2/10/16

Book Tour: Rhuna, The Star Child by Barbara Underwood


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We have joined the book tour for Barbara Underwood's latest book, Rhuna, The Star Child.  This book is the thrilling sequel to Rhuna: Crossroads.  While it is the third book in the Rhuna Fantasy Books series, it can also be read as a standalone novel.  Stop back next week to check out a guest post from the author as our stop on the book tour!

Quick Summary of Rhuna, the Star Child.  Rhuna, the Star Child is set in mystical Ancient Egypt where Black Magic was developed by the followers of the legendary villain, The Dark Master. As strange and frightening curses plague the population, Rhuna discovers the underground organization that performs this uncanny new magic, but she can only combat it with the help of her long-lost father. Having learned from her father amazing new skills to empower her on the Astral Plane, Rhuna once again strives to preserve peace and harmony in the idyllic Atlan civilization. Far more challenging than fighting powerful Dark Forces, however, is Rhuna’s personal anguish when her daughter becomes involved with the leader of the Black Magic movement, and the once-perfect Atlan society based on utopian principles begins to crumble all around her. Shocking events escalate Rhuna’s world to a breathless climax as she and her family undergo a momentous upheaval, and she is forced to make great personal sacrifices for her loved ones.

Buy on: Amazon | Smashwords 

About the Author

Barbara Underwood Barbara was born and raised in Sydney, Australia; the only child of German migrants who provided a rich and diverse childhood environment. Already in third grade she wrote a short children's book for a class project and realized that she was deeply satisfied with creating stories. In sixth grade, for another class project, her teacher was so impressed by the lengthy story she submitted, that he commented at the end "I see we are going to have another author". Over the years, Barbara kept writing one thing or another, but only as a hobby while she pursued other interests and goals. In the 1990s, she completed a correspondence course in professional writing, doing it in her spare time after work. This led to having a few short stories published, but what she really wanted to do was write a proper novel.   At this time, Barbara had travelled extensively and gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in subjects that held special appeal for her, namely ancient history, myths and legends (such as Atlantis, the builders of megaliths around the world), folklore (the belief that a god-like race gave mankind its technology), human psychology and the culture of other countries. What better subject for her Fantasy book series than to combine all these elements into one big adventure!

Follow the author:

Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Google + | Literary Addicts

2/9/16

Cancelled Vows Book Review and Giveaway


After reading Kill and Run, from author Lauren Carr's Thorny Rose mystery series, I looked forward to the opportunity to read and review the latest book in her Mac Faraday series: Cancelled Vows. While I have not read other books from this particular series, I enjoy Carr's writing style and was excited to get to know the series' characters a bit. What did I think of Cancelled Vows?


 
Quick Summary of Cancelled Vows by Lauren Carr. Police Chief David O’Callaghan and Chelsea Adams’ wedding day is fast approaching. Unfortunately, at the last minute, David discovers that there is one small problem to be taken care of before he can tie the knot—divorce his first wife!

Lauren Carr takes fans of the Mac Faraday mysteries to the Big Apple in this nail biting adventure. In Cancelled Vows, David, Mac, and Gnarly, too, rush to New York City to dissolve David’s marriage to an old girlfriend—and he’s got five days to get it done. When murder throws up a road block, it is up to David’s best man, Mac Faraday, and Gnarly, K9-in-waiting, to sort through the clues to get David to the church in time!

I just couldn't like some of the characters in Cancelled Vows.  I was drawn to the characters of the Thorny Rose series--but, I found that David's character in Cancelled Vows was met with more eye rolling and disdain than with hope for his happiness. Dallas wasn't met with much interest and endearment either. I just found myself wondering how Carr's strong, real-world-drawn characters like Mac, Archie, Chelsea--and even the K-9, Knarly, could be cast alongside characters who just didn't share their similar upstanding characteristics.  I was expecting more from David.

The action and suspense kept the story line moving. In keeping with Carr's mystery writing style, readers are met with some suspense and some twists and turns as the characters seek resolution to more than one dilemma in this book! Readers won't be disappointed in the mystery element of the this story--and readers will find themselves drawn to Mac. He is a great mystery novel character.

Would I recommend Cancelled Vows? Take note of the character "glossary" introduced at the beginning of the book--but, don't obsess over it. While all of those characters will appear in the story--and there are several to keep track of and several relationships to note..all aren't really vital to understanding the story at hand. I assume the many characters will resurface in future books (or have already been introduced and I missed them!). 

I do like Carr's storytelling style--and Cancelled Vows held a valid mystery for readers to follow toward a resolution. I like Mac Faraday. A lot. I could see myself returning to the Mac Faraday series to follow Mac and his wife and Gnarly--but, the David/Chelsea/Dallas trio were just a little too shallow, hollow and "unlikeable" for me to invest much future interest in them. The book is a stand-alone mystery--but, I almost wonder if readers of the entire series know David and Chelsea in a different light? One that may make readers "root" for them a bit more? I just didn't connect with them very well as "mature" adults. They just weren't that...as portrayed in this story. I liked the book because I liked the writing style, the mystery and the series "stars"--Mac, Archie---but, new readers to the series may be put-off a bit by David's character--and his interactions with Chelsea and Dallas.

​Buy the book on  Amazon

Meet the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday and Lovers in Crime Mysteries and the Thorny Rose Mysteries. Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real live Gnarly!) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~   Facebook

Enter to Win a Book Tour Prize


Win 1 print copy of Cancelled Vows with a $25 Amazon gift card (USA)
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2/8/16

Monday Motivation: The Value of a Day of Rest


I do a lot of talking here and on Twitter about focus, and action, and the constant need to keep moving.  This isn't just talk--this is how I really try to live my life.  I am in charge of the day to day operation of my businesses--and of my family.  I wear a number of hats--and I spend a lot of time in motion.  Self care takes a back-seat--and it has taken that back seat for so long--that I have forgotten how to stop moving.  Literally. I wanted to focus today on the value of a day of rest.  Total rest. 

I took yesterday off from everything--100% off.  


This was probably the first day totally "off"..without being bedridden from having strep or the stomach flu...in 14 years.  Really.  Even when I'm on vacation--I'm working on a writing assignment or preparing meals or planning an itinerary to "teach" the kids something about something.  Well--yesterday was different.  No cooking.  No laundry.  No writing.  No work projects. No homework or projects with the kids (they took the day off too).  We watched t.v., played video games, read, ordered pizza for dinner, warmed up leftovers and snack foods for lunch--and did nothing on the to-do lists. 

And--the world didn't stop turning.  


We get so caught up in the run, run, run mentality of our 'busy' lives that we simply forget to stop, rest and take a bit of time to be thankful for those busy lives.  
 
I took that time yesterday--and I won't lie--I was miserable for a while.  I felt guilty.  I felt that I was wasting the day.  I felt that I was setting a terrible example for the kids.  I felt lazy and worthless.
 
Then.  I allowed (okay--forced) myself to stop.  
 
Then--I forced myself to relax and feel peace.
 
I laughed at silly sitcoms.  I enjoyed the sound of the dog snoring beside me on the bed.  I held one of the cats while she purred.  I watched my youngest daughter playing silly computer games with zero educational value--and I let her skip the social studies review packet (which I also still need to sign).
 
The girls didn't practice the violin. They didn't practice dance.  

They didn't study.  They didn't read any book that they were "supposed to read".

And--the world didn't stop turning.  

I read a post this morning about the underappreciation of rest in today's "always on" society...and I think the author hit the nail on the head.  So much so--that I think we (as a family) will be putting our to-do list on a 6-day-per-week schedule--and taking a weekly rest day.  This isn't a Biblical day of rest--and it may not always happen on Sunday.  But, I'm turning over a new leaf--and we are taking some time off.  Every week.  Not once every 14 years. 

Enjoy your week--and give yourself a break.  The world won't stop--and you may just tackle tomorrow with a renewed spirit and more energy than you can imagine!
 
 

Burned by Amity Hope: Book Blast and GIveaway


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BURNED

Want to add a romance novel to your reading list?  The latest book from Amity Hope, Burned, promises secrets, lies, troubled pasts and complications for the fated couple.  Learn more about this book and enter to win some fun prizes in the author's book blast giveaway at the end of this post! 

Quick Summary of Burned by Amity Hope.  Lanna is trying to run away from her past. When her best friend, Holly, invited her to visit the small, coastal town of Harmony Bay, Lanna decided to take her up on the offer. In fact, she loved Harmony Bay so much she decided to stay. Jake is no stranger to secrets, lies, and manipulation. He’s been dealt more than his fair share of each. He’s sworn off women indefinitely. But there’s something about the girl rooming with his friend, Max. He just can’t shake the thoughts of her out of his head.

Will the two of them be able to work through the complications of their pasts? Or are they just setting themselves up to be burned again?



Buy on Amazon

About the author:

Amity lives in beautiful northern Minnesota with her two sons, two cats and their Rottweiler. She has a degree in elementary education and worked in that field for ten years before deciding to self-publish. Her first self-published novel, Twisted, was listed by Amazon as a Top 100 Kids & Teens Kindle Book of 2012. It hit Amazon's Teen & Young Adult Contemporary Romance Best Sellers List in several countries. Truths and Dares held the #1 position on Amazon's Best Sellers in Teen & Young Adult Contemporary Romance eBooks in the UK. If she's not writing, or spending time with her boys, she's most likely reading.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | Amazon Author Page  

Enter to win a Book Tour Prize:
Paperback copy of Ditched, a paperback copy of Burned , a pair of handmade earrings  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

2/5/16

Family Fun: Taking A Dip In The Pool


One of the things that you might hear from children over the course of the summer is that they are bored. If you're looking for something to do that doesn't cost a lot of money, then consider looking at wholesale swimming pools. These are pools that can be placed above ground and are often less expensive than one that you might get at a retail store as there are large numbers of them sold at once. Sometimes, stores will reduce the price if there are several purchased at one time, so you might want to consider asking friends and family if they want to get a pool at the same time you make a purchase.

Owning a pool has several benefits. Once you get it in place, you can build a deck around the pool, adding other amenities as well to create an oasis throughout the summer months. It could be considered a "staycation" so that you don't have to travel to so many locations. It can also help to save money as you won't have to go to go to water parks or attractions that have a pool in order to swim. You can hold BBQs and other family events outside with the pool as the center attraction.

A pool offers a way for you to spend time with your family. Children will have something to do, and there are many games that you can play with each other while in the water. It takes time away from all of the electronics that children are on, bringing a sense of peace and fun back into life. Another benefit of a pool is that you can exercise in the water. For those who have arthritis and other health issues with the joints and muscles, it's a way to loosen these areas of the body in a fun and healthy manner. Swimming also offers a way to lose weight as there is resistance on the body. After a long day at work or school, you can take a dip in the pool, relieving the body of stress that is associated with paperwork and perhaps dealing with people who aren't very friendly.