Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review: Daily Zen Doodles: 365 Tangle Creations for Inspiration, Relaxation and Joy by Meera Lee Patel


With hand illustrated prompts and thoughtful quotes, Daily Zen Doodleswill inspire you to lose yourself in the contemplative act of drawing. Each page is an invitation to sketch, relax, focus and reach toward inner peace.

I think that the holidays are a busy time of year and ANYTHING I can do to relax and be more mindful, I am all for.  The doodles in this book are so much fun.  The quotes add to the centering that we all need daily to really enjoy each day and have a positive outlook on life!  I loved the size as it is small enough to be carried along with me, but I also made copies of many of them and took them with me places. I like begin able to come back and doodle the designs that I really enjoyed.  My kids also found this to be an amazing way to pass some time.  The quotes were a great way to have a conversation about being a good person and to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  5 stars.

Highlight: HIS SECRET DAUGHTER by Emma Bennet



Iris is falling in love with the father of her child. The only problem is she never told him they had a daughter 
“What a great read! I loved this book and read the whole thing in one session.” Beth Boyd 

“Will Iris lose her daughter? Or will she find the love she’s always longed for?” Lucy Andrews 

“Iris, Sergio, and Paola should be a great family, but she can’t trust him, and he’s too arrogant to ever back down over anything.” Sarah Chambers 

A romance novel that you won’t be able to put down 
Iris Brown is a single parent doing her best to raise her beautiful two-year-old daughter, Paola. But when Sergio, Paola’s father, a dashing-but-arrogant Spanish businessman comes back on the scene, everyone’s lives are thrown into chaos. She fears he may take Paola away from her. Iris must decide what’s best for her and her daughter, and whether she can ever trust Sergio again. 

He broke her heart once. Will she let him do it again? 

Emma Bennet is the author of “The Green Hills of Home” a stunning romance set in the beautiful Welsh countryside. It has received fantastic reviews averaging 4.7 stars on Amazon UK. 

Emma BennetEmma grew up and lived in London, before falling in love and moving to Wales to marry her own hero. Emma now lives with her husband, children, and many animals in a small Welsh market town, fitting in her writing around the many demands of little people and cats.The beautiful landscape around her home gave her the inspiration for ‘The Green Hills of Home’.

Her second novel, ‘His Secret Daughter’, is available now.

Emma likes (in no particular order): cake, books, Cary Grant films, prosecco, chocolate, guinea pigs, knitting, quilting and happily ever afters!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Review: FINN’S ADVENTURES by Irene Wellershoff illustrated by Jan Birck

by Irene Wellershoff
illustrated by Jan Birck
To be published by Bastei Entertainment as three eBook apps in English, German and Mandarin Chinese available for IOS and Android devices.
Young Finn is forever up to mischief, and is an expert at making himself scarce before he gets into trouble! As he flees, he embarks on various adventures, making new friends along the way, and facing terrifying villains. Thanks to his ingenious plans and with help from his friends, Finn defeats an evil dragon, survives in the jungle and outsmarts vicious pirates at sea.
The much-loved cheeky and imaginative Finn’s Adventures by Irene Wellershoff and beautifully illustrated by Jan Birck werepublished as three interactive animated apps, available for iOS and Android, With engaging interactive animations, fun sound effects, read-aloud functions, readers can help Finn survive his next adventure and return home safely! Games
Finn and the Dragon
imageFinn’s in trouble again – whilst playing with water balloons, he  accidentally hit his next-door neighbour! As he runs away, he finds himself in front of a castle…and facing a huge dragon! Can he and Sir Edward defend the castle and drive away the evil dragon?

Finn in the Jungle
imageFinn was only trying to defend his family from intruders – he didn’t mean to trip his sister Jenny into the flower bed. Sulking, he storms into the jungle, meeting wild cats, deadly snakes and hungry crocodiles. But someone is cutting down all the trees in the jungle. Can Finn and his new friend Joey the Orangutan stop them?

Finn and the Pirates
imageFinn’s mother has warned Finn not to splash around in the bath – but he just can’t resist! Suddenly an extra-large wave washes him out to sea, where he’s rescued by a fishing boat crewed by Captain Flint, Long John and Fat Pete. And when they’re attacked by pirates, Finn has the perfect plan…

This is an adorable series about a little boy who loves adventure and may get into a bit of trouble along that way.  You can't help but fall in love with the little stinker.  His energy, enthusiasm and loving nature make him a character you cannot help but want to tag along with on adventure after adventure.  Now available as interactive apps Finn's Adventures are such to be a hit for children and adults alike. 4 stars

Irene Wellershoff is a German author and television editor at the public service television broadcaster ZDF. Irene’s PR.
Jan Birck is a German illustrator and cartoonist. Jan on Facebook and Website.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: Freddy the Penny by Gabrielle Begun


Freddy the Penny, written by ten-year-old author, is the tale of Freddy, a brave young penny who goes on an exciting quest. As soon as Freddy enters the world, he is filled with curiosity. His adventures begin when he makes two friends: a pretty penny named Betty and a wise quarter named George. The three friends set out across the country on an adventure, meeting many new friends and even encountering some fearsome foes. Through the characters’ journey, young readers will learn about friendship, family, and more.

What an adorable story about how one little penny changed the way we think about pennies and creates a love of adventure.  This book was written by a 10 year old girl and I think that is fabulous!  I love to see young children embracing their dream to write and then setting forth and accomplishing it!  5 stars!  

Buy the book below:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Highlight: Qualified Immunity (A Casey Cort Novel Book 1) by Sylvie Fox


Qualified Immunity (A Casey Cort Novel #1)

Publication Date: November 17, 2014
Publisher:  Penner Media
Title:  Qualified Immunity
Author:  Sylvie Fox
Sylvie Fox writes spicy contemporary romance featuring quirky characters, and emotionally driven women’s fiction about ordinary women facing extraordinary challenges.
She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband, son, and a menagerie of pet rescues. In spite of her decade in Hollywood, she’s never been on television or in a movie, but avoids the paparazzi like the plague. When she is not in LA, Sylvie is eating her way through Budapest. 
Sylvie loves to connect with readers at She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
I blog at TheKeeperShelf and Girlfriends Book Club
Genre: African American Women’s Fiction
Length: 80,000 words
Publicity tags:  women’s fiction, contemporary women, African American, lawyers, juvenile court, foster care

Sheila Harrison Grant is the first African American woman ever nominated to the federal bench in Cleveland. But when her thirteen-year-old daughter Olivia shares a family secret with a well-meaning guidance counselor, she sets the wheels in motion to feed a partisan senate’s opposition, threatening her mother’s position…and both of their lives. 

Once an ambitious young law student with promise, Casey Cort made the mistake of crossing a classmate from a prominent and influential family. Now she works as an unfulfilled, faceless cog in a broken legal system.
When fate gives Casey a second chance, she has to set aside her lack of faith in justice and find the strength to fight for those with nowhere else to turn.

In this first novel of the Casey Cort series, Sylvie Fox—a former trial lawyer in Cleveland—weaves a tale that blends the best of today’s top legal thrillers with the heart and soul of women’s fiction, in a story ripped from real-world headlines.

Guest Post: My Spiritual Journey on How I Came To Create Shanti and the Magic Mandalahttp

My Spiritual Journey on How I Came To  Create Shanti and the Magic Mandala

For many years I have been practicing yoga and meditation as well as studying the Kabbalah. My exploration of spiritual teachings motivated a commitment to self-development which in turn created a new path and goal in life. I’m positive that my new YA book, 
Shanti and the Magic Mandala was born from this inner journey.

I have always had the dream of being a writer.  

Ever since I was a child I loved to read and transport myself to the places I was reading about, and also traveling with the story.

One day, during my spiritual practices, I had an insight to write a book in which I could express myself.

I have written a book for the teenager I have been, and would have been amazed to read this book.

Shanti and the Magic Mandala is an adventure in which fantasy and reality are mingled. The book tells the story of six teenagers, from different religious and cultural origins and different parts of the world, who are mystically recruited to form two groups - one in the Northern Hemisphere, and one in the Southern.

They eventually gather in Peru, and through a single alliance, begin a frantic chase for the sacred object that can stop the black magician's final plan...

In my opinion young people are the ones who will be able to change the world. That’s why I have decided to bring them something, to plant a seed in their lives, to be able to germinate good feelings related to the planet, related to their rights and responsibility.  I decided that it would be a good idea to use a playful approach with these themes that are so important for the planet. That’s why I decided to write an adventure, but it is a fantasy as well sd many mystical and spiritual approaches.

This is the reason why I had the idea to use distinctive characters from different cultural and religious backgrounds, trying to show that it doesn't matter your cultural or religious background to create a union and harmony to be proactive regarding humankind, animal defense and environmental issues. So I think my story can inspire good actions for a better world aiming for freedom and compassion and to reach peace. 

Also I love the diversity and I think the world is so big to explore new flavors & tastes, different colors, unique cultures, different religions, beautiful landscapes, distinctive architecture; always admiring and respecting the differences. That’s why I used different locations with completely different aspects as well. I think we have to be open for the new, mainly because we live in a globalized era in which we are very connected.

Writing, for me, has been such an amazing and incomparable experience to express myself by giving a new purpose for my life.  In fact I want to turn Shanti and the Magic Mandala into a book series, and by the way I have already done a great research in other countries in Asia for my next book.

Bio of the author:  

F. T. Camargo is an Italian Brazilian living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. An award winning architect, he also studied Arts and Media and has a post degree in Economics and MBA in e-commerce. He is a vegetarian because of his love for all animals and has been deeply involved in causes for their protection and freedom. He is a world traveler adventurer, outdoor sports lover, speaks 4 languages and has published a travel book “Rio, Maravilha!”.

For many years he has been practicing yoga and meditation and studying the Kabbalah. His exploration of spiritual teachings motivated a commitment to self-development which in turn created a new path and goal in life. Shanti and the Magic Mandala was born from his inner journey. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Highlight: The Roche Hotel by Mysti Parker


After her husband ditches her for a blonde actress wannabe, Jane Seymour needs a job that pays the rent. The struggling Roche Hotel needs a miracle. With the former owner's wife butting her nose into the renovations and new owners who are in way over their heads, Jane may be the answer to their prayers. Sure, she can handle The Roche Hotel's quirky staff. But, can this skittish divorcee keep it all together when handsome Henry the Donut Guy makes his first delivery? This collection of serial fiction stories is a Tudorific romantic comedy that will leave you laughing out loud and hungry for more.

About this author

***My mantra: I believe authors and readers alike should be treated with respect. I highly admire and appreciate those who are genuinely interested in reading my work, even if it's not their cup of tea. I have never, nor will ever, criticize an actual reviewer for a negative review. I have never, nor will ever, rate a book I haven't read. I do not appreciate those who use ratings/reviews as a means of spite and disrespect. I am saddened by those who feel differently.***

Mysti Parker (pseudonym) is a full time wife, mother of three, and a writer. Her first novel, A Ranger's Tale was published in January, 2011 by Melange Books, and the second in the fantasy romance series, Serenya's Song, was published in April 2012. The highly anticipated third book, Hearts in Exile, came out in June 2013. The Tallenmere series has been likened to Terry Goodkind's 'Sword of Truth' series, but is probably closer to a spicy cross between Tolkien and Mercedes Lackey.

Mysti's other writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, and Christmas Lites II. Her flash fiction has appeared on the online magazine EveryDayFiction. She serves as a class mentor in Writers Village University's seven week online course, F2K. Currently, she's working on her first historical romance and has two children's books in the hands of a hard-working agent.

When she's not writing, Mysti reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder's Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.

Highlight: Piercing the Fold (Piercing the Fold #1) by Venessa Kimball


“I'm Jesca. I have intense nightmares nightly and hallucinations of dark auras closing in on me daily. Strangers’ faces distort before my eyes and I hear voices in my head. All symptoms of insanity, ‘illusions in reality’, right? Wrong. This is my reality and it has been set askew.”

Jesca Gershon Sera discovers that she is part of a legacy and a fellowship of guardians destined to protect the human race from a galactic event that will invade and evolve our world.

*The Piercing the Fold series is intended for Mature Young Adult and Adult readers due to the the paranormal and unorthodox scientific concepts addressed throughout. This series contains a rich mixture of the paranormal, science fiction, romance, adventure, and suspense. *

Venessa Kimball

In 2010, Venessa Kimball had an idea for a story that needed telling. Having always been passionate about the written word, Venessa embarked on writing what would become her debut novel, Piercing the Fold: Book 1; a mature young adult/ adult crossover, paranormal, science fiction series. July 2, 2012, Venessa Kimball independently published the first book in the Piercing the Fold series. Book 2, Surfacing the Rim, released March 14, 2013.

In August of 2013, Venessa joined the publishing house, Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly. The Piercing the Fold series will be re-published with them beginning with Piercing the Fold: Book 1 on September 3rd. Surfacing the Rim: Book 2 will be re-published on September 24th and Ascending the Veil: Book 3 will be released for the first time on October 18th. The final book in the series, Book 4 (Title TBD) will release in 2014.
As for the future, Venessa is already filling her Work-In-Progress folder. Two of her future projects are contemporary fiction and will reflect her diversity as a writer in other genres. When Venessa is not writing, she is keeping active with her husband and three children, chauffeuring said children to extracurricular activities, participating in charitable 5k and 10k races(crazy...but she loves to run), catching a movie with her hubby, and staying up way too late reading.
Facebook pages:

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Club Girl November Pick: Up at Butternut Lake (The Butternut Lake Trilogy #1) by Mary McNear



November Pick:


In the spirit of Kristin Hannah and Susan Wiggs, comes this debut novel-the first in an unforgettable new series by Mary McNear

It's been ten years since Allie Beckett crossed the threshold of her family cabin at Butternut Lake, Minnesota. Now, newly widowed after the death of her husband in Afghanistan, she's returned with her five-year-old son.

There, she reconnects with the friends she had in childhood-best girlfriend Jax, now married with three kids and one on the way, and Caroline, owner of the local coffee shop. What Allie doesn't count on is a newcomer to Butternut Lake, Walker Ford.

Up at Butternut Lake follows these four unforgettable characters across a single summer as they struggle with love, loss, and what it means to take risks, confront fears, and embrace life, in all of its excitement and unpredictability.

Allie Beckett could never have imagined, when she ran away from her old life, that she was running into a whole new life, up at the lake….


Tiaras Book Club:  



We decided to all answer three questions about the book pick:

1. Who was your favorite character and why?
2. How did the book make you feel? For example: Did you relate to a character, feel for a character, have some reaction emotionally to the story?
3. What was your favorite part of the book?


1. Who was your favorite character and why?
I feel like I could relate to all of them. They were all flawed, willing to try to make their wrongs right and were able to find peace within their circumstances. But if I had to choose, I would pick Walker because his heart was always in the right place and Jax because she was a great friend and was willing to do anything to protect her family and life!

2. How did the book make you feel?
It made me feel hopeful. I finished feeling like there can be happy endings after tragedy, loss and unfortunate circumstances. Who doesn't love happy endings?

3. What was your favorite part of the book?
The setting. There is something about books set by the water. It brings vivid images, happy feelings and a sense of calm.

Sara D:

1. Favorite character/why? – Caroline because she helps people out. Giving people second chances and is very caring. She’s the one everyone goes to. She’s always looking to make everyone else happy and puts herself last. I can relate to her in that way.

2. How did the book make you feel? – It was just an easy quick read. You can get lost in the story and enjoy it but was a little predictable. I like the setting being in the Midwest and on a lake, it reminded me of summers as a kid up north with my family. The book made me feel nostalgic for those times.

3. Favorite part of the book? – When Walker fixed up the boat for Allie. I like a grand gesture! When someone does something like that for someone else, without asking and with no expectation of getting anything in return. Also when he would take Wyatt fishing and be a positive male role model in his life.

Sara L:

1. I enjoyed all of the characters but my favorite was Walker. I loved that he knew what he wanted but was willing to be patient while waiting. He was also a great role model and friend for Allie's son.

2. I really felt for Allie throughout the book and just wanted her to see the good in Walker but also understood that it would take time after all she had been through.

3. My favorite part of the book for me was also the setting. The lake, Pearl's restaurant, etc. I could visualize the beauty of the lake and the smells of the blueberry pancakes and coffee.

Anne B:

1. I enjoyed each and every character in this book and, like my own children, I can't pick a favorite!

 2. This book made me feel like everything happens for a reason and that something good can come from such sadness.

3. I loved the water setting. It brings such calm and peace. I also loved how each chapter is dedicated to a different character and seeing how they all intertwine with each other.


1.  Walker.  I love a good male character.

2. That love can conquer all.

3.  Setting.  Romance and relaxing.


 1.) My favorite character was Walker, he was very self aware. I found his character to be true and honest without indecisiveness. He knew that he wanted Allie from the beginning, in-spite of his fear of having the family he never realized he wanted he refused to live his life without knowing he did everything he could to be with her.

2.) The book made me feel a wide range of emotions. I felt sorrow for the loss that the characters had to endure. Experienced the anxiety in the uncertainty of how the characters would react in certain scenes. Also joy in the hope of possibilities after so many unfortunate events.

3.) My favorite part of the book was the characters. Each had their own distinct personality with their strengths and weaknesses. They had their own trials that they strived and succeeded to overcome in different ways.


1. I really enjoyed the character Jax. She was just so capable and competent. I enjoy a good strong character.

 2. I must say I to had a myriad of emotions while reading this book. However, I admit that the main character Allie anxious some of the time. I just wanted her to move on and see what was in front of her.

3. I really enjoyed the action and heroics that Walker displayed during the thunderstorm/tornado. It just really showed his caring nature.


1. My favorite character was Caroline because she always had a positive outlook on everything and everyone even if she was lonely or sad herself. She always tried to make everyone feel welcome and cheerful, and she was always trying to help others find happiness.

2. The book made me feel happy and surprised. I felt for Allie and her son because I could empathize having lost a parent. Allie made me think of my mom and how she has had to cope with the changes of widowhood. I enjoyed the book because the characters seemed like real people and were very easy to relate to. The book also made me think of my childhood and our family tradition of going to our cabin/house in the north woods.

3. My favorite part of the book was the plot. Throughout the book, the author threw in little surprises, and it was fun to try to predict what would happen to each of the characters and how they were all connected.

Sarah :

1. Walker...who wouldn't fall in love with a character who accepts a woman with faults and all and unconditionally accept her child as well.

2.  I felt like there is hope for all who have suffered a loss in love life or any just need to be willing to accept the love into your heart.

3.  SETTING...I loved the lake, the coffee house, Walker's house...I could get lost in Butternut Lake!!!




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