March 29, 2011

Review: Mothers and Daughters by Rae Meadows


A rich and luminous novel about three generations of women in one family: the love they share, the dreams they refuse to surrender, and the secrets they hold

Samantha is lost in the joys of new motherhood—the softness of her eight-month-old daughter's skin, the lovely weight of her child in her arms—but in trading her artistic dreams to care for her child, Sam worries she's lost something of herself. And she is still mourning another loss: her mother, Iris, died just one year ago.

When a box of Iris's belongings arrives on Sam's doorstep, she discovers links to pieces of her family history but is puzzled by much of the information the box contains. She learns that her grandmother Violet left New York City as an eleven-year-old girl, traveling by herself to the Midwest in search of a better life. But what was Violet's real reason for leaving? And how could she have made that trip alone at such a tender age?

In confronting secrets from her family's past, Sam comes to terms with deep secrets from her own. Moving back and forth in time between the stories of Sam, Violet, and Iris, Mothers and Daughters is the spellbinding tale of three remarkable women connected across a century by the complex wonder of motherhood.

There are times when I pick up a book and I am transported to another world.  When this happens, I am in a trance and cannot come to until the book is finished.  That's how it was while reading MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.  It's unforgettable with it's emotionally charged plot and raw characters.  This is the perfect book to give your mom for Mother's Day.

978-0805093834
March 29, 2011
272 pages

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**I received a complementary copy of this book for review purposes.  This post contains affiliate link(s).**

March 25, 2011

Giveaway: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grieving and Recovery: 101 Inspirational and Comforting Stories about Surviving the Loss of a Loved One




Three of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US & Canada
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher


WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.

Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

*Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter. The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.


Disclosure: The prizes are being provided for free.

Review: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grieving and Recovery: 101 Inspirational and Comforting Stories about Surviving the Loss of a Loved One



101 Inspirational and Comforting Stories about Surviving the Loss of a Loved One 

Grieving is a process everyone goes through in their own way. It often feels overwhelming and as if the sorrow will never end. While the hurt and sadness never completely fade, it eases with time. This collection of emotional and inspirational stories will provide comfort and peace to those mourning the loss of someone close. Others who have lost a loved one share their stories of what helped, offering guidance and support. With its stories of regaining strength, appreciating life, coping, and faith, this book will help ease the journey to healing.

My favorite thing about the Chicken Soup for the Soul books is that they allow you to feel while letting you know that you are not alone.  I lost my Granny and my Uncle and even though it has been a while, I still miss them.  It's nice to be able to pick up a book and remember how much lost loved ones still mean to you.  I found strength in the stories and they were just what I needed to process some of my own emotions.

Chicken Soup for the Soul
978-1935096627
February 1, 2011
384 pages

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free.

March 22, 2011

Giveaway: Napoleon: A Biography by Frank McLynn


"A brilliant biography which will surely become a classic life of Napoleon."--Lawrence James, The Times(London)

Napoleon Bonaparte’s character and achievements have divided and fascinated critics and historians for decades. In this compelling new biography Frank McLynn draws on the most recent scholarship and throws a brilliant light on this most paradoxical of men--as military leader, emperor, and lover.

The author explores the Promethean legend from his Corsican roots, through the chaotic years of the French Revolution and his extraordinary military triumphs, to the coronation in 1804, his fatal decision in 1812 to add Russia to his seemingly endless conquests, and his ultimate defeat, imprisonment, and death in Saint Helena. Napoleon the man emerges as an even more fascinating character than previously imagined, and McLynn aptly reveals the extent to which he was both existential hero and plaything of fate; mathematician and mystic; intellectual giant and moral pygmy; great man and deeply flawed human being.

What makes this new biography unique is McLynn’s perceptive analysis of both the personalities around Napoleon (including his two wives, and a very large family) and the events of his spectacular career. His obsession with his family, and his conviction that every man has his price, make Napoleon emerge as closer to a modern Mafia godfather than a visionary European.

In this work, McLynn offers a vivid and valuable canvas, and new dimension, to eighteenth-century European history. He also brings the reader, as never before, closer to understanding the much mythologized Napoleon.


One of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher

WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

*Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter. The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.


Disclosure: The prizes are being provided for free.

March 19, 2011

Invincible: The Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon


**Note to Dark-Hunter fans. The Chronicles of Nick *is* Nick's real and true past.

"Nick Gautier's day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul.

His new principal thinks he's even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to things he can't even mention and the girl he's not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him.

But more than that, he's being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn't learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them..."


The New York Times-bestselling with over 19 million books in print, Sherrilyn Kenyon is renowned the world over as "the reigning queen of the paranormal genre that she pioneered long before the world had heard of Twilight."


Visit Sherrilyn's website
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March 15, 2011

Shimmer by Alyson Noel



Alyson Noël, author of the Immortals series, continues her new series about Ever's younger sister, Riley.

Having solved the matter of the Radiant Boy, Riley, Buttercup, and Bodhi are enjoying a well-deserved vacation. When Riley comes across a vicious black dog, against Bodhi's advice, she decides to cross him over. While following the dog, she runs into a young ghost named Rebecca. Despite Rebecca's sweet appearance, Riley soon learns she's not at all what she seems. As the daughter of a former plantation owner, she is furious about being murdered during a slave revolt in 1733. Mired in her own anger, Rebecca is lashing out by keeping the ghosts who died along with her trapped in their worst memories. Can Riley help Rebecca forgive and forget without losing herself to her own nightmarish memories?

Find out more about Shimmer here, including audio excerpts and Riley's diary here.


March 14, 2011

Review: Dog Walks Man: A Six-Legged Odyssey by John Zeaman


Zeaman takes us on a journey from a 'round-the-block fraternity of “dog-walking dupes”—suburban fathers who indulged their children’s wish for a dog—to strange and forbidden wonderland at the edge of town, the New Jersey Meadowlands. Along the way, he rediscovers childhood’s forgotten “fringe places,” investigates the mysteries of the natural world, and experiences moments of inexplicable joy.

My dog Reese is one of my best friends. She's been there for me through my husband being in Afghanistan, through losing loved ones and she's right there every single day. I absolutely adore her and because of this, I am addicted to books about that have to do with the love of animals.  Reading John's book reminds me of how everyday can be an adventure when you let yourself go and follow your four-legged friend.  I really enjoyed Dog Walks Man and I think that every dog-lover should read it.  It's loads of fun and very entertaining.

978-1599219639
October 5, 2010
320 pages

Visit John's website


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free.

Giveaway: Pale Demon by Kim Harrison



Five of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US & Canada
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher

  WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.

Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

*Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter. The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.


Disclosure: The prizes are being provided for free.

March 11, 2011

Giveaway: Inked by Scott Neumyer ebook


Inked

* A Contemporary YA Romance Short Story *

Jackie isn't looking to find love in the back of a CVS, but sometimes you can't predict where love will find you. A short story that is romantic, dramatic, and heartfelt, "Inked" will leave the reader with a lump in their throat asking what might be next for Jackie.

PLEASE NOTE: Inked is a 5,500 word SHORT STORY.

About the Author

Scott Neumyer currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter. He is a writer, publicist, and photographer who has over ten years experience in online PR & marketing. He also worked three years as a Media Buyer for a major national film distributor. Scott has appeared in Wanted Undead or Alive: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil (Citadel Press August 2010). He has also been published online and in print in presitigious magazines such as McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Pindeldyboz, and Hobart Pulp. Find him online at www.scottwrites.com and www.whoisjimmystone.com. You can reach him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/scottneumyer and Facebook at www.facebook.com/scott.neumyer


Three of my readers will win a copy of Inked by Scott Neumyer ebook
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher
WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

*Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter. The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.

Disclosure: The prize is being provided for free.

Giveaway: The Map Across Time by C.S. Lakin


The next installment in C.S. Lakin’s multi-part “Gates of Heaven” series, “The Map across Time” introduces readers to Sherbourne, a fairy tale land of mystic and wonder. The king’s teenage children, Adin and Aletha, use a magical map to travel back in time and find the cure for an ancient curse plaguing the kingdom. “The Map across Time” shows how those who feel they are insignificant and unworthy have merit and serve heaven’s purpose, even if that purpose is hidden.  

One of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to EVERYONE
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher
WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

*Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter. The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.

Disclosure: The prize is being provided for free.

March 10, 2011

Review: Pale Demon by Kim Harrison



Condemned and shunned for black magic, Rachel Morgan has three days to get to the annual witches’ conference and clear her name, or be trapped in the demonic ever-after . . . forever after.

But a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car going across the country? Talk about a recipe for certain disaster, even without being the targets for assassination.

For after centuries of torment, a fearsome demon walks in the sunlight—freed at last to slay the innocent and devour their souls. But his ultimate goal is Rachel Morgan, and in the fight for survival that follows, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.

First off, I want to say that Pale Demon is my favorite book in the Hollows series so far.  Kim is my all-time #1 favorite author and it all started with Dead Witch Walking, the first of this series.  My dad is actually the one who got me hooked on her books.  He was surfing through Amazon or Overstock's website and saw that there was a book that had to do with witches, vampires and demons that take place in Cincinnati (I live 15 minutes from Cincy) and he just had to get it for me.  So, he ordered the book and when he got it in the mail, he handed it to me and said "I thought you might like this".  Ever since then, I've been addicted!  Rachel Morgan is my favorite character out of any book and I love how she doesn't take crap from anyone.  She's not afraid to stand up for herself, even when it means being prisoner in the ever-after.  For non-stop fun and action, I highly recommend this book.

978-0061138065
February 22, 2011
448 pages

Visit Kim's website
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Read the first five chapters


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free.

Review: Swept off Her Feet by Hester Browne


The steps of a charmingly complex dance—Scotland’s famous reel—are at the heart of Hester Browne’s enchanting contemporary novel of two very different sisters whose dreams may come true at a romantic Scottish ball.

Evie Nicholson is in love . . . with the past. An antiques appraiser in a London shop, Evie spins fanciful attachments to Victorian picture frames, French champagne glasses, satin evening gloves, and tattered teddy bears—regardless of their monetary value.

Alice Nicholson is in love . . . with Fraser Graham, a dashing Scotsman whom Evie secretly desires. As crisply neat and stylish as Evie is cheerfully cluttered, Alice is a professional organizer determined to pull her sister out of her comfort zone—and who presents her with an irresistible offer.

As a favor to friends of Fraser’s family, Evie jumps at the chance to appraise a Scottish castle full of artifacts and heirlooms. What could be more thrilling than roaming the halls of Kettlesheer and uncovering the McAndrews’ family treasures—and dusty secrets?

But crossing paths with moody heir Robert McAndrew has Evie assessing what she wants the most . . . and at an upcoming candlelight gala, a traditional dance will set her heart reeling.


I was swept off my feet while reading Swept off Her Feet.  The author did a fantastic job of keeping the reader engrossed in this book and an even better job of portraying true love.  I found Evie to be a sensational character and couldn't help but hope with everything I have that she would get her happily-ever-after.  This book is every romance lovers dream.


Gallery
978-1439168844
March 8, 2011
352 pages


Disclosure: I received this book for free.

Giveaway: Welcome to Last Chance by Hope Ramsay



Two of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US & Canada
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher
You can only win ONE copy of this book

WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.

Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

*Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter. The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.



Disclosure: The prizes are being provided for free.

Review: Welcome to Last Chance by Hope Ramsay


Dear Reader,

Yes, our town is way off the beaten path, but strange, wonderful miracles happen a lot around here.

I've owned the Cut 'n' Curl beauty shop for years, and I've seen folks come for a visit, then stay for a lifetime. Take Jane-that pretty firecracker of a girl who just arrived in town. I would swear she's running from something. She came with only five dollars in her pocket but she's worked real hard to make a fresh start. She's turned my son Clay's life upside down without even realizing it.

And thank goodness for that! Ever since Clay left his country western band, he's played everything too safe. He needs to take a chance on Jane. Besides, the more he tries to keep his distance, the more he'll realize that he and Jane are singing the same tune.

But I should quit ramblin' and go check on Millie's permanent wave. Next time you're in Last Chance, be sure to swing by. We've got hot rollers, free coffee, and the best gossip in town.

See you real soon,

Ruby Rhodes

The name of the town Last Chance, may make it sound like a quaint and quite place but Jane finds out fast that that is not the case.  In a tale of despair and desire Jane ends up right where she was meant to be.  She has real friends and has even met a guy, maybe Last Chance is the perfect name for the place she ended up.  If you like romance, you should read Welcome to Last Chance.

Forever
978-0446576093
March 1, 2011
368 pages

Visit Hope's website
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Disclosure: I received this book for free.  This post contains affiliate link(s).**

March 9, 2011

Review: Altar of Bones by Philip Carter


“They didn’t have to kill him…He never drank from the altar of bones.” 

Cryptic dying words from a murdered homeless woman in present day San Francisco unlock a decades-buried secret that changed history. Now a pair of ruthless assassins are sent to cut the few living "loose ends." And a young, resourceful woman on the run encounters a determined man with his own connected past and vengeful agenda. Forced to partner for survival and answers, a fast-paced and deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, taking them across the globe from the winding streets of Paris to the faded palaces of Budapest to the frozen lakes of Mongolia...where destiny, passion, and further betrayal await them. 

The Altar of Bones has it all: The Russian mob. KGB spies. Presidential assasination. A doomed Hollywood legend. Deathbed confessions. Corrosive power. Shattered families. Guardians of an ancient religious icon housing a secret others will kill to possess. The dark promise of immortality. And it delivers on its ambitious premise to leave you stunned and breathless at the end.

The entire time I was reading this book, I felt like I was watching everything unfold.  Philip's word choice makes it possible to envision everything with clarity,  Altar of Bones is an absolute thrill-ride with an amazing plot.  I recommend this book to anyone who is up for a little adventure.

978-1439199084
March 8, 2011
464 pages

Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided for free.  This post contains affiliate link(s).

Review: Rasner's Revenge by Mark Rosendorf


Rick is trapped in an asylum with a delusional roommate and guards who want to kill him. His one goal: escape and inflict vengeance on the man who put him there, presidential hopeful, General William P. Straker. Unfortunately, no one knows Rick is alive, except for one fifteen-year-old old girl.

Clara Blue is a recent escapee from the Brookhill Children’s Psychiatric residence. She is also now the reluctant leader of an aspiring mercenary group made up of fellow escapees. Clara’s only interest is in freeing her anointed dad from that asylum, if only she had the know-how, or her new allies were willing to help in this task.

Clara’s plan: hire the only other mercenary she knows, Jake Scarberry, the man who spent years as Rick’s mortal enemy. Even if Clara can convince Jake to help, and they succeed, will Rick prove to be the parental figure she envisions? And what happens should he find out the ultimate betrayal Clara committed when she escaped Brookhill?


One of my favorite things about being a book reviewer is learning about new authors.  I have read all three Rasner books and it's so exciting to find a fresh author who has the potential to be on the New York Times Bestseller list.  Rasner's Revenge is fast-paced, thrilling and downright addictive.  Mark's writing is genius and his characters have depth.  I highly recommend this book.


L & L Dreamspell
978-1603183437
January 18, 2011
286 pages

Visit Mark's website
Purchase Rasner Effects merchandise


Disclosure: A copy of this book was provided for free.  This post contains affiliate link(s).**

March 2, 2011

Review: The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #1: Origins



Set during the Civil War, against a backdrop of grand estates, unimaginable riches, and deadly secrets, three teenagers in Mystic Falls, Virginia enter a torrid love triangle that will span eternity. 

Brothers Stefan and Damon Salvatore are inseparable until they meet Katherine, a stunning, mysterious woman who turns their world upside down. Siblings turned rivals, the Salvatores compete for Katherine's affection, only to discover that her sumptuous silk dresses and glittering gems hide a terrible secret: Katherine is a vampire. And she is intent on turning them into vampires so they can live together-forever. 

Based on the popular CW TV show inspired by the bestselling novels, Stefan's Diaries reveals the truth about what really happened between Stefan, Damon, and Katherine—and how the Vampire Diaries love triangle began. 

I had not read any of the Vampire Diaries books until after I watched season 1 of the TV show.  What I like most about the "Origins" books is that they go along with the TV show, not the book series.  I prefer the show and it was great to get to learn more about Stefan's past.  If you are a Vampire Diaries fan, you have to read this series. 

HarperTeen
978-0062003935
November 2, 2010
256 pages
$9.99


Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free.  This post contains affiliate link(s).

Giveaway: Midnights With The Mystic: A Little Guide to Freedom and Bliss



Excerpt - Midnights with the Mystic
By Cheryl Simone and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev,
Authors of Midnights with the Mystic: A Little Guide to Freedom and Bliss

Then Sadhguru asked me if I had heard that some researchers in India had been scanning the brains of people who have been through Isha Yoga's Inner Engineering course and practicing the techniques for more than three months.

I had heard about that, so I nodded yes.

Sadhguru went on to say that the scientists had found that the coherence between the practitioners' right and left brain were phenomenally high. "That means, Cheryl, that you will get to use a little more of your brain than before. Generally they say that people are only using 12 percent of their brain, but from my experience of people, I don't believe they are using even that," he said and let our a hoot of infectious laughter.

Then he went on, "Yoga is the path of becoming limitless. Yoga transforms and liberates human beings so that they can reach this unbounded state. Humans, unlike animals, do not merely exist. They are becoming. 'Human' is not an established quality; one has to grow into it. One has to become that. To evolve as a human being is to become aware of one's limitations, to strive, with intense passion, toward the transcendence for which we all have the potential. Yoga is a way of finding your ultimate potential. In a specific context, yoga had come to mean spiritual union with the absolute. Liberation while living is the goal of yoga, the highest experience, a fusion of the individual with the universal."

Although his words seemed both inspiring and filled with possibility, I caught myself again wondering if such transcendence really could be possible for me. Even though many remarkable things had happened to me, I continued to wonder if I would truly be able to become self-realized in this lifetime. Part of me wondered how much the yoga, the practices, had to do with it. It's a technology that affects not only your body, mind, and energy, but that also somehow makes you receptive. I know it's a big part of it, but I also know that it's not the whole thing. Some of the practices Sadhguru teaches are similar to those I was exposed to in the past, but he puts them together in a completely different way. Even with all the yoga, Sadhguru did in previous lifetimes, and with all that he accomplished, he said that he did not become enlightened. The reason why is shrouded in mystery. I knew the practices were working, but perhaps this process is more than something I can do myself. Something seems to have to happen that I'm not doing. I have often heard Sadhguru say that "you have to put yourself aside."

Perhaps the answer to this question could be found in Sadhguru's own story. . .
The above is an excerpt from the book Midnights with the Mystic: A Little Guide to Freedom and Bliss by Cheryl Simone and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.
Copyright © 2011 Cheryl Simone and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, authors of  Midnights with the Mystic: A Little Guide to Freedom and Bliss

Author Bio
s
Cheryl Simone
, author of Midnights with the Mystic: A Little Guide to Freedom and Bliss, is a lifelong student of human potential, a spiritual seeker, an entrepreneur, a wife a mother, the CEO of several businesses.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Sadhguru Vasudev, co-author of Midnights with the Mystic: A Little Guide to Freedom and Bliss, is a yogi, mystic, and visionary.  He is a spiritual master with a difference. An arresting blend of profundity and pragmatism, his life and work serve as a reminder that inner sciences are not an esoteric discipline from an outdated past, but a contemporary science, vitally relevant to our times. Probing, passionate, and provocative, deeply insightful, devastatingly logical, and unfailingly witty, Sadhguru's talks have earned him the reputation of a speaker and opinion-maker of international renown.
For more information on Cheryl's experiences and to download a free introductory talk by Sadhguru entitled Inner Engineering, please visit http://www.midnightswiththemystic.com/ and follow the author on Facebook


One of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US & Canada
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher
WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.


Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

*Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter. The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.


Disclosure: The prizes are being provided for free.

Giveaway: Healing The Highlander by Melissa Mayhue



3 of my readers will win a copy of this book
Open to residents of the US
The book(s) will be mailed out by the publisher




WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN & NOTIFIED.
Official Rules - *No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited.

*Entry instructions, additional eligibility requirements, prize information listed on individual giveaway posts. By submitting an entry, entrants agree to these rules and agree that they are eligible to enter. The sponsor is responsible for sending the giveaway items.


Disclosure: The prizes are being provided for free.