Monday, 31 December 2012

This Year: Dream Bigger, Start Smaller By Steven Furtick

I’ve met a lot of people who knew what it was to burn plows and set out to live for God but didn’t know what to do next. They prayed, they made a commitment—and they got stuck. As a pastor, I’ve seen it over and over again. As a man trying to live for God, I’ve experienced it over and over again.

I’m guessing you’ve made plenty of resolutions about stuff you needed to start doing or stop doing. Maybe you were going to start praying or reading your Bible more.

Or maybe you were going to stop smoking or boycott carbohydrates or stop looking at pornography or stop saying mean things about family members behind their backs. Maybe you decided to break away from a relationship you knew was unhealthy for you.

The way I see it, there are two major reasons why well-intentioned people like us get stuck after we burn our plows.

One, we don’t think big enough. Two, we don’t start small enough.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Why The Undead Are Still Alive by Lindsay J. Pryor

I’m a British author of dark, paranormal romances. The first three books in my Blackthorn series were recently bought by London publisher, Bookouture. The first two are about vampires – the ‘romantic’ type, in an ever-so-slightly disturbing type of way. And I love my genre. Because of that, I can’t help but feel defensive when others say this vampire obsession is just a trend – that fans will eventually get bored. That this current epidemic will fade to nothing.

The evidence screams everything to the contrary.

Vampires are embedded in our society’s psyche. In fact, they’re embedded in the psyche of many societies outside our own. Nearly every country on our planet has its own version of the vampire myth. Even before Dracula was penned over a century ago, real tales of vampirism had been rife in Eastern Europe for decades. And when those stories (along with the Serbian term ‘Vampire’) infiltrated our society in the 1800’s, apparently any newspaper containing such tales sold by the bucket load. But why? Admit it or not, on some level we all have an instinct to be fascinated with the mysterious and the macabre. We’re all a little bit intrigued by the supernatural, not least our lack of ability to explain it.

So what is it about vampires in particular? What is it that has made them such an iconic romantic figure? Whether it’s the social fascination with bad boys or the psychoanalytic view that vampire fantasies are no more than subliminal repressed sexual fantasies, vampires have got an incessant appeal. But let’s be honest, our current vampiric heroes are a long way from archaic tales of hairless beasts with protruding ratty teeth and rank breath. So when did it change?

The Friday 56 - An Angel by Her Side

Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Resolve to Love By Kerry and Chris Shook

Right now, there are three relationships in your life that trouble you. Perhaps a good friend said something to you yesterday. It felt critical, but you’re not sure what she meant. The two of you used to be so close, but lately you’ve been drifting apart. Something’s not right. Oh, and your mother called. There’s that. You know you should return her call, but you haven’t. Why? You know there are things you should have said before, you avoided them, and now you feel it’s too late. It’s always so hard with her. Always messy. And then...your son has been missing. Not missing physically, but he’s been distant, quiet, silent. Missing emotionally. What’s that about? What’s going on in his life? You want to reach out, but he pushes you away. It worries you.

Maybe the relationships in your life aren’t exactly like these, but I’m guessing these remind you of someone close to you, a problem relationship in your life right now. Maybe it’s not your mother but your father, perhaps not your son but a daughter-in-law. It could be your best friend. Whoever it is, he or she is someone who matters to you—or else the relationship wouldn’t trouble you, gnaw at you on the inside, make you question and grumble, or even bring you to tears.

So take a moment and think, who are these three key people in your life? Which meaningful relationships are troubling you? Relationships you wish were closer. Relationships you’d like to be deeper and richer. Relationships that trouble you, bother you, even make you a little crazy right now.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Review - Vicious Circle

Vicious Circle
By Linda Robertson
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pub. Date: June 30, 2009
ISBN: 978-1439154281
Pages: 384


I had a limited knowledge of what fantasy/paranormal books were out in the market. I grew up reading a few Anne Rice books and I was addicted to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer tie-in novels, but I only began reading paranormal a few years ago starting with the Southern Vampire Mysteries. When Pocket Books offered me to review the Persephone Alcmedi series by Linda Robertson, I eagerly accepted.

Vampires, werewolves, faeries and witches have already been outed out in Vicious Circle. The main heroine is Persephone Alcmedi (or as her friends call her, Seph), whom pays her bills by writing a syndicated newspaper column under an alias, reading Tarot cards, and running a werewolves' kenneling service in her basement on full moons. Her life is busy and it becomes even busier when her Nana moves in with her. Oh, I forgot to mention that she also practices witchcraft.

In this world, vampires are the higher ups in society, faeries keep to themselves and werewolves are treated as second class, which is one of the reasons Persephone has taken an interest in helping them.

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Friday 56 - Hallowed Circle

Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Interview with author Vivenne Westlake

What or whom inspired you to become a writer? 

I’ve loved writing since I was a child. I used to have a typewriter that my grandparents bought me and I would write stories or make up a newspaper on it. But as far as my career in romance, I would say my inspiration was Elizabeth Lowell and Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz). The first romance I ever read was Only His and I fell in love with it and decided I wanted to write romance, too. 

What types of books do you read? 

My house is filled with books. Most of my books are research related. I collect books on the Tudor period, Middle Ages, Victorian England, and Regency England. As far as romance, I like erotic, paranormal, and historical romance. Thrillers and mysteries are fun to read. I also collect self-improvement and spirituality texts. 

What well-known authors do you admire most? 

I have a lot of authors that I enjoy reading, but as far as someone I really admire, I am grateful to Beverly Jenkins. Beverly has been writing African-American historical romance for decades. She was the first person I ever saw writing it and as a teenager, I loved reading her books, loved that someone had the courage and foresight to write them. 

What were your writing habits while writing A Marquess for Christmas? 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Review - Night Buddies: Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine

Night Buddies: Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine
By Sands Hetherington
Publisher:Dune Buggy Press
Pub. Date: February 1, 2013
ISBN: 978-0984741724
Pages: 320


Earlier this year, I reviewed the delightful children's book titled Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare for a book tour, and last month, Bostick Communications and Dune Buggy Press nicely sent me an advanced copy of the sequel in exchange for my honest review.

Crosley, the red crocodile in a yellow jacket and his young friend John Degraffenreidt are back in Night Buddies: Impostors and One Far-Out Flying Machine. Picking up where the first left off, Crosley returns to John's house for their second Night Buddies program. Once again, time is almost still inside the Degraffenredit home, making it easier for John to leave for his new mission along with Crosley as when he returns only a few seconds would have gone by.

Crosley is in shock when he checks into the Night Buddies Headquarters as it seems he had already checked in earlier that night. How could this be? Did he forget that he already checked in?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Review - Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
By James Patterson
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub. Date: November 12, 2012
ISBN: 978-0316210683
Pages: 352


It’s been several years since I have read a James Patterson novel. My grandmother was a huge fan of his books and after her death I have continued to buy each new release. The latest Alex Cross novel has been sitting on my coffee table for a few weeks. With some free time on my hands, I started reading it yesterday afternoon.

In his nineteenth outing, Detective Alex Cross is looking forward to spending a quite Christmas Eve with his family, but one phone call will change his holiday plans. A distraught man, Henry Fowler, forced himself into his ex-wife's home on Christmas Eve. Henry has taken her hostage along with her new husband, Dr. Barry Nicholson, and her three children. Alex knows that man is on a short fuse and could begin killing the hostages at any second, but Alex is their only hope of surviving the night.

Just as Alex is ready to return home to his family, an enemy from his past emerges from the shadows and intends on bring deaths millions.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Three Things That Really Get Done During Christmas Vacation by Suzan Butler

We see all these blog posts about what to do with our time during those two weeks when the kids are out of school and you’re trying to spend that vacation time before the end of the year. We all have grand ideas about cruises and skiing and visiting family and such.

In my book, O Christmas Three, my characters did exactly that. They packed up and spent Christmas in a lovely cabin in the woods. But unfortunately, that’s not possible for people the majority of the time. We have obligations at home, kids that have things going on, or pets that need tending to, or maybe we’re just not in the financial position to go anywhere that year.

Here’s three things I do during Christmas vacation:

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Review - Changing Fate Through Reincarnation

Changing Fate Through Reincarnation
By Gerald Sze
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Pub. Date: November 30, 2012
ISBN: 978-1938690150 
Pages: 328


A few months ago, out of the blue, I received Changing Fate Through Reincarnation in the mail. I review many books a month from authors, publicity groups, and publishers, so occasionally I forget about agreeing to review a book, but it turns out that I didn't agree to review the book at all. I received an email from Two Harbors Press's publicity a few weeks later asking me to review the book in exchange for my honest review.

Even though I'm a Christian, I do occasionally read about other religions. Changing Fate Through Reincarnation is a mix of Buddhism, Western science and Han Chinese that the author has weaved together to help others have a more meaningful life. Have you ever heard of Karma? The basic principle is that if you’re nice to others, nice things will happen to you. The premise of the book is that a person can completely change his or hers life in the present by changing the way he or she thinks and how he or she reacts to everything and everyone.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Book Blogger Hop December 14th-20th

The Book Blogger Hop meme was created by Jen from Crazy For Books and nicely let me be the guest host for this week. Read the history and rules for the meme here. 

What to do:

Review - A Hidden Truth

A Hidden Truth
By Judith Miller
Publisher: Bethany House 
Pub. Date: September 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-0764210006
Pages: 352


Over the years, I have become a fan of historical fiction, many involving the Amish, the Mennonites, and the Shakers, but I have never read a book about the Amana Colonies. A Hidden Truth by Judith Miller is about the Amana Colonies and is one of the reasons why I wanted to review it, courtesy of Bethany House in exchange of my honest review.

A Hidden Truth takes place in East Amana, Iowa in 1892 and centers on two women, Karlina Richter and Dovie Cates. The colonies are very strict, with no access to the outside world or the "outsiders". Karlina has lived all her life in Amana, but has always been curious of what life was like outside the colonies.

Just as her father wants to move from Ohio to Texas, Dovie Cates gets permission to visit the Amana Colonies, where her birth mother grew up. She wants to learn more about her mother's past. She stays with the Richter family.

The Friday 56 - The Intercept

Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at

Thursday, 13 December 2012

My Top 5 Favorite Christmas Films

  • 5. A Christmas Story - This 1983 film is based on the short stories by Jean Shepherd (who also does the film's narration) and is played for twenty-fours straight on TBS around Christmastime. I've seen the movie probably a half dozen times before I found out that my parents had never seen the movie before. I bought it on DVD  several years ago and made them watch it. My dad didn't care for it, but mom thought it was funny. I think every kid can related to what Ralphie went through just to get that perfect gift that he dreamed of.

  • 4. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - I remember going with my parents and grandparents to see Christmas Vacation at the theater back in 1989 (Just writing this makes me feel old.). It is the third film out four of the National Lampoon Vacation series and it is the best out of the sequels. It later spawned a spin-off sequel with Cousin Eddie, but it was dreadful to watch. Christmas Vacation is played to death thanks to CMT and Comedy Central. I would rather watch the unedited version on DVD. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

My Top 5 Holiday Cartoons

When my parents first got a VCR in the 1980s, my mom recorded all the Christmas animated specials, with the commercials taken out, onto one VHS tape. I would watch it every year during the holidays until a certain age when I lost interest in cartoons. As an adult, I attempted to watch these classics on basic television, but I was disappointed that some of my favorite scenes were deleted in exchange for advertisement. Over the years I have bought most of these childhood classics on DVD.

Honorable mentions that didn't make the list are: How a Grinch Stole Christmas, Bah, HumDuck!: A Looney Tunes Christmas, Pluto's Christmas Tree, and Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol. 

  • 5. A Charlie Brown Christmas - This is one of the few Christmas specials that is still aired every year and is one that drove my mom crazy when I was young because she found Charlie Brown to be annoying. After forty-seven-years since it debuted, it still receives millions of viewers. It is one of the few cartoons that gives kids the real meaning of Christmas.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

My Top 5 Guilty Pleasure Christmas Movies

  • 5. Christmas with the Kranks - I saw the movie when it originally came out back in 2004, which is based on the non-lawyer novel by John Grisham. The movie centers on the Kranks (played by Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis), who decide to skip the holidays and take a trip instead. Yes, it is predictable, but it has its funny moments.

  • 4. The Santa Clause - I saw this movie starring Tim Allen eighteen-years-ago at the theater with my parents. I later owned a VHS version, but it went bad many years ago. Every year I look for it on DVD, but I could only find it in a 3-pack with the second and third films, which I already own on DVD. Luckily, I finally found The Santa Clause on DVD this year for ten dollars and it is just a funny as I remember it. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

A Gamer's Christmas Gift

Christmas is only two weeks away and the shopping days are numbered. If you have a gamer in the family, you might want think about getting a monthly subscription at $25 dollars a month for a new social networking site for online gamers called Face Up Gaming.

Face Up is a brand new entertainment group for playing online poker games, but besides from the month subscription fee, you never have to pay for anything else, unlike other online poker sites that want you to keep spending more money.

DVD Review - The Legend of Zelda: Ganon's Evil Tower

The Legend of Zelda: Ganon's Evil Tower
Studio: United American Video
Release Date: July 22, 2003
Running Time: 45 minutes


During the middle 1980s and early 1990s there was an animation boom on television. Very few made it past the first season as was the fate of The Legend of Zelda, based on the popular video game, which aired as a fifteen minute segment during The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! on Fridays on mainly Fox stations in 1989. There were only thirteen episodes aired during the series run, but it aired for a few more years in syndication.

Even though I did own a Nintendo game system when I was a kid, I wasn't a big fan of The Legend of Zelda game, but I do recall watching the short-lived animated series. If I remember correctly the series aired in the mornings as I believed I watched it before going to school.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Music Review - Hello My Name Is... Bridgit Mendler

Hello My Name Is...
Artist Bridgit Mendler
Label: Hollywood Records
CD Release Date: October 22, 2012
Total Length: 42 minutes 11 seconds

It seems like every teen star of a Disney series will eventually bring out an album, such as Hilary Duff, Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale, Miley Cyrus, and others. Some have had a mild success at a singing career and others have bombed.

Now Bridget Mendler of Disney's Good Luck Charlie has released her debut album. One would think she would face the marketing curse of the other ex-Disney stars/singers, but unlike the others, Bridget actually co-wrote all twelve songs. 

I've been a fan of Disney's Good Luck Charlie every since it began airing in 2010. I was aware that Bridget Mendler, who plays Teddy Duncan, was releasing an album, but I just happened to stumble upon yesterday for ten dollars. I was having a bad day and listening to music always cheers me up, therefore I bought the Hello My Name is...Bridget Mendler.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Guest Post - Best Ways and Places to Store Your K-Cups

Keurig Cups, or K-Cups, are very popular with coffee lovers. These individual cups allow you to easily brew your own personal cup of coffee, and there are many flavors to choose from. The problem with K-Cups is that they are often difficult to store, and you’ll like have about 20 or more cups scattered around your kitchen if you don't place them somewhere. This article will tell you the best places to store your K-Cups, and the more attractive ways to organize them.

K-Cups are small. You can easily store them anywhere in your kitchen, but there are a few places that are best suited for K-Cup storage. If you prefer convenience or if you want to use an attractive display, then you should store the cups near the coffee maker. You can place the cups to the side of the coffee maker, or you can place them within arm’s length.

If you prefer organization or if you don’t have much available space on your counters, then you should store the K-Cups in a drawer or cabinet. These areas keep them out of sight, but they are still easy to access.

Layered Baskets and Boxes
If you are looking for organization without much flair, then layered baskets and boxes are perfect. There are many boxes and baskets without layers, and this can be useful if you just have one K-Cup flavor. At the same time, layered holders look much more attractive, organized and you can easily store your different K-Cups on different layers. For example, one layer can be for hazelnut while another is for regular coffee.

What is Your Favorite Festive Season Read?

Guest Host: Anglers Rest

Question: We are well into the Festive season, so what is your favorite festive reading?

Friday, 7 December 2012

The Friday 56 - Merry Christmas, Alex Cross

Grab a book, any book. 
Turn to page 56. 
Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. 
Post it. 
Add your (url) post below in the Linky at

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Review: Tales of Tremora: The Shimmering

In the tradition of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Harry Potter franchise, and the Lord of the Rings, comes the award-winning first book in Tales of Tremora series titled The Shimmering. 

Exactly one year to the date, Michael's father, a forest ranger, went into the forest close to their house and mysteriously disappeared. The authorities did everything they could, but there wasn't any evidence to his disappearance. It was just like he went "Poof" and he was magically gone. 

On his fourteenth birthday, Michael went into the forest, just like his father did, and without realizing it, he steps into another world called Tremora, where he meets a strange individual calling himself Tracker. It seems this person was more than aware that Michael would appear into Tremora. As he is led deeper into the stranger land, he meets other odd characters, such as Wazalops and wizards.

Review - Not Quite Dating

Not Quite Dating
By Catherine Bybee
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Pub. Date: November 13, 2012
ISBN: 978-1612187143
Pages: 258


Typically, I like my romance reads to be either historical or paranormal, but after I saw that the story was set at Christmastime, I thought I would give it a chance, so I signed up to review Not Quite Dating courtesy of Bewitching Book Tours and Montlake Romance in exchange for my honest review.

Jessie Mann grew up not having much. She works the midnight shift as a waitress, struggling to make a living as she is caring for her son and her younger sister. Her family is the most important thing in her life and she has no time to dwell on a man. That is until Jack Morrison steps into the diner and into her life.

Jack is more than financially stable as he is the heir to the Morrison luxury hotel empire. You would think someone with his money, charms, and good looks would find it easy to find a woman, but he is tired of women wanting him just for his money. Late one night, along with his buddies, Jack goes into the diner and runs into Jessie, whom he is instantly attracted to. Now all that Jessie sees is another Texas with big dreams and she is instantly not attracted to him.

Despite being slightly rejected, Jack befriends Jessie and her family, but he doesn't tell her that his is wealthy. To find out, Jessie really does want to find love, but all the men she meets are never her type. Jack takes it upon himself to help Jessie with her money woes and he eventually plays matchmaker in the hope of finding her the perfect man. But the more time he spends with her, the more he loves everything about her.

Review - Every Perfect Gift

Every Perfect Gift
A Hickory Ridge Romance
By: Dorothy Love
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pub. Date: December 4, 2012
ISBN: 978-1595549020
Pages: 320


I missed out reading the first book in A Hickory Ridge Romance series, but I did read the second book, Beauty for Ashes, which wasn't my kind of read. Why did I agree to review Every Perfect Gift courtesy of Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review? Actually, I didn't realize that the book was part of the series. I've been in a Christmas mood and the beautiful cover reminded me of the holidays. That being said, I eagerly signed up to review it.

Set in 1886, Sophie Caldwell returns to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, where she grew up in an orphanage. She never knew who her parents were and her slightly dark complication made her an easy target of bullying from other children at the orphanage. Luckily, she was adopted by a loving couple, Wyatt and Ada Caldwell, and moved to Texas, but she has returned to Hickory Ridge to start a new life and maybe find some resolution to her past.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Review - A Home in Drayton Valley

A Home in Drayton Valley
By Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: October 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-0764207884
Pages: 352


I have the majority of Kim Vogel Sawyer's novels, so naturally I was eager to sign up to review her newest book courtesy of Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I'm also a fan of historical novels, so I adored the beautiful cover with the young woman sitting in the grass with the steamboat floating down the river in the background.

Twelve years ago, Tarsie Raines arrived in New York from overseas to start a better life. It is now 1880; the only family she has is her best friend Mary Brubacher and her children. And then there is Mary's good for nothing husband Joss, an alcoholic and gambler. Mary's health is failing and Tarsie helps take care of her and the kids, when she isn't too busy dreaming of moving to Drayton Valley that she read about in James Redpath's Handbook of Kansas.

Joss's gambling debts leads to trouble for them; therefore they must flee the city, along with Tarsie. They travel by wagon, heading to the state of Kansas. Mary's health turns for the worst. Before Mary dies, Tarsie promises to care for her children and help Joss find faith in the Lord.

DVD Review - Safe

Director: Boaz Yakin
Starring: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, Robert John Burke, Anson Mount, James Hong
Studio: Lionsgate
DVD Release Date: September 4, 2012
Running Time: 95 minutes
Rated: R

Jason Statham is back as the down on his luck Luke Wright, who happens to cross paths with a young Chinese math prodigy, Mei (played by Catharine Chan). The girl knows the combination of a safe code belonging to the Chinese Organization that she has been forced to work for. The Russian Mafia wants the safe code and they will do anything to get the little girl. To make things worse, there are corrupted NYC cops that also want the code. Mei's only hope is in the hands of Luke Wright.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Review - Whispers in the Wind

Whispers in the Wind
Wild West Wind book 2
By Lauraine Snelling
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: August 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-0764204166
Pages: 352


Cassie Lockwood returns in book two of the Wild West Wind series from author Lauraine Snelling. Cassie had traveled in the Wild West show that her father co-owned. With her shooting and riding skills, she became a major attraction for the show. After her father died, ticket sales declined and the show was cancelled. Before the bank investors could repossess her wagon and horse, she discovered a land deed belonging to her father. It seems he owned some land in North Dakota. Cassie packs her belongings and heads to the land of her father's dreams.

Whispers in the Wind continues Cassie's journey to North Dakota, where she finally arrives at the hidden valley, only to discover that someone else has already built a ranch on the land. The family includes Mavis Engstrom and her three children, who may now lose their home because Cassie is the rightful land owner.
Cassie learns a startling discovery that Mavis’s husband had co-owned the land with her father. Now she must try and share the land with these strangers.

Mavis's oldest son, Ransom, doesn't trust Cassie. Her daughter, Gretchen, is more accepting of Cassie as she has always wanted an older sister. The youngest son, Lucas, more than accepts Cassie, as he has fallen madly in love with her.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Christmastime Romances by Lisa Mondello

I love Christmas stories. I’m one of those readers who will stockpile Christmas books and read them one after the other during the holidays. So it only stands to reason that I would enjoy writing them. The problem with writing a Christmas story vs. reading one is time. I can read a book in 4-6 hours. It takes me 4-6 months to write the book!

Since it takes so long to write a Christmas book, that means I’m writing the story out of season. For All I Want for Christmas is You, I actually began plotting the story one hot August day when I was caring for a small kitten who was injured in my yard. I started singing the Mariah Carey Christmas song (I often break into song at odd times!) and little Max the kitten turned into Max the stray St. Bernard. A whole host of other stray characters started crowding my head and the story unfolded.

Stories just come to me as they are and time of the year can become a character in and of itself, adding the drama of the story. Who doesn’t love a Christmas reunion more than any other. Hope, lost loves reunited, family. It’s all good and can add to the drama of the story.