Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Owlet" - by Emma Michaels (Tribute Books Blog Tour)


"Somewhere between falling and flying...there is a girl.

Iris has a secret.  She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul.  After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie.  As the facade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her: the truth or her life."

About the Author
"Emma Michaels is the author of the 'A Sense of Truth' and 'Society of Feather' series.  Her goal with her latest YA novel 'Owlet' is to give others what she did not have growing up: a strong female protagonist with asthma.  While her previous aspiration was to be a lady knight she realized that not being able to run more than a few feet might become a hindrance so turned to writing instead.  Her day jobs include being a cover artist, marketing consultant, and silk screen designer.

As the founder of The Writers Voice blog, she loves to connect authors and readers.  As a book blogger turned author, she was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, until she moved at eighteen to Washington State.  Suddenly, the world was a new place filled with tall green trees that reached further for the sky with every moment, making her want to do the same.  Ever since, she has tried to make her life something new and different from what it was before, pursuing her future career, setting high goals and reaching for them.  With the support of her fiance, Chihuahua, and her amazing blog followers and fellow bloggers, she wants to prove to the world that anything is possible and help inspire fellow literary lovers to reach for their dreams."

Even in our so-called "enlightened" society (pardon the sarcasm), it is difficult to find a book that has a character with a significant physical or mental illness.  Emma Michaels aimed to provide a book that shows just how capable of a "normal" life people with illnesses are when she chose to make the protagonist of "Owlet" a young lady with asthma.  Mythical elements, song, and fanciful writing come together in this work to weave a beautiful portrait of what happens when a special young lady finds out about the past she has forgotten.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

"The Hungry Heart" - by Brenda Gayle (Novel Publicity Blog Tour)

"Child advocate Nora Cross doesn't have time for the private cooking lesson her sister won at a charity auction.  Hunter Graham, the young chef, is the last person she needs telling her she's forgotten how to have fun.  So why can't she get the very hot, very eligible man off her mind?  

After a stellar debut in New York City, Hunter's back in Sante Fe to open a new restaurant.  He lives a charmed life and he knows it.  HE isn't interested in a workaholic who's glued to her smart phone.  So why is he trying to convince Nora to relax and enjoy life--with him?

When Nora's apartment and office are ransacked, Hunter comes to her rescue, surprised to find himself playing knight-in-shining armor to the uptight executive.  But when it becomes clear Nora is no random target, Hunter realizes he'll do anything to keep her safe."

About the author
Brenda Gayle has been a writer all her life but returned to her love of writing fiction after more than 20 years in the world of corporate communication—although some might argue there was plenty of opportunity for fiction-writing there, too.  A fan of many genres, she is drawn to contemporary romance and enjoys writing deeply emotional stories with elements of mystery and suspense.  Her first book, Soldier for Love, was a recommended read by a number of reviewers. Her new book, The Hungry Heart, is the first in her Heart's Desire series, which chronicles the difficult road to finding love and family acceptance for the three Graham cousins. Brenda lives in eastern Ontario with her wonderful husband, two fabulous children, two Siberian Huskies, a rescued cat, and assorted aquatic wildlife.

Connect with Brenda on her website,  Facebook, or Twitter.

I've read several books that attempt to use humor to deal with drama-filled situations. As this is a difficult line to walk, some have done so splendidly and others have flopped more soundly than a tired fish finally reeled into shore. “The Hungry Heart”, thankfully, lands squarely in the former of these two scenarios.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tiny Love Super Deluxe Lights and Music Gymini Activity Gym

Product Description:
"Enrich your baby's environment with the Gymini Super Deluxe Mat.  Bold colors and many tactile features are sure to engage the baby as they discover their new world.  Classical music will stimulate their senses.  The lights on the mat will encourage tummy time play.  This is designed for birth and up."


So, as you may have noticed on this blog, I do book reviews as a part of blog tours (and can explain that term if you want me to).  I won a "best review" award for one of my reviews and used the winnings to purchase this mat off Amazon for my son.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

"Life in Death" - by Harlow Drake (Novel Publicity Blog Tour)

"When a girl that social worker Kari Marchant places in foster care is brutally murdered, she's compelled to learn why. Her quest for the truth pits her against friends and coworkers.  As Kari works to solve the horrific plot, more people die.  How far should she go to learn the truth -- even if it threatens her life?

When homicide detective Rance Nicolet meets Kari, his attraction to her is powerful -- and the feeling is mutual.  But things between them go terribly wrong when Kari's old lover is found murdered with a letter from her in his pocket.  The evidence against Kari is damning.  Rance's personal and professional lives collide.  Does he blindly believe the woman he's falling in love with or follow the evidence no matter where it leads?"
About the Author
Harlow Drake was born in Kansas City, MO, but grew up in Denver, CO. She relocated to North Carolina five years ago with her husband, two dogs, and 16-year old twins.

She shares a birthday with the notorious Napoleon Bonaparte. In keeping with his legacy, she is currently working on taking over the world. Harlow's positive attitude and fresh take on life are her tools and conquest is certain.  She spends her free time writing, dancing, traveling and defending mailboxes from her 16-year-old twins’ driving.

Her debut novel, LIFE IN DEATH, is a murder mystery which pulls from real-life situations from her own family history. She felt compelled to share her story with the world while offering a thrilling, entertaining, and amusing escape for readers.

In keeping with her commitment to improving the lives of children, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her book will be donated to the Boys and Girls Club in her home state of North Carolina.

She loves to connect with her readers and can be found on Twitter, her blog, or on Facebook.  

When I was 16, a story came on the news in Alaska that exposed consequences on children of overworking an underpaid social service staff whose mission is to protect children.  Yet what happens when members of that system are not just negligent from exhaustion, but instead directly worsen the problem through their own actions and greed?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Forgive me, Alex" - by Lane Diamond (Novel Publicity Blog Tour)


"Tony Hooper stands in shadow across the street, one amongst many in the crowd of curiosity-hounds gathered to watch a monster’s release. Seventeen years after Mitchell Norton, “the devil,” terrorized Algonquin, Illinois on a spree of kidnapping, torture and murder, the authorities release the butcher from psychiatric prison.
Tony longs to charge across the street to destroy Norton—no remorse—as if stepping on a cockroach. Only sheer force of will prevents his doing so.
“The devil” walks the world again. What shall Tony do about it? Aye, what indeed.
After all, this is what he does. It’s who he is. “The devil” himself long ago made Tony into this hunter of monsters. What a sweet twist of fate this is, that he may still, finally, administer justice.
Will FBI Special Agent Linda Monroe stop him? She owes him her life, so how can she possibly put an end to his?
Tony Hooper and Mitchell Norton battle for supremacy, with law enforcement always a step away, in this story of justice and vengeance, evil and redemption, fear and courage, love and loss."

About the Author

"I write fiction, long and short. My writings cross over many genres and focus on diverse subjects, ranging from the mysteries of the human mind, with its fragile psychological and emotional states, to the everyday joy and anguish of life on Earth. Ultimately, characters move me – as both a reader and an author. It's all about the people. When not writing, I'm Publisher and Executive Editor at Evolved Publishing. Connect with me on my website,  FacebookTwitterGoodReads, or via Evolved Publishing."


“Criminal Minds” is my favorite television show as of late – as a psychology major who has always been particularly interested in what prompts criminal activity, I appreciate that the show delves deeply into the criminal's mind. Viewers are given psychological profiles that help explain, not excuse, an individual's behavior (and, in some cases, remind us that rapists and murderers are people too). Reading Forgive me, Alex was akin to watching a movie-length episode of “Criminal Minds”.

Friday, July 13, 2012

"The Destiny of Shaitan" - by Laxmi Hariharan (Novel Publicity Blog Tour)


"Partially set in a dystopian Bombay of the future, The Destiny of Shaitan is a coming of age story, painted against the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world.

Yudi, Tiina & Rai embark on a mission to save the universe. Sent to retrieve the Isthmus from the ruthless Shaitan, Tiina seeks more than the end of the tyrant; she seeks herself. Shaitan is determined to stop them at any cost. The three friends must learn to trust each other and overcome their fears as they fight towards the ultimate showdown. The universe is at stake and the combatants determined. Will Shaitan's ultimate destiny be fulfilled?"

About the Author
"I am a writer, technophile & dare I say, a futurist, with a penchant for chai and growing eye-catching flowers. Wanderlust drove me out of my home country India and I travelled across Asia, living in Singapore and Hong Kong before coming home to London. I am inspired by Indian mythology; I draw strength from the stories my grandmother narrated to me as a child. It is in acknowledging my roots that I found my voice. When not writing I love walking in the woods with my soulmate, and indulging my inner geek.
I would love to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or my website."

It is not every day one comes across a book that includes mystical figures, epic battles, shapeshifters, and cheating boyfriends who swear they will never stray again…and so much more!  Yet Laxmi Hariharan has managed to weave an intricate tale that includes all of the above…and then some. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Baby Trend Nursery Center Playard - Columbia

Product Description:

"The Baby Trend Playard in Columbia can be set up in your home and is easy to take apart for portability. Ideal for vacation and weekend trips to Grandparent's. Designed for convenience and with baby’s needs in mind, the Baby Trend Nursery Center is the most comfortable and functional product. Theres a flip away changing table and a removable full bassinet, recommended for use from birth to about 4 months which accomodates up to 15lbs or 25" (whichever comes first). The play yard has large wheels with brakes, a one-hand locking mechanism, and a travel tote bag. The Play Yard accommodates up to 30 lbs (or 35").

  • Features: Locking Wheels, Changing Station, Storage Pockets, Removable Bassinet
  • Minimum Weight Supported: 5.0 Lb.
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 30.0 Lb.
  • Includes: Removable Diaper Stacker, Removable Bassinet, Travel Bag
  • Certifications: JPMA Certified
  • Care and Cleaning: Wipe Clean With a Dry Cloth
  • Material: Plastic, Polyester, Steel


Drexel, my baby boy (who will turn 3 months on the 9th), is growing like a little weed.  My husband and I measured him the other day and found that he has grown almost an inch and a half in length over the past month.  Add to that the fact that he has also started to roll over, and the baby basket sleeper thing that he was in at night has been mommy-deemed no longer safe at night (and now too small, anyways) when I'm asleep when he is sleeping and hence cannot supervise him.  One trip to Target later, and we came home with the Baby Trend Playard pictured above.

Friday, June 29, 2012

"Speculation" - by Edmund Jorgenson (Novel Publicity Blog Tour)


"Andrew Wrangles has a decision to make. His best friend Sothum, a philosophical and financial genius, has just died and left him a choice in his will: ten million dollars or a sealed envelope.
Andrew’s wife Cheryl doesn’t see this as much of a choice. She wants Andrew to take the money, and what little patience she has for his speculating about what could be worth more than ten million dollars is wearing thin very quickly.
But as Andrew digs deeper into the secret life that Sothum lived, he finds more questions than answers. Does the envelope contain the fate of a vanished mutual friend? The answer to a terrible cosmic riddle? The confession to a crime? Is Sothum just playing a final private joke? Or has Andrew become a pawn in a game–a game that Sothum died playing against a bigger opponent than Andrew can imagine?"

About the Author
Edmund Jorgensen was born in Chicago. He studied classical languages and has maintained a love for all things Greek and Roman. He fell in love with his wife in Mexico; they now reside, happily but considerably more chilly, in Watertown, Massachusetts. Edmund is currently hard at work on his second book, a set of interconnected short stories. Connect with Edmund on his website,  FacebookTwitter or GoodReads.

Get Speculation on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

I like books that make readers think.  I like plots (screen and paper) that are unpredictable and not some tired old rehash of something the public has been exposed to a million times already.  Here is a work that is absolutely refreshing in so many ways - an unpredictable plot, intriguing premise, and nifty framing!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Playtex Nurser Double Electric Breast Pump Kit

Product Description:

"The Playtex® Petite Double Electric Breast Pump is a high-quality, discreetly-sized electric breast pump designed for ultimate comfort and efficiency. Three levels of fully adjustable suction let you control your own pumping experience. The unique, patented Soft Comfort® Breast Cups massage the breast while pumping and provide suction from the side, rather than pulling and tugging directly on the nipple as many other systems do, for ultimate comfort and fast let-down. The pump utilizes a unique closed system to protect breast milk against contamination. Can be used for single or double pumping.

  • Massaging motion and suction aids in milk expression
  • Designed to comfortably stimulate the breast
  • Closed system protects against contamination from bacteria and germs
  • 3 Easy-twist suction settings
Kit Includes
  • 1 pump motor unit
  • 2 Soft Comfort® Breast Cups
  • 2 Playtex® Drop-Ins™ System bottles (4 oz.) with nipples
  • 10 Drop-Ins Pre-Formed Liners (4 oz.)
  • 1 AC/DC adapter (12 volt)
  • 1 set of tubing
  • 2 liner rings,
  • 2 extra nipple rings
  • 2 sealing discs for milk storage
  • 2 extra pump valves
  • 1 instruction booklet"

I'm a new mom - my precious baby boy (Drexel) is just over two months old and growing like a little weed.  Seriously, this kid is in the 50th percentiles for weight and head circumference and 80th percentile for length, and he displays the motor skills of a 4 month old.  But before I brag on my boy too much, here is my review of the Playtex Breast Pump that I have been using for the past two months.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"The Grey"

Blurb on cover of the DVD jacket:

"Liam Neeson stars as the unlikely hero Ottway in this undeniably suspenseful and powerful survival adventure.  After their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness, a roughneck group of oil drillers is forced to find a way back to civilization.  As Ottway leads the injured survivors through the brutal snow and ice, they are relentlessly tracked by a vicious pack of rogue wolves that will do anything to defend their territory.  Adrenaline-fueled, action-packed and loaded with some of the most intense and brutally realistic attack scenes ever filmed, The Grey is being hailed as 'a thriller you can sink you teeth into!' (The Washington Post)"

I'm from Alaska, and as such am very critical about movies and/or books that have anything to do with Alaska.  Will the flick support stereotypes about Alaska?  Will it make us Alaskans look like country backwater bums liked "Snow Dogs" did?

The Good
The story itself is definitely realistic - plane goes down in the wilderness, pack of men is hunted by pack of wolves who are defending their turf, men are taken out by wolves and forces of nature one by one until Ottway is the only one left.  In trying to get away from the wolves and reach civilization, he walks right into the wolves' den and faces down the alpha male.  Philosophical musings and thoughts about God and the afterlife are woven into the dialog in a way that will stick with viewers (especially Ottway's outburst at God near the very end) and make them think later, which I appreciate.