1/23/19

Diary of a Sorceress Book Spotlight & Book Tour Giveaway


This morning, we are featuring a book of dark poetry by Ashley Dioses in our book spotlight!  Check out Diary of a Sorceress, learn about the author & enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post!

Diary of a Sorceress
by Ashley Dioses
Genre: Dark Poetry
The young poet Ashley Dioses has already established herself as a leading voice in contemporary weird poetry. Known for her meticulous use of rhyme and meter, her deft melding of the strange and the erotic, and her novel treatments of such age-old themes as the vampire, the witch, and the ghoul, Dioses now gathers the best of her recent poetry into her first collection—a scintillating assemblage of nearly 100 poems short and long, published and unpublished.

With this single volume, Ashley Dioses takes her place as a worthy successor to the long line of California Romantics, beginning with Ambrose Bierce, Clark Ashton Smith, and Nora May French, and carrying on with Donald Sidney-Fryer and K. A. Opperman (The Crimson Tome), with whom she has worked closely.



Ashley began writing at the age of 12. Upon discovering the macabre work of Edgar Allan Poe, she took a borderline obsessive interest in writing horror and dark fantasy poetry and even a few fantasy novels. Her favorite authors of horror and fantasy at that time were Stephen King, Dean Koontz, J.R.R. Tolkien, Piers Anthony, and Brian Jacques who also influenced her work.


She wrote up until her senior year of high school and then took a break before starting up again after college in 2011. With a nudge from a new friend, she discovered a new kind of horror, dark fantasy, and weird work from authors such as Clark Ashton Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, George Sterling, Donald Sidney-Fryer, and David Park Barnitz.

With this new treasure trove of horror and weird authors, she began to broaden her writing.

Aside from writing, her other passion is martial arts. When she was 12 she started practicing a shotokan Japanese karate mix (called 'American' karate) and Judo at Red Dragon until she reached 3rd class brown belt at 15. At 18 she started practicing Soo Bahk Do, a Korean karate, where she stayed for four years, getting her black belt and taught as an instructor for a brief period of time before leaving.


Follow the tour HERE for exclusive content and a giveaway!




4 Ways to Customize Your Daily Life!


Most people nowadays lead busy lives, whether they are parents or teens, or single working adults. In this fast-paced society, it can seem like we are meant to do nothing but work and taught to cherish little beyond that. For that reason, it is vital that we put the thought and care into every facet of our lives. A big part of that comes down to self-expression.

Self-expression is an important and effective way to ground yourself. In a world where a lot of things are out of our control, being in control of our space and our bodies becomes more than just self-expression. It’s a form of self-preservation.

Pursuing self-expression doesn’t have to be a monumental endeavor. You don’t have to go on an epic existential quest or become a master artist. Instead, it’s about the little things like customizing your daily life. With that in mind, here are 4 ways to customize your daily life and take back control over your unique self-expression.

1.      Find the Perfect Phone and Laptop Cases

As technological devices become more prominent throughout most of our lives—whether professionally, academically, personally, or otherwise—we are given more options to adorn our belongings with stickers, cases, you name it. Whether you’re looking to rep a favorite band, get compliments on your case  for your phone, or support a local artist, decorating your devices with accessories is a fantastic way to incorporate a personal style into your everyday life.

While these decorations function like accessories, they can go with any outfit, color palette, or social event, making them particularly appealing.

2.      Change Your Interior Space

Decorating your home is perhaps one of the most effective and popular ways to externalize your inner peace and reflect it through your interior design. Whether that means rearranging the living room, repainting the walls of your bedroom, or renovating the kitchen, always be sure that your home does its job of putting you at ease and making you feel safe and secure.

Pro tip: If you’re not looking to redesign the entirety of a room, look into colored lights or lighting fixtures. You’ll be amazed at how they can give the same room a different vibe.


3.      Alter Your Clothing

Customizing your own style is doable in a multitude of ways, and yes, that even means clothing. With the wealth of information that the internet has to offer, between life hack articles and endless YouTube videos, there are tens or even hundreds of strategies to personalize your closet without having to sew a single button.

As of recent, denim jackets and iron-on patches have surged in popularity and become rather easy to come by. That is one significant method of personalizing your style without stitching a dress out of thin air.

4.      Make Distinct “You” Time

Personalization of your life isn’t always aesthetic-based. Routines are an efficient means of tethering ourselves to reality as well as deliberately spending time on our wants and needs. For instance, sleeping at a specific time is not only good for your body and circadian rhythm, but it keeps you from overloading your schedule in stressful, unmanageable ways.

Whether you do yoga at sunrise, dedicate an hour to playing video games after dinner, or read before bed every night, make a point to schedule in things you look forward to each and every day.

To Put Simply

Just because it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life doesn’t mean we can’t maintain our sense of self through it all. Homing in on what makes us happy and unique is necessary to live your best life. If some part of your life isn’t working for you, never hesitate to shape it into something positive and never look back.

1/21/19

30 Days to Understanding the Bible Book Review


One of my goals for the new year has been to grow spiritually.  Over the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to read and review 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders.  What did I think of 30 Days to Understanding the Bible?

  
About the Book  

If you've ever confused the ark of the covenant with the ark of Noah, or Jericho with Jeroboam, Max Anders' classic book, 30 Days to Understanding the Bible, is for you. In just fifteen minutes a day, you'll learn the Bible's key people, events, and doctrines to get more out of God's Word. This simple-to-use, straightforward guide has been recommended by Bible teachers and pastors for thirty years, and now it's available in an expanded thirtieth anniversary edition—with the most requested topics from the original edition restored and updated for today's readers.

Features include:

  • The “Arc of Bible History” to help you visualize the Bible’s overarching themes
  • The “Story of the Bible” summarizing Genesis through Revelation in just a few pages
  • The core beliefs of the Christian faith, focusing on the teachings that have united Christians for the last 2,000 years
  • 13-week plan that provides teacher’s every creative and effective tool for teaching the Bible in 30 days 
  • Fan-favorite bonus content, previously removed, now restored from the original edition
 My Review 
30 Days to Understanding the Bible has an easy to use format.  The author breaks down the major passages of the Old and New Testaments into small, easy to understand chapters for readers.  While this book doesn't cover every passage--it covers enough to allow for an understanding of the people, places and events encountered.  Information is presented in a workbook like manner that allows readers to review the details learned again and again for understanding.

30 Days to Understanding the Bible makes an excellent reference tool.   I read the chapters of the book along with the relevant passages of the Bible.  The information truly did help my understanding--and it did help me form a stronger basis for further reading.

Would I recommend 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Max Anders I think this book is very well written, well organized and effective for readers who are somewhat new to reading the Bible.   This book is more textbook / workbook oriented--and doesn't offer a lot of commentary nor author interpretations.  The chapters are the perfect length for a daily Bible lesson--and the text is easy to use and understand.  I would highly recommend it for anyone seeking a better understanding of the Bible's persons, places and events.

 Buy the Book

About the Author

Dr. Max Anders is the author of over 25 books and is the creator and general editor of the 32-volume Holman Bible Commentary series. He has taught on the college and seminary level and is a veteran pastor. Max was also one of the original team members with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. He provides resources and discipleship strategies at MaxAnders.com to help people grow spiritually.

The Incarn Saga Book Series Spotlight & Book Tour Giveaway


This morning, I have a young adult fantasy series in my book spotlight!  Check out the books of The Incarn Saga, learn about the books and the author--and be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize at the book tour giveaway at the end of this post!

Issaura's Claws
The Incarn Saga Book 1
by Katharine E. Wibell
Genre: YA Fantasy
According to legend, when the world was young, the goddess Issaura appeared among men. Those who treated her with kindness received the gift of the gods—the ability to transform into an animal form. This was a great honor but one that separated this race from other humans. Before Issaura departed the mortal realm, she promised to return if her people were ever at the point of destruction.


Now a threat is rising from a land across the mists of the ocean, a threat that will push this race to the brink of extinction. Responding to the call to war, seventeen-year-old Lluava heads off to find her destiny, one that will carve her name in history.” 

The Kingdom of Elysia consists of two races: the dominant race of humans and the native race of Theriomorphs who can shift into animal form. Although law dictates equal treatment, they neither like nor trust each other. Now brutal and ruthless Raiders are approaching; there is only one chance to defeat them. An army must be raised and trained. An army where each human will be paired with a Theriomorph partner. An army that must fight as one to defeat their common enemy.

Women are not warriors. However, Lluava is not like other women – human or Theriomorph. Her animal form is a magnificent beast whose power and fury she must learn to control. Although Lluava endures intense physical training and strives to overcome the doubts of the male recruits, she faces an unexpected adversary in the commanding general who seeks to break both her spirit and her body.

At the paring ceremony, Lluava is humbled when presented with a unique and ancient weapon. Yet she becomes distraught and angry when her human partner is revealed. If they fail to trust each other, the consequences will be devastating. Death and destruction are on the horizon and time is running out.

The Incarn Saga is a young adult fantasy series inspired by ancient myths, filled with fast-paced action and adventure, and enriched by an understanding of animal behavior that defines the shape-shifting Theriomorphs.


Ullr's Fangs
The Incarn Saga Book 2
"According to legend, when the world was young, two gods of war — one male, one female — were destined for each other. Yet Ullr, forever unfaithful, lost the love of Issaura, his true match, and was forsworn. His violent anger and bitter rage grew and intensified, poisoning all creation and humanity.


Now that the Raiders’ long ships have faded from sight, the kingdom of Elysia is beginning to recover from the summer’s war with the brutal invaders from across the sea. Yet darker forces have taken root, forces that can alter the future of the land and its people in unthinkable ways. Seventeen-year-old Lluava must discover the means to prevent her world from collapsing. But in doing so, will she succumb to that darkness?"


Crocotta's Hackles
The Incarn Saga Book 3

According to legend, when the world was young, Crocotta, Queen of the Gods, discovered her mate’s faithlessness. She vowed to prevent future threats to all matrimonial pacts henceforward, but for her it was too late. The child born from the illicit coupling was a warrior goddess—one whom Crocotta would seek to destroy throughout eternity.

Now that the Raiders’ elite army is threatening the kingdom of Elysia’s northern borders, seventeen-year-old Lluava must leave the familiarity and safety of her native land to venture into the wilderness. Her mission is to discover others like her who will come to Elysia’s aid; her hope is to unravel the secrets behind what it means to be Incarn. But what she finds could destroy everything.”

Lluava’s story continues in Crocotta’s Hackles, the third book in The Incarn Saga's award-winning new-adult series.



Katharine Wibell’s lifelong interest in mythology includes epic poetry like the Odyssey, Ramayana, Beowulf, and the Nibelungenlied. In addition, she is interested in all things animal whether training dogs, apprenticing at a children’s zoo, or caring for injured animals as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. After receiving degrees from Mercer University in both art and psychology with an emphasis in animal behavior, Wibell moved to New Orleans with her dog, Alli, to kick start her career as an artist and a writer. Her first literary works blend her knowledge of the animal world with the world of high fantasy.

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!








Melding Spirits Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway


I love coming of age novels--especially those with a hints of secrets and mystery.  This morning, I am sharing my review of Melding Spirits, a novel from author Michael E. Burge.  What did I think of Melding Spirits?  Check out my thoughts, learn about the author & be sure to enter the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.


Book Title: Melding Spirits by Michael E. Burge
Category: Adult Fiction, 371 pages
Genre: Literary fiction, Mystery, Coming of age

About the Book

Twelve-year-old Evan Mason’s life has been turned upside down by the sudden death of his father. His mother isn’t home much, the insurance office during the day, waiting tables at night. Evan is spending a great deal of time alone.

Now he finds himself on a Greyhound bus headed for a small town on the Wabash River where he’ll spend the summer of 1958 with his loving grandmother.

Evan soon meets his new neighbor, Katie Dobbins. She’s a feisty blue-eyed girl with a ponytail, the type of girl Buddy Holly might sing about on American Bandstand. Evan is instantly enamored with her.

It seems the perfect summer is underway—but strange things are happening in the woods surrounding the Ghost Hill Indian Mound.

There’s a dark cloud lingering over the Wabash Valley—It won’t be long before it erupts into a raging storm.

My Review

Melding Spirits connects wonderful characters with a wonderful storyteller.  Readers will immediately fall into the author's writing style from the first few pages.  He does a wonderful job creating a well-done, coming of age storyline loaded with a sense of mystery, suspense, & romance.  The story and the characters will draw you in and hold you until the very last page.

Melding Spirits combines darkness, light--and life.  The author serves up a coming-of-age look at life in this novel.  Readers will experience the ups and downs of learning and growing while experiencing a combination of teen innocence and a look at the depravity of the grown up world.  There are some references made that are rather crude and dark--but, not out of character for the novel's plot and certainly not done simply for shock value. 

Would I recommend Melding Spirits by Michael E. Burge?  I think this book appeals to a variety of readers.  The characters are complex and real, the setting takes readers back in time and the storyline creates a well written coming of age story in a small town.  The mystery of the novel builds well and keeps readers guessing--and the romance element is evenly presented without taking over the story.  I loved the characters and, although the ending was satisfying, I was sad to leave them at the end of the story.  I look forward to reading more from this author in the future and I would recommend this book to fans of mystery/suspense novels with a coming of age theme.


To read more reviews, please visit Micheal E. Burge's page on iRead Book Tours.


Buy the Book




Meet the Author


Michael E. Burge grew up in the Chicago suburbs and a small town on the Wabash River in Southern Illinois.

In the late sixties, he left college to serve on a U.S. Navy destroyer out of Norfolk, Virginia. Upon leaving the service, he transitioned to a career in the burgeoning computer industry, positions in product management and marketing.

He is now pursuing his lifelong interest in writing, publishing his debut novel, Bryant’s Gap, in 2015 and his second, Melding Spirits, in 2017.

Michael also plays piano, paints, and is an avid golfer. He and his family currently live in Illinois.

Connect with the Author: Twitter ~ Facebook

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Ends Feb 7, 2019


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1/20/19

Prodigy Book Spotlight & Book Tour Giveaway


Today, I have a young adult, paranormal novel from The Giver of Life Trilogy in our book spotlight!  I featured this growing trilogy last summer--and have the 3rd book in our spotlight today!  Check out Prodigy, learn about the series and the author & be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

Prodigy
The Giver of Life Trilogy Book 3
by Kristy Centeno
Genre: YA Paranormal 

Leah Parker’s fate had always been controlled by others—who she loved and who she lost. Five years after the tragic murder of her daughter’s father, she’s done everything in her power to protect her little girl from the outside world. But she’s rebelled against fate in the past and no act of defiance goes unpunished in the Enchanter community.
The ultimate power wants to correct the damage done by Jae and the only way they can do that is by getting rid of her special child—a child destined to replace all branches of Enchanter magic one day.
But, Leah isn’t willing to go down without a fight. She will do anything to save what Jae died to protect, even if she must turn against the Circle of Elders. But when her first love, Brandon Morris walks back into her life, Leah knows nothing will ever be the same again.
Leah must confront her past, before she and her daughter are erased from her family line. She must get over her guilt and rely on Brandon to ensure her daughter’s survival. But will the pain from their past destroy their friendship forever? Or will their old bond hold them together and carry them through what’s ahead?


Enchantress
The Giver of Life Trilogy #2

Fate brought them together. Will evil break them apart?
Leah Parker’s visit to her hometown is supposed to bring her closer to the truth behind her identity. What she doesn’t anticipate is the handsome stranger with almond eyes claiming to be her Pair.
Her world once again upturned with the arrival of the man chosen to be her life partner, Leah is pulled between the feelings she’s always had for the friend she left behind, and those for the compelling stranger determined to save her from certain death—at whatever the cost.
With an ancient evil out to finish what it started twenty-one years before, will Leah find peace within her troubled mind and heart to fight back and win? Or will her disconnection with her newfound powers hinder her only chance at survival?

His sacrifice…is her salvation.
 
Enchanter
The Giver of Life Trilogy #1

They have a past. But will they have a future?
Leah Parker is resilient and hardworking. She’d always prided herself in maintaining a level head, even under pressure. Everything changes when she begins to see strange apparitions and hear ghostly voices on the morning of her birthday.
In a blink of the eyes, Leah’s life takes a drastic turn that spirals her into the unknown. Something is out to get her, but she’s unsure if she’s losing her mind, or the faces and demands of the dead are real. Unable to find the answers she needs, she has no choice but to rely on ex-best friend, Brandon Morris, for help.
But as she will soon discover, Brandon has his own secrets. Some of which defy logic and only add to the mystery surrounding Leah. And mix feelings between the two complicate matters by getting in the way of what they really want, and what they must do.
Can Brandon lighten the load on her by figuring out what or who wants her dead? Or will their past history get in the way of the storm brewing just beyond Leah’s grasp?



Kristy Centeno loves to spin tales of creatures that go bump in the night, with a sprinkle of romance to top them off. Her passion for writing stems from a lifelong enjoyment of reading and the pleasure derived from the magical worlds created by authors like her. She prefers her female leads strong, independent, and stubborn who will stop at nothing to save their loved ones and protect those they care for.
Kristy currently resides in Pennsylvania with her five kids and a trio of noisy parakeets. When she’s not working or writing, she juggles her free time between raising a handful of minions and pursuing other career goals.


Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!