Monday, August 31, 2015

Musing Mondays and Book Review of The White Knight, the Lost Kingdom, and the Sea Princess by Judy Carlson

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: What is your favorite book? (or, one of your favorites!)

Favorite book? There are so many. I guess if I had to pick one it would be The Stand by Stephen King. Ultimate good versus ultimate evil, faith, the supernatural, and the rebuilding of society. Pretty neat stuff.

I recently finished reading The White Knight, the Lost Kingdom, and the Sea Princess by Judy Carlson. Like young adult fantasy has been influenced by the popularity of Harry Potter, Christian fantasy has been influenced by The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis for decades.

After the brutal murder of the royal family a decade earlier, Prince Lael fights for the freedom of the Lost Kingdom. Along his journey, he meets a mysterious Sea Princess who quickly captivates him. Two cousins from Minnesota are dropped into the mystical realm and join the fight to free the Sea Princess while searching for their way back home.

This is a thrilling Christian adventure story sure to appeal to many. The battle against the dark forces will thrill and the romantic element will touch hearts. Eloquently written, Carlson has developed a story with numerous plot points seamlessly woven to create a fascinating tale. Lovers of mythical fantasy will appreciate this one.

Paperback: 472 pages
Publisher: Nordskog Publishing, Inc. (July 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983195757
ISBN-13: 978-0983195757

I received a copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

I read this book for the following challenge:

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

"Waiting On" Wednesday: Little Woman in Blue: A Novel of May Alcott by Jeannine Atkins

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week is:

May Alcott spends her days sewing blue shirts for Union soldiers, but she dreams of painting a masterpiece—which many say is impossible for a woman—and of finding love, too. When she reads her sister’s wildly popular novel, Little Women, she is stung by Louisa’s portrayal of her as “Amy,” the youngest of four sisters who trades her desire to succeed as an artist for the joys of hearth and home. Determined to prove her talent, May makes plans to move far from Massachusetts and make a life for herself with room for both watercolors and a wedding dress. Can she succeed? And if she does, what price will she have to pay?

Based on May Alcott’s letters and diaries, as well as memoirs written by her neighbors, Little Woman in Blue puts May at the center of the story she might have told about sisterhood and rivalry in an extraordinary family.

What are you "waiting on" this week?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Interview with Lisa Tillinger Johansen, Author of Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off!

LISA TILLINGER JOHANSEN, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients on a wide range of health issues. Her debut nutrition book, Fast Food Vindication, received the Discovery Award (sponsored by USA Today, Kirkus and The Huffington Post).  She lives in Southern California.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I live in Southern California and love it. Reading is one of my most favorite pastimes and has been most of my life. I joined my first book club when I was six years old. I love to entertain, from a small dinner party to a major bash. My husband and I love the arts and go to a lot of movies, plays and concerts. I would have to say that my biggest adult passion has been travel. It’s my goal to see as much of the world as I can.

When did you begin writing?

I wrote my first play when I was nine years old. It was about Native Americans and my friend and I performed it for our history class. The next year I wrote a play for my English class about Santa Claus, and I played Santa! In seventh grade I mounted my most ambitious play called Rocky and the Boys about bank robbers. I, of course, was Rocky and we performed the play on the school’s theater stage. It was very exciting.

Throughout high school and college I continued to write, but mostly essays and short stories. Then in my mid-twenties I tried writing a romance novel called The Girl With The Kelly Green Scarf. It was 86 pages from start to finish. Too funny! It was then that I realized how hard it is to write a book.

I took some time off from writing for a decade or so and then started back again several years ago with my first book FAST FOOD VINDICATION. It was well-received and won several awards. This inspired me to write my new book STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF!

What is this book about?

STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF! examines the pros and cons of dozens of the most popular diets out there and ultimately provides the reader with a healthy eating plan for life.

What inspired you to write it?                                              

I’m a dietitian and I’ve counseled thousands of patients about weight loss and management. So many of them have been on numerous diets that didn’t work. Too few have tried a common-sense diet approach. My goal is to help people learn to eat healthy for life. And because there’s so much misinformation out there about what to do, I felt compelled to write a book that answers all the diet questions.

Who is your biggest supporter?

I can answer two questions here. My husband is my biggest supporter and he’s also my favorite author. He writes mystery/thriller books and sometimes collaborates with my second favorite author, my mother-in-law Iris Johansen.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Readers can get STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF! on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and local booksellers.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

I have three websites. The one that is specific to STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF! is I also have a Q&A website at and one for my first book I’m on Facebook at Lisa Tillinger Johansen and on Twitter @LisaTJohansen.

What is up next for you?

Right now I’m busy promoting STOP THE DIET, I WANT TO GET OFF! as well as teaching nutrition, conducting hypertension and diabetes clinics and holding cooking classes in various senior centers. So I’m pretty busy! But I’m looking ahead to my next book and hope to get started on it soon.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you for taking the time for the interview. I appreciate it.

Friday, August 21, 2015

New to My TBR Pile

Not that I've had any time to read lately--too busy selling houses--but here are some books that were added to my TBR pile over the past few weeks.

What have you added to your TBR pile? 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Musing Mondays - Aug 10

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme sponsored by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:
  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…
THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Do you read in the water (bathtub, pool, etc)? Why, or why not?

Today is definitely a whining post day. I miss reading. There is absolutely no time lately. Right now, it's 2:20 a.m. and I know I have to get up at 7:00. That means I better go to bed and catch a few hours of rest before the work day starts.

My review of Guilt Free Motherhood: A 5-Step Guide to Reclaiming Your Time, Health & Well-Being is overdue and I have to read four more books before the end of October. How am I going to manage that? Sigh! I love my job, but man, the real estate market is crazy right now. People are buying.

So, now that I have cried a bit, I hope you are reading some great books and enjoying them.

Updated: In answer to this week's question, I most definitely read in the tub. I would never get reading accomplished otherwise--which is part of the problem I mention from above. I used to bath every night to relax. Right now, I am staying up so late I plop into bed right away and take a shower in the morning.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Book Blast & Book Giveaway: Love, Defined by Leila Tualla

Author: Leila Tualla
Book Title: Love, Defined
Paperback: 242 pages
ISBN-10: 1680582313
ISBN-13: 978-1680582314
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Genre: Christian YA Romance

Into their final summer before graduating college, three childhood friends, Alex Makapulo, Lori Hanson, and Andy Taylor had each expected an uncomplicated transition to adulthood.
Alex had recently professed her love for Christ and is toying with the idea of leaving the Catholic Church and becoming a member of her best friend, Jack Page’s church. Jack wonders what is keeping Alex from being baptized and fully accepting a new life with Christ. Alex wonders the same thing and believes that she needs to be 100 % in her conviction before fully committing to a new Christian life. Like everyone she has doubts and wants to make sure she’s doing the right thing in her spiritual walk. Her new found beliefs disconnects her from her roommates and while they feel she is intentionally separating herself from them, to Alex, she is trying to figure out what is Christian and what isn’t.

For Lori’s twenty-second birthday, her grandfather Pete Hanson presented her with a summer vacation to England. While looking up various tourist spots, she meets and befriends Colin Watson, a British musician, online who then suggest they meet when she lands in London. They hit it off instantly but Pete is angry and believes that she only used him as a means to meet Colin. When he finds out that Lori met Colin online, he forbids Lori from seeing Colin entirely. Lori, who has fallen in love with Colin, is heartbroken. Pete threatens to leave England with Lori’s passport. Colin and Lori try to arrange meetups where they can see each other but Pete catches on. Lori takes this as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be. She unhappily finishes her trip with Pete and goes home vowing not to forgive her grandfather.

Andy reconnects with her old crush, Miles Webber and decides she wants a more meaningful relationship with him. She tells Alex about the situation and Alex truthfully tells Andy that Miles only wanted her for sex. This angers Andy and she walks out of the apartment.

Andy ends up walking to the coffeehouse and comes up with an idea to throw a surprise birthday party for Alex. She believes that if Alex and Jack were to hook up, the focus would shift from Miles and her. Andy spikes all the drinks for Alex’s party and leaves her friend while she goes in search of Miles. He shows up at the bar with another girl. In an effort to soothe her wounded ego, she goes home with someone else. When she wakes up the next day, she realizes she’s in bed with Alex’s young boss from the coffeehouse, David Roberts, Jr.
They return home from their trip with Alex asking Jack to baptize her. Andy confronts David and Lori both forgives and asks for forgiveness from Pete.

Leila Tualla is a Christian blogger and writer. She blogs at and writes about her misadventures in faith, in motherhood, and whatever else inspires her. She holds a membership to the American Christian Fiction Writer. Her current project is a YA Christian Romance.

Social Links:
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Follow the tour here:
Enter Giveaway: One winner will receive an autographed copy of Love, Defined

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author Leila Tualla and is hosted and managed by Paulette from Write Now Literary Book Tours. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send an email to Paulette @

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Release Day Blitz: Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off! by Lisa Tillinger Johansen, MS, RD

We're happy to be hosting Lisa Tillinger Johansen and her STOP THE DIET I WANT TO GET OFF RELEASE DAY BLITZ today!

About the Book:

Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!

Author: Lisa Tillinger Johansen

Publisher: J. Murray Press

Pages: 275

Genre: Nonfiction/Nutrition/Health

Purchase at AMAZON

The Paleo. The Zone.  The Gluten-free.  Another day, another diet.  We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies
angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry. 

But do these diets really work? 

And how healthy are they?

Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype.  And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts.  With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.

Book Excerpt:

The idea for this book began at a wedding.

Who doesn’t love a good wedding? The clothes, the flowers, the romance, the food…

Ah, the food. As we moved into the banquet hall, the culinary feast was on everyone’s minds. It was all anyone seemed talk about. But for some reason, guests weren’t conversing about the dishes being served; they were swapping stories of diets they had heard about from friends, magazine articles, even celebrities on talk shows.

I’m a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional science and years of clinical and health education experience. I’ve counseled thousands of patients and clients on all of these diets. But hearing the guests only momentarily distracted me from my horrible faux pas of wearing white (gasp!) to a friend’s wedding.

“I’m on the Blood Type Diet,” said a woman with an impossibly high bouffant hairdo. “You’ve heard of that, haven’t you? It’s the one where you choose your foods based on your blood type. I’m an AB, so I’ll be having the fish.”

“Really?” her friend replied. “I swear by the gluten-free diet. I’m on it, my daughter’s on it, and my granddaughter’s on it.”

I happened to know her granddaughter was six and didn’t have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Then there was the stocky guy who was trying to impress one of the bridesmaids. “I’m a paleo man myself,” he said, piling his plate high with beef kebabs. “It gives me more stamina, know what I mean? It puts me in touch with my inner caveman. There’s a restaurant near my apartment that’s paleo friendly. Maybe we can grab a bite there sometime, or…Hey wait, where are you going?”

And there were three Weight Watchers sisters who typed furiously on their phones and argued over their meals’ point values. Apparently there was some discrepancy between their various apps, and the sisters’ discussion was becoming more heated by the moment.

I’m past the point of being surprised by the wide range of weight-loss strategies—some worthless, some crazy, some quite reasonable—being tossed around. In the past few years, there has been a tidal wave of diets washing up on the shores of our nutritional consciousness. Celebrities prance across our screens, promoting a variety of weight-loss schemes on talk shows and infomercials. Medical doctors star in their own syndicated television programs, exposing millions to weight-loss techniques, often unsupported by medical research. Other diets get traction on the Internet, racing all over the globe in social media posts, YouTube videos, and annoying spam e-mails. It’s hard to walk past a shopping center vitamin store without being approached by salespeople trying to pitch the latest weight-loss supplements. It seems that everyone wants a piece of the pie; the American diet industry tops $60 billion annually.

It’s classic information overload. You can’t blame people for being confused by all the diets out there, even as crazy as some of them may sound. I didn’t speak up to my fellow wedding guests that day, but it occurred to me they would benefit from some hard facts about the diets they so ardently follow.

So during the toasts, I thought to myself, I should write a book.

I counsel clients on these matters each week, giving them information they need to make the best choices for their health and waistlines. I find that all too often there’s nothing to the diets that are presented to me in my counseling sessions and classes. They just plain don’t work, particularly over the long term. And some of them are harmful, even potentially lethal. But it’s also unhealthy to carry extra weight on our frames. So how do we separate good diets from the bad?

In the chapters to come, we’ll take a good, hard look at the various weight-loss plans out there. I’ll pull no punches in my professional evaluation of some of the most wildly popular diets, both bad and good, of the past few years. And along the way, I’ll explore tried-and-true strategies for losing weight, based on my years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars, and community outreach efforts. More often than not, the best answer is not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but instead a few easy-to-follow guidelines that I’ve seen work in literally thousands of cases.

Enough is enough. It’s time for the madness—and the diets—to stop.

LISA TILLINGER JOHANSEN, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients on a wide range of health issues. Her debut nutrition book, Fast Food Vindication, received the Discovery
Award (sponsored by USA Today, Kirkus and The Huffington Post).  She lives in Southern California.

For More Information