Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Guest Post: Jennifer Howard author of Your Ultimate Life Plan

Jennifer Howard, author of the book Your Ultimate Life Plan, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.

About the book:

Your Ultimate Life Plan will help you improve every moment of your life by teaching you how to build:

  • Confidence: Remove what's stopping you.
  • Strength: Move from your wounded ego into your sacred self.
  • Courage: Make smarter choices by embracing the Four Dimensions of Consciousness.
  • Success: Rise to your next level of happiness, clarity, and transformation.

Your Ultimate Life Plan is the distillation of Dr. Howard's 20-plus years of experience as a psychotherapist and spiritual teacher. This "workshop in a book" will help you do more than understand your Wholeness--you will experience it.

About the author:

Jennifer Howard, PhD, teaches the art of conscious living. She is an internationally acclaimed psychotherapist, life and business coach, professional speaker, teacher, and energy healer. A leading expert on spirituality and psychology, Dr. Howard has appeared on numerous national network television shows and is a Huffington Post blogger. As creator and host of the award-nominated radio talk show, A Conscious Life, her wisdom, warmth, and sense of humor shine through. She lives in New York. For more information, visit: DrJenniferHoward.com and YourUltimateLifePlan.com.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Guest Post: Jennifer Howard author of Your Ultimate Life Plan

Jennifer Howard, author of the book Your Ultimate Life Plan, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.

About the book:

Your Ultimate Life Plan will help you improve every moment of your life by teaching you how to build:

  • Confidence: Remove what's stopping you.
  • Strength: Move from your wounded ego into your sacred self.
  • Courage: Make smarter choices by embracing the Four Dimensions of Consciousness.
  • Success: Rise to your next level of happiness, clarity, and transformation.

Your Ultimate Life Plan is the distillation of Dr. Howard's 20-plus years of experience as a psychotherapist and spiritual teacher. This "workshop in a book" will help you do more than understand your Wholeness--you will experience it.

About the author:

Jennifer Howard, PhD, teaches the art of conscious living. She is an internationally acclaimed psychotherapist, life and business coach, professional speaker, teacher, and energy healer. A leading expert on spirituality and psychology, Dr. Howard has appeared on numerous national network television shows and is a Huffington Post blogger. As creator and host of the award-nominated radio talk show, A Conscious Life, her wisdom, warmth, and sense of humor shine through. She lives in New York. For more information, visit: DrJenniferHoward.com and YourUltimateLifePlan.com.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Guest Post: Nick Redfern author of Monster Files

Nick Redfern, author of the book Monster Files: A Look Inside Government Secrets and Classified Documents on Bizarre Creatures and Extraordinary Animals, stopped by to share with us a piece he wrote.

About the book:

  • Does the Pentagon have the body of Bigfoot on ice?
  • What is the U.S. military hiding from us about lake monsters?
  • What is the link between the CIA and the abominable snowman?
  • Why is there a British government file on sea serpents?
  • What do the Russians know about animal ESP?
For decades there have been persistent rumors, tales, and legends that government agencies all around the world have been secretly collecting and studying data on bizarre beasts, amazing animals, and strange creatures.

Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, sea serpents, psychic pets, the chupacabras, and the abominable snowman have all attracted official, classified interest.

Now, for the first time, the full, fearsome facts are finally revealed in Nick Redfern's Monster Files.

You'll discover all the amazing cryptozoological truths, conspiracies, and cover-ups behind the secret studies by the Pentagon, the Kremlin, and the British military, among many others.

Despite what your parents might have told you when you were a child, monsters, creepy creatures, and terrifying beasts really do exist. And our governments know all about them.

About the author:

Nick Redfern is the author of many books, including The Pyramids and the Pentagon; The Real Men in Black; The NASA Conspiracies; Keep Out!; Contactees; Memoirs of a Monster Hunter; and The World's Weirdest Places. He has appeared on more than 70 TV shows, including: Fox News; the BBC's Out of This World; the SyFy Channel's Proof Positive; the History Channel's Monster Quest, America's Book of Secrets, Ancient Aliens, and UFO Hunters; the National Geographic Channel's Paranatural; and MSNBC's Countdown. Nick writes regularly for UFO Magazine, Mysterious Universe, and Fate. He can be contacted at: nickredfernfortean.blogspot.com.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Guest Post: 5 Reasons to Read More Books by John Randall

John Randall, a freelance writer, stopped by to share with us a piece he wrote.

5 Reasons To Read More Books

People who spend more time reading and less time engaging in passive forms of entertainment tend to have better critical thinking skills and larger vocabularies, among other things. While the average person reads all day long by browsing web pages and digesting a barrage of unwanted advertisements, this doesn't really hold the same benefits as indulging in a lengthy book with a discernible beginning, middle and end. If you need more convincing, then here are 5 reasons to read more books.

Active Thinking

In order to recognize the true benefits of reading more, you must first understand the difference between passive and active activities. For instance, most people watch television passively. They turn their cable boxes on, settle down into comfortable positions and open their mind like absorbent sponges. They don't filter the information they receive, the simply let it flow in. With reading, however, there is generally a need to analyze content in order to process it. This requires a higher level of thinking and more brain activity. With an active mind, people are less likely to be swayed into taking opinions that they might not otherwise respect. They are also thinking critically and are strengthening their skills in examining information.

Build Your Imagination

Reading fosters a strong imagination. Far too many adults think that a healthy and robust imagination is something that people simply grow out of. However, the world can be filled with infinite possibility for those who are able to dream big enough. While a fantastical view of the world might not hold a lot of value in our society, it is this way of perceiving things that allows people to create truly spectacular works of art and conjure innovative business ventures.

Resolving Problems

Truly proactive people often serve as their own stumbling blocks. They identify problems and immediately set about solving them. Unfortunately, some issues don't always have solutions that are readily apparent. Reading is a great way to take your conscious mind off of troubles that you cannot instantly fix. While you relax and indulge in the colorful words of others, your subconscious mind can do a bit of problem-solving for you. Ask any avid reader - a good read is a great way to have an unexpected epiphany.

Learn New Words

Unless you scroll through the dictionary everyday, you are not actively building your vocabulary. Reading is one of the easiest ways to do this though, as it allows people to discern the meanings of new words in context. Not only can you add new words and phrases to your vocabulary, you can also use what you do know in the right context when incorporating them into your conversations. An impressive vocabulary will help you to perform better in everything from job interviews to work presentations and more.

People Skills

Although reading is typically a solitary activity, it can help you to learn more about the people who fill your life. Great fictional works provide insight into how people think and what motivates their behaviors. Self-help books show readers how to improve their communication skills and to develop greater levels of patience. What's more, you can always join a book club in order to enjoy your novel with others, which can engender new friendships, new ways of thinking and many fun nights!

Ultimately, choosing to crack open a book on a regular basis can be a highly effective form of self-improvement. You can increase your thinking skills, learn how to use your native language more proficiently and increase your understanding of the individuals who fill your life. In other words, reading is essentially the fastest path towards a richer and more fulfilling existence.

About the author:

John Randall writes about all things related to the communications industry. His recent work highlights the best online communications degrees.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Guest Post: Kathleen Marden and Denise Stoner authors of The Alien Abduction Files

Kathleen Marden and Denise Stoner, authors of the book The Alien Abduction Files, stopped by to share with us a piece they wrote.

About the book:

Why would two women separated by thousands of miles share a common thread involving alien abduction? Both cases are supported by multiple witnesses and have substantial evidence. Both women experienced missing time while driving with a companion, and were later taken from their homes. Both have been unwilling participants in ongoing experimental procedures that appear to follow family genetic lines. Both witnesses have given detailed descriptions of the crafts' interiors and technology, medical procedures, messages from the visitors, and the types of ETs they have encountered, including their society's hierarchical structure. Even more startling, both have independently described finding themselves on identical huge craft, within the same timeframe.

The Alien Abduction Files finally reveals:
  • The little-known details of alien experimental procedures
  • The theoretical science that can explain alien technology
  • The messages conveyed by the ETs to abduction experiencers
  • The vulnerabilities and benefits of living life as an abduction experiencer
  • The evidence that these phenomena are real

About the authors:

Kathleen Marden works full time as an author, alien abduction researcher, and lecturer. She has more than 22 years' experience in the field and is the niece of Betty and Barney Hill, the first abductees whose story stirred world-wide interest. She has lectured at conferences across the United States and appeared on numerous TV specials as an on-air expert. She is coauthor of Captured! The Betty and Barney Hill UFO Experience. She lives near Orlando, Florida, and can be found online at www.kathleen-marden.com.

Denise Stoner has spent more than 20 years researching the alien abduction phenomenon, documenting the physical and psychological impact of abduction upon experiencers, and working one-on-one with abductees. For many years she has hosted private meetings for groups of abductees. She has lectured on the alien abduction phenomenon, appeared on numerous radio shows, and will appear on PBS TV this year. She lives near Orlando, Florida, and can be found online at www.denisemstoner.com.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Guest Post: Jennifer Howard author of Your Ultimate Life Plan

Jennifer Howard, author of the book Your Ultimate Life Plan, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.

About the book:

Your Ultimate Life Plan will help you improve every moment of your life by teaching you how to build:

  • Confidence: Remove what's stopping you.
  • Strength: Move from your wounded ego into your sacred self.
  • Courage: Make smarter choices by embracing the Four Dimensions of Consciousness.
  • Success: Rise to your next level of happiness, clarity, and transformation.

Your Ultimate Life Plan is the distillation of Dr. Howard's 20-plus years of experience as a psychotherapist and spiritual teacher. This "workshop in a book" will help you do more than understand your Wholeness--you will experience it.

About the author:

Jennifer Howard, PhD, teaches the art of conscious living. She is an internationally acclaimed psychotherapist, life and business coach, professional speaker, teacher, and energy healer. A leading expert on spirituality and psychology, Dr. Howard has appeared on numerous national network television shows and is a Huffington Post blogger. As creator and host of the award-nominated radio talk show, A Conscious Life, her wisdom, warmth, and sense of humor shine through. She lives in New York. For more information, visit: DrJenniferHoward.com and YourUltimateLifePlan.com.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Author Q&A: Jason Fox author of Skinny Sexy Bride

Jason Fox, author of the book Skinny Sexy Bride, stopped by for a Q&A.

What caused you to create Skinny Sexy Bride? What gave you the idea?

Many of my fitness clients through the years were engaged women. I loved it because they were always motivated to get results. During training, I noticed a rapidly increasing stress level as the wedding day approached. Often times they would break into tears right in front of me, with so many things on their to-do list!

Along with the added stress came a plateau in their fitness progress. I wanted my bridal clients to be able to enjoy this special time in their lives, and I didn’t want them to get stressed trying to make time for 4-5 personal training sessions with me each week. So, at the expense of my own business, I revised my fitness program down to the basics, and removed all the waste. Some very pioneering clients (including my younger sisters), let me experiment on them! The results were incredible. My engaged clients made fantastic gains in appearance and fat loss, and had much more free time to plan their weddings and live their lives. Skinny Sexy Bride was born!

What’s the biggest mistake that you see brides making today as they prepare for their wedding?

Starving themselves. I’ve seen a lot of rail-thin brides, who went through 6-9 months of torture just to look sickly. They might look thin for 1 day, but they pay a big price after the wedding because their metabolism is shot.

Time is always an obstacle for most brides-to-be. What’s the best way for a busy bride to manage her time and still get some workouts in?

Getting engaged is like taking a new part-time job! At the outset of her engagement, a bride should take a complete look at her obligations (work, relationship, me-time, travel, friends, social, charity) and eliminate anything that isn’t necessary. People will understand if you can’t make it to every single charity meeting or every client lunch. I always suggest brides knock out their workouts in the morning, to give themselves energy all day and get that item checked off their to-do list.

Must a bride count her calories in order to see weight loss results, or is there another way she can go about doing things?

I never recommend counting calories, or other confusing tasks like point systems. Basically, a fitness program with intensive tracking is just another reason to quit a program. I created Skinny Sexy Bride to have the lowest abandonment rate possible. A fitness program can only work if you stick with it. Skinny Sexy Bride focuses on very, very simple measuring using volume alone. Nothing complicated, no meal timing tricks, no tables or calculators required!

You often read about celebrities and what they do in magazines to prepare for their weddings. Why are those approaches often so problematic?

Celebrity fitness plans aren’t realistic for regular people. Celebrities have unlimited access to money, time, and coaching. Real people like us have jobs, family obligations, and a budget. Also, celebrity fitness plans are basically gimmicks to sell magazines. In contrast, Skinny Sexy Bride is a program based on what works – eating well, exercising smartly, getting rest, and sticking with it! And, it was designed specifically to fit into any busy lifestyle and create minimal disruption in your life.

If a bride to be has already been exercising for a number of years, can this program still work for her?

Absolutely. Everyone, even experienced fitness buffs (like Krista and Shannon), can benefit from refocusing their efforts. You wouldn’t belief the look on my client’s faces when I make a few simple changes to their existing regimens, reduce their number of weekly workouts, and tell them to sleep in more often! Most people believe the fitness myth that more hours = more results. That’s not true if you follow the right system based only on super-effective workouts and an easy-to-handle, proper diet. One hour per week of working out is all you need – it just has to be done right!

Men and women are different. Let’s face it. Since you’re a male trainer, what do you do differently when you train female clients versus male clients?

Men generally fall into two camps – “Meatheads” and “Dudes.” Meatheads want to inflate themselves into a balloon of muscle. Dudes just want to be in shape, turn heads at the beach, and look good in their clothes.

Female clients tend to have similar goals to the Dudes. They want to be lean, toned, and fit into their favorite outfits. The training programs are quite similar, although women generally have more powerful legs and butt muscles (per pound of bodyweight) than their male counterparts. Men tend to get caught up in mirror muscles and upper body work, neglecting the critically important lower body.

I have a lot of fun introducing women to “masculine” equipment like kettlebells. They are skeptical at first, but always end up loving the workouts and especially the results.

For a woman who feels she’s too thin and could add a few more curves to her body, what advice would you give her?

For show-stopping curves, you must concentrate on powerful total body movements like kettlebell swings and burpees. Focus on developing your leg and butt muscles, while trimming your core and toning your arms. Curves are just a few kettlebell swings away!

How late is too late to get started with the Skinny Sexy Bride program? If a bride is going to be married in a few weeks, can she still benefit?

Ideally, you would have at least 60 days to achieve true progress with the Skinny Sexy Bride program, but honestly even 1 week will help! So much of the program focuses on clean, healthy food and rest that those two ingredients alone will help you drop a couple last-minute pounds and improve your mood. If you really just have two weeks, focus on the following:

  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables paired with lean meat
  • Cut out all processed and packaged foods
  • Two 15 minute workouts per week of kettlebell swings, kettlebell rows and pushups
  • Lots of sleep!

Just eating fresh foods and cutting out processed foods can help you drop a couple last-minute pounds.

In an ideal situation, should a bride do the program at a gym or in her home? What advantages are there to working out in that specific location?

The program was designed to be done anywhere, so it’s really just up to the brides. From my standpoint, once you factor in driving, changing and chatting, working out at home is much more efficient than a gym environment. And, at home you don’t have to worry about creepy guys staring at you! To follow the Skinny Sexy Bride program at home, you really only need 1-2 very inexpensive and small kettlebells to do the complete workout. Your body weight handles the rest! For less money than 1 month of a gym membership, you can be a Skinny Sexy Bride for life!

If a bride has a significant amount of weight to lose, is there anything that she should do over and beyond the normal program?

Brides who have more “cushion” to lose should start slowly. The biggest determinant of success on the Skinny Sexy Bride program is simply sticking with it. By starting slowly, you will let your body and habits easily adapt to your new regimen. I want to avoid any “shock to the system” that could injure you or make you quit the program. So I suggest brides ease into the plan. The program is so effective because my clients see real results, in a fraction of the time of other programs. The trick is giving your body enough rest and enough healthy, delicious food to nourish it after the short, intense workouts. I constantly have to tell my brides not to overdo it. Once they see some initial fat loss, they always want to add a third or fourth weekly workout to really supercharge their results. NO! That can be counterproductive. Two 15 minute workouts are all you need each week, and getting good rest is critical.

So what are your hobbies when you’re not showing brides how to lose fat the easy way?

I’m really getting into cooking, probably because I’m really into eating! I’m no gourmet chef, but I love to put on some fun music and start chopping and combining delicious natural foods together. It’s relaxing and therapeutic to me. Sometimes it’s delicious, and sometimes the smoke detector goes off. Either way, it’s rewarding to create something, especially in this age of instant food and instant gratification.

About the book:

When it comes to diet and fitness books, it's all been said and done before, but certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist Jason Fox has found a new angle for an old audience... brides who want to shape up for the big day.

Fox's unconventional approach challenges traditional fitness theories and offers an appealing new system that turns classic training methods upside down. The core of his system is based on the idea that there's no need to spend long hours in the gym or subsist on starvation-level meals. Instead, Fox's Skinny Sexy Bride program illustrates how to train muscles and metabolism in the most efficient way possible. Designed specifically for brides and presented with an option of several different timelines (nine months, six months, three months, 30 days), the program is suitable for anybody who wants to show up in top shape for an important event.

About the author:

Jason Fox holds a bachelors of science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a certified sports nutritionist and certified personal trainer, and his practice is focused on preparing clients for date-certain events like weddings, class reunions, and business interviews or presentations. Jason is an internationally-recognized author of books on fitness and nutrition.

Jason is the author of the Skinny Sexy Bride series, developer of the Skinny Sexy Bride E-Trainer software, and managing editor of the Skinny Sexy Bride blog. Jason is a wannabe chef and spends a fair amount of time attempting to play golf.

Follow Jason on Twitter: @JasonFoxFitness

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Book Excerpt: Trilogy by Prudence MacGregor

Prudence MacGregor, author of the book Trilogy, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.

About the book:

Trilogy: A Collection is comprised of three stories, all of which have an otherworldly, paranormal theme to them. Each of the main characters in these stories wrestles with extraordinary circumstances in an otherwise ostensibly ordinary world.
All of the tales have their own moral and life lessons, which Prudence MacGregor aims for each reader to individually formulate, as life itself is not clear cut and is at the mercy of the subjective. Journey with the stories’ main characters as they navigate the unplumbed depths of the unknown.

The first story, Parallelograms, centers on protagonist Justine, a determined yet troubled young woman who, quite by accident, discovers that she has a double and thus finds herself facing unexpected and ultimately terrifying consequences. Her previously tightly controlled world spins out of control, causing her to question her very existence.

The second story in the trilogy, Random, concerns Ulyssa, a young woman who is intrigued by the possibility of releasing a balloon with a note and seeing where it lands. This seemingly innocent activity will take her down a dark path, the circumstances of which may or may not be resolved. This will conflict with the outwardly picture perfect world that she thought she inhabited.

The final title, Up There, focuses on Gregory, an unassuming office worker who is fascinated by the airplanes he sees in the sky. Quite by accident he meets Sherry, a beautiful motivational speaker who just may have a connection to one of the planes he has seen. An activity he previously saw as harmless and a bit innocuous -watching planes fly overhead and guessing their destinations - turns questionable and ultimately forces him to take a look at his world: is it real or has it always been an illusion?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Review: High Tide on Main Street by John Englander

The book that described a superstorm hitting Atlantic City and New York City -- exactly one week before Sandy hit. Just one of dozens of scenarios in this amazing book. Find out the other forecasts. Getting rave reviews from experts and Amazon readers. For 6,000 years sea level has changed little. Now it it has started rising again, moving the shoreline too.

In clear, easy-to-understand language, this book explains:

* The science behind sea level rise, plus the myths and partial truths used to confuse the issue.
* The surprising forces that will cause sea level to rise for 1,000 years, as well as the possibility of catastrophic rise this century.
* Why the devastating economic effects will not be limited to the coasts.
* Why coastal property values will go “underwater” long before the land does, perhaps as early as this decade.
* Five points of “intelligent adaptation” that can help individuals, businesses, and communities protect investments now and in the future.

Received for review.

As everyone knows, global warming is occurring and there are many aspects to it that will affect life on our planet - rising sea levels are among them. In this informative and well written book the author presents all sorts of data to show us exactly how this rarely discussed phenomena will play out.

The author's tone is educational but not dry, and he interprets the data with the non-scientific layperson in mind.

This is a genuinely fascinating read and I highly recommend it, especially those who live in coastal areas.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Friday, April 12, 2013

Giveaway: Children of the Underground by Trevor Shane

Even if you have choices, sometimes you only have one worth making.

The war had been raging for as long as anyone could remember. The secret, endless war between two opposing sides—one good, one evil. Neither side knows which is which; it is kill or be killed in an invisible conflict where assassination is the weapon of choice.

When she was just seventeen, Maria was pulled into this secret war and they killed her lover and stole her child. Now they are telling her to go home. To ignore what she knows is going on in the shadows all around her. They told Maria to forget all she’d lost. The trouble is, some things simply can’t be forgotten.

Now, with a loose-cannon killer at her side, Maria is going to do whatever it takes to get back what belongs to her. And that means starting a war of her own…

Thanks to the publisher I have one copy to give away!

US only.  No P.O. Boxes.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Review: The Happy Hour Effect by Kristen K. Brown

The Happy Hour Effect: Twelve Secrets to Minimize Stress and Maximize Life, by bestselling and award-winning author Kristen K. Brown, provides easy, fun, and powerful solutions to minimize your stress and maximize your life. Kristen's voice is inspiring, motivating, witty, funny, and down to earth, and her book provides specific and actionable steps to stress less now. It isn't hard. It isn't confusing. It's a simple, straightforward, fun approach to stress relief. Each chapter includes inspiring quotes, the timing to implement each secret, the level of effort it will take, the expected results, and QR codes and links to supporting materials online that will make the respective chapter come to life. Also included are sidebars with expert interviews, anecdotes, statistics, and other visual content to reinforce the written words on each page. The QR codes and links connect to worksheets, videos, meditations, how-to tips, and other resources that will help you move forward on your stress management journey. The Happy Hour Effect is a comprehensive guide to help you live a healthier, happier, and less stressed life--quickly and easily.

Received for review.

With a title like this I was immediately intrigued and could not pass up an opportunity to review this. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed when the book did not deliver.

The author does have a friendly, accessible style, but the book is just packed with way too many bullet points, sidebars, charts, and graphs which make reading a chore and, ironically, stressful!

The section I had the most problem with and which resulted in my snapping the book closed never to open it again, was the portion on pets as stress relievers. No, seriously. The author advocates getting a pet as a stress reliever. Not for the pet to become a beloved member of the family, but as some sort of clinical tool, like a new hairdryer. This is what brought the book from 3 stars to 2 stars. The author is simply clueless as to how true animal lovers feel about their furry babies and her attitude is simply offensive. She has obviously never had a pet that she truly loved and, frankly, I question her ability to love anything but herself if she takes the "pet as an accessory" attitude.

If you skip the animal chapter this may be worth a read, but if you are at all an animal lover don't touch this with a ten foot pole as it will just ruin your day. I cannot recommend this at all.

☆☆☆ = Just Okay

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Excerpt: Marriage Matters by Cynthia Ellingsen

Cynthia Ellingsen, author of the book Marriage Matters, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.

About the book:

She barely has time to attend a wedding, let alone plan one, but Chloe has just caught the bouquet. So has her married mother… and her widowed grandmother. With three generations set to walk down the aisle, each “I do” sounds more improbable than the last.

On top of grad school, clinical hours, and part-time work, Chloe is surprised to find a ring on her finger. Sharing the news about the engagement is easy, except with her best friend. Their relationship has always been platonic...so why is Chloe so afraid he is going to object?

Kristine is successful at running her travel bookstore, but her twenty-five year marriage is on the rocks. When her husband suggests a vow renewal ceremony, she agrees to say I Do...until a tempting employee makes her wonder whether or not she wants to be married at all.

June knows what’s best for her and everyone around her. Given a second chance at love, she’s delighted to plan the family wedding of her dreams. But when June gets a little carried away in her enthusiasm, she risks losing more than the love of her life... she risks losing her family.

In Cynthia Ellingsen’s heartwarming and hilarious novel of first loves, second chances, and unexpected twists, three generations of brides-to-be discover that love is always better as a family affair.

About the author:

Cynthia Ellingsen is an author and screenwriter.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Review: Travels with Epicurus by Daniel Klein

One of the bestselling authors of Plato and a Platypus travels to Greece with a suitcase full of philosophy books, seeking the best way to achieve a fulfilling old age Daniel Klein journeys to the Greek island Hydra to discover the secrets of aging happily. Drawing on the lives of his Greek friends, as well as philosophers ranging from Epicurus to Sartre, Klein learns to appreciate old age as a distinct and extraordinarily valuable stage of life. He uncovers simple pleasures that are uniquely available late in life, as well as headier pleasures that only a mature mind can fully appreciate. A travel book, a witty and accessible meditation, and an optimistic guide to living well, Travels with Epicurus is a delightful jaunt to the Aegean and through the terrain of old age led by a droll philosopher. A perfect gift book for the holidays, this little treasure is sure to please longtime fans of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar and garner new ones, young and old.

Received for review.

The cuteness factor on this book was just so much that I simply had to read it! Unfortunately, the cuteness did not extend to the inside where the text was on the small side which seriously detracted from the reading enjoyment.

That said, the book was a lovely little read. The life-lesson stories were well written with a great flow and were pleasantly reminiscent of a Robert Fulghum book.

This would make for a solid personal read or a thoughtful gift. I certainly recommend it.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Excerpt: Single Effort by Joe Keller

Joe Keller, author of the book Single Effort, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from his book.

Single Effort
An Excerpt from Chapter 4: Creating a Female-Friendly Home

Once your living space is set up and functional, the dust has settled on your singleness, and your kids (if any) have become acclimated to their life with the new, single you, the idea of dating will probably enter into your thoughts.

If you’re considering dating, chances are good that at some point you’re going to bring dates back to your home (if you’re looking for dating advice, chapter 11 holds many tips and suggestions). Maybe you’ll cook a meal for your date at home, have her over to watch a movie, or simply stop by for a cocktail on the way to an evening out together.

Whatever the reason, odds are good that newfound female acquaintances will be making their way into your home sooner or later. You’ll be ready to meet them, but will your home? To be sure it is, take time, before you start dating, to make your living space female friendly. Steer clear of having your home look or feel like a “man cave” or bachelor pad. Instead, give a nod to the female element and ensure that your home speaks, at least in part, to your softer side.

The first step in creating a female-friendly home is to make sure your home looks and smells great. A clean home is a must when you start dating and meeting new women. If you decide to bring your date back to your place, she is going to notice if your living space isn’t tidy and up to her standards. As the saying goes, “Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don’t do it.” Make sure you set aside time every week to keep your home looking good. If the burden of cleaning becomes too much or you’d rather spend your time doing other things, hiring out the work may be something to consider.

When I first set out as a single guy, hiring a housekeeper was a foreign concept. When I was married, my ex had performed most of the housekeeping duties, including the laundry. The magnitude of this particular change hit home after just a few weeks of living single: keeping the apartment clean was
turning into a real time sink – it was taking me over five hours every week just to keep things tidy and clean.

Because I had a parenting and work schedule that didn’t afford me the luxury of seeing my children every day, I wanted to make sure the time I did have with my kids was spent focused on them. In addition, when I wasn’t working and didn’t have my kids with me, I wanted to spend my time pursuing new interests like cooking, writing, and meeting new and interesting people.

In short, I wanted to save as much time as possible for my kids and myself and jettison anything that took away from those two focal points. However, I had to reconcile this with the fact that I’d be tasked with doing more things for myself, not less, in my newly single life. This included making home-cooked
meals, house cleaning, and doing the laundry.

I enjoyed the thought of cooking and wanted to teach myself (and my kids) how to create healthy home-cooked meals – so I decided that this was something I would “keep on my plate.”

Contrary to cooking, however, cleaning and doing laundry were not favorite activities – not even in the top 30 – but they still had to get done. After some consideration, I decided that doing the laundry and cleaning the apartment were two things I could delegate to someone else. For the first time in my life,
I decided to bring a maid into my home.

About the book:

Whether you're single by choice or by chance, it's wildly different than living with a partner. Most books on the subject read like cheerleading for cave-dwellers or sex guides for the hopelessly hapless. Why can't someone just tell it like it is? Joe Keller does just that. From food to fun, and finance to romance, Single Effort delivers clear, real-world advice to help you live a dynamic, successful life as a single guy.

Heartfelt, funny, and always practical, Single Effort is a must-read for single guys everywhere. It's also perfect for anyone (male or female, single or not) in search of unique dating and lifestyle ideas or a more fulfilling life. Destined to become a classic, this indispensable guide will change how you think about being single and help you find the life and love you seek.

About the author:

Joe Keller is a father of two, an entrepreneur at heart, and a lifelong learner. His personal quest is to live a fulfilling, awesomely happy life and to help others do the same.

Single Effort grew out of Joe’s learning curve following a painful divorce. Through trial and a healthy dose of error, Joe learned to approach single life – and life in general – with smarts and heart, leading to newfound confidence and exciting new adventures.

Equally at home cooking a meal for his kids, crooning karaoke on a night on the town, deciphering the world of dating for his readers, or traveling the globe, Joe believes that it’s what’s inside that counts – that happiness comes from following your passion, loving and being loved, and ultimately, finding peace within yourself.

Joe shares his passion for helping others through volunteer work in the U.S. and abroad, via his writing, and through public speaking. Joe makes his home in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

Learn more about Joe at www.SingleEffort.com.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Book Excerpt: Prophet of Bones by Ted Kosmatka

Ted Kosmatka, author of the book Prophet of Bones, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from his book.

About the book:

Paul Carlson, a brilliant young scientist, is summoned from his laboratory job to the remote Indonesian island of Flores to collect DNA samples from the ancient bones of a strange, new species of tool user unearthed by an archaeological dig. The questions the find raises seem to cast doubt on the very foundations of modern science, which has proven the world to be only 5,800 years old, but before Paul can fully grapple with the implications of his find, the dig is violently shut down by paramilitaries.

Paul flees with two of his friends, yet within days one has vanished and the other is murdered in an attack that costs Paul an eye, and very nearly his life. Back in America, Paul tries to resume the comfortable life he left behind, but he can't cast the questions raised by the dig from his mind. Paul begins to piece together a puzzle which seems to threaten the very fabric of society, but world's governments and Martial Johnston, the eccentric billionaire who financed Paul's dig, will stop at nothing to silence him.

About the author:

Ted Kosmatka is the author of one previous novel, The Games. His short fiction has been nominated for both the Nebula Award and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and appeared in numerous Year’s Best collections.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Giveaway: Activate Your Goodness by Shari Arison

Activate Your Goodness is a practical guide for doing good for yourself and others, offering you inspiration for immediate improvement of your life and the lives of those around you. Author Shari Arison, visionary businesswoman and philanthropist, is candid about her own personal stories and also provides examples from others who have made a difference by thinking, speaking, and doing good.

As one of the world’s most powerful women and the owner of a business empire that spans the globe, Shari describes her extraordinary experiences and how she has integrated the power of doing good in all aspects of her life and career.

The unexpected and delightful insight that emerges from the book proves that when you find a way to do good for others, you also do good for yourself. This is a book to share with your loved ones and those who are partners in your desire to create a better world for future generations. Activate your goodness, and discover ways to make your life joyful beyond measure!

Thanks to the publisher I have five copies to give away!

US Only.

Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: Crochet One-Skein Wonders by Judith Durant and Edie Eckman

Finally, a One-Skein Wonders book just for crocheters! Edie Eckman and Judith Durant offer 101 great crochet projects--from jewelry and scarves to bags, hats, dresses, and home dec items--that each use just one skein of yarn. Whatever your experience level, you'll find something here to delight you!

E-galley received for review.

I enjoy crocheting but I have close to zero patience for lengthy projects so I thought I'd enjoy this.

This was a variety of projects that range from thread doilies to lacy scarves to stuffed animals so there is a quite a bounty of projects to choose from. This did not mean that I actually found any projects that I wanted to try though. There was a pattern for slipper socks that looked interesting but, alas, it was only for size 8 feet with no instructions for smaller or larger sizes which was quite disappointing. Many of the projects were very crunchy granola (fingerless gloves and scrunchies) which also significantly narrowed the options.

Overall, this was an interesting read and should provide at least a few ideas for crocheters. It is definitely worthy of a browse through.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Review: By the Light of the Silvery Moon by Tricia Goyer

Remember the Titanic 100 years after its doomed voyage with Tricia Goyer’s fictional portrayal of one woman’s journey.

To Amelia Gladstone, this ship means promise of seeing family again. To Quentin Walpole, the Titanic represents a new start in America…if he can get onboard.

All seems lost until Amelia offers him a ticket, securing his passage—and bringing him face-to-face with his railroad tycoon father and older brother, Damian. As Amelia works to reconcile father and son, she finds herself the object of both brothers’ affection.

Can she choose between two brothers? Or will she lose everything to the icy waters of the Atlantic?

Received for review.

I wanted to like this, I really did, but it was just too ... too. It was essentially a romance on the Titanic which, of course, immediately draws comparisons to the actual Titanic movie. The movie, as expected, comes out on top.

The story was simply implausible and really not even that good. It was okay, like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese from a box, but not something that you really savored while reading, like a homemade, fresh from the oven mac & cheese.

I didn't connect with or really care about the characters either. There was just no emotional bond there that would have made for a more enjoyable reading experience. I was just left feeling unfulfilled and a bit annoyed.

I really can't recommend this. It may be acceptable if you are looking for a historical romance but don't expect any of the joy or sparkle of the movie.

☆☆☆ = Just Okay

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Guest Post: Robert P. Chappell Jr. author of Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Robert P. Chappell Jr., author of the book Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs to Know, stopped by to share with us a piece he wrote.

Parents Need to Protect Their Children from Identity Theft

Have you heard of the crime “child identity theft?” Most parents have not yet children are currently 35 times more likely to be victimized by the crime than are adults. In fact parents may have more than one child affected by the crime. Javelin Strategy and Research recently released a study which showed that one in every forty households in America have at least one or more children living in the home who has been victimized by identity thieves.

Child Identity theft occurs when a criminal steals child’s name, date of birth, or Social Security number. This information can be used to request credit cards, public assistance, employment, fraudulent tax refunds, and medical care.

Children have become targets because criminals can steal a child’s identity and successfully use the information for years without discovery. This crime has the potential to touch all children regardless of their family income or where they live in America.

Parents can help prevent this crime by educating themselves on child identity theft and then having discussions with their children. Education is the key to prevention!

Obtain a free credit report on your child annually. Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, or Experian. If you discover that your child has a credit report, you need to contact the same credit reporting agency and ask to have a free 90 days credit alert on your child’s credit file. Next, contact the police. Law enforcement will make a report of the theft. A visit to www.ftc.gov reporting the theft will help the government capture true statistics on the crime.

Child identity theft is emotionally taxing for both the victim and the victim’s family. It leaves children with the feeling of insecurity. The affects are worse for the child when the person committing the crime is a parent, relative, or someone known by the family. 

You can find out more about this crime by reading Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs to Know (Rowman and Littlefield) by Robert P. Chappell, Jr. This book is written in an easy to read question and answer format for busy families. It is but one of two books in America on the topic and the only book in America written by a law enforcement officer on child identity theft.

About the book:

Child identity theft is the fastest growing type of identity theft, a crime that affects some 10 million people annually. Each year more than 500,000 children are affected by identity theft – half of them under age six. Countless other cases go unreported because the thief is a relative or parent of the victim. This devastating crime can wreak havoc on a child's future opportunities; it can be difficult to prove, and even harder to undo the damage that has been done. Child Identity Theft speaks to parents everywhere, the majority of whom have no idea that their children's identities have become such prime targets for thieves and criminals.

Here, a veteran law enforcement professional and expert in child identity theft offers parents, educators, law enforcement officials, and others who care for or work with children an inside look at the ways in which children are vulnerable to identity thieves. Chappell presents the vital information in a question and answer format, offering not just information about how child identity theft happens, but also how to prevent it from happening, and what to do if it does.

Among other things, Child Identity Theft explains:

·how a loophole in the national credit reporting system allows criminals to target innocent children for their creditworthiness;
·the variety of forms that child identity theft can take;
·the hidden techniques that thieves use to gain children's identities and personal information;
·which children are at a higher risk for identity theft; and
·how an increasing number of child identity thefts are perpetrated by parents and relatives.

This book reveals the reality of child identity theft and the steps we all should take to protect our children and ourselves. How many victimized children are out there out there waiting to be discovered? Has your child been victimized? One hopes not, but if so, this book will give you the tools to find out and get help.

About the author:

Robert P. Chappell, Jr., is a 27 year veteran law enforcement officer. In 1986 he was honored with the Virginia Chief’s of Police award for Valor in the Line of Duty. Chappell began his career with the Virginia State Police in 1987 where he has worked for the past 25 years. He has served as a trooper, Narcotics Special Agent, uniformed Sergeant, First Sergeant, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and currently as a Lieutenant with the Bureau of Field Operations. He is considered to be an expert in the field of Child Identity Theft. Chappell is also a veteran of the Armed Forces having served 25 years with the United States Army Reserve, during which time he was awarded the Bronze Star, Army Combat Action Badge, 101st Airborne Air Assault combat patch, 11th Armored Cavalry combat patch, and the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment Order of the Combat Spur. He retired in 2008 as a Lieutenant Colonel.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: Living Space by Kathryn Weber

Our homes should not only look good but make us feel good just being there. In her brightly written “Living Space: Simple Steps to Transform Your Home,” author Kathryn Weber offers ways to reinvigorate and rejuvenate our lives with innovative home ideas that are budget-friendly and easy to create. Maybe it’s something as simple as putting new pulls on kitchen cabinets, rearranging armchairs or painting a powder-room ceiling in an unusual color. Or it could be trying something new, such as banquette seating in the dining room, a red tablecloth and cast-iron cookware. The book is filled with simple design and d├ęcor recommendations for all major rooms of the house, as well as a section on special spaces, including media rooms, porches, hallways, home gyms or even a wine cellar and home massage room. Ever hear of a “keeping room”? You will now. Living Space is an inviting guide to transform your home into the house you’ll love.

E-galley received for review.

I was initially intrigued by the book's premise but it simply did not deliver. At all.

The book was clearly written for the upper middle class, which is frankly silly since they'd just hire a designer anyway. All the "ideas" for "freshening up" your home are on the expensive side, and are time consuming and/or require a professional.

All the photos used in the book are from McMansions with giant kitchens and cavernous bathrooms so if you had any doubt as to the target audience it is quite gone by about page three.

While some of the ideas are more realistic, the vast majority are not enough to keep this from being a complete waste of time.

So, unless you live in a McMansion, give this a pass.

☆☆ = Didn't Like It

Monday, April 1, 2013

Book Excerpt: Hostage in Time by Linda Lauren

Linda Lauren, author of the book Hostage in Time, stopped by to share with us an excerpt from her book.


A gust of wind hurled her off balance as it propelled her up the flight of stairs to the third floor. At the top she paused to catch her breath before looking around. Lifting the camera back up, she pressed her eye to the viewfinder and closely focused in on the bronze sign on the first door to her left. 

Jonathan Brisbane - Private! 

So, this was where the real action in Serenity had taken place, she thought. This very room was probably where Jonathan Brisbane and Thomas Edison had formed their alliance to make history together. She hesitated only a moment, her hand on the knob. No one seemed to be on the floor. It couldn't hurt to just take a peek. The point of debate was swift. With a shrug, she turned the knob and stepped inside. 

This room was an office. The walls were paneled in oak and a large desk was the nerve center of the room. Behind it was a credenza, and to the left-a wall of rich leather-bound books. As Amanda skimmed over them quickly--literally volumes of them all of a legal or electrical nature--a chill gripped her. She felt like she was invading Jonathan Brisbane's privacy, despite the many years he'd been dead. 

Walking in further, she realized that the fire in the fireplace opposite the wall of books had only recently died out, its embers still faintly glowing. Perhaps someone had recently been working on the restoration of room. The thought and prospect of possibly getting caught make her shiver and, as she zeroed in on a last look through the viewfinder, her eyes spied a book that lay open on the credenza. Her curiosity immediately aroused, Amanda focused the camera lens in a tight close-up. Beside the book was a daguerreotype in a silver frame of two men shaking hands. She recognized one man as Thomas Edison. She assumed the other man was Jonathan Brisbane. He certainly was handsome. His flashing smile seemed to curl around the comers of his mouth as if he had a great secret he could not share. 

Reluctantly pulling herself away from the photograph, Amanda aimed the camera down on the open page of the journal. Bold, dark script met her eyes. The society was obviously doing a wonderful job in this wing. The ink on the page actually looked newly dried, and the page was white in contrast to the yellow, aging documents in other parts of the house. She eagerly read the first paragraph. 

"1884, April. There is much excitement since my return from Menlo Park. 

Edison never ceases to amaze me! The magic of his electric lights at Menlo Park raised my spirits! But what can I do to stop the thievery around him? Alas, the Edison Electric Light Company is still plagued by patent thieves. I must keep a keen eye on the enemy camps.... " 

"Who are you, Sir? And what are you doing in this room?” demanded an angry voice from behind her. 

Sir? Embarrassed at having been caught, Amanda flinched and turned slowly, the video camera still on her shoulder, its red light blinking rapidly into the handsome face of… Jonathan Brisbane? Realizing the man must be a docent of close resemblance Amanda still could not stop the trembling that made its way throughout her body. To her surprise, his hands shot up into the air in surrender! 

As she adjusted the camera away from her shoulder, her fedora fell off her head and her long curls fell loosely around her. They stared at each other for an agonizingly long moment.

"A woman? They sent a woman to spy on me?" His face turned a deep crimson and the muscles in his cheek worked into an angry twitch. "How dare they!" 

"Excuse me?" Amanda asked, having found her voice. "Don't you think you're taking this reenactment a bit too far?" 

"Stop babbling and tell me who sent you! Was it Swan? Or perhaps Verdine?" 

Hands still raised, he slowly moved around the desk and closer to Amanda. 

Feeling immediately threatened, Amanda raised the camcorder onto her shoulder. "Come one step closer and I'll shoot!" she shouted. Why on earth had she said that? She wanted to laugh at the ludicrousness of the situation, but became wary as he froze in front of her, hands still in the air.
"It appears, Madam, that you have me at a considerable disadvantage. Though I must say I’ve never seen such a weapon before." 

Weapon? Amanda kept filming, not sure what to make of this man. Another long silence allowed her time to reflect on his tall, athletic build. She slowly panned down the length of his body to his strong muscular legs, moving up to his broad chest that pulled at the material of his white shirt, before moving up to his face. Zooming in for a close-up, she stared at the thick, beveled lips, the neatly combed black hair that reached past his ears and covered his neck; over to the flashing green eyes. God, he was handsome ... and angry! She let out a sigh and as she started to move the camera away from the agony of her sight, she slipped on her fedora. He lunged forward, catching her and the camera in one quick motion. 

"So, now the tables are turned, Madam!" He held the "weapon" out of her reach with one hand, the other holding both of hers together around her back at the waist. 

Jonathan Brisbane inhaled her lovely scent as she struggled in indignation. Such a slip of a girl, he thought. When she had first turned around and he had met the softness of those dark eyes, he was disappointed to think a man could be behind them. His gaze lingered on her soft brown hair as a curl brushed against his cheek. Pressing her thighs against him in those outrageously tight trousers proved to be too much. Reluctantly but forcefully, he pushed her at arms length. She may be a woman, but she was still a spy!


About the book:

For photographer Amanda Lloyd, being hired to film the historic Serenity house, home of Thomas Edison’s patent attorney Jonathan Brisbane, is a straightforward gig. Filming during re-enactment day, Amanda begins to explore the home, including the prohibited third floor. Suddenly and without warning, Amanda finds herself transported back in time to 1884 where, because she is brandishing her camcorder that he mistakes for a weapon, she is accused by Brisbane himself of being a spy in search of Edison’s secrets. Immediately placed under house arrest, she finds herself a hostage to history. She quickly becomes accustomed to the lifestyle and routine of the time and begins to grow closer to Jonathan. The quiet of their growing love is shattered when a scorned traitor sets them up, forcing the pair to work together to unravel the secrecy of missing documents before Amanda is arrested for treason and history is changed forever. With the help of a spiritualist medium, they are able to find and understand their destiny—but is it already too late?

About the author:

Linda Lauren is a fourth generation psychic medium, author, color and energy profiler, and reiki practitioner. Linda is also known as The Travel Psychic™ and an energy artist. An avid researcher and champion of historic preservation, Linda uses her intuition in everything that she does. Linda owns and operates Linda Lauren's Embracing The Universe in Mountainside, NJ and can be found on the web at www.LindaLauren.com.