Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Book Review: Always Welcome by Welcome W. Wilson Sr.

Whether you're an entrepreneur, in business, or someone who likes fascinating stories, Always Welcome by Welcome W. Wilson Sr. is sure to please.

Like anyone who has lived more than 90 years, Welcome W. Wilson Sr. has stories to tell. In this lively and engaging memoir, he shares his life, his successes, and his failures with wit, charm, and sincerity. He's more down to earth than you can imagine someone who has developed 8,000 home sites, served in the Armed Forces and in key government positions, dined with celebrities and politicians from both sides of the aisle, and served on the Board of Regents for the University of Houston would be.

A masterful business man and problem solver, Wilson has led a life many of us only dream about. Through what he calls Welcome's "Rules of Order," you can also learn to succeed in business and life by avoiding his mistakes he so willingly shares. Filled with numerous photographs, Always Welcome would be a great addition to your home library, office, or as a book club title. My copy will have a special place in my home office, so that I can refer to his "Rules of Order" regularly.

With Always Welcome, Wilson inspires us to reach new heights in our personal and professional lives. He takes leading by example to a whole new level.

Highly recommended.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Bright Sky Publishing (September 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1942945507
ISBN-13: 978-1942945505

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

Guest Blogger: Elizabeth Collums, Author of Passengers

During the Great Irish Famine the Ewing family made their way from their rural cottage to the village of Highland Way. Annie, the oldest daughter was left to care for her mother and younger sister after her father left to find work in Dublin.

A mysterious letter arrives from America forcing Annie, Lily, and Katy into a harrowing journey. The hand written note not only will expose deep secrets, it will also challenge the strength and fortitude of the Ewing women, leading each member into their own soul searching voyage.

Follow this extraordinary passage that begins in Ireland and leads each woman to uncover their own courage and truths in this new world.


What I wanted to be when I grew up was never addressed in my house. My dad was gone a lot as a truck driver trying to scratch out a living for us so my mom was my only companion. I called myself an unaccompanied minor long before that phrase was popular. Because, you see, physically she was in the house, but mentally she was in her own world. Maybe she still had an emotional hangover from The Great Depression that she often dwelled on or it could have been the dark cloud of the Vietnam War that overshadowed any thought of dreams or celebrations in our home. My mom worried for years that my brother would be drafted and then she stayed in a deep depression when he was and then she didn’t want to let him go when he came home alive and well. She was so consumed with bitterness of the past and worry of the future she didn’t make room for living her life much less mine.

So, I made every feeble attempt behind my closed bedroom door to reach for my own stars with my dog, Pete, and every stuffed or plastic creature I owned. Public speaking? No problem. I had spent countless hours practicing my very own interview with Johnny Carson in front of my dresser mirror. Sewing? No problem. I taught myself how to sew by making clothes for my dolls. Writing? Again no problem. Whatever the teachers assigned, I did double what they asked for. My room was my sanctuary. However, nothing my parents did or didn’t do could keep me from putting my best foot forward to get out and on my way.

I think so often how sad for my mom that she spent most of her life looking down and missed out on the journey. That’s what life is. One event after another. I’ve had more than my share of making stupid decisions, as well as experiencing personal triumphs. I’ve been married, had children, grandchildren, widowed and emptied nested. I’ve worked at jobs ranging from cleaning houses to postal work. And it’s been the most colorful, aggravating, heartbreaking, joyous, challenging, earth shaking, blessed life I could’ve ever imagined. And I have never been alone. God always sent the right person at the right time, as long as I was looking up.

My bucket list is long. Publish my book, travel to Ireland, United Kingdom, see penguins and pandas up close and personal, learn how to ride a horse, master a pottery wheel.....and the list goes on and on. I don’t ever want to forget to dream, learn, explore and yes, I still play make believe. Every time I look in the mirror, I still see that little girl from the reflection of this sixty-one year old, young woman.

Ann C. Purvis, chose to publish her first novel under her birth name, Elizabeth Collums; this is her true roots and where she has drawn from many of the experiences she wrote about. She lives in Denham Springs, Louisiana and enjoys DIY projects. She has two daughters, a step daughter, son-in-law, two amazing granddaughters, and her dog Daisy.

Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/ann.purvis.754
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18639299.Elizabeth_Collums

Monday, February 11, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Feb 11

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Welcome back to Monday. I hope you had a nice week. We are preparing for the next winter storm (because for some reason the media believes 4 to 7 inches of snow requires mass hysteria). This is going to sound like one of these old-timer stories, but we wouldn't even consider cancelling school when I was kid unless a blizzard was coming; and even then, they waited until the last possible moment to run the closings across the TV screen or announce them on the radio. By Tuesday evening, if snowflakes have started, schools will begin announcing closings--even though technology has made it easier to reach people than ever before.

What does my reading world look like? I'm trying not to overload myself with reviews over the next couple of months. I really want to focus on other books.

I finished this one last night.

Excellent book. Welcome W. Wilson Sr. has led an interesting life. He's made a lot of deals in his time, too, which I loved reading about. I can't say I knew much about Houston before reading this one, but I certainly do now.

I tried reading this one on my 2nd generation Kindle, but something happened with the file when it went over. Whole sections of text and many of the graphics were missing. I'm going to need to use the PDF file, so I'll get back to this one.

I'll need to read this one next.

Up for review in March are these ones.

Hopefully, I can read at least one of these in between, but not hopeful with spring market coming.

What is going on in you reading world? Any good books to share?

Book Spotlight: The Military Wife by Laura Trentham

A young widow embraces a second chance at life when she reconnects with those who understand the sacrifices made by American soldiers and their families in award-winning author Laura Trentham’s The Military Wife.

Harper Lee Wilcox has been marking time in her hometown of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina since her husband, Noah Wilcox’s death, nearly five years earlier. With her son Ben turning five and living at home with her mother, Harper fights a growing restlessness, worried that moving on means leaving the memory of her husband behind.

Her best friend, Allison Teague, is dealing with struggles of her own. Her husband, a former SEAL that served with Noah, was injured while deployed and has come home physically healed but fighting PTSD. With three children underfoot and unable to help her husband, Allison is at her wit’s end.
In an effort to reenergize her own life, Harper sees an opportunity to help not only Allison but a network of other military wives eager to support her idea of starting a string of coffee houses close to military bases around the country.

In her pursuit of her dream, Harper crosses paths with Bennett Caldwell, Noah’s best friend and SEAL brother. A man who has a promise to keep, entangling their lives in ways neither of them can foresee. As her business grows so does an unexpected relationship with Bennett. Can Harper let go of her grief and build a future with Bennett even as the man they both loved haunts their pasts?


Chapter 1

Present Day

Winters in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, were temperamental. The sunshine and a temperate southerly breeze that started a day could turn into biting, salt-tinged snow flurries by afternoon. But one thing Harper Lee Wilcox could count on was that winter along the Outer Banks was quiet.
The bustle and hum and weekly rotation of tourists that marked the summer months settled into a winter melancholy that Harper enjoyed. Well, perhaps not enjoyed in the traditional sense . . . more like she enjoyed surrendering to the melancholy. In fact, her mother may have accused her of wallowing in it once or twice or a hundred times.
In the winter, she didn’t have to smile and pretend her life was great. Not that it was bad. Lots of people had it worse. Much worse. In fact, parts of her life were fabulous. Almost five, her son was happy and healthy and smart. Her mother’s strength and support were unwavering and had bolstered her through the worst time of her life. Her friends were amazing.
That was the real issue. In the craziness of the summer season, she forgot to be sad. Her husband, Noah, had been gone five years; the same amount of time they’d been married. Soon the years separating them would outnumber the years they’d been together. The thought was sobering and only intensified the need to keep a sacred place in her heart waiting and empty. Her secret memorial.
She parked the sensible sedan Noah had bought her soon after they married under her childhood home. Even though they were inland, the stilts were a common architectural feature up and down the Outer Banks.
Juggling her laptop and purse, Harper pushed open the front door and stacked her things to the side. “I’m home!”
A little body careened down the steps and crashed into her legs. She returned the ferocious hug. Her pregnancy was the only thing that had kept her going those first weeks after she’d opened her front door to the Navy chaplain.
“How was preschool? Did you like the pasta salad I packed for your lunch?”
“It made me toot and everyone laughed, even the girls. Can you pack it for me again tomorrow?”
“Ben! You shouldn’t want to toot.” Laughter ruined the admonishing tone she was going for.
As Harper’s mom said time and again, the kid was a hoot and a half. He might have Harper’s brown wavy hair, but he had Noah’s spirit and mannerisms and humor. Ben approached everything with an optimism Harper had lost or perhaps had never been gifted with from the start. He was a blessing Harper sometimes wondered if she deserved.
“Where’s Yaya?” She ruffled his unruly hair.
Of course, her mom had picked an unconventional name. “Grandmother” was too old-fashioned and pedestrian. Since she’d retired from the library, she had cast off any semblance of normalcy and embraced an inner spirit that was a throwback to 1960s bra burners and Woodstock.
“Upstairs painting.” Ben slipped his hand into Harper’s and tugged her toward the kitchen. Bright red and orange and blue paint smeared the back of his hand and arm like a rainbow. At least, her mom had put him in old clothes. “Yaya gave me my own canvas and let me paint whatever I wanted.”
“And what did you paint?” Harper prayed it wasn’t a nude study, which was the homework assignment from her mom’s community college class.
“I drew Daddy in heaven. I used all the colors.” The matter-of-factness of his tone clawed at her heart.
No child should have to grow up only knowing their father through pictures and stories. Her own father had been absent because of divorce and disinterest. He’d sent his court-ordered child support payments regularly until she turned eighteen but rarely visited or shown any curiosity about her. It had hurt until teenaged resentment scarred over the wound.
Noah would have made a great dad. The best. That he never got the chance piled more regrets and what-ifs onto her winter inspired melancholy.
“I’m sure he would have loved your painting.” Luckily, Ben didn’t notice her choked-up reply.
He went to the cabinet, pulled out white bread and crunchy peanut butter, and proceeded to make two sandwiches. It was their afternoon routine. Someday he would outgrow it. Outgrow her and become a man like his daddy.
She poured him a glass of milk, and they ate their sandwiches, talking about how the rest of his day went—outside of his epic toots. His world was small and safe and she wanted to keep it that way for as long as possible.
Her mom breezed into the kitchen, her still-thick but graying brown hair twisted into a messy bun, a thin paintbrush holding it in place. Slim and attractive, she wore paint-splattered jeans and a long-sleeve T-shirt that read: I make AARP look good. Harper pinched her lips together to stifle a grin.
“How’s your assignment coming along?” Harper asked.
“I’m having a hard time with proportions. It’s been a while, but I’m pretty sure my man’s you-know-what shouldn’t hang down to his kneecaps.”
Harper shot a glance toward Ben, who had moved to the floor of the den to play with LEGOs. As crazy as her mom drove her, she was and would always be Harper’s rock. The irony wasn’t lost on her. As hard as she’d worked to get out of Kitty Hawk and out of her mother’s reach when she was young, she’d never regretted coming home.
“It’s been a while for me, too, but that’s not how I remember them, either.”
“A pity for us both.” Her mother pulled a jar of olives out of the fridge and proceeded to make martinis—shaken, not stirred. She raised her eyebrows, and Harper answered the unspoken question with a nod. Her mom poured and plopped an extra olive in Harper’s. “How was work?”
Harper handled bookkeeping and taxes for a number of local businesses, but a good number closed up shop in the winter. “Routine. Quiet.”
“Exactly like your life.”
Harper sputtered on her first sip. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I hate seeing you mope around all winter.” Her mom poked at the olive in her drink with a toothpick and looked toward Ben, dropping her voice. “He’s been gone five years, sweetheart, and you haven’t gone on so much as a date.”
“That’s not true. I went to lunch with Whit a few weeks ago.”
“He was trying to sell you life insurance. Doesn’t count.”
Harper huffed and covered her discomfort by taking another sip. “What about you? You never date.”
“True, but your father ruined me on relationships. I have trust issues. You and Noah, on the other hand, seemed to get along fine. Or am I wrong?”
“You’re not.” Another sip of the martini grew the tingly warmth in her stomach. Their marriage hadn’t been completely without conflict, but what relationship was? As she looked back on their fights, they seemed juvenile and unimportant. It was easier to remember the good times. And there were so many to choose from.
She touched the empty finger on her left hand. The ring occupied her jewelry box and had for three years. But, occasionally, her finger would ache with phantom pains as if it were missing a vital organ.
“You’re young. Find another good man. Or forget the man, just find something you’re passionate about.”
“I’m happy right where I am.” Harper hammered up her defenses as if preparing for a hurricane.
“Don’t mistake comfort for happiness. You’re comfortable here. Too comfortable. But you’re not happy.”
“God, Mom, why are you Dr. Phil–ing me all of sudden? Are you wanting me and Ben to move out or something?” Her voice sailed high and Ben looked over at them, his eyes wide, clutching his LEGO robot so tightly its head fell off.
“You and Ben are welcome to stay and take care of me in my old age.” Her mom shifted toward the den. “You hear that, honey? I want you to stay forever.”
Ben gave them an eye-crinkling smile that reminded her so much of Noah her insides squirmed, and she killed the rest of her drink. She was so careful not to show how lonely she sometimes felt in front of Ben.
“Harper.” Her mom’s chiding tone reminded her so much of her own childhood, she glanced up instinctively. Her mom took her hand, and her hazel eyes matched the ones that stared back at Harper in the mirror. “You’re marking time in Kitty Hawk. Find something that excites you again. Don’t let Ben—or Noah— be your excuse.”
Harper looked to her son. His chubby fingers fit the small LEGO pieces together turning the robot into a house. She had built her life brick by brick adding pieces and colors, expanding, taking pride, until one horrible day she’d stopped. Maybe her mom was right. Was it time to build something new?


LAURA TRENTHAM is an award-winning author of contemporary and historical romance. She is a member of RWA, and has been a finalist multiple times in the Golden Heart competition. A chemical engineer by training and a lover of books by nature, she lives in South Carolina.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Shelf Control - Feb 6

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves sponsored by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. Here's how to jump on board:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • Link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…
Have fun!

Hard to believe it is Wednesday again. I just finished time blocking my calendar. Usually that's a Sunday night thing, but this weekend was hectic. I'm working to stay on top of reviews, but here's a book that is one of my Kindle freebies.

BLURB: Father Ambrose found a simple, worthwhile path leading a secluded spiritual community in Northern California. He spends his days happily focused on guiding the farming and teaching meditation. Then, someone dumps a body in one of their orchards.

Now, the confusion and violence of the modern world have come crashing through the gates. Father Ambrose wants Sheriff Charlie Cormley to believe the body has nothing to do with them, but it’s not that easy.

He reluctantly takes on the sleuth’s role to find the truth and clear New Life of suspicion. He finds himself moving out into the world in ways he never imagined, and life in his community will never be the same.

DATE BOUGHT: 9/30/18

WHY I BOUGHT IT: I love mysteries and I enjoy amateur sleuths that happen to be in religious orders. Crazy, right? I really enjoyed the Father Dowling Mysteries when they were on TV. This also has the modern world invading the peaceful world of New Life, which I find interesting.

What is a book from your TBR pile? Do you think you'll get to read it soon?

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Upcoming Releases I’m On the Fence About

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week's topic is an interesting one. What could be ten upcoming releases I'm on the fence about? Not sure. My list will probably be a list of as many as I can come up with that have released since January or are expected to release this year.

The Water Cure made Esquire's 25 Most Anticipated Books of 2019 list. The short description is: a dystopic feminist revenge fantasy about three sisters on an isolated island, raised to fear men. Spanning a week, King (the only man they know) disappears, and two men and a boy appear on the island. A psychological cat and mouse game ensues.

After reading the long description and reading inside a bit, I decided this one might be a little too odd for me.

Mostly Dead Things focuses on the grieving Morton family after the patriarch and head of the family taxidermy shop decides to commit suicide. This one also made Esquire's list. I'm beginning to wonder if this is going to be the year of the dead father. With the mother creating lewd art with taxidermied animals, I think I'll need to cross this off my list.

The Night Olivia Fell sounds like an amazing book. I simply don't think I could tolerate the content. It's about a mother who tries to find out what happened to her daughter the night she supposedly fell, winding up brain dead. The pain of the loss is made harder by needing to keep her daughter alive so that the child she didn't know the girl was carrying can survive.

I can't read this one--no matter how cute it sounds--simply because I don't like the premise of Olive and Ethan getting to go to Hawaii together after her sister's entire wedding party gets food poisoning. In The Unhoneymooners, they plan to avoid each other like the plague--since they are sworn enemies--but they end up having to pretend they are newlyweds when Olive lies to her future boss.  

The Invited sounds like it would scare the heck out of me. Two teachers leave suburban life and move to a rural area of Vermont where they tackle the project of building their house of dreams. Seems, however, that the property has a violent past and they conjure up the lives of three generations of Breckenridge women who died amidst suspicion. 

If I'm Being Honest has a premise that simply annoys me. Girl screws up and loses the boy she wants. So she decides to totally change herself. Then she meets up with a boy from her past, who just so happens to like her just the way she is, and she falls in love with him. Maybe she just shouldn't have tried to change herself and save some time.

I'm really not sure what to think about Girls with Sharp Sticks. This is a subversive near future series about students at an all-girl boarding school who discover they are living in a carefully controlled environment and begin to uncover the dark secrets there. Anyone hear any comments about it?

Into the Jungle probably doesn't have much of a chance with me. This is a "grass is always greener on the other side of the hill" type of story. Lily is tired of her boring existence and takes a teaching in Bolivia, which promptly falls through. So, she stays in Bolivia, and falls in love with a guy who forces her to make a decision that could lead to even more danger. 

Every Moment After will be an emotional read. It is about two adult survivors of a school shooting that took place when they were only six. Now, high school graduates, they must cope with the guilt they feel and try to move beyond the shadow of what happened. 

I think that's it. Almost made it to ten. What new releases are you on the fence about? 

Interview with Mungo Magennis, Author of Kings and Criminals

Mungo Magennis is the author of the new Kings and Criminals series. He's worked in technology for the past ten years, advising some of the world's biggest companies on digital strategy and transformation. His first book, Kings and Criminals, explores some of the themes that can be seen dominating current events around the globe: power, influence, corruption and ambition.

Born and raised on the Wirral Peninsula in the north-west of the UK, he moved to Leeds to attend university before heading to London to join one of the world's largest technology consultancies.

Instagram: mungomagennis
twitter @MungoMagennis

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised on the Wirral Peninsula in the north-west of the UK. This location became the setting for much of the first book in the Kings and Criminals series.

When did you begin writing?

I started writing Kings and Criminals four years ago but have been working in corporate communications for the last ten years. The idea for the book has been burning at the back of my mind since I was 15 but it was never really an idea for a book, more how I would try to ascend to a position of power within the British establishment.

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

Most of my writing takes place late at night. I work long hours in my job so I tried to be very disciplined in making at least three or four hours on a writing night. I find it takes me about 40 minutes to settle back into the ‘zone’ so I won’t write unless I have at least 2.5 hours to spend.

What is this book about?

The book follows sixteen-year-old Max as he has a brainwave whilst reading a History report to his class. He’s been researching groups and people who control power and influence around the world and he sees much greed and corruption that he wants to overcome.

He starts a secret group with the aim of putting each of its members into the most powerful and influential positions in the British establishment.

Along the way, the group realises that accomplishing the grand idea will be a lot harder than they initially thought. Although their long-term motives are altruistic, they have to make questionable decisions to ensure that the secrecy and safety of the members is protected.

What inspired you to write it?

The idea for Kings and Criminals was born out of a frustration with politics and the ever-widening disparity in wealth and power around the world. It made me wonder whether the people that we allow into power can really be trusted with it. The book was one approach that I saw to overcome this.

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

Writing the book was one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences of my life. Getting to publication was much more difficult and involved learning many new skills that I hadn’t previously considered. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to work with lots of very experienced professionals who helped me get the book to where it is today. Their input was invaluable, and I learnt many lessons along the way.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

If I could go back and give myself advice at the start of the process, it would be this:

Reach out to people with experience as early as possible. Don’t wait until you have finished the manuscript. Contact a freelance editor after you have written the first few chapters. These guys know what they’re talking about and early contact with them will save you a lot of time further down the road as well as teaching you things you didn’t know about your writing.

Enjoy the journey! This is something that many people never get the chance to do. It’s thrilling, exciting, and at the end of it, you’ll have created something that will be truly yours.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Kings and Criminals is available from Amazon in paperback, Kindle and the free Kindle app. It’s also available on Kobo.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

After publishing Kings and Criminals, so many people have reached out to me to tell me they have an idea for a book but don’t know where to start.

My advice would be take some time to really think about what you’re looking to achieve, who your audience would be and what stands out about your story. Then get going! The first few chapters are where you’ll find your voice, learn about your writing style and start to plan out the rest of the book. Everyone has to start somewhere

What is up next for you?

Kings and Criminals will be a series of 6 or 7 books. I’ve just started on book 2 in the series and am looking forward to the next stage in the characters’ lives.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Book Review: Spiked by Avery Daniels

Julienne and company are back with this awesome cozy mystery set in Colorado Springs.

Spiked by Avery Daniels finds event planner Julienne LaMere with a last minute wedding to coordinate at the Colorado Springs Resort. The bride-to-be has a charming brother who is easy on the eyes, but Julienne is still upset over her breakup with Mason and isn't sure she is ready to open up her heart to Liam.

When a private investigator looking for someone at the resort winds up dead with Julienne's business card on his person, she finds Detective Lawrence knocking on her door again. Her boss Chad puts her in charge of a quiet investigation to uncover clues to keep the resort and any tie to the murdered PI out of the papers. Little does he know, he's just put her in a killer's sights.

The first book of the Resort to Murder series was so much fun, when I heard Daniels was touring with this new book, I had to make time for it. A mixture of danger, humor, and romance set in lovely Colorado Springs, the author writes a perfect cozy mystery with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. With a new potential love interest, an unusual wedding to plan, Chad's unreasonable demands, and a cast of helpful family and friends, Julienne just might get this one solved. Though a total stand-alone novel, I suggest you start with the first book. You'll certainly want to read the next two right away if you do.

File Size: 3948 KB
Print Length: 175 pages
Publisher: Blazing Sword Publishing, Ltd. (December 13, 2018)
Publication Date: December 13, 2018
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

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