Month in Review: June 2014

monthinreview
Considering I had uni exams all month, June turned out be a surprisingly busy month!
I reviewed over 20 books and wrote 7 mini-reviews (each mini-review contained small reviews for 3 titles, so that’s a total of 41 books!).

  1. The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu
  2. Dark Father by James Cooper
  3. Disconnected by Lisa M. Cronkhite
  4. Adventures with Ragweed by Linda Lou Crosby
  5. The Janus Legacy by Lisa von Biela
  6. Earth Cell (The Ux-Blood Trilogy #1) by Charles Brass
  7. Hold Still by Lisa Regan
  8. Savage by Gary Fry
  9. Dollhouse by Anya Allyn
  10. Francesca of Lost Nation by Lucinda Sue Crosby
  11. Liminal Lights by J.M. Bogart
  12. Orange Blossom by Sarah Daltry
  13. Deceiver by Kelli Owen
  14. Spelled (Amethyst #1) by Kate St. Claire
  15. Triumph! A Battle Plan for Joy by Gladys Simmons Carson
  16. Relic of Death by David Bernstein
  17. Sister Surrendered by Darla M. Grese
  18. Sex and Sensibility by Derek Ansell
  19. Shadow’s Moon by Jami Gray
  20. The Affair by Olivia Grace

Mini-Reviews for this month:

  1. Mini-Review: The Iron Traitor, Of Triton, Some Quiet Place
  2. Mini-Review: Hanging by a Thread, Renegade, Wicked Kiss
  3. Mini-Review: Winter Chill, Lynnwood, Now You See Me
  4. Mini-Review: Auraria, Devil’s Bargain and Grounds to Kill
  5. Mini-Review: Dead Letter Office, As She Left It, Shakespeare vs. Lovecraft
  6. Mini-Review: Innocent Darkness, Enchanted Ever After, Sister Assassin
  7. Mini-Review: The Lynching of Louie Sam, Scent of Magic, Cold Remains

I’ll be doing mini-reviews every month from this month onward, until I catch up with my backlog. Netgalley backlog first, then my print copy backlog.
I also hosted a bunch of starter day parties this month.

And several book spotlights.

A release day party:

And a few guest posts and excerpts.

Book Review: The Affair by Olivia Grace

JESSICA_THEAFFAIRTitle: The Affair
Author: Olivia Grace
Genre: New Adult Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Karrie Stahl and Justin Hunter aren’t your typical lovers. Sure, they love each other immensely. The passion between them is undeniable. There are just a few things horribly wrong with their love. Well, Karrie Stahl is living with her boyfriend, Tyler, and she’s never seen Justin face-to-face. As most lovers do in this day of social media and online dating, Karrie and Justin met online. Yet, no matter how they met, unbeknownst to Karrie, she had become addicted to a complete stranger. But you don’t know that you are addicted to anything until you are forced to give it up.
The day comes when they meet and things go left, when she had all hopes for it to go right. And that is when Karrie’s world begins to fall apart. She hates her drunk, loser boyfriend. Her job sucks. And she is days away from being kicked out of college, if she can’t pay tuition. What’s a girl to do when life has strapped her into an emotional and dramatic roller coaster? She sucks it up, cries on the inside like a winner, and takes life by the groin… literally.

The Affair is a small sample from a larger book,  but it was interesting all the same. In under 40 pages, author Olivia Grace sketches the romance between Karrie and Justin. They’re not your usual couple, and that’s what instantly makes them intriguing. They’ve never met, at least not in real life. They’ve been dating online, and they’ve only been chatting through social media and email. Meanwhile, Karrie is still living with her boyfriend, Tyler, who is a drunk and a loser. College threatens to kick her out if she can’t pay tuition. Her job sucks, and life is pretty much boring and uneventful.

That is, until her best friend Sabrina takes Karrie to the big city on a job hunt, but she gets a lot more than she bargained for when she gets an offer she can’t refuse.

Sabrina and Karrie seem like great friends, and I loved how Sabrina was supportive, no matter what Karrie ended up choosing. Since this was just a sample, it’s hard to review the book, since I have no idea what’ll happen next. The sample ended on a cliffhanger, so I’m definitely excited to read the rest.

 
 

Mini-Review: The Lynching of Louie Sam, Scent of Magic, Cold Remains

minireview

Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

The Lynching of Louie Sam

Title: The Lynching of Louie Sam

Author: Elizabeth Stewart

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Fifteen-year-old George Gillies lives in the Washington Territory in the late 1800s, where white settlers have an uneasy relationship with the indigenous people living there. When a local man is found murdered, suspicion falls on Louie Sam, a young member of the Stó:lō tribe. George and his best friend, Pete, follow a lynch mob north into Canada, where the terrified boy is seized and hung.
Racked with doubts, George begins to ask questions. Was Louie Sam really a murderer? As George uncovers the truth, tensions in the town rise, and he must face his own part in the tragedy.
Inspired by a true story.

Review: The book is based upon a true story, which makes it more intriguing, and sad too. While I found Louie Sam an interesting character, and I enjoyed getting to know his world and customs, I wasn’t to impressed with the writing. Could’ve been better. The ending was dissapointing and provided little closure.

 Scent of Magic

Title: Scent of Magic

Author: Maria V. Snyder

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Hunted, Killed—Survived?
As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.
Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.
War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible … again.

Review: Another one that I didn’t figure was a sequel until I started reading. This book is an excellent read though. I loved Avry, I quickly picked up on the worldbuilding, which is quite extensive and impressive, and all characters seem well-motivated and three-dimensional. Excellent writing too. No wonder this was a bestseller.

Cold Remains

Title: Cold Remains

Author: Sally Spedding

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Horror

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

When Jason Robbins arrives at the eerie Heron House in deepest Carmarthenshire for a writing course, he soon meets its two weird servants who seem to exercise a sinister power over their scheming employer, Monty Flynn. Another newcomer is Helen Jenkins, a cook, to whom Jason is instantly attracted. Together they discover what dangers really lurk behind those ivy-clad walls; how the terrible post-war past bleeds into the present when the tormented soul of the young woman haunting them will stop at nothing to have her story told. But is the ghost’s version of events to be trusted? And at what cost to Jason and Helen when they attempt to find out the truth?

Review: This book was different, in a way that was sometimes good, sometimes not so good. I found it a bit wordy, the descriptions too lenghty to keep up the suspense at times. I loved how a ghost did some of the storytelling though, and it definitely had original elements. It’s a mix of mystery, suspense, horror, thriller, set in a beautiful, atmospheric landscape.

Book Review: Shadow’s Moon by Jami Gray

Shadows Moon CoverTitle: Shadow’s Moon
Author: Jami Gray
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Even a wild heart can be broken…

A blonde, a brunette and a monster walk into a bar and all hell breaks loose.

It should have been the start of a bad joke, but days from a full moon Xander Cade, Tracker for the Northwest Motoki Pack, finds nothing funny about confronting an enraged Shifter in a crowded Portland nightclub filled with unsuspecting humans. The resulting carnage frays an already thin veil of secrecy shielding the supernatural Kyn community from public scrutiny, and ensures she can’t escape the one man she’s been determined to avoid, her Alpha and mate, Warrick Vidis.  Dominating, protective and compelling, Warrick threatens her individuality like no other.

As the Northwest Alpha wolf, compromise isn’t in Warrick Vidis’s vocabulary, but when his reluctant mate, Xander Cade, refuses to leave off the hunt for a killer, he has no qualms using whoever or whatever necessary to protect her or his pack. A series of unusual deaths involving lone wolves, along with anonymous threats against him and his Pack, begin to jeopardize his normal steely control. Add in Xander’s continual reluctance to fully accept their Soul bond, and the line between intellect and instinct begins to blur, leaving him wondering if one woman’s love and acceptance will be enough to save both man and wolf.

As the danger escalates, threatening not just their Pack but those closest to them, Warrick and Xander must find a way to trust each other and accept their rare bond or risk losing everything-their pack, their friends and each other.

Shadow’s Moon is an intriguing paranormal romance that managed to do the unexpected – it combined two alphas. Both Xander and Warrick are definitely alpha, and while that usually leads to a clash that doesn’t end too well, they make an amazing match here. While Warrick is the most alpha of the two, Xander is rather alpha too, and definitely not happy with just doing whatever Warrick says. Sparks fly off the pages, and that’s a good thing.

The story mixes a mystery involving unusual deaths of lone wolves and threats against the Pack, and a search for who is behind it, with a romance story, and Xander’s reluctance to accept the bond she has with Warrick, and how he struggles to control her, or at least, protect her when danger escalates.

A well-written paranormal romance novel with an interesting plot, plenty of surprises, and a couple I could cheered for from the start.

Giveaway

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Book Tours: Starter Day Party The Miller’s Daughter

millersdaughter
I’m hosting the starter day party today for the book tour for erotic romance / fairytales “The Miller’s Daughter”. The tour runs from June 28 to July 5. Make sure to visit all the tour stops!

Tour Schedule

June 28th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

June 30th: Promo Post @ Book Club Sisters

July 1st: Book Excerpt @ Sunshine Book Promos

July 3rd: Promo Post @ Deal Sharing Aunt

July 4th: Book Excerpt @ Books, Books and More Books

July 5th: Book Review and Promo @ Passionate Encounters

July 5th: Book Review @ Nicky Peacock Author Bog

The Miller’s Daughter

Jordan_Miller's Daughter (1)Title: The Miller’s Daughter

Author: Jessica Jordan

Genre: Fairytale / Historical, Erotic Romance

Kind and beautiful Elena, the miller’s daughter, lies to the king to save her father’s life. She has ‘til morning to prove to him that she can indeed spin straw into gold. In the cold dark dungeons, she begs anyone who can hear her prayers to save her. Someone does hear her: a djinn. Though his appearance at first terrifies her, she grows to love him, despite his continual refusal to acknowledge his own feelings for her. He saves her life three times, each bargain they strike bringing them closer together. But, when the time comes for him to collect his final payment, her firstborn child, Elena cannot go through with it. Relenting against the onslaught of her tears, he gives her three nights to guess his true name saying that if she can he will nullify their contract. If she guess correctly, her baby will stay with her, but the djinn, the being that she’s fallen in love with, will be her slave. Over the course of those three nights, Elena finds out that the djinn is more than she had previously thought. Has she been a pawn the entire time in his twisted games of lust and greed, or did he sacrifice everything for her?

Author Bio

Jessica Jordan lives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and is currently studying to become a post-secondary English teacher. She loves reading comic books, eating sushi, and binge-watching her favorite shows on Netflix.

Links

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/jessica.jordan.58958

Website URL: http://marvelgirls.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @Jessica_J21

Amazon: The Miller’s Daughter: A Twisted Erotic Fairy Tale – Kindle edition by Jessica Jordan. Romance Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Mini-Review: Innocent Darkness, Enchanted Ever After, Sister Assassin

minireview

Time for some mini-reviews! What are mini-reviews, you ask? As the title suggests, these are short reviews, consisting of one paragraph tops, about a book. It’s a way to catch up on the books I’ve read a while ago, but never got around to reviewing.

Innocent Darkness

Title: Innocent Darkness (The Aether Chronicles #1)

Author: Suzanne Lazear

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Wish. Love. Desire. Live.

Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock’s hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer’s eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.

Review: This book starts out amazing. The middle part is a little less kick-ass awesome, but it picks up again toward the end. Faeries are awesome, and I loved reading about the Otherworld civilization. Great worldbuilding and writing too.

Enchanted Ever After

Title: Enchanted Ever After

Author: Robin D. Owens

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

Rating: 3,5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Magic was just around the corner….

Kiri Palger knew the difference between reality-new house, hard work and not too many friends-and fantasy-the fun she had playing online games. So when the chance to work for the best gaming company in the world came up, giving her a chance to merge business with pleasure, how could she not apply?

Suddenly she has more friends, interesting neighbors and an intriguing love interest. But when the game begins to awaken something inside her, Kiri is shocked by the talents she never knew she had… and an evil she’d never imagined.

Her nice, safe life is imploding around her-and if she takes up the mantle of her powers, it will never be the same again….

Review: I had no idea this was the third book in a series. However, even though not reading book one and two, I wasn’t completely lost, and I got the hang of the story almost right away. This book is filled with original elements, and a great plot. I enjoyed the characters, but sometimes the plot got away from me, and some parts seem to go nowhere. A decent read, but could’ve been better.

Sister Assassin

Title: Sister Assassin

Author: Kiersten White

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Dystopia

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

She never chose her deadly gift but now she’s forced to use it. How far would you go to protect the only family you have left?

Annie is beset by fleeting strange visions and a guilty conscience. Blind and orphaned, she struggles to care for her feisty younger sister Fia, but things look up when both sisters are offered a place at Kessler School for Exceptional Girls.

Born with flawless intuition, Fia immediately knows that something’s wrong, but bites her tongue… until it’s too late. For Fia is the perfect weapon to carry out criminal plans and there are those at Kessler who will do anything to ensure her co-operation.

With Annie trapped in Kessler’s sinister clutches, instincts keep Fia from killing an innocent guy and everything unravels. Is manipulative James the key to the sisters’ freedom or an even darker prison? And how can Fia atone for the blood on her hands

Review: What an amazing read! Sister Assassin is amazing. It’s an original story about two sisters, one is blind but has visions of the future, and the other has flawless instinct. This is a fast-paced, great read. The ending shocked me to the core. Awesome read!

Book Tours: Book Spotlight Past My Defences

perf5.000x8.000.inddBook Title: Past My Defenses

Author: Wendy Sparrow

Release Date: 6/23/14

Genre: Suspense with a Paranormal slant

Author Website:http://wendysparrow.com/

Author Blog:http://wendysparrow.com/blog/

Author Twitter:https://twitter.com/WendySparrow

Author Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/WendySparrowAuthor

Author Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3346109.Wendy_Sparrow

Author Bio:

Writing is in Wendy’s blood…which is also about thirty percent Mountain Dew and twenty percent chocolate brownies. Wendy has been telling tales since she was a child with varying amounts of success. Her parents clearly anticipated her forays into the paranormal because she heard “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” so many times she could have written the screenplay at age five. She lives with a wonderful husband and two quirky kids and is active in Autism and OCD support networks. She can usually be found on Twitter where she’ll talk to anyone who talks to her and occasionally just to herself.

 

Book Synopsis:

Vanessa is the fastest Lycan around. In wolf form, the only threat she can’t outrun is her allergies. After a feline dander-bomb takes her down, she wakes up naked in a cage staring at a hot park ranger who had no idea what he’d trapped. But ooooh, he smells so good. Mine.

Dane hoped to tame the silver wolf in his kennel, but all bets are off with the deliciously sweet Vanessa on two legs. Her temper makes his pulse race, and he can’t escape the feeling they belong together.

They’re hot as a forest fire even before they scent-match, but Glacier Peak’s Alpha considers Dane a danger to the pack. Meanwhile, Lycans are being poached, and Vanessa has been targeted. Dane will have to keep her close to protect her, but with Vanessa in heat and mad to mate, who will protect him?

Tagline:  Why did he have to be human?

Goodreads Book Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22401328-past-my-defenses

Amazon Buy Link: http://bit.ly/PastDefensesAM

Barnes & Noble Buy Link: http://bit.ly/PastDefensesBN

Entangled Page: http://bit.ly/PastDefensesEP

Schedule:

June 23

Book reviewed at Literary Addicts

Guest blogging at Joyfully Reviewed

Guest blogging at My Book Addiction and More

Book reviewed at All Things Romance

Book featured at Happy Tails and Tales

June 24

Guest blogging at I Smell Sheep

Book featured at Escape by Fiction

June 25

Book reviewed at Miriam Smith

Guest blogging at Urban Fantasy Investigations

June 26

Book reviewed at Romance for Every World

Book reviewed at What I’m Reading

Book featured at I Heart Reading

June 27

Book reviewed at In My Humble Opinion

June 30

Guest blogging at In the Pages of a Good Book

Book featured at Lisa Loves Books

Book featured at Becky on Books…and Quilts

Book featured at Book Nook Nuts

July 1

Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish

July 2

Book reviewed at What’s on the Bookshelf

Book featured at RhiReading

Guest blogging at Suzanne Johnson

July 3

Book reviewed at Book Lunatic Ramblings

Book reviewed at She Hearts Books

Guest blogging at Literary Escapism

July 4

Book featured at Sapphyria’s Book Blog

Book reviewed at Snarky Mom Reads

EXCERPT:

~1~

“Why do you sleep with earplugs in?”

He tossed them on the small table beside the bed. “I don’t normally. You snore like you’re trying to swallow sandpaper.”

Her mouth dropped open. Oh, no, he didn’t just say that. “I do not!”

Leaning back, he grabbed his phone off the same table and punched it on. “You do. It was so earsplitting, I recorded it because I’ve never heard anything like it.”

The horrible guttural noise made her hands jump to her own ears. The allergy pills had done the job and now her better-than-average hearing was assaulted, offended, and even stung from that…that…that horror. It was like a tree falling—a tree felled by Satan. That sound was evil. In some way, it was evil.

Dane grinned as he stopped it.

Pointing at his phone, she couldn’t believe she had to say it, but… “That was not me.”

He laughed.

He. Laughed.

She was so out of here. She spun away and bolted. It was an unfair advantage for a Lycan to be on school track teams, but she’d ignored that and taken Oregon by storm ten years ago. She hadn’t lost a second on her four-and-a-half-minute mile. And she’d only perfected running away from what life threw at her since then.

Run.

Now.

Yes. Hell yes.

Finally, her inner wolf was siding with her. Even a wolf wouldn’t stay in the room with someone claiming they snored loud enough to cause sterility. Bastard.

“Vanessa!” he yelled after her.

She made it to the trees at the edge of his property, fifty feet from the house, dressed in only a flannel shirt, which was going to hit the ground as soon as she was out of sight and could push the change.

“Vanessa!” he called from the front door.

Nothing he said would make her turn back. She was going to scrub his scent from her skin, from her nose, even if she had to use bleach. There was nothing…

“I know what you are!”

She stopped. Except that. Damn him and that infernal ace up his sleeve. Turning back, she yelled, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Dane, but you are a rat bastard.”

He grinned at that and shook his head. “And you are beautiful when you’re pissed.” He took a few lazy steps forward and leaned against the beams of his front porch. He hadn’t bothered with a shirt. If he had, she’d already be home. The noon sun filtered through the branches and brushed his skin with even more gold. He wasn’t half bad himself—and curse her frantic hormones for noticing that when she was so furious with him.  – PAST MY DEFENSES http://bit.ly/PastDefensesEP @WendySparrow

Book Tours: Book Spotlight The Hunting

The Hunting banner 2

The Hunting 2Title: The Hunting
Author: Kerry Peresta
Publisher: Pen-L Publishing
Pages: 247
Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction/Inspirational
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Isabelle Lewis, top advertising salesperson at the Chatbrook Springs Sentinel newspaper, has a habit of falling in and out of marriage. After her last divorce, she shoved the emotional pain into a compartment in her brain to deal with later. With three teenagers to raise, bills to pay, and sales quotas to meet, introspection was a luxury she could not afford. Her mind needed a happy place.

When Isabelle (Izzy) discovered online dating, it immediately became her favorite stress reliever and best friend. Often, she’d steal into the night after her kids were asleep to meet someone new. One fateful evening, the hunt for the perfect guy took a sinister turn when the mystery man she met turned out to be her worst nightmare! Reluctantly pulled into a web of lies, Izzy is forced to confront her demons.
Snarky, suspense-filled, and real, The Hunting is an exquisite entwining of the crippling emotional fallout of divorce with the quest for a healthy, fulfilling relationship.This inspirational story rivets!

Book Excerpt:

I sit in my car a minute, adjusting to the darkness of the garage. My eyes land on the kids’ car tucked in already, and I know they are inside the house, either asleep or going that direction, because I’d talked to them on the way home. I shake off the feeling that something is wrong, get out of the car, start up the stairs to the kitchen, reconsider and click on the overhead light in the garage to sniff around.

Brightness illuminates the area. Rakes, loppers, an air pump, and various gadgetry cling to a pegboard nailed to one wall; an aging lawnmower sits in a far corner with its best friend, the gas trimmer. Metal shelving climbs the back wall, loaded with fairly common family paraphernalia. My eyes scan the cement floor and the kids’ car, searching for signs of inappropriate activity. I smell old grass, a little oil that has leaked from one of the cars, gas, paint thinner.

My heels striking the cement garage floor in the middle of the night remind me of old Law and Order episodes, where Eames and Goren discover a body in the garage, draped halfway out of a car, drenched in blood. I should stop watching those shows. Then I see it. Not tonight, my mind screams. Tonight? After this horribly long day? My stomach clenches in fear.

A tightly folded, small, white square mocks me from the windshield of my kids’ car. What time is it, anyway, I mutter to myself as I cautiously approach the car, lift the windshield wiper, and hold the small square between thumb and forefinger. I grab my phone from my purse with my free hand and click the screen on. Almost midnight.

Despair zips through me. I turn off the garage light and climb the three stairs into the kitchen, firmly locking the door behind me. I fling the note through the air. It lands on the kitchen table.

I scroll quickly through my contacts to find Detective Faraday. His phone rings several times. A groggy voice answers. “Yeah?” Cough. “What?”

“Detective Faraday?” I whisper.
“You got him. What’s up?” I picture him wiping his eyes and focusing on a clock by his bed. Maybe a lovely wife by his side, sleeping. I feel awful for interrupting him at home.
“I got another note,” my voice is hushed. I don’t want to alarm the kids, but stress has rushed to every extremity. I cannot stop shaking.
“Okay. This is Izzy, right?”
I shake my head, realize someone on the other end of a phone call cannot see a head shake.“Yes.”

“All right, I’m going to call and get a patrol car out there immediately. What does the note say? By the way, we have analyzed fingerprints on the other note, and it is definitely the man you indicated.That’s good news. It’s probably just a reaction to personal crisis. Which, unfortunately, you seem to be triggering.”

“So what should I do?” I whisper.
“Read me the note, Izzy,” he says, calmly.
“It was on my kids’ car.” I feel tears forming. One trails slowly down my cheek. I slap it away.
“Oh, man,” Detective Faraday whooshes out a long sigh. “You weren’t home, then? But your kids were?”
“Yeah, and I’m pretty sure the garage was locked. They know they are supposed to shut the garage door when they get home, no matter what.”
“Izzy, is there a window in your garage?” I think a minute. Yes! There is one in the small storage room at the back of the garage, one we never use.
“Well, yes, there is one in a storage room, but – ”
“Is it locked?” he barks. I start to cry.
“I don’t know! Why is this happening?”
“Go check, Izzy, right now. Keep me on the phone while you do it. Take a flashlight or a bat or something with you. I’ll wait.”
The implication hits me that he wants me to find a weapon before I check the window. Seriously? I quietly enter my sons’ room and pluck up the bat that is leaning against their bookshelf. They stir, but do not wake.
“Okay,” I whisper. “Got a bat. Heading for the garage.”
“I’m with you, Izzy. Be careful.”

His voice is reassuring and I am thinking how grateful I am for our police force. Funny. I am grateful now, but just let me get a speeding ticket. I enter the garage, and tiptoe toward the closed storage room door, my heart beating violently. I hold the bat in my right hand and turn the knob slowly with my left. The darkened room emerges bit by bit as the door creaks open. Light from the garage spills into the room, illuminating old cans of paint, a broken lamp, basketballs, a football, boxes. I push the door open further, and see the window, which is located high on the wall, shards of cobwebs hanging from the edges.

I lift the bat in pre-strike position as I push the door all the way open. I hear Detective Faraday’s breathing on the phone.
“What’s happening, Izzy?” he says, causing me to nearly jump out of my skin.
I locate the string that turns on the lone light bulb in the room, and pull. The forty-watt bulb creates an eerie glow. To my utter and profound relief, the room appears empty.
“I am in the storage room. It’s empty.”
I lean the bat against one of the boxes and look around.
“How often are you in that room, Izzy?”
“Rarely. It’s for stuff we don’t have room for. Kind of forget sometimes, that it’s here.”
“Okay,” he says, “go to the window and check the lock.”
My nose wrinkles in disgust. “Okay,” I say and move aside two squashed storage boxes. Looking around, I locate something to stand on, and reach up to check the latch. Push up on the window, which holds. Try again, and it reluctantly slides open. “It’s not locked,” I say, miserably.
“Lock it,” Detective Faraday says. “Don’t worry, Izzy, we’ll get him.”

Book Tours: Guest Post The Gifted

The Gifted 7I’m hosting a guest post today for “The Gifted” about making the world a better place. Enjoy the guest post.

Making the World a Better Place

By Daphne Michaels

I have always strived to live by the age-old wisdom that we must come together to make the world a better place – that anything we can do to help the world and those who live in it is not just “nice,” but mandatory. I believe that we must each give in our own way and to the best of our ability. We must support one another in being the best we can be so that we can offer our best to the world. As a writer, I am most grateful for those who have supported me in being my best and offering my best to the world.

While it been said that it takes a village to raise a child — and as a mother I know this is true — as it turns out, it also takes a village to do just about anything meaningful in life. Becoming a published author is no exception. From friends and associates who offer moral support to finding the right people to help with editing, publishing, marketing and promotion, I have learned that it takes a small village to be a writer — especially one with a message.

Making the world a better place through written messages takes a village — and why shouldn’t it? What I have learned most through writing my new book, The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams is that all messages that make the world a better place are shared messages held by the heart of a village. In my case this includes my friends, supporters, editor, book designers, marketing gurus, publishing wizard, publicity angels and readers. The magic and buzz comes from the village … from each and every person saying “yes” to the message and offering their best to let it be heard.

About the Author

Daphne Michaels is an author, speaker and licensed psychotherapist whose institute has helped hundreds of women and men transform their lives through the “gifts” every human being is born with. Daphne began her own journey of transformation at a young age, pursued it fearlessly, and later studied formally in the fields of social science, human services and integral psychology. The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams launches both Daphne Michaels Books and The Gifted series, whose goal it is to share with the widest audience possible the principles that guide the Daphne Michaels Institute. Daphne’s earlier book, Light of Our Times, featured her conversations with such international figures in the fields of spirituality and personal development as Ram Dass, Julia Cameron, Dr. Masaru Emoto, and Thomas Moore.

Visit her website at www.daphnemichaels.com.

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About the Book

In The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams author, speaker and licensed psychotherapist Daphne Michaels celebrates the nine gifts that are our birthright, guiding readers in how to recognize and use them to transform their lives.  In her author’s preface, Michaels reveals how her own journey of life transformation began when she was young and realized that human existence wore two conflicting faces–one of love and joy, and one of fear and despair. She decided then to commit her life to reconciling these two visions because she knew that, irreconcilable though they seemed, together these two faces held the secret to living a life of endless possibility and authentic happiness. Her personal journey and formal education in social science, human services and integral psychology led to the founding of the Daphne Michaels Institute, which has helped hundreds of men and women design the lives of their dreams.

In The Gifted Michaels shows us that the first three “gifts” we must recognize and embrace within us if we are to re-design our lives are Awareness, Potential and Stillness. These three allow us to identify and use the remaining six with a life-changing power:  Disharmony, Harmony, Ease, Clarity, Freedom and Engagement.  Each of these six relies on the “essential three” for its own power to change our lives, and each has its own gifts–its “children.” By approaching the nine gifts with real-world metaphors, Michaels answers in easily understood ways what for many readers have been lingering questions about personal transformation—such as how it works, what kind of commitment it takes, and why, if we’re committed, real transformation becomes inevitable—and addresses obstacles that readers may have encountered in the past in trying to reach in life a happiness every human deserves.

While the human universe’s face of love is celebrated in The Gifted, so is the face of fear that haunted a young girl decades ago. As Michaels shows us in her book, even Disharmony—the “quagmire” of life born of the human ego’s fear, defenses, delusions and despair—is a gift, too, and one as important as the others if we know how to see it clearly and use it. Once we understand Disharmony, we are ready to understand the real purpose of Harmony in our lives. Disharmony does not need to rule us.  It is ours to use as we design the lives of our dreams.

The final gift in The Gifted, Michaels tells us, is the gift of Engagement. Engagement—with the universe and with ourselves—allows us to use all of the other gifts with more power and joy than we ever imagined possible.

That mountaintop decision never left me. It drove my life’s work and over the years led me to understand that there are gifts – nine of them, in fact – that we are all born with but rarely experience in their full glory and potential. These gifts – which make each and every one of us “The Gifted” of this book’s title – are the keys to living lives of endless possibilities and, in turn, achieving an authentic happiness that cannot be lost. They are, in other words, the keys to achieving the life of our dreams.

Purchase your copy:

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Book Review: Sex and Sensibility by Derek Ansell

Mature man offering flowers to his wifeTitle: Sex and Sensibility
Author: Derek Ansell
Genre: Romance
Age Group: Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Tommy Fraser seems to have it all – a beautiful wife, an exciting past, and a vibrant life still ahead of him. But when suddenly confronted with the diagnosis of a possible life-threatening illness, his concerns are not only for his own mortality but his overwhelming desire to continue as a fully functioning, sexual male.

His soulmate and wife of thirty years, Cathy, is with him all the way, in total support and accompanying him to all hospital visits. Faced with an uncertain future, Tommy finds himself reflecting back on the past and his life before Cathy…a life that saw him with a different woman in almost every town he visited.

Debbie, Mandy, Diana, and all the many others are in the distant past, but are they gone forever? Is Tommy’s past about to catch up with him? And does Cathy know more about the man she loves and his colourful former life than she is letting on?

In Sex and Sensibility, Tommy Fraser used to have it all – an exciting past with lots of different women, a beautiful wife who he sees as his soulmate, and a vibrant life ahead of him. That is, until he’s confronted with the dianogises of a life-threatening illness.

His wife, Cathy, supports him all the way, even accompanying him to hospital visits. But the more uncertain his future becomes, the more Tommy reflects upon his past life, a life before Cathy, a life spent with lots of different women. Right at that moment it looks like his past is about to catch up on him.

The book is well-written, and the characters have distinct, refreshing personalities. Tommy was a fun character to read about, and Cathy had a strong personality. She was like a beacon in the darkness, a beacon for Tommy to hold on to. She never gave up, and she kept on going, no matter what.

A solid book with an interesting perspective.