Friday, October 31, 2014

Guest Post: Keidi Keating author of The Light: A Book of Wisdom

Keidi Keating, author of the book The Light: A Book of Wisdom, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.

About the book:

This powerful book contains chapters by 22 of the world's leading luminaries in the field of personal development and spiritual transformation, including bestselling authors Neale Donald Walsch (Conversations With God) and Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements).

Covering topics from co-creating a peaceful world, forgiveness, healing, and finding purpose and happiness, to chapters about health, well-being, destiny, and the mysteries of kundalini, The Light also includes practical exercises and guidance, empowering readers to achieve their greatest potential.

About the author:

Keidi Keating experienced a sudden spiritual awakening at the age of 30, after a series of transformational healing sessions. One night, an orb of glowing white light appeared in her bedroom and instructed her to put together a book of light to assist and support others on their journeys to enlightenment. She gathered some of the planet's greatest spiritual teachers and authors to contribute chapters. Three years later, after a lot of hard work and synchronistic magic, The Light spilled its rays to readers. Keidi now speaks at events throughout the world, and she continues to write books that empower people to awaken their divine inner light. She lives in Ketchum, Idaho. Her Website is

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Giveaway: Sweet: The Handbook for All Things Dessert from the editors of Food Network Magazine

TAKE ALL THE GUESSWORK OUT OF DESSERT! Food Network Magazine editors have picked their all-time favorite treats and put them into one amazing book. In Sweet, you’ll find over-the-top brownies, super fun cupcakes, show-off layer cakes, one-of-a-kind cookies and so much more.

This great collection includes recipes for any occasion, with step-by-step instructions and full-page color photographs to help you along. You don’t need to be an experienced baker to get started. Every dessert in this book is easy to follow—and totally foolproof. Each recipe has been triple-tested, so you know it’ll come out just right. Flip through and you’ll find some fun surprises, too: a bowl made of chocolate, a spectrum of frosting colors and a cake that looks like a giant caramel apple. 

Thanks to the publisher I have one copy to give away!
Enter to win by filling out the form below.

Review: An Unseemly Wife by E. B. Moore

Not all journeys come to an end....  

1867. Ruth Holtz has more blessings than she can count—a loving husband, an abundant farm, beautiful children, and the warm embrace of the Amish community. Then, the English arrive, spreading incredible stories of free land in the West and inspiring her husband to dream of a new life in Idaho.

Breaking the rules of their Order, Ruth’s husband packs up his pregnant wife and their four children and joins a wagon train heading west. Though Ruth is determined to keep separate from the English, as stricture demands, the harrowing journey soon compels her to accept help from two unlikely allies: Hortence, the preacher’s wife, and the tomboyish, teasing Sadie.

But as these new friendships lead to betrayal, what started as a quest for a brighter future ends with Ruth making unthinkable sacrifices, risking faith and family, and transforming into a woman she never imagined she’d become...

Received for review.

While this had an interesting premise it was a sad disappointment for me.  I though the story of a woman leaving her family behind and bravely traveling west would be inspiring but it just wasn't.

The main problem was that Ruth was so incredibly unlikable.  She was just whiny and annoying and harped on the "English" all the time.  Seriously, all the time.  She never shut up about how evil the English were, how they had no respect for her god, blah, blah, blah.  I just wanted to smack her.

I breathed a big sigh of relief at the end of the book.  Not because of the book's resolution (which was okay), but because I was just so incredibly glad it was finally over.

I really cannot recommend this unless you enjoy reading about miserable, whiny women.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

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Author Interview: Monterial Bynoe author of the book Determination: Nothing and Nobody Can Stop Me

Monterial Bynoe, author of the book Determination: Nothing and Nobody Can Stop Me, stopped by for an interview.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Monterial Bynoe I am the founding pastor of the Tabernacle of Praise in Randolph, Ma. I am the father of five wonderful children and grandfather of two.

I'm married to the love of my life Lady Stella. We been married 20 years. Together we the owners of M&S Cleaning Services.

And now the author of my first book entitled Determination "Nothing and Nobody Can Stop Me".

What do you do when you're not writing?

I love spending time with my family and watching movies and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and traveling

When did your first start writing?

I started writing this book in 2013 and finished in April of this year.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

To be honest when I was young I didn't like to read. I think I didn't start loving to read till I was locked in prison because it was my way out.

The book that influenced me was the autobiography of Malcolm X

What inspired you to write this particular book?

As a pastor you would hear stories of people trying to achieve that goal and see their dreams come to pass and it wasn't that they didn't have faith they just didn't have enough faith in themselves or their determination to see it come to pass.

So I said I need to write a book about how I like so many wouldn't let the many no's stop me from becoming what i knew was my destiny.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I think my favorite part is seeing your manuscript for the first time.

What is best writing advice you can give?

Stick to it till you're holding a copy of your book in your hand

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about the book?

This Book can give you tools to help you achieve not only your personal goals but family and professional goals as well.

About the book:

From the heart of Pastor Monterial Bynoe comes this short-read created and purposed to inspire you to successfully navigate your life by accessing your God given gift of determination. 

Through Biblical accounts and personal testimony, Pastor Bynoe not only provides insight on how to assess your current level of determination and make the appropriate adjustments, but he also teaches you how to go further and use your determined mindset to seek, find, and carry out the divine design for your life.

About the author:

ANOINTED, BOLD, GOD-CENTERED, VISIONARY, ENTREPRENEUR and DETERMINED are all terms that are used to describe the native of Boston, Massachusetts. Monterial Bynoe is Senior Pastor of The Tabernacle of Praise, better known as The TOP Church in Randolph, Massachusetts. A man of humble beginnings, he now leads one of Randolph’s fastest growing congregations in only six years.

He attended Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts, and went on to become a graduate of Caleb Leadership Institute in New Castle, Pennsylvania.

He and his lovely wife Stella are the proud parents of five Monterial, Lamont, Ariyanna, Kiara and Kayla. They are also the grandparents of two Taylah and Monterial III.

Pastor Bynoe’s personal motto and scripture is Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.”

To learn more about the author or for booking please visit, or email You may also visit him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: The Island of Doves by Kelly O'Connor McNees

Vivid and enthralling, Island of the Doves tells the story of two women in early nineteenth century America—one typical of her time, one extraordinary for it—who transform each other’s lives. 

Susannah Fraser lives in one of Buffalo’s finest mansions, but her husband has made it a monstrous prison. When a mysterious woman offers to help her escape, Susannah boards a steamboat for Mackinac Island. But after being a dutiful daughter and obedient wife, it is only as she flees that she realizes how unprepared she is for freedom. 

An exceptional woman of early America, Magdelaine Fonteneau has overcome convention to live a bold and adventurous life, achieving great wealth and power as a fur trader. But Magdelaine has also seen great tragedy and lost all that was dear to her, and she is no longer sure her hardened heart is capable of love. 

Now, Magdelaine seeks redemption by offering safe harbor to Susannah. But as their friendship grows into something miraculous, it changes each woman in unexpected ways. Each needs to learn to love again, and only together can they realize a future bright with the promise of new life.

Received for review.

I wanted to like this, I really did, since it seemed interesting but the reality was sadly disappointing.

Susannah was a spoiled little rich girl who kept whining about her circumstances - husband who didn't love her and married her for her money (which she no longer had).  Yawn.  It was really hard to sympathize with her at all, especially after her "escape".  Magdelaine wasn't much better.  She was cold and thoroughly unlikeable.  The two had so much cruelty and hatred for their former lives that it was really sickening.  I didn't find either of their stories inspiring or even entertaining.  They were just such bitter women that it was stomach churning.

The book was well written and did capture the time nicely but the characters were just such nasty people that I really did not enjoy this at all.  I really cannot recommend it.

★★☆☆☆ = Just Okay

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Review: The Tudor Vendetta by C. W. Gortner

London, 1558. Queen Mary is dead, and 25-year old Elizabeth ascends the throne. Summoned to court from exile abroad, Elizabeth’s intimate spy, Brendan Prescott, is reunited with the young queen, as well as his beloved Kate, scheming William Cecil, and arch-rival, Robert Dudley. A poison attempt on Elizabeth soon overshadows her coronation, but before Brendan can investigate, Elizabeth summons him in private to dispatch him on a far more confidential mission: to find her favored lady in waiting, Lady Parry, who has disappeared during a visit to her family manor in Yorkshire. 

Upon his arrival at the desolate sea-side manor where Lady Parry was last seen, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery in Vaughn Hall, the more he learns that in his zeal to uncover the truth, he could be precipitating Elizabeth’s destruction. 

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the deadly underworld of London, Brendan must race against time to unravel a vendetta that will strike at the very core of his world—a vendetta that could expose a buried past and betray everything he has fought for, including his loyalty to his queen.

Received for review.

Not having read the first books in the series I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to fully enjoy this novel but I didn't need to worry.  The author did a beautiful job of introducing the characters so that new readers were quickly brought up to speed.

The story was actually even more interesting for me since I just finished Steve Berry's The King's Deception which is about Elizabeth I.  It gave the story an interesting new dimension and made me enjoy it even more.

This is a beautifully written blend of historical fact and fiction and is so well done that it feels completely authentic and as if you are reading a real account of the events.  Between the court intrigue inside the palace and the adventure outside it's an intelligent, well crafted story that is sure to entertain both fans of the Tudor period and spy story lovers as well.  I definitely recommend this and look forward to future books in the series!

★★★★ = Really Liked It

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Review: Christopher's Diary: Secrets of Foxworth by V.C. Andrews

Jealousy, tragedy, survival, and revenge—the discovery of Christopher’s diary in the ruins of Foxworth Hall brings new secrets of the Dollanganger family to light and obsesses a new generation. With Flowers in the Attic and Petals on the Wind both now major Lifetime TV events, this first new addition to the Dollanganger story in nearly thirty years is a timely look at the events in the attic—from teenage Christopher’s point of view. 

And don’t forget to preorder the follow-up, Christopher’s Diary: Echoes of Dollanganger! 

Christopher Dollanganger was fourteen when he and his younger siblings—Cathy and the twins, Cory and Carrie—were locked away in the attic of Foxworth Hall, prisoners of their mother’s greedy inheritance scheme. For three long years he kept hope alive for the sake of the others. But the shocking truth about how their ordeal affected him was always kept hidden—until now. 

Seventeen-year-old Kristin Masterwood is thrilled when her father’s construction company is hired to inspect the Foxworth property for a prospective buyer. The once grand Southern mansion still sparks legends and half-truths about the four innocent Dollanganger children, even all these decades later. Foxworth holds a special fascination for Kristin, who was too young when her mother died to learn much about her distant blood tie to the notorious family. 

Accompanying her dad to the “forbidden territory,” they find a leather-bound book, its yellowed pages filled with the neat script of Christopher Dollanganger himself. Her father grows increasingly uneasy about her reading it, but as she devours the teen’s story page by page, his shattering account of temptation, heartache, courage, and betrayal overtakes Kristin’s every thought. And soon her obsession with the doomed boy crosses a dangerous line…

Received for review.

When I read Flowers in the Attic when I was young it scared the heck out of me but I still couldn't put it down and when I reread it recently I had the same reaction.  There's something so fascinating about the story that just keeps you flipping the pages as fast as you can read them because you can't believe the events are actually happening.  So, when I heard about the release of this newest book in the series I had to read it too and all I can say is "wow".

I love the idea of a girl finding Christopher's diary that he secretly kept while he and his siblings were inprisioned in the attic and becoming fascinating and then increasingly obsessed with it.  I think her experience mirrors our own as young readers of Flowers in the Attic.  The book just took you over and you had to find out what happened and it's the same with Kristin.  Of course, this being a V.C. Andrews book Kristin goes a bit too far with her obsession.  

This thrilling new chapter in the story continues the deeply disturbing tradition and is a wonderful addition to the series.  I highly, highly recommend it to fans of the original books as well as those new to the haunting series.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Review: Enchantress by Maggie Anton

Fantastic tales of demons and the Evil Eye, magical incantations, and powerful attractions abound in Enchantress, a novel that weaves together Talmudic lore, ancient Jewish magic, and a timeless love story set in fourth-century Babylonia. 

One of the most powerful practitioner of these mysterious arts is Rav Hisda’s daughter, whose innate awareness allows her to possess the skills men lack. With her husband, Rava—whose arcane knowledge of the secret Torah enables him to create a “man” out of earth and to resurrect another rabbi from death—the two brave an evil sorceress, Ashmedai the Demon King, and even the Angel of Death in their quest to safeguard their people, even while putting their romance at risk. 

The author of the acclaimed Rashi’s Daughters series and the award-winning Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Apprentice has conjured literary magic in the land where “abracadabra” originated. Based on five years of research and populated with characters from the Talmud, Enchantress brings a pivotal era of Jewish and Christian history to life from the perspective of a courageous and passionate woman.

Received for review.

I've always loved reading about Babylonia so I was intrigued when I came across this book and picked it up.  When I started reading I wasn't aware that it was part of a series so I was a bit confused by some references but I quickly found my footing through the author's skillfully woven descriptions.

I'm also not exactly a Jewish scholar so some of the words and references in the book went right over my head and seriously detracted from my reading enjoyment.  

The story itself was interesting and the mixture of magic and setting made for a truly unique experience.  I really enjoyed that while the women were powerful the author did not portray the men as overbearing or weak as so many authors tend to.  Both the men and the women were strong and intelligent.

Overall, this was a very nice, well written read and I certainly recommend it.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: The Skinnytaste Coookbook by Gina Homolka

Get the recipes everyone is talking about in the debut cookbook from the wildly popular blog Skinnytaste

Gina Homolka is America’s most trusted home cook when it comes to easy, flavorful recipes that are miraculously low-calorie and made from all-natural, easy-to-find ingredients. Her blog, Skinnytaste is the number one go-to site for slimmed down recipes that you’d swear are anything but. It only takes one look to see why people go crazy for Gina’s food: cheesy, creamy Fettuccini Alfredo with Chicken and Broccoli with only 420 calories per serving, breakfast dishes like Make-Ahead Western Omelet "Muffins" that truly fill you up until lunchtime, and sweets such as Double Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies that are low in sugar and butter-free but still totally indulgent.

The Skinnytaste Cookbook features 150 amazing recipes: 125 all-new dishes and 25 must-have favorites. As a busy mother of two, Gina started Skinnytaste when she wanted to lose a few pounds herself. She turned to Weight Watchers for help and liked the program but struggled to find enough tempting recipes to help her stay on track. Instead, she started “skinny-fying” her favorite meals so that she could eat happily while losing weight.

With 100 stunning photographs and detailed nutritional information for every recipe, The Skinnytaste Cookbook is an incredible resource of fulfilling, joy-inducing meals that every home cook will love.

Received for review.

Frankly, I'd never heard of the Skinnytaste blog but I couldn't resist the cover since I love cookbooks so I had to get this.

This is a low calorie cookbook so you might expect it to be packed with recipes that have zero taste but the creator did a nice job of incorporating a lot of flavor into her recipes.  It is important to note that while these recipes may be low fat and low calorie they are still quite high in sugar and salt.

The recipes are very easy to make and are beautifully photographed but many feature ingredient substitutions that may not be ideal for some people, such as avocados for butter in a cookie recipe or zucchini strips instead of lasagna noodles.  There are also some harder to find ingredients, such as faro, which may require multiple shopping trips and may make the recipes less convenient.

Overall this is a good collection of recipes for those looking into a lower calorie diet and I certainly recommend it.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Author Interview: Sue Messruther author of Sock Seekers (Alien Capers Encounters Book 1)

Sue Messruther, author of the book Sock Seekers (Alien Capers Encounters Book 1), stopped by for an interview.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a very busy mum of 6 children, a hubby and a puppy of gigantic proportions! All of my children have grown up and with currently 3 grandchildren I want to write so they can enjoy reading and use their imagination too! Plus it is a lot of fun for me too, especially with books like my new series, these are fun to sit and think and type away being as silly as I want to be.

What do you do when you're not writing?

Oh golly you are going to be so sorry you asked! Ha ha ha, ok I am a mobile carer which means that I look after the aged, disabled and sick in their homes so they can stay there as long as possible and enjoy a good quality life with independence, so for this I do morning and early tea shifts which is when they need the most help. Then when I am finished morning run for this, I swap hats and do my web design business and SEO work for clients until the tea shift! After the tea run, I help other authors with formatting of their books for print or kindle, create covers and give advice.

It is on weekends and holidays that I get to turn my attention to my books where I write under a few names and do mostly fiction because it is fun to be imaginative! 

When did your first start writing?

I have to admit that writing was something that I learnt to do mostly for business, as a web designer for over 15 years I have written a lot of pages and blog posts for them. However, writing books began several years ago when a few friends asked me to give my recipes for scones and bread. Then I soon turned my attention to children with “Kids in the kitchen” these are a part of the “Just for Kids” series, some of which have been translated into French. I enjoyed the creativity of the children’s imaginative cooking so much that we have organized another 4 Kids in the kitchen editions.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

My favorite book is Alice in Wonderland; I just love the imagination and creativeness of this whole story that influenced a series (that I wrote under a pen name Jackie C Myrtle) the Series is “Wonderland”. However, for this particular series the influence is Dr Seuss. I love the silly poems and cute creatures so it was with these in mind that this series grew.

What inspired you to write this particular book?

Ok don’t laugh but this is what really happened… my daughter Rosheen now 15 years is going through this stage of wearing my socks – but with a slight difference, you see it is trendy to wear odd socks! Don’t ask me why I really have no idea and obviously, I am not in fashion because I quite like to wear matching socks!

Therefore, after a week of her pinching my socks there actually came a day where I ashamedly had to wear odd socks to work!

Oh my! Now my little old ladies and gents thought it was all very cute and yes, you guessed it that is where the idea for this book originally was born.

So you’re wondering now where do the aliens come in? I was showing my odd socks that I had worn to work that day to Shirley a friend of mine, after laughing and being silly somehow, aliens came up in our conversation, now, why I can’t remember, I remember suddenly shouting “Aliens”! A very puzzled look came across her face but she is used to me and knew something was brewing in my mind and it certainly was, Sock Seekers suddenly turned from a silly idea into a reality.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I think the best part is the parade of aliens marching into the room, I mean who would think these creatures would enter a bedroom to play with socks! Now why is easy, I could create all sorts of cuddly, funny and silly creatures with lots of features!

What is best writing advice you can give?

I like to sit, close my eyes and imagine then speak – I use dragon naturally speaking so this allows me to do this and by closing my eyes I can let it flow without interruption or getting side tracked with a wondering mind! Then after I am done (these books took an hour to write initially) I go back and amend a day later, then print and read and edit again then send to the editor. While at the editors, I can then begin with the drawings, which is actually the longest part of the whole process!

Now surprisingly nobody told me off, nobody told me I was silly and nobody laughed at me, rather it was, oh when can we buy it! So don’t sit there and think any more, get in and do it!

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about the book?

These children’s poems are part of a series and the other 3 books are all written and edited, currently they are in the cue for me to get the images done and the covers etc. I will have them all published by 7th November 2014 ready for Christmas sales.

Of course I had a little fun and created a book trailer too which you can have a look at and naturally if you want first hand news on when the others are released you can find out either at my author website or on Facebook

About the book:

We all have them and we find them everywhere, but never the matching pair! We are talking about odd socks, now we have heard all sorts of stories, including the most common - the dryer ate the other sock!

Now you can find out what could really be happening. Who is pinching your odd sock? Have a little fun and imagination on our Sock Seekers adventure - the Alien Caper Encounter kind!

To help you enjoy this book with your child, we have included some notes for parents. Book 1 of a 4 part Alien Caper Encounter series. 

Click the text and see it pop! Happy reading! 

About the author:

Hi my name is Sue with a family of 6 children, a hubby and a puppy of gigantic proportions! With a variety of books that I have written for both on and off Amazon. I have just started writing “Kids in the kitchen” which is part of the “Just for kids” series and what fun it has been! I have to say I really have enjoyed it and have plans for another 4 Kids in the kitchenthis year. With the “Just for kids” series I plan on not only doing cooking but we will do some fun craft ideas to keep the youngsters entertained during holidays and weekends.

So why do I write? Well because it is fun and it is somewhere for my creativity to have an outlet – apparently I am a Gemini because I am born in June and the year that I was born in was the year of the rabbit, now my research tells me that Gemini’s are very creative and very active they need to be learning and discovering something new constantly and because of the year of the rabbit apparently this helps to bring my creativity to fruition or in other words finds a way to make it come to life or applicable to my life – ah so that explains it!

When I was young I would constantly start something new or seek out new ideas but never finished them and the adults in my life would always complain saying “Sue why don’t you finish …… “I must have been very frustrating for the adults in my world he he he

And so writing was something that I learnt to do mostly for business, then a few friends asked me to give my recipes for scones and bread which I did but of course I would give them many and so they turned into books as well

Now I am the first to admit that spelling is not my strong point and grammar well – no again not another strong point but I pour my personality into my writing and pass my work to get “graded” to spot any mistakes, but I am not perfect and neither is this a perfect world, I enjoy what I do and my only wish is that my grandchildren were in the same country as me so I could enjoy them!

This photo above is of Oscar at the time he was 7 months!!! Now you understand why I say he is a puppy of gigantic proportions! He has just turned 1 year this May.