professional groups whose sole function is to help their members develop their creative talents and realize their business goals. As a writer, I belong to Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America. I rarely make many of the meetings, but when I do, I always learn something or make some contact that helps me along in my writing career. No matter what your passion is, there’s bound to be a networking group you can join.


Organizations like Minority and Women Business Owners, Women Entrepreneurs, Inc., and BizyMoms.com, just to name a few, provide information, support and networking opportunities. Find the organizations that can be most helpful to you and join them.


4. Understand That It Won’t Happen Overnight


Unfortunately, entrepreneurial ventures don’t come with the guarantee of a regular paycheck. I assumed that after releasing my first novel in 2006, Oprah would call and the rest would be history. That has yet to happen. Somehow, I’m still balancing both my legal practice and my passion: writing legal thrillers. It can sometimes be quite stressful, but each time I have a new book that hits the stores, I’m re-energized and more committed than ever about reaching my goal of becoming a full-time writer.


There will no doubt be disappointments when things don’t happen in accordance with your time schedule. But if you remain faithful and focused on your goal, it will happen.


5. Ignore The Naysayers


We all know people who believe you should find a good job, work as hard as you can for 30 years, then retire at 65 and enjoy life. For them, the thought of leaving a secure, well-paying position for the uncertainties of entrepreneurial life is unthinkable. That kind of limited thinking won’t help you realize your dream.


When I proudly tell people I hope to one day give up practicing law to become a full-time novelist, they smile and look as if they want to pat me on top of my head and say, “That’s nice. Now run along back to your briefs.”


You have to decide what you want to do and go for it. And don’t be surprised if you turn out to be your biggest obstacle. When that happens, just look your self-doubt squarely in the face and command it to go away. The same degree of preparation and persistence that helped you land your current position will also help you smoothly transition into your dream career.


So don’t just dream about pursuing your passion, make it happen!

*Pamela Samuels Young is a Los Angeles attorney and the author of four legal thrillers. Her most recent release, Buying Time, is a fast-paced tale of a down-on-his-luck lawyer who’s unwittingly drawn into a perilous web of greed, blackmail and murder. A former television news writer, Pamela is the Fiction Expert for BizyMoms.com and is on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. To contact Pamela or to read an excerpt of her books, visit her website at www.pamelasamuelsyoung.com.




Attorneys

When I was young, my family always thought that I would make a great attorney because I have a knack for arguing my case. I always knew what to say and how to say it to get people to understand my side of things. While some would consider this is a good quality, others thought that I merely liked to fight. That's not the case though, I just like to present the facts as I see them and get people to understand my side. There are two sides to every story and how can you make people understand who you are and how you think, if you don't explain it to them?

I am glad that we live in a society where people are given a chance to explain what happened. I do not always agree with jurors or with the punishment but I do have respect for Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys. Being a lawyer is not an easy job and I know that it can take it's toll on lawyers and their family. I will always remember the attorney who handled my divorce and he was seriously an angel. He did a great job and genuinely cared about what happens to his clients.


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Blog Tour: A Highlander Destiny by Melissa Mayhue


Jesse is desperate to find true love. He tries and tries to keep himself busy but nothing seems to fill the void. When he decides to help a woman who is searching for her sister, he discovers that you should be careful what you wish for.

Destiny wants to find her sister and her visions may make it possible to save her before it's too late. When she meets Jesse and he agrees to help her, she soon realizes that while she loves him, she is afraid of that emotion.

Will they be able to rescue Destiny's sister in time? Will Destiny let the man of her dreams love her or in the end, will she walk away?

Book Information:
Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
9781439144213
December 2009
384 pages
$7.99 US

Participants:

My Book Views: http://my-book-views.blogspot.com/
Brizmus Blogs About Books: http://brizmusblogsbooks.blogspot.com/
Rundpinne: http://www.rundpinne.blogspot.com/
Renee’s Reads: http://www.renees-reads.blogspot.com/
Seductive Musings: http://seductivemusings.blogspot.com/
All About {n}: http://www.bookwormygirl.blogspot.com/
Book Junkie: http://myfoolishwisdom.blogspot.com/
Pam’s Private Reflections: http://hip2bhomeschooling.blogspot.com/
My Book Addiction and More: www.mybookaddictionandmore.wordpress.com
Starting Fresh: http://startingfresh-gaby317.blogspot.com/
Frugal Plus: http://frugalplus.com/
Books, Books Everywhere: http://bookbookseverywhere.blogspot.com/
Broken Teepee: http://www.brokenteepee.blogspot.com/
Readaholic: http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/
I Heart Book Gossip: http://juniperrbreeeze.blogspot.com/
My Guilty Pleasures: http://www.mgpblog.com/
Just Another New Blog: http://justanothernewblog.blogspot.com/
My Overstuffed Bookshelf: http://myoverstuffedbookshelf.blogspot.com/
The Bibliophilic Book Blog: http://www.bibliophilicbookblog.com/
My Own Little Corner of the World: http://molcotw.blogspot.com/
A Book Bloggers Diary: http://abookbloggersdiary.blogspot.com/
Book Soulmates: http://booksoulmates.blogspot.com/
The Cajun Book Lady: http://thecajunbooklady.blogspot.com/
Wendy’s Minding Spot: http://mindingspot.blogspot.com/
Between the Pages: http://www.betweenthelinesandmore.blogspot.com/
Marta’s Meanderings: http://martasmeanderings.blogspot.com/
Chaotic Book Obsession: http://chaoticbookobbsession.blogspot.com/
Savey Spender: http://saveyspender.com/
Books & Needlepoint: http://booksandneedlepoint.blogspot.com/
Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews: http://sharonsgardenofbookreviews.blogspot.com/

Pocket Books has given me permission to give away 2 copies of this book
Open to residents of the US
The books will be mailed out by the publisher

WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book so that I could write an honest review.



January 26, 2010

Guest Post & Giveaway: The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.


Are you worried about cholesterol? Don’t be!

I’m going to tell you a secret-- something that the smartest, most cutting edge health professionals all know and have been talking about amongst themselves for a very long time. This information isn’t widely known or accepted yet, but it will be—at which point we will all be shaking our heads looking back on this period in medical history and saying “What were we thinking?”

Get ready to be shocked.

High cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease.

Yes, you read that right, and before you recover completely, consider this: Fully half the people with heart disease have “normal” cholesterol and fully half the people with elevated cholesterol are healthy as a horse.

Yet talk to people about living longer and living free from heart disease (or any of the other conditions that rob us of life and vitality) and you’ll invariably hear someone say, “Yup, gotta do something about my cholesterol”.

Why are we so darn worried about cholesterol when it has practically nothing to do with living long and living well?

Well, for one thing it’s easy to measure. For another, lowering it is an extraordinarily profitable business. Zocor and Lipitor, two cholesterol-lowering drugs, remain in the top ten of every Forbes list of best-selling drugs, and bring in over 20 billion a year for their makers. And for a third, the idea that high cholesterol causes heart disease is so embedded in our national consciousness that to dislodge it- even with the considerable amount of emerging scientific evidence that the cholesterol hypothesis is simply wrong- would be a massive undertaking. Heck, we’re still buying “low-fat” cookies and margarine based on information that’s been out of date for 10 years.

So- if not cholesterol-- what should we be paying attention to if we want to live longer and live healthier?

I’ve identified four major processes that age the body and rob us of vitality. These four processes are so insidious and so systemic that I’ve named them “The Four Horsemen of Aging”. They are:
1) Inflammation
2) Oxidation
3) Glycation
4) Stress

Those four processes will kill you. Cholesterol won’t.

Inflammation is a silent killer, a contributor to every major degenerative disease from Alzheimers to diabetes, from heart disease to cancer. It comes in two flavors- chronic and acute. Acute inflammation is the one we’re all familiar with- it’s what you feel when you stub your toe, get a toothache, pull a muscle or have an allergy attack.

But chronic inflammtion is the killer and it flies beneath the radar. It’s your body’s response to small but continuous insults like exposure to toxins, bad diet, stress, cigarettes and the like, and it causes damage to your vascular system. In fact the body uses cholesterol to try to patch up that damage—so blaming cholesterol for the damage is like blaming a St. Bernard for an avalanche!

We can do a great deal to fight inflammation by eating anti-inflammatory foods (fruits and vegetables abound with natural anti-inflammatories like quercetin and other flavonoids) and by taking anti-inflammatory supplements (top of the list: fish oil!)

Oxidation is another process that ages us. Oxidation is what you see when apple slices left in the air turn brown; that happens inside our bodies every day, the result of attacks on our cells and DNA by rogue molecules called free radicals. Diets high in antioxidants go a long way towards fixing the damage.

Glycation is what happens when excess sugar in the bloodstream “gums up the works”. Sugar gloms on to protein in the blood, making it too sticky to pass through small capillaries. It’s one reason why diabetics often have amputations in the extremities like toes and feet and problems in areas like the eyes and the kidneys which are served by small, narrow blood vessels. High blood sugar is far more damaging to the body and to life than cholesterol. And it’s relatively easy to “fix”.

Finally, stress is one of the biggest killers on the planet, and, like sugar, far more of a danger to us than cholesterol ever was. Stress hormones age (and shrink) an important area of the brain called the hippocampus which is involved in memory and thinking. Stress can excacerbate nearly any disease, not to mention that it can slow (or even prevent) recovery. And stress actually makes you fat- the major stress hormone, cortisol, causes the body to store weight around the middle.

In the “Blue Zones”- areas around the globe where people routinely live to 100 in extraordinary health with all their faculties intact- no one worries about their cholesterol or their saturated fat intake. They don’t have to. Their lives have built in stress-reducers like extended families and community events; they eat natural whole food diets filled with antioxidants and anti-inflmmatories. And their sugar intake is naturally low, so they don’t have to worry about it gumming up the works and destroying their health.

Aging may be inevitable, but unhealthy aging is not. If you know what to do you truly can have an extraordinary life well into your 9th and 10th decade, filled with vitality, joy and purpose.

Best of all, it’s not all that hard to do.

The payoff is worth it.

Just ask the people in the Blue Zones.

Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, a board-certified nutrition specialist with a master’s degree in psychology, is a nationally known expert on weight loss, nutrition, and health. A popular speaker and a former personal trainer with six national certifications in exercise, he was the acclaimed “Weight Loss Coach” on iVillage for twelve years, and is now a regular contributor to AOL, a columnist for Better Nutrition and Clean Eating magazines and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Men’s Health. He’s also the nutritionist for the popular website, www.eatdrinkordie.com, where his entertaining videos on food and nutrition can be seen daily.

His books have been acclaimed by a virtual who’s who in the field of nutritional medicine, garnering endorsements by Christiane Northrup, MD, Mehmet Oz, MD, Barry Sears, PhD. (who calls him “one of the best”), Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD (who calls him “the personal health coach I would want in my corner no matter what”), and many others. His book, “Living Low Carb: Controlled Carbohydrate Eating for Long-Term Weight Loss” has more than 100,000 copies in print. He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising Truth About What to Eat” as well as “The Healthiest Meals on Earth” and “The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth” and “The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy”.

He has been featured in The New York Times, The New York Post, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, Time, GQ, Cosmopolitan, Oxygen, Remedy, Family Circle, Self, Fitness, Allure, Essence, Men’s Health, Pilates Style, Prevention, Woman’s World, In Style, Fitness, Natural Health and Shape and has appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC and CBS as an expert on nutrition, weight loss, and health..

Dr. Bowden is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the American College of Nutrition and is adjunct faculty for Clayton College of Natural Health. He lives in the Topanga Canyon area of Southern California with his three dogs, Woodstock, Emily and Lucy.

His DVD “The Truth About Weight Loss” as well as his popular motivational CDs, programs and free newsletter can be found at www.jonnybowden.com.


Book Information:
The Most Effective Ways to Live Longer by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.
Fair Winds Press
9781592333400
Jan. 2010
288 pages
$24.99 US

Visit Jonny's website.


One of my readers will receive a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US and Canada
The book will be mailed out by the publisher

WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.

Author Guest Post: Jay Slosar


A National Health Care Plan Would Improve the Economy

Nothing irritates conservatives more than when Michael Moore refers to free healthcare. Obviously, it is not free, and the distraction only fuels the anti-liberal attacks that Moore takes on. Unfortunately, the political attacks don't allow us to get down to the costs and a comprehensive cost benefit analysis comparing today's health "system" and a proposed national health care plan.

Nothing represents more clearly our insistence on free market principles and competition than the way healthcare is delivered today. This is evident in every political debate for both parties. The Republicans bash "government run healthcare", even though their party passed the Medicare bill in 2003. The Democrats are proposing mixed models, trying to preserve the godlike free market and profiteering of the major players involved. While Medicare provides medical benefits for a dramatically growing population that is aging and living longer, the rest of the working folks pretty much need to rely on their employers for health coverage. But the number of people privately insured is not as big as you think. In fact, about 60% of healthcare is publicly funded.

It has been stated often that the barriers to changing our health delivery system are political, and many have advocated an "incremental" approach. But after about 20 years of social/economic experiments within the free market, it's hard to imagine that anything else can be tried. The upward trend of costs continues unabated. Health costs rose 7.2% in 2004 and another 6.9% in 2005. The 6.9% figure is being heralded as a success, since it was the smallest increase since 1999. The 2006 data is at an increase of 6.1 percent, a pace that was maintained in 2007. The health share of gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to hold steady in 2006-2007 before resuming its historical upward trend. Experts predict that healthcare spending will reach 19.6 percent of GDP by 2016. The nation spent almost $2 trillion dollars on medical care in 2005. This accounts for about 16% of all spending. Average cost per person varies by report, but is now close to a staggering figure of around $6,700. All of this with 45 plus million still uninsured.

These exponential growth figures come after years of "Managed Care". Managed Care was supposed to be the mechanism to control health costs. What is so remarkable is that there was never any solid evidence that it worked. Even as far back as 1989, the Institute of Medicine established a task force to investigate utilization management by third parties and found no evidence managed care reduced costs. But that didn't stop the market place from the irony of having the private sector regulate health care. Managed Care can now be evaluated as a social/economic or Social Psychology experiment gone awry. When healthcare experts say it works, it reminds me of that old joke. The operation was a complete success, but the patient died.

Health advocates have stated the obvious for years. The amount of waste in the U.S. in healthcare paperwork and bureaucracy costs more in dollars than it would take to provide health coverage for all of the 40 million plus who are uninsured. In other words, pure admin overload, if eliminated, could save enough money to solve the problem of the uninsured. Within the 60-40 public/private split of U.S. healthcare funding, what you hear most about is the misconception that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector. For years, the public Medicare system has had administrative costs of around 3%. More than 96 cents of each dollar is spent on direct care for Medicare recipients. Private sector admin estimates are around 15%. Most Americans would never accept the argument that the federal government is more efficient than the private sector in delivering healthcare. Medicare gets a bad rap, tainted by the global opinion that government run means inefficient and that the private sector and for profit mode is always best. You don't have to be a Nobel Prize economist to ask the obvious question. If health insurance premiums are dramatically increasing, and doctors and hospitals are being paid the same or even less, where is the money going?

Believe it or not, there is available research which provides a cost benefit analysis of health costs. In 2003, the state of California instituted The California Health Care Options Project. This was an integrated study of nine different models of health care reform proposed by health care policy experts. This included several organizations and professors from University of California campuses in Los Angeles, San Diego, Berkeley, and San Francisco. Each of the nine models proposed were then subjected to a microsimulation by the Lewin Group. These nine models, when viewed overall, broke down as follows. Six models and proposals were expansions of the current system and could then be described as incremental models-seeking reform in continued small steps. The other three models were comprehensive proposals of which two were single payer models, and the other was a health service model. The final simulation analysis by the Lewin Group, showed that it was these three models that would provide comprehensive coverage for everyone and that were projected to save California's citizens billions of dollars in healthcare costs. The other six incremental reform models fell short, leaving in place many of the policies that aren't working well. All of these models were projected to increase costs to Californians. One of the six models proposed was a combination plan of an employer mandate and a single public program for everyone else. While this combination plan came close to meeting the goals of comprehensive coverage, it turned out to be the most expensive proposal put forth. Any systematic and data based analysis is clear, a comprehensive model based on a single payer system would save billions and provide care to almost all citizens.

High health costs in an employer based system are killing our economy. In fact, employer sponsored healthcare is a huge federal tax break. If employees had to claim their employee healthcare "benefits" as income, it is estimated they would be paying about $126 billion dollars in federal income tax. In other words, private sector employer sponsored healthcare is really part of a government backed health system. A National Healthcare Plan, by spreading out the costs to everyone, would take the monkey off an employer's back. What will business do without this huge expense and increased profits? Might they create jobs? Expand their business? Lower prices? Of course, they will have to pay taxes on their increased profits, thus contributing to improving our unacceptable budget deficit. Herein lies the seismic conclusion: A National Healthcare Plan would stimulate and improve the economy. It would do this by creating jobs, promoting business expansion, lowering prices, reducing the budget deficit, and increasing our global competitiveness.

It is unlikely you will hear any of this mentioned by any accomplished reporter, or major media network during the health debate. After all, a National Healthcare Plan is just not politically viable.

J.R. Slosar is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Irvine, CA, and an adjunct assistant professor at Chapman University, Orange, CA. In the past 25 years he has provided direct clinical and consulting services in a variety of diverse settings. He is the author of The Culture of Excess: How America Lost Self Control and Why We Need to Redefine Success (ABC-CLIO, Nov. 2009) Visit http://www.cultureofexcess.com or call 949-851-8277 for more information.


Book Information:
The Culture of Excess by J.R. Slosar
Praeger
978-0313377686
Oct. 22, 2009
210 pages
$34.95

Visit the website.

January 25, 2010

Shopping Online

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of CSNStores. All opinions are 100% mine.


Shopping online is so much more convenient than running around to different stores. You can shop around and find the perfect product at a reasonable price. Not only that but you also don't have to waste money on gas or stand in line for hours.
I love shopping at CSNStores. Since CSN is one of my favorite places to shop, I became a Facebook fan so that I can stay up-to-date on all the latest products they offer. They have just about anything you can think of and they have a wide variety of brands, so you should be able to find something that is within your price range. I did my Christmas shopping online last year and I am definitely going to do that again. It was so easy and everything was delivered on time and I didn't have to deal with the hassle of driving around for hours trying to find a parking spot. When I first started shopping online, I was afraid that it would be hard to return items that I received that did not work. This has not been the case. I've honestly had better experiences with returning products purchase online versus an actual store that I can walk into.

Visit my sponsor: Deals for Online Shoppers


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Eating Fish While Pregnant

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of HealthyTuna.com. All opinions are 100% mine.


It seems like every time I go somewhere, I see pregnant women or hear about someone who has just found out that they are expecting a child. I can remember when my sister was pregnant with Damien and she steered clear of so many different foods. Everything that a woman puts in her body, while pregnant, affects her child. Knowing what is good for the baby is usually a mom's main concern. I know that a lot of women stay away from seafood altogether and they don't realize that they should eat healthy tuna because it helps them fight depression. Moms-to-be should never, ever eat fish that is high in mercury like swordfish or shark. According to one study, babies whose mother ate a lot of fish while pregnant end up doing better in school.

Here is my favorite tuna casserole recipe:

1 can tuna
1 pkg. noodles & sour cream
1 sm. can green peas
Potato chips

Mix noodles according to package directions. Stir in tuna and peas. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Stir and top with crushed potato chips. Return to oven and cook 15 minutes more.

The best thing you can do for your baby is to learn as much as you can about what affects them and do your best to make sure they are healthy and happy.

Visit my sponsor: Tuna: Everyone's favorite gift from the sea!


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Blog Tour: Gentlemen Prefer Succubi by Jill Myles


You thought your day started off on the wrong foot. Try waking up in a dumpster with bigger boobs and an unstoppable sex drive. That's what happened to Jackie. She's just experienced her first one-night stand and to make things more complicated, she slept with a fallen angel named Noah.

To make things even more interesting, she's been changed into a sire and wants to roll in the sack 24/7. Noah tries to help Jackie deal with her new body and cravings but then he ends up battling a vampire, the same vampire who turned Jackie. This is when the story gets a lot more interesting.

There was so much going on in this book that I couldn't put it down. I love a good Paranormal Romance and this one definitely gets five stars.

Book Information:
Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
9781416572824
December 2009
368 pages
$7.99 US


Blog Tour Participants:
All About {n}: http://www.bookwormygirl.blogspot.com/
Patricia’s Vampire Notes: http://patricias-vampire-notes.blogspot.com/
Red Headed Book Child: http://redheadedbookchild.blogspot.com/
The Cajun Book Lady: http://thecajunbooklady.blogspot.com/
Book Series Reviews: http://bookseriesreviews.blogspot.com/
Drey’s Library: http://dreyslibrary.blogspot.com/
Book Junkie: http://myfoolishwisdom.blogspot.com/
She Reads: http://mandyfish-reads.blogspot.com/
Pam’s Private Reflections: http://hip2bhomeschooling.blogspot.com/
Books, Books Everywhere: http://bookbookseverywhere.blogspot.com/
Books Gardens & Dogs: http://maryinhb.blogspot.com/
My Book Views: http://my-book-views.blogspot.com/
Cheryl’s Book Nook: http://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/
Readaholic: http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/
My Overstuffed Bookshelf: http://myoverstuffedbookshelf.blogspot.com/
I Heart Book Gossip: http://juniperrbreeeze.blogspot.com/
My Guilty Pleasures: http://www.mgpblog.com/
Jen’s Book Talk: http://jensbooktalk.blogspot.com/
Brizmus Blogs About Books: http://brizmusblogsbooks.blogspot.com/
A Book Bloggers Diary: http://abookbloggersdiary.blogspot.com/
Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm: http://fayeflamereviews.blogspot.com/
Book Soulmates: http://booksoulmates.blogspot.com/
Book Lush: http://suchalush.blogspot.com/
Wendy’s Minding Spot: http://mindingspot.blogspot.com/
Parajunkee’s View: http://parajunkee.blogspot.com/
The Wayfaring Writer: http://moonsanity.blogspot.com/
You Wanna Know What I Think?: http://www.kballard87.blogspot.com/
Reading with Tequila: http://readingwithtequila.blogspot.com/
SciFi Guy: http://www.scifiguy.ca/
Temple Library Reviews: http://templelibraryreviews.blogspot.com/
The Bibliophilic Book Blog: http://www.bibliophilicbookblog.com/

2 of my readers will receive a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US only

WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book so that I could write an honest review.