Thursday, February 28, 2013

First Chapter Review: Love's Second Chance by Mike Lynch

The first chapter of Love's Second Chance was sent to me by author Mike Lynch. This appears to be an inspirational romance novel, especially since the publisher is part of the Christian Small Publishers Association.

BLURB: Everyone deserves a second chance in life, no matter how unlikely. Dana Rogers learns this powerful truth while she serves as the head pastor's assistant at New Covenant Christian Church, the center of community life in the town of Fair Haven for the past two hundred years.

Evan Johnson, a successful real estate agent and kindred spirit, takes an immediate interest in Dana when they meet, but the tragic death of her fiance' has left scars he's not sure he can heal.

Can a woman who has vowed never to love a man again, find a second chance at love?

Will Evan be able to stay the course and seek God's will as he pursues Dana?

For Dana and Evan, this second chance at love could mean a lifetime of happiness, if they would only open their hearts and understand God's will for their lives.

COVER: It's nice. The red roses provide a lovely contrast against the blue, while the white roses symbolize purity and innocence. I like the floral accent in the title.

FIRST CHAPTER: Dana is reading to Miss Honeywell's class, which she does every other week. She enjoys it, along with the drive to her job at New Covenant Christian Church, which allows her to forget about the messy parts of her life. When she arrives at church, she finds the door locked, but Evan Johnson graciously lets her in.

KEEP READING: No, at least not this unedited version. While Lynch does a nice job of adding the right amount of setting details, the opening line reads, "Men, we make out stand here..." I'm hoping that word was supposed to be "our." But then, it also appears that way later in the text, as does the word "her" which is supposed to be "hair" and of course the plural possessive of student is "students'" not "student's." There's more, but I don't want to beat a horse to death. I only received eight double-spaced Word document pages, so the number of errors was definitely a distraction. And the text is inconsistent, too. The blurb above states the town as Fair Haven, but in the first chapter it is Fairhaven.

We get to know a tiny bit about our main character: where she works, what she likes to do, and also that she lost Jim. Though we don't know who Jim is, we can gather by the text, the book blurb, and the book's title that this man was her fiancé. I'm surprised that about two and three quarters of the pages I received is Dana reading to the class. I'm not sure what that adds to move the story along, even though it does give some possible insight into Dana's interests, since it is a Revolutionary War excerpt she's reading. Kudos to the author for knowing that third graders study this part of history.

After some editing, this might be a good story. I really can't tell as it stands now, since I don't know enough about the character or which way this story will go.

Paperback: 316 pages
Publisher: Ellechor Publishing House, LLC (March 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937844080
ISBN-13: 978-1937844080

I received the first chapter of this novel from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

First Chapter Review: The Abraham Man by R. Gregory Lande

I'm a lover of history, mostly American history. For years, I read nonfiction exclusively, usually about the Civil War. Now, I read more fiction, but my love of history remains. The Abraham Man by R. Gregory Lande, takes a look at what impact malingering had on the formation and development of medical testimony.

BLURB:  The mere mention of the insanity defense guarantees a lively debate. Opponents of the defense cite the loss of criminal culpability while proponents argue just as passionately that the insanity defense is the ultimate act of compassion. The protagonists would probably be quite surprised to learn that the same basic concerns consumed Americans in the nineteenth century. One factor – The Abraham Man – sowed the seeds of confusion and controversy that united the past with the present.

Some of the most celebrated civil and criminal trials in American history were argued under the shadow of the Abraham Man. The detailed stories of long forgotten legal cases bring the antics of the Abraham Man to life. Through the process, readers will follow the careers of notable Civil War era surgeons whose post-war professional development shaped the future of modern mental health care.

COVER: The picture on the front cover is a scene of Bethlehem Hospital from William Hogarth's A Rake's Progress. I wasn't familiar with the piece, but this hospital is mentioned in the book and it makes for a beautiful cover.

FIRST CHAPTER: The opening chapter introduces The Abraham Man to the reader. In England, it referred to those who would fake illness or injury to get compassion and charity from the public. By the time of the American Civil War, the term was affixed to suspected shirkers. It is during these years, we also see attorneys and physicians working together and taking sides in America's courts where "madness, malingering, malfeasance, and money shaped the future of forensic psychiatry."

KEEP READING: This is a fascinating topic, and Dr. Lande has a way of making it one I wish to continue reading about. Though very academic, I enjoyed how he brings the reader through from the time The Abraham Man appeared on the scene, to how public opinion changed toward the mentally ill, to the legal profession courting doctors for testimony, and how contested wills became such a big issue. The first chapter is short enough that I felt informed, but not overwhelmed. It is also detailed enough that though I know very little about this topic, I was never lost. I look forward to learning more.

Perfect Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Algora Publishing (September 30, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 087586936X
ISBN-13: 978-0875869360

R. Gregory Lande, DO is a physician and retired US Army Medical Corps Officer. Dr. Lande completed his medical education at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Lande was commissioned an officer in the US Army. During his career in the military, Dr. Lande was active in a wide variety of clinical, academic and administrative positions. Upon leaving the US Army as a full colonel, Dr. Lande was awarded the Legion of Merit recognizing his career contributions. The next phase of his career involved administrative positions in hospital management, research, and teaching at various civilian facilities. Dr. Lande is the author of numerous medical and historical works. He lectures widely on both subjects.

Visit Dr. Lande online at

I received a free copy of this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book. The author paid me to promote this book through a virtual book tour. This fee did not include any type of review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way. 

Guest Blogger: Denise LaBarre, Author of Issues in Your Tissues

Issues in Your Tissues: Heal Body and Emotion from the Inside Out is a book about listening to your body’s innate wisdom and using it to heal yourself – from the inside, out.

Most health books talk about the mind-body connection as if that’s all there is to it. You read the book and think, “Yes, that’s interesting, I get the concepts.” You may even do a few of the exercises, but the information stays in your mind and there’s no substantial change in your body or shift in the way you go about your life. What they leave out of the equation is emotion, which is the mind-body link itself. You need to feel emotion for change to occur in your body. As you come to understand the emotions you carry physically and how to work with them, you don’t have to feel at the mercy of them any more.
As you learn to feel your emotions in your body – allow them to roll through you like a wave and out – you make room for positive change and healing.

You can reclaim the energized aliveness you were born with. You can glide through your days with more ease in your body and more energy in your life. It only takes a little understanding and the will to improve. The first step toward living more alive in your body and less in your mind is taking a full breath. Chapter One of Issues in Your Tissues gives you an easy way to do that. From there, you will explore the embodied energy that gets carried from unresolved emotion through stories, learn how to release it, and move on to greater physical and emotional well-being.

Issues in Your Tissues will show you how to breathe fully throughout your day – in the transitions – and how much better you will feel when you do. LaBarre’s stories will inspire you to venture inside and explore the long locked-off territory of your inner emotional landscape. You will rediscover lost parts of yourself including emotions that you need to be whole and healthy. The process can be fast, easy, and painless. It starts simply, with intention and a deep breath.

Whether or not these ideas are new to you, the goal is to help you see them from a perspective you haven’t seen before, plus give you inspiration and simple tools to help you reconnect into your body more of the time and henceforth. Here are twenty inspiring healing stories to entertain your mind while re-inspiring your intuitive self to do its healing work. They show you how this reconnecting process looks and feels. Plus, each chapter has original cartoons and simple exercises to bring the ideas and insights home, into your body, now. They really help if you do them!

What is your body saying to you? 
Find out from Issues in Your Tissues by Denise LaBarre

Your body is brilliant at telling you what is wrong and what it needs. But you may have stopped listening somewhere along the way. You were born completely in tune with your body - you laughed when you were happy, cried when you were sad, probably punched someone when you felt angry. But then what happened? You got in trouble for hitting; you were told to “suck it up,” “don’t be a cry baby”, and told to be quiet and not make so much noise. You learned to stifle your natural emotional reactions to fit in, to become socialized. If you were abused, neglected or had your boundaries violated in some way, even more you had to stuff down scary, confusing feelings you couldn’t manage in order to survive. What happens to that energy? It compounds to become tension, pain and dis-ease – i.e. the issues in your tissues.

I wrote my book, Issues in Your Tissues: Heal Body and Emotion from the Inside Out from my decades of bodywork experience working with thousands of bodies. During sessions, I found I was saying the same things to people regardless of their age, education - even their level of health and fitness. Everyone who wound up on my table needed to open their breath. Everyone had lost at least partial connection with the wisdom in his or her body. And every body was asking to be listened to and loved.

The fully-aligned, radiant inner connection you were born with still exists in you. Even after years of shut-down accumulating layers of dis-ease, you can access it quickly and directly. You simply need to be re-minded how to listen to your body.

In chapter one I get you “Breathing Like you Mean It.” I show you a simple technique to get you breathing throughout your day so you come out of your head and back into your body – where the juice and aliveness are. Through cartoons, exercises, and stories you come to understand how you energetically build tension and dis-ease and what it looks like to release it. Even as you read, you learn to feel that long-held emotional energy as it flows through you. My approach is simple and intuitive. You find yourself saying, “Yah! I know that. I just never heard it put that way. Now I get it. I can do this!”

You may have an illness that defies treatment; aches and pains that seem to “come out of nowhere”; or symptoms that medicine can’t explain. In my experience this usually means unresolved emotional issues have become physical issues. When surgery, medication, chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage, have not helped resolve a physical problem, it’s time to look in the emotional realm for what might be stuck there. Once the emotional knots are released, the body has clearance to heal itself – and it does. The understanding and simple, fun tools you need to reconnect with your deeper healing await you, just a deeper breath away.

Denise started doing bodywork regularly at age 7, on her stressed-out mom and soon began reading her mother’s graduate school psychology books, connecting the dots between the physical and emotional energy she felt intuitively. She studied language at university and then managed a translation agency, all the while touching bodies who called out for help. She realized as she worked with more people that she was also re-learning the universal language of the body and translating it for minds that had gotten socialized out of the habit of listening. She was becoming a "body-mind translator."

Denise loves to help people reconnect to the physical and emotional aliveness they were born with through her writing, hands-on work, teaching and public speaking.

Visit Denise’s website,
Purchase a print copy:

Follow her on Twitter @HealingCatalyst
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Denise lives on Maui, where you can find her for private sessions or co-sponsor a lecture/workshop/session appearance in your city.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

First Chapter Review: Iced Chiffon by Duffy Brown

Iced Chiffon is the first book in Duffy Brown's Consignment Shop Mystery series. The second book in this series, Killer in Crinolines, will be released in May. The author sent me a copy of Iced Chiffon as a thank you gift for hosting her in May.

BLURB:  There’s always something to gossip about in Savannah, Georgia, and Reagan Summerside always seems to be in the middle of it. She’s busy enough running her consignment shop, The Prissy Fox, with her vivacious Auntie KiKi, but now the gossip—and the sales—are about to pick up after a gruesome discovery…

Reagan’s messy divorce has left her with nothing but a run-down Victorian and a bunch of designer clothes. Strapped for cash, Reagan makes use of the two things she has left, turning the first floor of her home into a consignment shop and filling it with the remnants of her rich-wife wardrobe.

Thanks to his cunning lawyer Walker Boone, her ex got everything else, including the Lexus—not to mention a young blond cupcake. When Reagan finds the cupcake dead in the Lexus, she’s determined to beat Boone to finding the murderer. As it turns out, the gossip fiends flooding Reagan’s shop will give her a lot more than just their unwanted clothes—they have information more precious than a vintage Louis Vuitton…

COVER: This is a fabulous cover. You have to see it up close to appreciate it. The grandfather clock is tied into something from the first chapter--you'll have to read to find out what--and what the reader is looking at is the new first floor of Reagan's Victorian that has been turned into a consignment shop. Love the series logo with the orange hat. It also appears on the spine and on the back cover right above the author's website URL.

FIRST CHAPTER: It's only morning when Reagan dishes herself up a heavy helping of self-pity and the last of the pinot. Her lousy ex-husband has left her with a run-down house and a mountain of bills. He even took the Lexus she made the initial payment on. She should have listened to her mother and never married Hollis Beaumont. Reagan is stuck selling her furniture and her designer clothes to make ends meet. Snooty Raylene Carter paying a surprise visit early the next day might be the final straw.

KEEP READING:  Oh yes. Brown has created a zany cast of characters centered around a down-on-her-luck woman coping with the aftermath of her messy divorce. Between her mother, Guillotine Gloria, a judge who doesn't get pushed around, her UPS driver and friend, Chantilly, quirky Aunt KiKi, and an uncle named Putter for his love of golf, you know you're bound to have some mischief.

You can't help but feel sorry for Reagan, kindly named after a certain conservative president. Her ex-husband has left her for a woman twenty years his junior and he's taken just about everything. Reagan is left to put her life back together and try to find some way to pay the bills.

Even if Savannah wasn't mentioned, you could quickly tell by the characters and the details the author provides that the story is set in the south. It's got charm. It's got food. It's got history. I can't wait to see what happens next. Based upon the synopsis, I know it's going to get interesting right quick.

Reading level: Ages 18 and up
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley; Original edition (October 2, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425251608
ISBN-13: 978-0425251607

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

Monday, February 25, 2013

First Chapter Review: Dirty Rice by Dorothy K. Morris

Happy Monday! Yeah, who am I kidding. It's Monday. Let's just try to get through it. 

Dirty Rice by Dorothy K. Morris is a historical novel set in the early 18th Century in the colony of South Carolina. The author is currently on tour to promote this novel, which is a prequel to her Mockingbird Hill Series.

BLURB: DIRTY RICE, a novel set in the early 18th Century in the Low-Country of the early South Carolina Colony, tells of love, passion, adventure and cruelty with totally believable characters. It is the first prequel to the four books of the Mockingbird Hill Series. The early 18th Century saw vast expansion into the New World from England, the European Continent and from Africa, and the establishment of rice plantations in the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia. Set against this background DIRTY RICE sweeps us away to a bygone era of adventure, romance and brutal reality. This is the story of African rice and African people, their knowledge, expertise and their forced labor that made the Carolina Colony the wealthiest colony in colonial America. It takes us from the plush parlors of aristocratic English absentee land owners, who set policy in the Colony to maximize profit, to the swampy shores of Carolina amid the mud and muck of rice fields, where people kidnapped from West Africa because of their knowledge and expertise in the growing of rice, were forced to work to fill the coffers of the landowners with wealth. It is a story of exploitation by some and compassion from others. In this, as in her four previous novels, Morris' emphasis is on the people who lived and were forced to cope with what life sent their way.

COVER: Definitely appropriate. It speaks to the setting and the rice crops that meant wealth for the land owners. The dark color seems to speak to the "dirty" rice. I would have preferred to see both pictures combined somehow instead of them being separate images marked off by the title.

FIRST CHAPTER:  The chapter opens with a brief history of the collision between the lands known as the West Coast of Africa and the East Coast of North America starting one billion years ago to form the Appalachian Mountains. Then five hundred years ago it is said that greed and ego led to the kidnapping and sale of Africans who were expert rice growers.

At the beginning of this second event in 1726, Reginald Upton oversees Greenville Plantation, Charles Town Colony, an enterprise of The Colonial Shipping, Land and Commerce Company, which is headquartered in London, England. Pressure to grow rice from a terrain of swamps, pocosins, saw grass, and earth thick with roots, leads Upton to write a letter explaining the situation, the competition, and the hardships to Sir Joseph Talleigh, the finance officer of the company.

On an island off the west coast of Africa, Fulani and Edraim work in the rice fields. The two young women wander into the marsh without lookouts to protect them. They soon wish they had heeded the warning of Edraim's mother never to do so.

KEEP READING: Yes. Though I typically prefer a novel that drops right into the thick of things, in this instance, I feel the brief background of what has transpired before Upton appears on the scene is helpful and needed. Morris was wise not to introduce too many characters at the beginning. Mainly its Upton in America and Fulani and Edraim in Africa. There are mentions of others, such as Sir Joseph Talleigh or Edraim's mother, but we don't meet them. Because I read the Foreword plus the opening history, if there were a plethora of characters, I would have felt lost right away. The author also provides some wonderful descriptions of the areas in which the novel is set, so the reader truly feels like she is right alongside the characters as the story unfolds.

Paperback: 500 pages
Publisher: Publishing (November 9, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1621371573
ISBN-13: 978-1621371571

I received a free PDF version of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Book Review: Executive Command by Gary Grossman

 A fast-paced political thriller from Emmy Award-winning network television producer, journalist, and novelist Gray Grossman.

Executive Command continues the story of Secret Service Agent Scott Roarke, who is helping President Morgan Taylor and his administration cope with the latest threat to national security. Terrorists are hell-bent on destroying America and its infrastructure city by city and state by state through the nation's water supply. In addition, the assassin that has continued to allude Roarke seems like he might play a role in what's unfolding.

Can Roarke take out the threat before more Americans are placed in harm's way?

Executive Command is a superb addition to Grossman's Executive Series. Highly-detailed, rich in description, the break-neck speed of this novel keeps you turning the pages. Familiar characters are joined by new names in the third book, adding to the already character-laden plot. Thankfully, Grossman gives you a rundown on who is who in the opening pages before the story kicks into high gear, which happens very quickly.

Grossman is a master storyteller, blending different agencies, multiple locations, and an all-too-real plot, to deliver a fascinating and frightening story. As is typical to the genre, the book is loaded with political and military details. If you enjoy political thrillers, you won't find a better choice than Executive Command.

File Size: 1053 KB
Print Length: 502 pages
Publisher: Diversion Books (October 10, 2012)
BN ID: 2940015600773

Purchase at:

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Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter or visit the book's tour page at

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

Friday, February 22, 2013

Interview with Wayne Hatford, Author of Going for Excelsior

Wayne Hatford, B.A. in French and Spanish, M.A. in International Administration, is a teacher, writer, editor and author dedicated to bridging the gap between the physical and non-physical worlds. To that end, he channeled a friend, Janice Horn ~ “Letters from Janice: Correspondence with the Astral Plane” and, more recently, the spirit essence of Rudolph Valentino ~ “Valentino Speaks: The Wisdom of Rudolph Valentino” and “Going for Excelsior: Thriving in Seniorhood,” all of which are available via Each of these works explores the “Other Side” while offering insight and practical suggestions on how best to make the most of this one.
A life-long student of metaphysics and transformation, Wayne has both taught in public school and been a personal property appraiser. Wayne Hatford now resides in Santa Rosa, California where he and the Valentino essence continue their collaboration.

His latest book is Going for Excelsior: Thriving in Seniorhood.


Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

In the wake of having channeled the soul essence of Rudolph Valentino for a number of years, I have become an Italophile, through and through! Food, language, culture, I love them all! And, because of my interest in the mysteries of life, I have also increased my knowledge and skills over the years, as a writer, and metaphysician. It’s been a fun journey that continues!

Where did you grow up?

Gary, Indiana, the ‘steel’ city!

When did you begin writing?

In 1984, when I first realized that I was able to channel, communicate with those on the Other Side, and then decided that what was being imparted to me needed to be shared with a wider audience.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I always channel late at night, when there is less electricity and other types of interference in the air. I review, edit or jot down ideas at any time.

What is this book about?

Going for Excelsior: Thriving in Seniorhood is a practical self-help/personal growth tool for seniors, a blueprint for active living ~ how to embrace where you’re at in your life, find hidden gems, turn up the voltage!

What inspired you to write it?

I wrote it because I am a senior myself and wanted to explore my own territory, delve into its psyche. Also because I felt strongly that seniors, that age bracket and its conditions, needed to be addressed through a different lens.

Who is your biggest supporter?

My colleague on the Other Side, Rudolph Valentino

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

Very smooth because I decided to self-publish and had been through the process once before. I hired Shelley Schadowsky of to design the cover and format the interior. We used a Valentino photo I owned, a candid taken by a Cleveland reporter in 1925, for the cover design. It was her idea to create the double image, symbolic of the cross-dimensional nature of the book.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?


Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

I have a short video trailer on the website.

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Hiring Pump Up Your Book!

What is up next for you?

The Valentino essence and I have started to work on another book project, this one focusing on his life and films, as viewed from his current vantage point. I plan to publish it in 2014.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Guest Blogger: Diane McAdams Gladow, Author of A Journey of Voices: Stewards of the Land

A Journey of Voices: Stewards of the Land is the second book in Diane McAdams Gladow's nonfiction series about common, ordinary families who lived American history, and in some cases, helped to make it. This book tells the story of the Crume family by interweaving old letters, pictures, land documents, Bible records, and historical references with an account of the family's life and movement through seven generations. The story of this family is truly the story of American history from 1746 to 1946 and the story of American agricultural life and how it changed over two hundred years. Whether flatboating in the frigid winter weather down the Ohio River, building homes in the wilderness, fighting in the American Revolution, enduring the Civil War in a border state, dealing with Indians in Texas, surviving the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, and experiencing the misery and uncertainty of two world wars, this family lived it all. Come see America's history through their eyes and voices as they struggle to build lives on the land in a bold new country.

Voices From History
by Diane McAdams Gladow

Old, yellowed, mouse-chewed letters can be fascinating reading as they open the door to the past, to a time which can usually only be visited in history books. Because most people do not particularly enjoy reading history textbooks, reading the handwritten letters of people who lived in another time period can be an eye-opening way to discover history - through the voices of the people who lived it. Because I inherited a collection of old family letters from my parents, I had the foundation for crafting a nonfiction book about a family’s history and its connection to the history of America. Actually, it has expanded into a series of books due to the amount of material available. Along with the letters, I included diary entries, Bible records, and memoir accounts. These “voice excerpts” were supported by public documents, historical background, geographical setting descriptions, pictures and maps. Pulling all these elements together, a family’s story is portrayed as they journey through seven generations and well over two hundred years of American history. This second book of the series is A Journey of Voices: Stewards of the Land.

The book is written using a narrator whose voice changes with age and who is as much a part of the story being told as the main participants. The participants interact with most of the major events in American history, whether it be building homes in the wilderness of Virginia in 1724, fighting in the American Revolution, flatboating down the Ohio River, connecting with the Abraham Lincoln family, enduring the Civil War in the border state of Kentucky, dealing with Indians in Texas, surviving the Great Depression, or experiencing two World Wars. They lived it all as farmers, connected to the soil, and their lives give us a unique look at our country’s history as we listen to their voices tell their own personal story.

Purchase from:


Barnes and Noble

Virtual Bookworm

Born and raised on the desert prairies of New Mexico, Diane McAdams Gladow moved to east central Kansas after her marriage where she still resides with her family. She and her husband have three grown children and five grandchildren who consume a large portion of their time. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling and being an avid sports fan. Always interested in history, she completed a minor in it at the University of Texas at El Paso and her Bachelor’s Degree with a major in English. She followed that with a Master’s Degree in English at the University of New Mexico. She taught English Composition at Emporia State University, was the voice of the Grammar Hotline, and coordinated the Emporia Literacy Program for some twenty-five years. Her work with family history began after she inherited her parent’s collection of letters and papers. She has written two previous books, one a memoir of her husband’s family, Rich Heritage, and second the first book in her A Journey of Voices series subtitled Chasing the Frontier. Living in the heart of the Flint Hills on the doorstep to the Great Prairies where history has been happening on a regular basis for hundreds of years is a constant inspiration for her writing. She is currently working on the third book in her A Journey of Voices series.

Visit the author online at

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Guest Blogger: Troy Jackson, Author of The Elementals

Upon unifying the seven warring states under one banner, the First Emperor of China began solidifying power for what he envisioned as a thousand-year reign. Using those he conquered, the Emperor began a series of arduous projects, Including the first Great Wall, the Linqu Canal, and a national system of highways. Ignoring the physical and emotional toll exacted upon the people, his insatiable desire to further his own power has led to a growing, and secretive insurgency. One such organization is the Dragon's Spite who wishes to usurp control of the throne by nearly any means. But first they must marshal their forces strewn throughout the kingdom. More importantly they seek out three extraordinary girls who hold vast supernatural powers that can tip the balance in their favor. But do these unknowing heroines realize the talents that they possess? Will the Dragon's Spite reach them before the agents of the Emperor?

When history gets lost in… well, history! by Troy Jackson

Throughout each of our lives we have heard and read the same dry bits of history from textbooks and other means. If one positive can be found in this they will typically result in a restful nap that will leave you energized to go and do something else. Why does history have to be so…boring? Much like politicians, we could debate this for weeks on end and never sway one single person to your side. Is history important? Certainly. The human race has a tendency to learn the hard way in many aspects of life, and where better to look than in our own history? As poet and philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Touch a hot stove, and you hopefully have learned not to repeat the action again, and you can pass it along to others so that they do not duplicate your mistake. But some will not heed your words and find out the hard way, and thus the vicious cycle repeats itself once more.

So why must we learn history in such...a…dull…manner…? Perhaps if we could spice it up a little and make it not only informative, but also entertaining? It is a question I have asked myself countless times throughout the years. It is why I have always gravitated towards novels that fall into the historical fiction and historical fantasy sub-genres. My novel, The Elementals, can easily fall into those categories. I take a period in history that is known by very few and breathe new life into it. Actual events that occurred over 2,200 years ago in ancient China can leave a rather bland taste in one’s mouth. However, by adding my own supernatural twist I not only entice readers, but also dare them to read on. When vampires, werewolves, dragons, and magic and fictitious worlds are all the rage nowadays, an author has to separate his or herself from the rest of the pack. Why can we not bring the same excitement to a subject that most try and avoid like garlic to a vampire?

Purchase at:


Barnes and Noble

Virtual Bookworm

Born in 1974 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Troy Jackson moved to the great state of Georgia with his family at the age of three where he has lived ever since. Currently he resides outside the city of Atlanta with his lovely wife and daughter. His passion for history, fantasy, and science fiction began at an early age with a little nudge from his older brother. Attending Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Georgia he received a Bachelor's Degree in History and a Master's Degree in Teaching. In his spare time he enjoys being with his family, watching, and partaking in sports. Although new to the profession he intends on writing about subjects that have always fascinated him, including fantasy, adventure, science fiction, and history.

Visit the author online at and his blog at

First Chapter Review: Byzantine Gold by Chris Karlsen

The first chapter of Byzantine Gold by romantic thriller author Chris Karlsen was submitted to me by her publicist.

BLURB: A sunken warship from the Byzantine Era carrying an unusual cargo of gold has been found off the coast of Northern Cyprus. News of the valuable cache has attracted the attention of a terrorist cell. They plan to attack the recovery team’s campsite and steal the artifacts. On the Black Market, the sale of the relics will buy them additional weapons.

Charlotte Dashiell, an American archaeologist, and her lover, Atakan Vadim, a Turkish government agent, are scheduled to be part of the recovery team that brings up the artifacts. While en route to Cyprus, they find themselves caught in the crosshairs of Maksym Tischenko, a Ukrainian contract killer bent on revenge. Charlotte, Atakan and Tischenko share a grim history. As a result, Tischenko is a man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal—seeing them both dead.

COVER:  A bit busy for my taste, but it is beautiful. The colors work well and it captures the essence of the book based upon the back cover blurb.

FIRST CHAPTER: Charlotte and Atakan are in Paris when Charlotte believes she's seen Tischenko, a man who once kidnapped and tortured her. Atakan isn't so sure, but by the time they make it to where Charlotte thinks she saw him, he's gone.

KEEP READING: For now. Karlsen does a superb job of painting a picture of Paris for the reader. That, with the possibility she has encountered the man who has already attempted to kill her, encourage one to continue. My challenge was the dialogue was stilted by too many "he said, she said" type tags, which break up the natural flow of conversation and slow the pace.

It appears the book will be told by at least two points of view: Charlotte's and Tischenko's. This will add depth and allow readers to understand both sides to the story. I'm looking forward to that.

I would definitely read another chapter or two to see how the story flows. Based upon the synopsis, it sounds fascinating.

File Size: 2253 KB
Print Length: 287 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1481980726
Publisher: Books to Go Now (December 31, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

Purchase at Amazon!

I received the first chapter of this book from the author through her publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in anyway. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

First Chapter Review: January Justice by Athol Dickson

I heard about this book recently and downloaded a free sample from Amazon. January Justice is a murder mystery novel, part of Athol Dickson's Malcolm Cutter memoirs.

BLURB:  Reeling from his wife's unsolved murder, Malcolm Cutter is just going through the motions as a chauffeur and bodyguard for Hollywood's rich and famous. Then a pair of Guatemalan tough guys offer him a job. It's an open question whether they're patriotic revolutionaries or vicious terrorists. Either way, Cutter doesn't much care until he gets a bomb through his window, a gangland beating on the streets of L.A., and three bullets in the chest. Now there's another murder on Cutter's Mind. His own.

COVER: Perfect. Seems odd at first, but once you read the opening chapter you'll know why it is a great cover. I'm also drawn to water scenes, so that is appealing to me, too.

FIRST CHAPTER: Malcolm Cutter first appears to the reader as he contemplates his wife's death. Revenge is definitely on his mind. The only thing keeping him alive is that he's determined to pay back his wife's murderer.

The next day, he has his first chauffeur job since the murder. He soon discovers that the mysterious Mr. Brown knows more about him than he's comfortable with. Who is this guy? And what does he want?

KEEP READING: This one definitely captured me right away. Dickson quickly paints the scene around Cutter as he stands at the same cliff that claimed the life of his wife, Haley. Even though the first few pages are all narrative, as Cutter is alone, it doesn't drag. Cutter is an excellent narrator, as no one but he could describe his loss, his confusion, his desire for revenge. Though the opening narrative slowly unfolds, the tension created by the murder increases the pace. And as soon as Mr. Brown enters the picture, you're flying through the pages.

The sample I downloaded includes more than five chapters. I didn't read further, but only because I wanted to keep just the first chapter in my mind as I reviewed it. January Justice looks like it will be a fabulous, exciting read. I look forward to reading more.

File Size: 701 KB
Print Length: 307 pages
Publisher: Author Author (November 30, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

I downloaded a sample of this book to my Kindle from Amazon. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cover Reveal: Fading Echoes by Jaime McDougall

In a town full of werewolves and legends, Charlotte Peterson is unique. As the first ‘pure-bred’ werewolf in Echo Falls, she struggles to fit in even amongst her pack.

When Dr. Adam Baker arrives in town, Charlotte is forced to balance their growing friendship with her need to keep the pack’s secrets – and her own. But she is not the only one keeping secrets and Adam’s past could threaten them all.

That is not the only danger. Compass, the genetic research company intent on isolating the ‘werewolf gene’, will do whatever it takes to gain the final advantage over all werewolves. Compass CEO Calvin Stephens has a very special plan in mind for Charlotte…

Time is running out for Charlotte and the pack as Calvin’s plans near completion. In a town where secrecy is the key to survival, can Charlotte trust Adam to help her? Or has she revealed the deadliest secret of them all?

Coming soon!

Jaime McDougall is a citizen of the world, currently loving life in beautiful country Victoriain Australia. She loves eating sushi, kidnapping her husband and naming her pets in honour of science fiction authors.

She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: High School: The Real Deal and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles. So You Want to Write a Guest Post: An Author’s Guide to Promoting with Guest Blogging is her most recent non-fiction ebook. She has also enjoyed writing a column called ‘The New Australian’ in local newspapers as well as various articles online.

Echo Falls is her first paranormal romance novel. The sequel, Fading Echoes, is coming soon.

You can visit her website at

Guest Blogger: Lorna Collins, Author of Sweet Romance Anthologies

It came to me in the middle of the night, as so many creative ideas do. I awoke with the idea of a book about four sisters. As children, they are each given a special snowflake by their great-aunt along with a poem about how special they are. In the body of the book, the sisters tell their own stories of how their snowflakes changed their lives. At the end, they reunite and share their experiences with each other.

Since sleep eluded me, I got up, went to the computer, and wrote the book’s prologue.

I knew I wanted to write one of the novellas that would make up the heart of the book, but I also thought it might be more interesting with three different writers for the others.

My first thought was my friend Sherry Derr-Wille. We’d met at a conference the year before. I’d read a couple of her books and knew that her style would work well for what I had in mind. I emailed the prologue to her, and she was excited about the concept. Since she had first choice of the sisters, she chose the youngest, Carole.

She said she would talk to another friend of hers whom I’d met at the same conference, but this person became very ill and couldn’t take part.

I next contacted Christie Shary, who was a member of our writing group. She’d just finished a novel and was willing to contribute. She chose the number two sister, Sonata.

I decided I’d take the oldest sister, Allegra, but that still left the third sister, Melody.

Another author from our writing group at first agreed to do that one, but shortly afterward decided she didn’t have the time. Yet another group member, Luanna Rugh, overheard us talking and asked about the project. By the end of our conversation, she had not only agreed to take Melody but had plotted her novella completely.

Our first book, Snowflake Secrets was accepted by Whiskey Creek Press even before it was finished because the owner of the company loves anthologies. It was a finalist for the Dream Realm and Eric Hoffer Awards.

We decided to do a second, Seasons of Love, this time without the through-story. This is the only one of our books written in third person. The novellas each have a different seasonal theme. My own, “Winter’s Song,” is based on a true story.

We discussed writing another and agreed we preferred related stories told in the first-person voices of the characters. Directions of Love is about four friends who grew up together. Then each moves away in a different geographical direction. They return to their home town for their twentieth high school reunion. This book won the EPIC eBook Award for best romance anthology of 2011.

We were on a roll and really enjoyed doing these, so I suggested a Christmas book. We added debut author, Cheryl Gardarian for An Aspen Grove Christmas, published in December of 2010.

Our latest anthology, The Art of Love, will be published in September of 2013. We’re currently working on two more.

As the setting for our books, we created the fictional town of Aspen Grove, Colorado. It was inspired by several of the small mining towns in the mountains outside of Denver. By now, the town has become so familiar we feel as though we could visit there. Several of our readers have told us they’d like to do the same.

Our special collaborative effort has been very rewarding for all of us. We chose sweet romance because that’s what we all like to read. Throughout the series, we’ve recycled local businesses and characters. Many reappear in subsequent books. They’ve taken on lives of their own.

If you’re looking for a sweet romantic read this Valentine’s Day, why not pick up one of ours?

Lorna Collins was raised in Alhambra, California and attended California State University at Los Angeles where she majored in English.

Between 1998 and 2001, she worked in Osaka, Japan on the Universal Studios theme park with her husband, Larry. Their memoir of that experience, 31 Months in Japan: The Building of a Theme Park was a 2006 EPPIE finalist and named as one of Rebeccas Reads Best Nonfiction books of 2005.

Their mysteries, Murder…They Wrote and Murder in Paradise were published by Whiskey Creek Press in ebook and paperback formats. They plan several more in this series.
In addition to the five romance anthologies, Lorna has written and a fantasy/mystery/romance called Ghost Writer, published by Oak Tree Press.

All their books are available from the publishers, on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Nook, their website (, and other online book outlets. Follow Lorna’s blog at And follow her on Twitter @LornaCollins.

Lorna & Larry now reside in Dana Point, CA where Larry enjoys surfing nearly every day and Lorna spends time with family and friends. They have several more books in the queue.

First Chapter Review: The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias

The Moses Quilt is a contemporary women's fiction novel by multi-award-winning Christian author Kathi Macias. This book was recently voted the January Fiction Book of the Month by The Book Club Network. Kathi is on tour with this novel with Pump Up Your Book.

BLURB: The Moses Quilt is a contemporary novel that bridges racial and generational divides. With a realistic and compassionate look into a twenty-first-century dilemma, multiple award-winning author Kathi Macias introduces readers to a confused and apprehensive young woman, Mazie Hartford. Facing major decisions about the love of her life and her future, she must also wrestle with a nagging question about her family's past. She finds the answer to her questions in a most unexpected way—her great-grandmother's Moses quilt. As her great-grandmother begins to explain how each patch represents a story of courage and freedom, Mazie must decide if she has the courage and freedom to overcome her own personal fears and prejudices.

COVER: Beautiful. It's definitely lovelier up close than this picture gives it credit for. The picture of Harriet Tubman alongside the young woman that represents Mazie is a personal touch, while the miniature quilt adds a colorful contrast.

FIRST CHAPTER: As this chapter opens, Mazie Hartford recalls the time she visited her great-grandmother in Prattville, Alabama for the summer. Now living with her great-grandmother and mother in California, she is contemplating the proposal of her boyfriend, Edward Clayton. Her great-grandmother, Mimi, is wondering how her life has come to this: living in a strange place, eating flavorless food, and tied to a wheelchair.

KEEP READING: As a history lover, I knew I would be attracted to this new series. My daughter recently put together a poster and oral report on Harriet Tubman for school, so the history of this American hero is fresh in my mind. While the reader doesn't get into this aspect in the first chapter, the scene is being set for the story to unfold. Told from Mazie's and Mimi's points of view, we find a conflicted young woman who is struggling over a marriage proposal and an infirm elderly woman forced to live out however many days God has given her on this earth in a place so different than her beloved home in the south. Right away, Macias gets you caring about the characters you will traveling with over the next 200+ pages. She makes clear their personalities and their struggles. By dropping you right into the conflict, this chapter encourages the reader to continue. I can't wait to see how Tubman fits into this whole picture and how the story evolves.

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: New Hope Publishers (January 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596693584
ISBN-13: 978-1596693586

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. The author paid me to promote her book through a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. This fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I have not been compensated in any way.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Spotlight: MechaNation by J. E. Dugas

Shortly after the conclusion of the War of 2018, the mechanical evolution of humankind made a dramatic leap forward.

With the Human Guerilla Faction no longer a threat, a biotech company, Lazarus Nanotech Corporation, went from competing to stay in the top ten, to top contender after introducing their revolutionary NanoInjections system.

NI’s were designed to wipe the slate of traditional internal surgery, and go far beyond it. NI’s—composed of targeted nanomachines—could be preprogrammed and injected into the client to vastly transform the client’s body in any chosen manner. Weight loss, facial reconstruction, breast and genital enhancement, intelligence boosters, social elitist; whatever the client desired.

Soon, NI’s became a major vanity movement, and Lazarus Nanotech became the most valuable company in the world.

This success, of course, spawned an entirely new criminal underworld: the Nano Black Market.


J.E. Dugas is the author of the multi-period action/adventure/science fiction series Rose Petals and Gun Powder (Rose Petals and Gun Powder, including , RPGP: Shadows of Life, RPGP: Lost Cove, RPGP: Wanderlust, and RPGP: Paradoxical, a Double Feature), as well as the new title MechaNation, a NanoPunk Thriller. J.E. is currently at work on its sequel, MechaNation: Rebirth. Prior to writing full time, J.E. spent over a decade in the private security and law enforcement fields.

Visit him at

MechaNation Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

Wednesday, February 6
Guest blogging at Hezzi D’s Books and Cooks
Thursday, February 7
Interviewed at Examiner
Friday, February 8
Guest blogging at My Devotional Thoughts
Monday, February 11
Interviewed at The Writer’s Life
Wednesday, February 13
Book spotlight at The Book Connection
Thursday, February 14
Guest blogging at The Story Behind the Book
Book spotlight at Depression Cookies
Friday, February 15
Monday, February 18
Interviewed at Digital Journal
Tuesday, February 19
Interviewed at Literal Exposure
Wednesday, February 20
Guest blogging at Beauty in Ruins
Thursday, February 21
Interviewed at Beyond the Books
Monday, February 25
Book reviewed at My Cozie Corner
Tuesday, February 26
Interviewed at Yahoo News
Wednesday, February 27
Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking
Thursday, February 28
Interviewed at Review From Here

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Looking for Bloggers: Thy Kingdom Come Book Blast

Pump Up Your Book is recruiting bloggers to participate in Lakesha Monique Ruises’s Thy Kingdom Come Book Blast! This event will take place March 8 – April 8, 2013. Lakesha will be giving away a $25 VISA Gift Certificate. All bloggers who sign up are eligible to win!

There will be no interviews, guest posts or reviews with this Book Blast. Just book spotlights in which we will send everything to you ahead of time for you to copy and paste into your blog on the selected day.

When requesting a spot on his tour, please let us know which date would work for you. Thank you!

About Thy Kingdom Come:

After petitioning the Father for answers to basic theological questions about the universal church, she took an eight-year journey with the Holy Spirit to provide clarity for herself about His vision.

Thy Kingdom Come provides readers with that clarity.

For anyone wondering what has happened to the Church, for anyone whose faith in God has been diminished, for anyone whose life has been destroyed by the yolks of bondage, Ruise offers new answers. She encourages her readers to follow along in the Bible itself to see how each of her lessons is validated by the Word of God.

“We perish because we don’t know how to survive,” writes Ruise. Thy Kingdom Come offers not only an apt diagnosis of the problem, but equips readers with the cure, as well. It is an excellent source book for Biblical history and spiritual revelation and it prompts valuable internalizing and soul-searching for veteran Christians as well as for new converts.

About Lakesha Monique Ruise:

Lady Ruise is a native of Thomasville Georgia. She is the First Lady of Emmanuel Church of God in Christ in Macclenny Florida. She medically retired from the U S Navy in 2007. Since her retirement, she obtained a degree in respiratory therapy and works as a Registered Respiratory Care Practitioner. She has a strong Christian background. She dedicated her life to the Lord at the age of 9 and became a minister at the age of 14. She has been licensed through the Holiness Church and the Baptist church as a minister for the past 24 years. She has been mentored by countless Pastors and Elders in the COGIC, Holiness Church, and the Baptist Church. She currently labors in ministry with her husband Pastor Joe Nathan Ruise as a praise team leader. She is also the president and founder of the Baker County Circle of Sisters in Macclenny, Fl. Lakesha Ruise is a prayer-warrior and intercessor, who is holy-ghost filled with an assignment from Jesus Christ to build his church!

Website Address:

Twitter Address:

Facebook Address:!/lakesha.ruise.5

If interested in participating in this book blast, email Cheryl at ccmal(at)charter(dot)net with the following information:

Name of Blog:
Blog Link:
Twitter or Facebook Link for Rafflecopter:
What day would you like to host?

Thank you for participating!

Interview and Kindle Fire HD Giveaway with Linda Kovic-Skow, Author of French Illusions

Linda Kovic-Skow resides in Kirkland, Washington. She earned an Associate Degree in Medical Assisting in 1978 from North Seattle Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Seattle University in 1985. She has been married for 27 years and has two daughters. An enthusiastic traveler, Linda also enjoys boating, gardening and socializing with friends. French Illusions, her debut memoir, is the culmination of a three-year project.

Where did you grow up?

I spent my early years in Seattle. For a short period of time, during my adolesence, I lived on Whidbey Island, a rural part of Washington State.

What is your fondest childhood memory?

I’m so glad you asked this question. The following is an excerpt from my book:

Some of my fondest memories as a young child involved baking apple strudel with my mother in our tiny yellow kitchen.

“Lindy, don’t pull too hard,” she would murmur as we stretched the dough over a tablecloth before adding the filling.

I rushed the process often, and holes would form in the dough. She never scolded me, choosing instead to repair my damage and move on. A patient, loving woman, she told my brother and me that her heart was “too soft,” which I always translated to mean “no heart for discipline.”

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1979, when I was twenty-one, I contracted to become an au pair for a wealthy French family in the Loire Valley. To secure the position, I pretended to speak the language, fully aware that my deception would be discovered once I arrived at my destination. Based on my diary, French Illusions captures my often challenging, real-life story inside and outside the Château de Montclair. The overbearing, Madame Dubois, her accommodating husband Monsieur Dubois, and their two children are highlighted as I struggled to adapt to my new environment. Continually battling the language barrier, I signed up and attended classes at the local university in the nearby town of Tours. When I encountered, Adam, a handsome young student, my life with the Dubois family became more complicated, adding fuel to my internal battle for independence.

What inspired you to write it?

About four years ago, after my husband and I dropped our youngest daughter off at college, I went through a sort of mid-life crisis. I missed being a mom and I wondered how I would fill the void. Sure I had my part-time bookkeeping business, but it consumed only a few hours a day and it wasn't interesting to me any more. Something was missing, but what?

This prompted me to review what I like to call my "mid-life list." This is similar to a "bucket list," with an important twist. The idea was to refocus myself and figure out the things I wanted to do with my life in my fifties - while I could still do them. My list was short.

-Learn to play the piano
-Travel to Africa to see the elephants
-Travel to Tahiti and see the island of Bora Bora
-Travel back to France (with my family this time)
-Write a book

At the time, I didn't own a piano and, with two daughters in college (out of state no less!), I couldn't afford a trip to Africa or Tahiti. I had already traveled back to France in 2001 with my family, so that left me to examine the fifth item on my list more closely. If I did write a book, would it be fiction or non-fiction? What genre would I choose?

The answers to my questions came to me in the shower (which is where many of my ideas seem to materialize, strangely enough). I decided to hunt down my diary from my au pair adventure in France and compose a memoir. It took me three years and countless hours to write French Illusions, but now I can scratch another item off my mid-life list.

Who is your favorite author?

Arthur Golden. His book, Memoirs of a Geisha, is an incredible story filled with vivid descriptions and well-developed characters. The first time I read it, we were on a vacation cruise to Mexico and I just couldn't put the darn thing down. My husband kept scolding me for missing out on events because all I wanted to do was read in our stateroom.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

It’s available online at all major retailers. The link below takes you to where you can purchase the paperback or kindle versions of French Illusions.

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

Yes I do. For more information, go to Visit my blog, Facebook Fan page and Pinterest boards. Stay a while, there’s a lot to see.

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

Yes. You will find my video at my website as well. I searched the internet for weeks, listening to French music, trying to choose a song for my book trailer. When I heard "Imposture" by Danielle Pauly, from the album Café de Paris, my heart lurched. I loved the melody. I wasn’t sure what the title meant in French so I looked up the translation. It meant “fraud.” The song was perfect. Read my book and you’ll understand.

What is up next for you?

I’m currently outlining the remainder of my diary. In a year or so, look for French Encore, the sequel to French Illusions. Readers can visit my website and watch my progress.


Pump Up Your Book and Linda Kovic-Skow are teaming up to give you a chance to win a new Kindle Fire HD!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If the Rafflecopter form doesn't work, please visit the French Illusions Tour Page at: