31 August, 2016

Remembrance of blue roses by Yorker Keith - Book Spot Light


Literary Fiction
Date Published: April 2016

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Remembrance of Blue Roses follows a man and a married couple in New York City, whose intricate relationship oscillates among friendship, love, love-triangle, and even obsession. Its romantic ambience is interwoven with classical music, opera, art, family legend, and international affairs, illuminating the lives of international civil servants at the United Nations and the UN peacekeeping mission in Sarajevo, and those with direct experience of the Israel-Palestinian conflict and the Holocaust.
Mark, the narrator and an American, works for the United Nations in New York as a personnel officer; his friend, Hans, German, also works for the UN as an economist; and Yukari, Japanese and Hans’s wife, is a professional violinist. One day Mark encounters Hans and Yukari in a museum. As Hans enjoys opera singing and Mark is into painting, the three foster their friendship through classical music, opera, and art. Mark resists feeling drawn to his friend’s wife. One evening over dinner, they discover that their families were acquainted generations ago. This bonds them together. During the summer, inspired by the beauty of Yukari in her light blue dress at the UN garden, Hans and Mark secretly plant blue roses there for Yukari. The blue roses later blossom sumptuously. The three enjoy their blue roses, the symbol of their friendship and bond.
The story becomes complicated by the involvement of two other women: Mark’s ex-wife, Francine, a Swiss, who is remarried to another of Mark’s friends in the UN, Shem Tov, an Israeli; and Mark’s high school sweetheart, Jane, to whom he was briefly engaged. Francine encourages Mark to be happy with Yukari, while Jane now wants to marry Mark. Yukari becomes pregnant with Hans’s child and happily settles into her role as expectant mother. Mark, Hans, and Yukari celebrate New Year’s Eve at the height of their friendship and happiness. … Then a series of tragedies shatters their joy and alters their future forever.
... Then a series of tragedies shatters their joy and alters their future forever.
Praise for Remembrance of Blue Roses:
"A skillful tale that explores relationship nuances and redemption." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Yorker Keith’s Remembrance of Blue Roses is a slow-burning, passionate literary novel that speaks to the romantic in all of us. ... A precisely-written, well-crafted literary work that illuminates the many facets of love, obsession and, ultimately, redemption." -- Chanticleer Book Reviews
"A deftly crafted, multi-layered, compelling read from beginning to end, Remembrance of Blue Roses establishes novelist Yorker Keith as an extraordinarily gifted storyteller." -- Midwest Book Review
"Readers who enjoy a sophisticated and well-written book about the complexity of human relationship will definitely enjoy Remembrance of Blue Roses." -- Readers' Favorite


Excerpt

I have heard a wise man say that love is a form of friendship, and friendship a form of love; the line between the two is misty. I happen to know that this holds true because I have roamed that misty line. Time has passed since then, but I cherish the memory of the blue roses in grace and perpetuity — our blue roses. It all began with a fortuitous encounter.
* * *
On a fine day in early April 1999, I was sketching in the sculpture court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I felt hesitant working in such a public space, but this was a homework assignment for the art class I was taking. The object of my sketch was a sculpture of an adorable young woman, a nude, reclining on a moss-covered rock surrounded by an abundance of flowers. The smooth texture of the white marble sensually expressed her lively body, which shone with bright sunlight beneath the glass ceiling of the court. 
My drawing materials were simple, just a number 2 pencil, an eraser, and a sheet of heavy white drawing paper. The assignment was to capture the skin of a figure in as much detail as possible. I had almost completed sketching the woman’s body and was working on the rock and flowers. I was not doing badly, I thought, for a small crowd of museum visitors had gathered around me, showing approving faces and nods.
“Ah, this is excellent!” one man exclaimed.
I recognized the voice and turned to see Hans Schmidt, standing amid the crowd wearing a big grin.
“What a surprise!” he continued. “I didn’t know you had such an artistic talent, Mark. How are you?” He came forward and firmly shook my hand.
I greeted him, then pointed to my drawing. “I’ve been working on this for a while. I wasn’t sure how it would come out. But it’s coming along all right, I guess.”
“I don’t know much about drawing, but this looks great.” He gestured enthusiastically to a young woman next to him. “What do you think?”
“It’s pretty.” Her voice sounded like a bell.
“This is Yukari, my wife.” He guided her toward me, his hand lingering at the small of her back.
I swallowed. I knew Hans was married, but this was my first time to meet his wife. Hans’s wife is Japanese? How lovely she is. Hans, you devil, you’re a lucky man!  
“Pleased to meet you.” I gently shook her small refined hand. “I’m Mark Sanders. Hans and I are good friends.”
Hans’s wife appeared to be in her late thirties, or late twenties? I could hardly tell, because Japanese women often looked much younger than their age. She was willowy, of medium height, with a fine complexion, dark eyes, straight nose, and shiny dark brown hair that hung to her shoulders. For a Japanese woman, she had a touch of a Western woman’s body, the round breasts and a curvy waist. Despite her conservative dress, she reminded me of the nude I was sketching — though I quickly banished the thought.
She gazed directly into my eyes with keen curiosity. “Do you come here often to sketch? It’s really nice.”
“Well, yes,” I answered, “I visit this museum often. But to sketch? No, this is the first time. You know what? It’s so embarrassing.”
I dabbed some sweat from my forehead. We three burst out laughing.
“Hans, I’m almost done. Can you come back in ten minutes or so?” I said. “Then we could go to the terrace for a cup of coffee.”
“Sounds terrific,” said Hans. “We’ll be walking around the sculpture court. When you’re done, just join us.”
Hans took Yukari’s arm and started moving leisurely toward other sculptures. She smiled at me and went along with him. Hans tried to hold her closely at her waist, but she discretely slipped away. I didn’t understand what it meant. I presumed that as a Japanese woman she was timid to show open affection.
I hastily added finishing touches to the figure, rock, and flowers. Since the figure had been almost completed, the rest went quickly and easily — or so I felt after having seen Hans and Yukari.
* * *
            I had known Hans for some time because both he and I worked at the United Nations New York Headquarters as international civil servants. He was German, aged forty-two, tall and slim, with blond hair, high forehead, and grey eyes. He had a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, and worked as an Economic Affairs Officer in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the Secretariat, which was the administrative body of the UN. His job there was to maintain and operate a global econometric modeling system, called EGlobe.
            We had originally met in a French language class. Being at the UN, we were required to be proficient in at least two of its six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. In my case, I added French to my native English. My French was hardly adequate, though, so I was working my way through the seven-level French program.
            In level six I met Hans, who had just started the program from that level. We ate lunch often together in the cafeteria and practiced our French. His grasp of the language was much better than mine. Also, since he used computers heavily for his work, and since I had a good friend, Shem Tov Lancry, an Israeli, in the Information Technology Services Division of the Department of Management, I introduced them, so Hans was able to receive technical advice from Shem Tov. 
            I packed up my drawing materials, and we three went to the balcony above the Great Hall of the museum, where drinks and desserts were served while musicians played chamber music. We each ordered a glass of red wine.



About the Author

Yorker Keith lives in Manhattan, New York City. He loves literature, theatre, classical music, opera, and art. He holds an MFA in creative writing from The New School. His literary works have been recognized four times in the William Faulkner - William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition as a finalist or a semifinalist.

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Until next time,


30 August, 2016

Precious Bones by Mika Ashley - Book Promo


Young Adult


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Meet ten-year-old Bones, whose playground is the Florida swamps, brimming with mystical witches, black bears, alligators and bobcats. Bones’ father, Nolay, a Miccosukee Indian, is smart and mischievous. Her Mama, practical as corn bread, can see straight into Bones’ soul.

It’s summer, and Bones is busy hunting and fishing with her best friend, Little Man. But then two Yankee real estate agents trespass on her family’s land, and Nolay scares them off with his gun. When a storm blows in and Bones and Little Man uncover something horrible at the edge of the Loo-chee swamp, the evidence of foul play points to Nolay. The only person that can help Nolay is Sheriff LeRoy, who’s as slow as pond water. Bones is determined to take matters into her own hands. If it takes a miracle, then a miracle is what she will deliver.



Praise for Precious Bones:


“…a tale that will already hold high interest for nature-loving readers longing for their own wild playgrounds.”—The Center for Children’s Books  

“The names of the characters alone make this a novel worth reading. How can you resist Bones, Little Man, Nolay, Soap Sally and Mr. Speed?!? Each character is as distinctive as the name they carry and the adventures they have.”—Random Acts of Reading  

“Precious Bones is a novel filled with adventure and mystery, as well as fascinating glimpses of its distinctive setting.”—Kevin Delecki, BookPage  

“I won’t be the last person to compare Mika Ashley-Hollinger’s amazing debut novel, Precious Bones to Harper Lee’s iconic To Kill A Mockingbird.”—Mindy McGinnis, author of Not a Drop to Drink  

“An intriguing debut, written lovingly to a way of life now lost.”—Booklist  

“It’s a rich stew, including hearty dollops of mystery and suspense.”—The Horn Book  

“Her voice is strong and lyrical, mixing regional syntax and dialect with lovely descriptions of the beauty she sees as she hunts, fishes, observes and explores in this mystical place.”—Kirkus Reviews  

“Like an age-appropriate To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s Bones’s interactions with well-developed, often-eccentric characters that shape this story.”—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal  
“Mika Ashley-Hollinger’s debut book is full of suspense and surprise…I love Bones’ easy-going nature and adventurous spirit. She’s ready to rush off into battle to defend herself and those she loves, no matter the dangers. And I want her pet raccoon, too! “—Jack and Jill Magazine




About the Author

Mika Ashley-Hollinger was born and raised in the small community of Florida.  PRECIOUS BONES is written in tribute of a time and a way of life that no longer exist.

Contact Links

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Until next time,

28 August, 2016

It's time to break the taboo of talking about Periods #PeriodPride

Girls and Women face periods every month which is the natural biological change in their body. But, It's a taboo to talk about it in public. Leave about talking, purchasing a sanitary napkin and carrying it uncovered attracts everyone's attention as if the lady is carrying a bomb or pistol in public. 

The major concern here is the lack of awareness on periods and menstrual hygiene in girls.  I felt very bad reading from Corinne's blog that 71% girls reported that they were completely  unprepared for their first period. Even, I was one of them and I understand how it feels for the first time. Even though mother helps her daughter to cope up with the situation well, if doubts are not cleared at the right time, young girls get afraid of their body changes and assume many things. At least, we have google now, which is helping many girls to get a basic idea about menstruation and hygiene during periods. But, this information is not completely reliable too. 

As it is with pregnancy, the experience during periods also change from a person to person. Severe cramps, heavy bleeding, migraine, body pains,weakness, feeling anaemic etc.,are only some of the problems. My doctor explained me the reason behind the cramps once, but until then, I was afraid of those 5 days. I have discussed with my close friends about the problems during periods and that was one way to understand, share and learn. Who else can a girl talk to about these problems oOther than her mother, siblings, and friends? If those close people don't have enough knowledge, where does she get the awareness from? I feel, it's essential that a few educational sessions should be organized in schools and colleges about the periods, body changes, hygiene etc., Till now I am talking about people like us who have access to education and good schools. But, the girls/ women from less privileged strata of society might not have this awareness and even if they had, the sanitary napkins or other options for menstrual hygiene might not be accessible to them. Naari, a social enterprise working in the space of Menstrual hygiene management is doing a great job in spreading awareness. Their focus is to erase menstrual myths and encourage women to talk about periods with pride. Kudos to the organization.

It's time to break the taboo and start talking about Periods, what say?

Until next time,





27 August, 2016

Benjamin's Field Trilogy by JJ Knights - Book Spot Light

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Benjamin’s Field Trilogy
By: J.J. Knights
Forward by retired NASA astronaut Jay Apt, PhD, veteran of four space shuttle missions.
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Book One: Rescue

Forward by retired NASA astronaut Jay Apt, PhD, veteran of four space shuttle missions.

Benjamin’s Field: Rescue’ has been awarded a five-star review by the literary site ‘Reader’s Favorite’ (readersfavorite.com).

Benjamin’s Field follows a rural farm family over the course of sixty years from the viewpoint of the youngest member, Jeremy Kyner. Beginning with America’s entry into World War I, Jeremy and his family are followed through war, peace, triumph, tragedy, heartbreak, and final happiness as the reader examines the role of family loyalty versus individual need, personal liberty and how it relates to society’s demands, religious prejudice, racism, intolerance, the role of charity, and the overwhelming need for humans to forgive one another. While still in manuscript form, Benjamin’s Field, Book One, Rescue, was advanced to the “Best Sellers Chart” of the peer review website YouWriteOn.com. In Book One, “Rescue,” a widowed farmer suffers an unspeakable loss during World War I. Burdened with grief, he learns from his nemesis, a dogmatic Catholic priest, that his son’s fiance has given birth to their crippled child. Unable to cope with the child’s deformity and confounded by his illegitimate birth, the farmer is battered by those closest to him with accusations of cruelty and intolerance until he finally reveals his true feelings and the reasons underlying his apparent bigotry. Set in a historical context, Benjamin’s Field is a compelling story about human dignity overcoming adversity, prejudice, and hatred. Interwoven with lighter moments, this dramatic and moving tale will take the reader on an emotional and sometimes humorous journey.”



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Book Two: Ascent

In Book Two, “Ascent,” Jeremy Kyner, now a teenaged boy, becomes the focus of his teacher’s animosity because of his infirmity. With the help of two dedicated school friends and an unconventional Jewish blacksmith, he takes to the sky, defeating his teacher’s plans to institutionalize him and forcing her to divulge her own, dark, secret.

Benjamin’s Field is a historical novel about human dignity overcoming adversity, prejudice, and hatred. Interwoven with lighter moments, this dramatic and moving story will take the reader on a journey of inner exploration.








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Book Three: Emancipation

Book Three, “Emancipation,” opens as America is on the cusp of World War II. Jeremy Kyner, now a man, is barred from military service at a time when America is almost defenseless against marauding German submarines. Finally joining a group of volunteer civilian pilots that represents the country’s best hope to counter the Germans, Jeremy confronts a deadly enemy from an unexpected quarter and is offered a chance of achieving final emancipation.



Benjamin’s Field is a historical novel about human dignity overcoming adversity, prejudice, and hatred. Interwoven with lighter moments, this dramatic and moving novel will take the reader on a journey of inner exploration.






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Author Info


J. Knights is a retired FBI Special Agent. His assignments included violent crimes and fugitives, property crimes, civil rights investigations, and foreign counterintelligence. He was a surveillance pilot, SWAT sniper, media representative, and worked in the FBI's technical investigations program. Knights also volunteered as a Civil Air Patrol pilot, squadron commander and public information officer. He is an emeritus member of the Imperial Public Relations Committee of Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children. A native of New England, Knights resides in southwestern Pennsylvania with his wife and honeybees. He has authored several published articles on law enforcement recruiting. Benjamin's Field is his first novel.



Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook


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26 August, 2016

My Writing ideas to overcome Writer's block #WritingWednesdays

I write about books that inspire me and places that interest me. Sometimes, there will be a few dull days when my thoughts become stagnant and I don't get any motivation to think differently. A blog is a wonderful platform to express our feelings but we have to write good content and present things in a unique way so that the audience won't get bored. I try to improve my writing skills, read a lot, practice and hone my skills with every new post. Here are a few ideas which help me to overcome Writer's block. These also help me to avoid publishing the boring routine content in my blog.
Source:pixabay.com

1. Books and places
Since my blog is all about these two, these are my first motivation factors to write. I read 2 to 4 books a month and write reviews for most of them. I love sharing details about the tourist places I visit,  though I don't travel very frequently. Sometimes, a day out with children, a walk in the park or any special event that I participate also join my writing list.

2. Round ups and Gratitude lists
This is an easy and fun way to write when I am really stuck and doesn't have much time to write a post. I usually list down the books that I read last month with a brief description of each, linking all my reviews. A quick one, right? I love the idea of listing down all good things that made me smile as a gratitude list and I am practicing this every month.

3. List posts
I love making lists! Top 5 books that I liked or my top 5 parenting lessons or my top tips to manage a fussy eater. This is another unique way of presenting my content without thinking hard.

4. Making a note of ideas
I know, most of my fellow bloggers follow this as well. We tend to forget a few ideas when we can't write about them immediately. Ideas popup anytime ☺ during a shower or in the middle of night or during a public transit to office. I use Evernote to note them so that I can check these in my laptop and write in detail whenever I get time. This app syncs to both my smart phone and laptop, making it easier.

5. Reading
When I am badly stuck and demotivated to write, I take inspiration from other blogs, facebook groups, trending topics in social media, magazine articles etc., Reading generates more ideas. What do you say?

So.. that's about my writing ideas. What about you?

Writing this for #WritingWednesdays hosted by Corinne at writeTribe.
 This week's prompt - "Where do you get writing ideas from?"

Until next time,




25 August, 2016

The Devil's Analyst by Dennis Frahmann - Book Spot Light


Mystery, Thriller, Crime 
Date Published:  08/11/2016

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Danny Lahti had it all: fame, fortune, friends, love - and an obsessed stalker.
Obsession can be a powerful curse. What happens when you think your world is perfect, but someone behind the scenes is determined to test you in every way possible? As the clock ticks toward the year 2000, Danny's world starts unraveling without explanation. An unknown hacker unleashes a digital attach on his Internet company just months before its public debut. A prowler attempts to break into his historic mansion which houses, according to Hollywood rumor, secret vaults. A long-time friend goes missing. Is it all coincidence, or are these just the first feats by a crazed admirer determined to force the truth from Danny?
And what is the truth? The complicated days that follow force Danny to have another look at his own relationships, misdeeds, and damaged past. But will he ever learn the lesson that will satisfy the devil who taunts him?




Excerpt

C  H A  P  T  E  R    O N E 

Midnight 
Twenty minutes to midnight, and the ice on the frozen lake outside cracked. The loud reverberations of winter echoed through the night and invaded Danny Lahti’s peace.
Danny was prepared to let time  move  forward  in   whatever incremental way  it chose. At that moment . . . sitting on a sofa  in  an enormous  room  near  midnight  .  .  .  huddled  within  a  century-old hunting lodge  of a long-dead lumber tycoon . . . on  the shoreline of a lake  nearly forgotten in  the isolated woods of  northern Wisconsin, Danny Lahti was not concerned about the potential for a technological apocalypse as time turned to the year  2000.
But  he  did   feel   on   the  brink. Something was   about to  happen. Things should change;  they needed to change. He  couldn’t  really say why.   Danny never  felt he  was   the   introspective  type.  But he   had always felt connected to a larger universe, one  in  which he  received premonitions of what was to come.
The  end  of the century. Or maybe the start of a new  millennium. It depended on  the pundit. But  computers only  knew what they were programmed to  know, and   they weren’t  programmed to  deal   with changing from 1999  to 2000.  Maybe early computer  scientists never thought about a century starting anew. December 31, 1999  could prove an  existential threat. They called it “Y2K.” Who knows, maybe every generation deserved its opportunity to restart the clock.
For   Danny,  his   past  was   too  painful,  but   the  future  felt  too uncertain. In a way,  his life could be the snowdrift-covered lawns that surrounded  this house. On  the surface, the drifts were unblemished and  glistening in the weak  moonlight. But beneath their surface, under the  shapeless accumulated flakes,  were the  remains of years of living. If Danny had  the time and  the tools and  the  energy, he  could shovel his  way  into discovering the   dead flowerbeds, the   abandoned lawn furniture, and  the  century’s worth of trails across the  grounds. But who could be  bothered?  Eventually, the warm sun  of  spring would surely melt the snow. Just wait. The  past would be exposed.
Danny had  always been the kind  of person willing to wait. When he was only  twelve, his mother committed suicide and  he found her dead body. He  waited then,  always expecting someone  would eventually arrive  to  explain  what  had   happened  and   why.   When  his   father withdrew   into   a   hermit-like   life    that   barely  acknowledged  his adolescent son’s existence, Danny still waited. Someone would surely make his  father forget his  dead wife  and  remember his  child. He  was still waiting.
And  when Josh  came into his  life,  promising an  escape from these cold  woods into the warm, loving life  of the Los  Angeles sun,  Danny followed and  waited for Josh’s direction.
He  waited. He  always had.  Perhaps he  always would. It was  his nature not to rebel and  not to question, to try to be good  and  not rock the   boat.   A  new   year, a  new   century, a  new   millennium, not even “Y2K” could change that. Because Danny Lahti had  never been able  to find  the  energy to  grab the  reins of his  own  life. And  he  didn’t intend to start now.  And  yet something was changing. He felt it.
The  ice cracked again.  Nineteen minutes to midnight. 






Dennis Frahmann is a former journalist and marketer,who now resides in Cambria, CA. He is the author of two other novels: Tales from the Loon Town Cafe and The Finnish Girl.

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Until next time,


24 August, 2016

Riker's Calling by Rico Lamoureux - [Book Review]

Book Details:
Title: Riker'sCalling
Author: Rico Lamoureux
Genre:Mystery, Crime thriller
Publisher: www.DramaticNovellas.com
Source: A free e-copy from the author

Blurb:
From school bullies to the crime-ridden streets of his hometown of Los Angeles, Jeremy Riker has always felt the need to do something about the injustice surrounding him. Just as he sets out on his journey as an urban warrior, he unknowingly gives rise to an obsessive adversary, who ends up becoming one of the most notorious serial killers the city has ever known. Dubbed by the news media as The Spyderco Killer, the methodical psychopath roots himself deep into Riker's life for the long haul, until his own madness propels everything into an intense climax.

My Review:
I  am reading a crime thriller after a long time. I loved Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes, enjoyed thrillers from that time, but crime and violence don't interest me much.

This is the story of Jeremy Riker who wanted to join the police force but, ends up starting a private detective agency with his guide Max. Due to some reasons, he becomes an enemy to a serial killer and thus loses the lives of a lot of his close friends and supporters. He is stuck in a dangerous situation where he doesn't know the next target of his opponent. The serial killer is clever and takes every step with caution without leaving any clue. The Spyderko killer is in no hurry to kill and takes his own time enjoying the thrill of revenge. Can Riker catch the killer? What is the reason behind these horrendous murders? This forms the remaining story.

I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced novel. It's a page turner divided into parts connecting the dots slowly and cleverly without revealing the reason behind the murders till the last part. The title is apt though I didn't like the cover much. It's just around 75 pages. 

Pros:

  • A short and quick read
  • Suspense element till the end
  • fast paced
  • Characterization is good


Cons:

  • The narration can be better
  • Too much violence


My Rating: 4/5
PS: I have received this book from the author in exchange of an honest review and this is my unbiased opinion on the book.

Purchase Link:



About the Author:
Rico Lamoureux considers himself a dramatist. He believes too much emphasis is put on genre nowadays, and not enough on actual story. From Historical Fiction to Contemporary Romance. From shocking Horror to edge-of-your-page Thrillers. A great story transcends genre, with dramatic elements being the utmost of importance.

Until next time,

23 August, 2016

Love to win by Lisa Ricard - Book Promo





Fireflies Series, Book Three
Contemporary Romance
Date Published: July 30, 2016
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She hates to lose…
Competitive barista Brenna Kinkaid loves a challenge, and she’ll do whatever it takes to win, especially when it comes to her nemesis, Dante Caravicci. But when forced to team up to save their best friends’ wedding, Brenna recognizes that Dante might just be her ultimate win.
He plays to win…
Restaurateur Dante Caravicci won’t quit anything until he can claim success. He’s bided his time, but he’s used to taking big risks and surviving, so he figures he’s got nothing to lose by playing for Brenna.
Hearts at risk…
These two fall fast, and it looks like a win-win—until a competition pits them head-to-head and one of them goes way too far. A nudge from an improbable source may be the only way these two competitors will ever admit that the only way to win is to lose their hearts.


Other Books in the Fireflies Series:

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Publisher: Black Opal Books
Published: June 2015

She can’t let go of her dead husband…
Maddie Kinkaid believes her late husband, Jack, gives her advice on everything from ordering a pizza to hiring a carpenter, so when she finds Caleb Walker’s business card on Jack’s desk, she’s convinced that he’s the guy to remodel her kitchen.
He can’t decide if she’s worth the risk…
Caleb is a single father, and protecting his young son means avoiding romantic entanglements. But there’s heat in every kitchen, and sparks ignite between Caleb and Maddie—until disaster strikes.
When Jack goes silent, Maddie’s guilt consumes her, and it looks as if she and Caleb will never find their happily-ever-after—at least, not without a little help from Jack…
LOVE BUILT TO LAST began as the award-winning short story Fireflies, and is now the first novel in the Fireflies series.




Excerpt

“Well, I like that,” Brenna said. “My own mother likes your cake better.”

Dante regarded her with amusement. “Not everything has to be a competition between us, does it? What difference does it make which of us bakes the better cake?”

“Or sautés the better shrimp?” Brenna said, remembering Dante’s shrimp dish from Thanksgiving that she, Rebecca, and Maddie had all deemed to be almost better than sex. Not that she’d tell Dante that. She blew out a tired sigh. “I’m sick of losing to you in the food department. I try to so hard to be creative, and you whip something up at the last minute that takes home the gold.”

“Is it really that big a deal?” He raised his brows.

Brenna stared at him a moment and made him laugh when she said, “Bet your ass! I hate coming in second on anything, especially to you. And say what you will—” She poked his chest with her finger for emphasis. “—but you’re just as competitive as I am.” He moved back a step and she poked him again. “You don’t like to lose at anything either.” One more poke. “You always do whatever you have to do to win.”

Dante’s eyes narrowed, but his lips curved. He stepped forward against the press of her finger, forcing her to step back—once, twice, thrice—and she sucked in a breath when her hips bumped against the counter. She reached behind her to grab the edge of the countertop, and her eyes widened when Dante rested his hands on either side of hers, hemming her in as he had done in the storeroom.

Brenna’s heart sped to triple speed. Dante leaned down and she parted her lips, in spite of herself, when his mouth stopped a mere breath away from hers, so close she swore she felt the radiating heat. A second passed, and another. His gaze dipped to her mouth. Brenna licked her lips and her eyes fluttered shut in anticipation, and then the stubble darkening his jaw tickled the skin of her cheek with the barest touch, and his warm breath against her ear made her shiver when he whispered, “You’re right. I’ll do whatever I have to do to win. You’d do well to remember that, sweetheart.”

He pressed his lips against the tender skin just below her earlobe and made her shiver again, then stepped back. Brenna stared at him, her mind whirling.

“It’s late. I’ll follow you home when you’re ready to go, make sure you get there safe,” he said. “And relax, I don’t expect to be invited in. I know you just want to be friends.”

Brenna still gripped the edges of the counter, her eyes wide and lips parted in surprise when he disappeared out to the porch.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Ricard Claro is a professional editor, award-winning author, and Pushcart Prize nominee with published articles and stories spanning multiple media. She resides in Georgia with her husband of more than three decades and counting, is mother to three (a ruggedly handsome son and two stunningly beautiful daughters—​Lisa might be a little biased), and dreams of one day living at the beach. Seriously dreams of it. As in, she’s already decorating her dream beach house. In addition to an array of sand dollars and seashells, she keeps a framed sign hanging in her office: Sandy Toes and Salty Kisses Welcome Here.
Lisa is also a lover of dogs and cats, and has a heart for rescues. This is why you will find a rescued pet companion in every one of her books. Sometimes they are part of the story line (Pirate the dog, in Love Built to Last), and sometimes they’re already ensconced in their forever home with one of Lisa’s characters (Pavarotti the cat, in Love to Win). As you read Lisa’s books, watch for the rescues!
While Lisa is a fan of storytelling in all genres, Romance is her favorite because she believes everyone deserves love and a happily-ever-after. But she adores a little mystery now and then, too, so keep an eye out for Lisa’s authorship of a whodunit one of these days soon.

Contact Links

Purchase Links



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Until next time,

20 August, 2016

Weekend rain #FridayReflections

It's raining here this weekend. This means, no outdoor activities 🙁

I would be dull with the weekend completely spent at home, but today I relax watching a downpour from our patio. Sometimes,
It gives great pleasure to me to watch the nature. It's cloudy and dark outside with trees looking fresh, washed by rain and lawn looking greener than usual. Evenings are pleasant too with full moon in the sky and cool breeze on the face.
Source:pixabay.com 

Also, on a rainy day I feel more lazy than usual and want to sleep for more time. I saw someone yesterday carrying a transparent umbrella and you know, it is  lovely to walk in the rain with a transparent umbrella where we can see water dripping on us. I want to drench in rain without umbrella too and leave paper boats in the small stream of rain water. My kids would enjoy that for sure now. Iam not very fond of both eating and cooking, but sometimes I crave for the spicy mirchi bajji and masala bathani which we get in Andhra on the streets on any rainy day. Ah! And cannot forget the taste of roasted corn !
Source:pixabay.com 

So, this is what making me smile today- A free write watching rain ☺

What made you smile today?

Until next time,


Linking this to #FridayReflections hosted by Corinne and Sanch.
Prompt: what makes you smile? What makes you happy?


Living my Imperfect Life

14 August, 2016

The Art of Blissful Parenting by Sharon Ballantine - [Book Review]

Book Details:

Title: The Art of Blissful Parenting

Author: Sharon Ballantine

Genre: Non-fiction

Publisher: Balboa Press

Source: A free review copy from the author


Blurb:

What if you had the ideal relationship with your children? This book is for every parent that wants to have a powerful bond with their kids. Parents have the opportunity for newfound freedom and joy when they teach their children about their Internal Guidance System. Tools and guidance are offered in this book for exacting the art of blissful parenting by practicing alignment. Family is important to all of us, and being a parent is not easy.

It's fun and easy to work with the Universe and a short lesson in the Law of Attraction is part of this script. Parents--live and also teach your children how to manifest what they want by thinking in a more positive way and deliberately creating their lives. This book helps parents work with their young children, into being a teenager and on to being a healthy young adult.

My Review:
I picked up this book inspired by the blurb. Parenting is a difficult journey and every parent wants to learn the techniques to make this learning process joyful for themselves and children.  


Initially, the author explains 'Internal guidance system' and how it helps to control our thoughts. The book introduces us to the law of Universe and how we can train our thoughts and feelings to spread positive vibrations around us and that the Universe will return back the same. So, before moving to the parenting advice, this insight itself seemed very useful for me.

As per the book, we can teach our children to believe and practice their internal guidance system so that they will become a better individual. We cannot be with our children always guiding them and helping them to take right decisions in their lives. As a parent, our main aim is to make them a responsible adult who can solve their problems independently without anyone's support. This book serves as a good guide for implementing the same.

I am not into self-help books as I feel, they are very preachy and boring. But, this book is not preachy and is realistic with some examples. The title is apt and the cover design is pleasant with blue color which signifies peace. 
The narration is slow paced and easy to understand. I recommend this to every parent who want to guide their children and experience a stress-free parenting.

My Rating: 4/5

PS: I have received this book from the author in exchange of an honest review and this is my unbiased opinion on the book.

Purchase Link:

Amazon

About the Author:
Sharon Ballantine is a Parenting Coach and certified Law of Attraction Life Coach. She has successfully raised three children and is the author a new book "The Art of Blissful Parenting."
Sharon is the founder of "The Ballantine Parenting Institute," her online parenting program.



Ballantine is a sought after speaker, and was host to her own Internet TV Show with Conscious Evolution Media Network from 2013-2014. The platform of The Sharon Ballantine TV Show featured a conversation with passionate spiritually minded guests. Sharon also had her own column with Beliefnet.com "Parenting on Purpose."

Sharon was interviewed on TV, February 15, 2016 for her new book release, "The Art of Blissful Parenting" on KING 5 New Day Northwest, a live daytime talk show in Seattle. Ballantine has been interviewed on several radio shows including Blog Talk Radio in Los Angeles, Chat with Women radio show in Seattle and Conscious Evolution Media Internet TV in Denver. Her interview with Hay House Radio will air by summer '16.

Sharon's website is SharonBallantine.com which features weekly teaching blogs, podcasts and slideshows. You can see her educational videos on her YouTube channel, Sharon Ballantine.

Sharon lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Jay.


Until next time,




12 August, 2016

Hidden deception by Colleen Helme - Book Promo




Mystery (cozy, psychic)
Date Published: August 12, 2016

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Just back from Paris, Shelby barely has time to get over her jet lag before she is right back in the thick of things. Uncle Joey, the local mob boss, needs her help to find out what his son is hiding from him. Detective Harris, AKA Dimples, has an unsolved homicide on his hands, along with a missing engagement ring. Shelby's husband, Chris, just got promoted to partner in his law firm, and she has yet to see his new office or meet his new secretary. Add to that the opportunity to purchase a beautiful home, and Shelby is racing from one thing to the next while trying to keep them all straight.
When a courier in Uncle Joey’s organization turns up dead, it’s up to Shelby and her mind-reading powers to find out who killed him and why. The house Shelby wants to buy has a few problems that go beyond the building code, and the murder she’s helping Dimples solve has ties to Chris’ law firm. Even using all of her skills, Shelby finds one hidden deception after another. And if she’s not careful, it might be the one she least expects that will kill her.



EXCERPT

Today began like any other Monday.
The routine of getting my kids off to school was just the same as it had always been, and I found it a little disconcerting to think that I’d just had the adventure of my life in Paris, and now it seemed like I’d never been gone.
We’d gotten home on Friday, so with the weekend to get over my jet-lag, there was no excuse for not going back to my everyday life. It would have been depressing except for the fact that I had something to look forward to. Just thinking about it sent a thrill of excitement through me.
My husband, Chris, had just made partner at his law firm. With that came a few other benefits, one of which was a big raise in pay. On the plane ride home from Paris, Chris had mentioned this to me, along with the news that the house I’d always admired from afar was for sale. Now, there was a real possibility we could afford it.
I’d had my eye on that house ever since we’d moved into the area. It had a certain enchantment about it that fueled my imagination. It was situated on a beautiful, stately, tree-lined street, and was built in the Old Victorian style. It even had a round turret on one side that spanned two floors, and another in the back. A wrap-around porch had recently been added, making it even more inviting.
It wasn’t a huge house, but big enough for our family, and I’d always thought it would be cool to live there. Even better, it was in our neighborhood and school district. So if we did buy it, our kids could stay in their schools and keep their friends. 
The only drawback I could see? People moved in and out a lot, so it might need some fixing up, especially the yard. But that also meant the price would be lower, so it could all work out in the end. Chris had called a realtor on Saturday, and I had an appointment to meet him there this afternoon.
This fit into my plans perfectly, since I needed to visit Thrasher Development this morning and have a talk with Uncle Joey. He was the local mob-boss and my employer. And he wasn’t even my real uncle. But since he knew my secret, I was more or less coerced into working for him. 
Recently, he’d sent his hit-man, Ramos, to look after me when I’d accompanied a federal agent to Paris on a routine trip. It had turned out to be a heck of a lot more than I’d bargained for. In fact, without Ramos’ help and protection, I’d be dead.
The last time I’d talked with Uncle Joey, he wasn’t too happy with me. And since he’d basically saved my life by sending Ramos… again, I owed him big-time, probably for as long as I lived. Or at least until my mind-reading abilities stopped. So far, that hadn’t happened. And deep inside, I hoped it never would. 
It had been a whole year since my life changed during a bank robbery at the grocery store while I was shopping for carrots. A bullet wound to my head had changed something in my brain, and now I could hear people’s thoughts. I could hardly believe how fast the time had gone since then. 
In fact, reading minds had become so much a part of my identity that I didn’t think I could ever go back to the person I was before. So, even though it might get me out of helping a mob-boss, and keep me out of trouble, and even keep me from getting killed, I’d hate to lose it. How crazy was that? 
On the other hand, Uncle Joey was getting older. He had to be over sixty-five. That meant he should retire at some point in the next few years. Maybe by then, he’d let me off the hook. Ha! Who was I kidding? Uncle Joey didn’t seem like the retiring type. He liked power way too much. And barring death, either his or mine, I didn’t think I’d ever be out from under his thumb. 
It also worried me a little that the circle of people who actually knew my secret had just widened to include French Inspector Gabriel Dumont. But since I’d helped save a chunk of Paris, he’d readily agreed to keep it to himself. 
So, including Uncle Joey, Ramos, my husband, Chris, and Detective Harris, whom I called Dimples, that still added up to only five people, so maybe it wasn’t so bad. Oh wait, there was one more… Kate.
How could I forget her? She was the main reason I got involved with Uncle Joey in the first place. As a new lawyer at Chris’ law firm, she’d set her sights on Chris, even though she knew he was happily married to me. In order to stop her, I’d threatened to expose her ties to the local mob-boss, Joe ‘The Knife’ Manetto, whom she called Uncle Joey. 
That’s when it all went wrong, and I had to tell Uncle Joey my secret in order to stay alive. Kate had since been banished to run Uncle Joey’s operations in Seattle, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t pop back up in my life at any time.
Just thinking about her brought a sick feeling to my stomach, but now that she was involved with Alec Passini and his shipping company, I hoped that kept her occupied. Still, I wouldn’t put it past her to ask for my help if she needed it. So, of all the people who knew my secret, Kate was the one I worried about the most. Good thing I had Uncle Joey on my side. Everyone else thought I had ‘premonitions,’ and I needed to make sure it stayed that way.
Now that I was back in the real world, it hit me that I had a lot to worry about, so to alleviate those worries, I decided to change my focus to the possibility of purchasing my dream home. That helped revive me and, with anticipation, I jumped into the shower to get ready for my day.
An hour later, I pulled into the parking garage of Thrasher Development and gathered the special gifts I’d purchased in Paris for Uncle Joey, his secretary and wife, Jackie, and Ramos. I was excited about the gifts I’d bought for Uncle Joey and Jackie, but more than a little nervous about the one I’d bought for Ramos. I mean, what could I possibly give to the man who’d rescued me from a bunch of crazy terrorists?
Not only that, but he’d stuck by my side when he could have easily been blown up. The little Eiffel Tower I’d gotten him seemed kind of silly, but it was also personal. The first time I’d seen it sparkle was the night he’d saved my life and took me there to help settle me down. Now, when I thought of the Eiffel Tower, it was always of that moment standing there with him. 
It was bad of me in so many ways, especially considering the kiss. Of course it wasn’t a personal kiss since Gabriel had kissed me too. It was kind of a French thing to celebrate not getting blown up; Joie de Vivre, and all that. 
Still, I had to admit that I’d liked it, and that I didn’t feel too guilty about it. That probably made me even more of a bad person, but it’s not like I’d ever do it again. I loved my husband more than I could say, and we had two great kids together. 
But Ramos was special to me too, and always would be. So giving him the Eiffel Tower was an okay thing to do, right? Still, maybe I should forget about it and just give him the extra chocolates instead. Then I wouldn’t have to worry that I’d crossed some sort of line.
“Babe.” 


About the Author

As the author of the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, Colleen is often asked if Shelby Nichols is her alter-ego. “Definitely,” she says. “Shelby is the epitome of everything I wish I dared to be.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. “I love getting Shelby into trouble…I just don’t always know how to get her out of it!” Colleen lives in the Rocky Mountains with her family. Besides writing, she loves a good book, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.


Purchase Link


Contact Links
Twitter: @ColleenHelme


Giveaway
Amazon $25.00 gift card



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Until next time,


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