QUICK NOTE...Update: 1/2/19
The blog is slowly coming back on line. We were right in the path of Hurricane Michael (like so many others), and while the family is safe (pups, and parents), the house didn't fair as well. So, reading and blogging (as much as I adore it) have to take a back burner. I've finally reached a stage in all this chaos that I feel that I can try to take a few baby steps back into the blogging world. A post here, a post there, and who knows. Hope you stay along for the ride!
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
A beloved daughter. A devastating choice. And now there’s no going back. Four years ago, nineteen-year-old Travis Brown had to make a life changing decision. While his friends were out partying and meeting girls, Travis was at home raising his newborn daughter on his own – changing diapers and working to keep food on the table. But he’s never regretted his decision. Bella is the light of his life – the reason behind every move he makes – and so far, she is fed. Cared for. Safe. But when Travis loses his construction job and his home, the security he’s worked so hard to create for Bella begins to crumble…
"Can you watch Bella a sec and I'll go get it? I can tell you the address and maybe you can tell me how to get there.""Sure," she said.I couldn't move all of a sudden. I wanted to take Bella back into the restroom and hug her so hard, but really, I had to get this over with. Just do it. I bent over and kissed Bella's head, then walked away fast. Out the door, across the parking lot, into my van.
In the mid-nineties, I worked out every day and was in the best shape of my adult life. I was also newly married and a new step mom to three teenaged girls. I had published seven novels by then and life was looking good--until I noticed a twinge in my left foot. The twinge was the start of Rheumatoid Arthritis---a serious chronic disease that can affect internal organs as well as the joints. Within a few months, I couldn’t walk without excruciating pain—pain that quickly moved into my hands. In a few more months, my ankle and wrists fused as the cartilage disappeared. It was a frightening time, filled with uncertainty about the future. My days of working out were over. The most I could manage was hobbling to the mailbox. Worst of all, I couldn’t type. I had a story inside my head and no way to get it onto paper. It never occurred to me to quit, though. I was a writer and if I gave up my writing, all those ideas inside my head would have no place to go. So I bought voice recognition software and wrote all of my eighth novel by narrating the story aloud--and cussing at the software when it stubbornly refused to understand my New Jersey/California/Virginia accent.Everything changed when the new generation of medications came along. In a remarkably short time, I could type again. I still have trouble walking (I wear a brace) and my wrists will never bend, but I can type nearly all day, which is a joy I will never take for granted.The most profound impact of having RA, though, didn’t take place in my body but in my spirit. Being seriously ill made me see my life in a new way—a way filled with gratitude and acceptance. It also influenced my writing, as I better understood the struggles of my characters. Don’t get me wrong—I would have loved to come to these realizations without getting sick, but I’m not sure it would have happened. Sometimes, a hardship can truly be a blessing in disguise.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
After ten-year-old Hastin’s family borrows money to pay for his sister’s hospital bill, he leaves his village in northern
to take a job as an elephant keeper and work off the debt. He thinks it will be an adventure, but he isn’t prepared for the cruel circus owner. The crowds that come to the circus see a lively animal who plays soccer and balances on milk bottles, but Hastin sees Nandita, a sweet elephant and his best friend, who is chained when she’s not performing and hurt with a hook until she learns tricks perfectly. Hastin protects Nandita as best as he can, knowing that the only way they will both survive is if he can find a way for them to escape. India
Monday, May 28, 2012
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Here it is.
The blog has been quiet, no?
This was on purpose though...trust me. Life was busy...well, is busy...but I wanted to finish to completion the book we last visited before moving on to something new. That book (in case you forgot) was...
I COULDN'T LOVE YOU MORE
When we last met, we were discussing the ladies of this book...their relationships, their hits and misses, and the small wonders that added up to lives worth following. Today, we take a turn toward the gentlemen.
Though the cast is more limited, their influence is no less impactive ...as is the frustration they can cause. Barney, for example, only graces the pages in physical form for a few scenes but the effects of his presence are felt long after. (Oh and Barney is the long lost father of the three sisters...long story ...) Finn Montgomery...for all the trouble, well distractions, he creates, it's more the memory of him relived over and over again that gives him power over Eliot. She never truly moved on from him and so is doomed to repeat history all over again (maybe...sorry, not spoiling it!). The biggest male presence is Grant.
Father of Gail and Charlotte (first marriage) as well as Hailey, he's a stand up Dad who wants the best for his kids but when faced with a crisis...he shuts down all reasoning leaving nothing but cold hearted logic behind. Perhaps its because I'm not a parent (well except to my fur babies...^_^), but to me his reaction to the events that occur are a bit extreme....especially when he cuts her off completely, from the children no less! He even mentions his intentions towards the child they share biologically...and the thought sickens me. It was hard to read let alone "watch" Eliot go through all the guilt by her lonesome. Maybe that's why marriage is in the cards for so many. That commitment, that til death do us part, sometimes acts as the glue that forces those in love experiencing hard times, to reconsider their circumstances a third and fourth time before calling it quits. Should it be that way? Maybe, maybe not...but it certainly couldn't hurt when trying to keep together those we hold dear.
By books end, I was ready to come through the page to give Eliot and Hailey a much needed hug (even her mother, Stella)...but the author surprised me yet again with the ending she had planned. It was satisfying in a real life sorta way and the characters continued to amaze til the very last page. There's not one person who doesn't experience some sort of growth and in a book with this many strong personalities, that's quite a feat.
All in all, a great summer read for older teens through adults. This is one crazy family to be a part of but one you'll be all the better for knowing once you've walked a summer in their shoes.
Review copy thanks once again to Amy at KMSPR, LLC. To see the rest of my experience with this book....be sure to check out this past Thursday's post.
REMINDER: Two contests going on now! First...my three year blogoversary celebration; second...your chance to win it before you can buy it! For all the details, just check out the 'Current Contests' on my right hand side bar.
Until next time...happy reading!
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Which child would you save? A decision no parent can even fathom.Eliot Gordon would do anything for her family. A 38-year-old working mother, she lives an ordinary but fulfilling life in suburban
with her partner, Grant Delaney, and their three daughters. The two older girls are actually Eliot's stepdaughters, a distinction she is reluctant to make as she valiantly attempts to maintain a safe, happy household . . . AtlantaThen Finn Montgomery, Eliot's long-lost first love, appears, triggering a shocking chain of events that culminates in a split-second decision that will haunt her beloved family forever. How Eliot survives-and what she loses in the process-is a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever loved a child. With hilarious honesty, wrenching depth, and a knockout twist, I COULDN'T LOVE YOU MORE illuminates the unbreakable bonds of family and reveals the lengths we'll go to save each other, even as we can't save ourselves.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
For a thirteen-year-old kid who lives right by the ocean, Ford Kahr has never been a great swimmer. In fact, he sinks like a rock in the water. He's actually afraid to swim in the ocean after his dad, a marine biologist and experienced scuba diver, disappeared off the shore of their hotel in
, three years ago. Cape Lore, New JerseyAs klutzy as Ford is in the water, his older brother Jag is a junior swimming champ, and his younger sister Mercedes has a mystical connection to the water that Ford can't explain. But when Jag swims out to investigate the disappearing island past the jetty, Ford uncovers an amazing secret that puts a new spin on his relationship with the ocean. The ocean harbors a whole other world beneath its surface that Mercy and Ford must explore - hoping they'll find some clue to the disappearance of their father and the astonishing secret they share about the water.Legends of underwater people and stories of scary sea monsters push Ford and his sister to discover the truth about what's really out there in the ocean depths.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
They are the Outcasts. Because people don’t want to know what they do.
Alex Brandenburg: SEAL Chief Petty Officer and Outcasts Team Leader. Disobeyed direct orders by refusing to let a deadly terrorist live to kill another day. Francisco “Pancho” Rodriguez and John Landry: SEAL Petty Officers First Class. Took the pursuit of justice into their own hands with explosive results. Catherine “Cat” Fares. Navy Petty Officer. Holds an unbeatable record for pissing off the top brass with her strongly stated opinions on the combat readiness of women.
The team’s mission: Take out the seven terror merchants vying to take Bin Laden’s place. The team’s status: Expendable.
When America’s controversial Phoenix Program was buried during the Vietnam War, a new program rose from its ashes. A top-secret Special Operations unit, with a core mission to combat terror wherever they find it, Bitter Ash grew ever more necessary in a new world of Islamic fanaticism. Now, Bitter Ash is forming a special team, a SEAL Team Six with a difference. It is Tier One, on par with SEAL Team Six and Delta, but it will report directly to Bitter Ash, and its fight will take place under the cover of dark.
With Bin Laden dead, the petty leaders within al Qaeda struggle to assume his role at the top. The president of the United States doesn’t want any of them left to dominate . . . and that means he has only one choice. But doing what’s needed without political repercussions will take a small team flying under the radar. A team capable of finessing the U.N.’s distinctions on national sovereignty and acts of war. A team like the Outcasts.
With no official support from their government and no one to rely on but themselves, the Outcasts must track down each target. Hot on the tail of the third, Brandenburg and the team start to realize that they are closing in on a larger plot, one that puts the security of the United States in dangerous jeopardy. The terrorists are threatening American territory once again, and the Outcasts will have to do what SEALs do best. Whatever it takes to keep their country safe.
A new title to be on the look out for and a nother chance for you to win. Speaking of that "other", don't forget to get your entries in for my 3 Year Blogoversary celebration giveaway! For more details, click on the link in the right hand sidebar under 'Current Contests'.