Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blog Tour ~ Excerpt from Bad Behavior by Jennifer Lane + giveaway

As part of the Conduct Book blog tour, I get to share an excerpt with you.  WooHoo!  This series has received great reviews.  These books are for an adult only audience.

Bad Behavior by Jennifer Lane
Excerpt from Chapter 3, Conjoined
Sophie and Grant in couples therapy with Dr. Hunter Hayes

Hunter stole a glance at the clownfish in the aquarium rather than meeting the stunning crystal-blue eyes of his client, then broke the silence. “One thing I typically ask clients to do in the first session is set goals for therapy. We had some, uh, catching up to do in our first meeting, though, and ran out of time.”

Sophie managed a sly grin.

“What would you like to accomplish in here?” Hunter continued. “What would you like to improve or change? Grant, how about you go first.”

Grant looked startled. Tapping his fingers on his thigh, he eventually said, “My one and only goal is to stay out of prison.”

Hunter was dismayed. “Meaning that if you don’t come to counseling, your PO will put you back in prison? You’re only here because you’re mandated to be?”

Grant nodded.

“That goal sucks, Grant.”

Both Sophie’s and Grant’s eyebrows shot up, and Hunter decided to explain further.

“What I meant,” he said, trying again, “was that I understand you’re mandated to be here. But you could really get something out of this, Grant. You could work on improving your relationship with Sophie, which I know means a lot to you. You could explore some life goals for yourself, now that you’re trying to make a fresh start. The sky’s the limit. For you to just sit here and tell me you’re fine — well, that’s a total waste of time for you and for me.”

Grant had been inching up straighter and taller with each word out of Hunter’s mouth, and by the time the psychologist finished with the diatribe, he sat rigidly erect on the sofa. His eyes attentive and his mood sober, he replied, “Yes, sir.”

“So I’ll ask you again, what are your goals for therapy?”

Stealing a helpless glance at his girlfriend, Grant began sweating. He felt like he was back in college ROTC again, enduring a quiz about Navy history from a superior.

Sophie watched him squirm, and she offered, “Do you want to deal with your nightmares?”

Grant whipped his head toward her, disconcerted by her question. “Uh — um — ”

“You’re having nightmares?” Hunter interjected.

“Not really,” Grant lied.

Sophie frowned. Although they’d only spent the night together perhaps four times, on two of those occasions Grant’s sleep had been interrupted by what appeared to be intensely distressing nightmares.

“You said something about improving our relationship, sir?” Grant quickly added, redirecting the conversation. “That would be one of my goals.”

“Okay, and what would you like to improve about the relationship?”

We need to stop lying to each other, Sophie supplied silently on Grant’s behalf.

Then Grant turned to her and shrugged. “I don’t really know how we could improve our relationship. It’s perfect already.”

Hunter watched Sophie practically swoon over Grant’s comment, and he chuckled. “Well, my work is done here. Your relationship’s already perfect.”

Noticing Hunter’s grin, Sophie said, “Our relationship is awesome. Grant’s right about that.” She clasped his hand. “But I do have an idea for something we could work on.” Sophie took a deep breath. “Um, I think we need to be more open with each other.”

Hunter nodded. “I agree. There’s quite a bit you two seem not to know about each other.”

And a lot I don’t want Sophie to know, Grant thought.

Description from Goodreads: Grant Madsen’s got issues. He’s still battling his Mafia family and doing everything possible to keep his loved ones safe. With the cruising season coming to an end, he has to find another job soon or he’ll rejoin his father in prison. And he’s trying to convince his rebellious teenage nephew to stay away from their criminal relatives (you can imagine how that’s going). But worst of all, Grant’s parole officer has mandated that he attend therapy. 

The only saving grace is that they’re couples sessions with his girlfriend, Sophie Taylor, a fellow parolee who’s struggling with a few issues of her own. Sophie desperately hopes her past with Grant’s brother won’t destroy her future with him. There’s a sleazy professor at work who revels in sexually harassing women in the psychology department. And her father still hates Grant. 

Their psychologist has his work cut out for him. 

When Grant’s ruthless father hints at a plot to get out of prison, Grant must use everything he’s learned in therapy and beyond to try to stop him. It’s a race against time -- and a race to rescue Sophie from the Mafia’s clutches once again. But this time McSailor and Bonnie refuse to play victims. This time the cuffs are coming off.

About Jennifer Lane:
After surviving the rigors of writing a psychology dissertation, the author known as Jennifer Lane has happily turned to writing fiction. She still maintains her psychology practice in Ohio, but please rest assured that she's not psychoanalyzing you right now. The tales of healing and resilience from her career have inspired her to write her own stories: The Conduct

Jennifer Lane, Author
Romantic Suspense featuring Healing and Redemption
With Good Behavior (The Conduct Series #1) released July, 2010
Bad Behavior (The Conduct Series #2) released March, 2011
Summer Breeze Anthology (short story Swim Recruit) released July, 2011

Twitter: JenLanebooks
Facebook: Jennifer Lane, The Conduct Series
Goodreads: Jennifer Lane

EBook giveaway!

There is an ebook giveaway associated with this blog tour.  Every site that posts gets to give away an ebook. You can choose between the two titles.

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment with your email address.  The contest will run until December 13th.  You must be 18 years of age or older.  These are adult books and there is content not suitable for minors.  There will be a grand prize that will be awarded at the end of the blog tour.  You must comment on EVERY blog post for the tour to be eligible to win. The prize will be a $25.00 GC to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can find all of the participants by clicking on the link below.

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Click here to view The Conduct Series Tour Schedule...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guest Post ~ Health Benefits to Owning a Pet~ Debra Stang + a giveaway!

Today we are lucky to hear from Debra Stang.  She has a book out called "Hospice Tails".  My neighbor is a nurse and for many years she took her dog into work with her as therapy for the patients.  I also have a sister who worked as a hospice nurse.  It's a tough job and I admire those who can do it. Plus, I would love to know the health benefits I am receiving from owning a dog, cat, cockatiel, and fish. ;)

Let's hear from Debra:

Health Benefits to Owning a Pet

Ten years ago, a close friend of mine died unexpectedly. The sudden loss sent me spiraling into a major depression. I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to speak. I didn’t even want to eat.

The only thing that kept me functional was Calypso, my thirteen year old cat. Calypso suffered from diabetes and required two insulin shots a day as well as carefully scheduled feedings.

On days when I longed to stay in bed, I told myself that, no matter how lousy I felt, Calypso needed me. That thought was enough to make me roll off my mattress to face the day. The depression gradually lifted, in part, I’m convinced, because Calypso forced me to keep to my daily routine.

I’m certainly not alone in experiencing health benefits from having a pet. According to the Centers for Disease Control, studies have shown that having a pet can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, two significant risk factors for heart attacks. Sure enough, when studies looked at survival rates among heart attack patients, those who owned a pet survived longer than those who did not.

Common sense suggests that pets can be a great source of companionship for people who live alone. However another lesser known benefit of pet ownership is that it actually increases your chances to socialize with others. If you walk around the block by yourself, you’re lucky if you exchange smiles with the people you meet. If you walk around the block with your pet dog, however, people are more likely to speak to you—they admire your dog, ask your permission to pet him or her, and relay stories about their own beloved pets. Loving animals opens the door to communication and gives you and the other person a shared interest.

In my role as a medical social worker, I’ve watched animals break through to many patients who were so traumatized or ill that they had lost all interest in interacting with other humans. My book Hospice Tails describes several of those experiences.

For instance, I will never forget my patient, Larry. By the time I met him, dementia had robbed him of his speech and much of his voluntary movement. He did not make eye contact with me or his wife, nor did he acknowledge our existence in any other way, but up until the day he died, he was still able to reach out a trembling hand to pet his beloved dog.

Pets may not be the answer for everyone—I understand that some people just don’t like animals—but a clear majority of people do benefit from owning and caring pets. Just think of them as a furry, four-footed medicine with no unpleasant side effects!

About her book: 

Funny, sad, and irreverent, Hospice Tails shares the stories of pets who traveled to the door of death with their humans. Meet King, an abused pit bull fiercely loyal to his rescuer, Jasper and Jackie, Amazon parrots who sang their person to his final sleep, Washington, a golden retriever who became the only connection to the world for an Alzheimer's patient, and ten other animals who accompanied their beloved people on the hospice journey.

You can find Debra at:

GIVEAWAY TIME: You have the chance to win a copy of Hospice Tails!  There will be one winner.  You must be 13 or older to enter.  This tour is running through WOW (Women on Writing) and I will be forwarding the information to them.  Please leave a comment with y our email address in order to enter.  This contest will run until December 13th.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of  Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Just do the following:

          ~Grab your current read.

          ~Open to a random page.

          ~Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page. (Sometimes I cheat a bit on this one and do a few more sentences.)
          ~Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn't give to much away.               You don't want to ruin the book for others.)
          ~Share the title and author, so the other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teaser.  :0)

This week I am posting a teaser from "Dark Eden" by Patrick Carman.  The edition that I am quoting from is an ARC, so it is subject to change in the final product.

It was a big sorry, full with meaning, and she understood:  I was sorry for my mistake; but much more, I was sorry she had to be afraid.  I had imagined what this moment would be like.  She'd get up and leave and never come back or run through the fort knocking on doors, telling everyone what I'd done.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Winner for the Gratitude Giveaway Hop & The Vincent Boys eBook

The winners have been selected for the Gratitude Giveaway Hop

Audio book of Nine Lives of Christmas + swag goes to- Leigh Ann
Arc of Something Witchy This Way Comes + swag goes to - Jolene A
Swag goes to - Stacy t

The eBook of the Vincent Boys goes to - brendajean

All winners have been sent emails.  The winners of the Gratitude Giveaways have 72 hours to respond with their mailing addresses or a new winner will be picked.

Congrats to all and thanks for stopping by and entering.

Blog Tour ~ Review of "Darwin's Children" by Natasha Larry

Darwin's ChildrenDarwin's Children by Natasha Larry

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to review for the blog tour
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy YA

Description from Goodreads: Life can get pretty complicated for any seventeen-year-old girl, but for a home-schooled telepathic black girl trying to survive in a prestigious private school in small-town Jonesborough, Tennessee, it can be maddening; especially when her telepathic father keeps eavesdropping on her thoughts!

Jaycie Lerner's family isn't the usual mom-dad-kid setup. Jaycie's mom is MIA, but Allison, her personal live-in trainer, is more than a mom, with her own special abilities, like being able to lift cars and run incredibly fast. And Jaycie's godfather John is more than persuasive; he can literally convince anyone to do anything.

As far as the rest of the world's concerned, Jaycie's on the outside looking in. The townsfolk love Jaycie's paediatrician father, but she doesn't fit in with "normal" kids, and she doesn't really want to. Most of her free time is spent training to keep her telekinetic and telepathic powers under control. But there's one thing she can't control; and that's her feelings, especially when her best friend Matt is nearby. If only he knew what she was truly capable of...

Everything seems to be status quo for Jaycie until she receives a cryptic message from a stranger and meets a very unusual girl new to Jonesborough. Then all hell breaks loose.

My thoughts: This is a very interesting and creative book. It deals with paranormal traits that a few humans have evolved to balance the world from evil.

Jaycie is seventeen and dealing with her skill at telepathy and telekinesis. She is trying to fit into a private school where she has always been home schooled. She is a loner, she doesn't have many friends. Her powers make it difficult to blend when she can hear unwanted thoughts. She's falling in love with her best friend, Matt. Life is tough. Unfortunately, it can get worse.

She is visited by a guardian angel who tells her to take a job to get to know another girl working in the Christian Bookstore. Haylee is also a loner. She is dealing with abusive parents and struggling to find a place for herself and dealing with superhuman powers that she doesn't understand.

I enjoyed this story. Natasha Larry writes with a distinct voice that is intriguing and easy to follow. My only warning would be that this book contains scenes that are graphic in nature of abuse and violence. I would only recommend to a more mature YA reader.

Darwin's Children is book one.  The second book looks very interesting and I plan to read it.  Here is the info on the second book.

Unnatural Law 
by Natasha Larry 
Fantasy / Young-Adult

Book 2 Darwin’s Children Series

Seventeen-year-old Jaycie Lerner’s psycho-kinetic power surge is over, and her astounding powers are under control for the time being – sort of. As she struggles to maintain her humanity in the face of the awesome terror and responsibility of her abilities, she also yearns for the chance at a normal life – and a relationship with Matt Carter, the best friend she had to leave behind. But Matt’s got a few tricks up his sleeve, and he’s not about to give up on his feelings for Jaycie.

As Jaycie and her family grapple with the day-to-day routine of trying to keep their world together, Jaycie’s mother figure, Allison Young, endures a personal crisis of her own. The superhuman blonde possesses the physical equivalent of Jaycie’s awesome psychic power.

So evolved, at ninety-two she still looks twenty. But what good is extended life when everyone else around her is so fragile? With no one to share her unusual life, she’s a uniquely lonely woman yearning for the romantic love she sees all around her. But in a dream she gets her wish – and it quickly turns to a nightmare for everyone else in her life. The memory of a rose is all she can hold onto in the storm of obsession that nearly sweeps her away.

Things quickly turn deadly for the vampires, but the Dey-Vah Guard fairies refuse to acknowledge there’s an imbalance in the nature they protect. As the danger gets ever closer to Jaycie and her family, the race is on to find answers before a secret plot can destroy them all.

About Natasha Larry: 

Natasha Larry resides in Huntsville, Alabama with her daughter and fiancĂ©. She graduated from Tusculum College with a B.A. in History and is currently working on getting her certificate in education. Apart from writing, she is a self-proclaimed comic book nerd and urban fantasy junkie. Her poetry and short fiction has appeared in publications such as Writing Edge magazine and Escaping Elsewhere. Darwin’s Children is her first work of novel length fiction.

Author Web Site:

Books by Natasha Larry
Darwin's Children ( Book 1 of Series: Darwin's Children )

Twitter: @natashalarry

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In my Mailbox #41

In My Mailbox is hosted by the Story Siren.  Make sure to stop by her blog every Sunday to see the links of all the blogs participating in this weekly MEME.

A Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink - won from LibraryThing early reviewers
Precedent by Paula Wiseman - won from First Reads on Goodreads
Dark Eden by Patrick Carman - book tour from Once Upon a Twilight

Embrace by Cherie Colyer - received for upcoming blog tour

The Circle of Sorcerers by Brian Kittrell - LibraryThing member giveaway

The Burn by Annie Oldham - Received from Annie to review

Angel Evolution by David Estes - Li braryThing member giveaway

There is my week in books.  Let me know what you got.  Leave me a comment with your goodies or a link to your mailbox.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Review of Marian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly

Marian's Christmas WishMarian's Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review from Cedar Fort Publishing
Genre: Historical Romance

Description from Goodreads: Miss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she s certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected--- a young and handsome English lord.

My thoughts: I really needed a read that made me laugh, smile, and entertained me.

Marian is a spunky 16 year old who is a misfit for her time period. She doesn't conform to a docile lady. She has so much personality and says what she really thinks. Sometimes that honesty gets her into a bit of a bind, but I think it was refreshing. It also caught the eye of the Gilbert Collinwood. Leading men who see past societal expectations are always my favorite.

She is in the middle of a plan to foil the unwanted attention of a wealthy suitor for her older sister, Ariandne. Her sister is in love with the vicar, and doesn't care to save the family from financial ruin by marrying a truly loathesome man. Gilbert is himself and Earl and readily helps in Marian's escapades and encourages the vicar's attentions to Ariadne. The comic relief of their younger brother Alistair is wonderful.

I loved the easy and quick pace that Carla Kelly uses as her writing style. The characters are fun, but not perfect. She paints a great picture, where I could easily picture them in my mind. I really enjoyed this book and it is perfect for all ages of romance readers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

2012 TBR PILE Reading Challege

I overdid it on reading challenges this year.  I will admit that I haven't come close to completing most of them. I did however complete my goal of reading 150 books this year.

I received an invitation from Evie at Bookish to participate in the challenge that they have going on for 2012.  I think that if I can focus on only one book per month, I should be able to get it done.

Here are the guidelines:

  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
  2. As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
  3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  8. At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it'sunique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this monthFor each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
  9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
  10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL. 
  11. You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!

I came up with a list of books that I have purchased and want to read.  I even took a picture!  You can see my cockatiel Qwincy in the background.

Eden by Keary Taylor
Trapped by Michael Northrop
Haven by Kristi Cook
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Minor Adjustments by Rachael Renee Anderson
Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena
The Night of the Solstice by L.J. Smith
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
The Dark Elite by Chloe Neill
Dark Mirror by M.J. Putney
Divergent by Veronica Roth

If you are interested in joining the challenge.  Stop by Evie's blog and sign up.  You can sign up until December 15th.

Bending The Boyne: A Novel of Ancient Ireland ~ Blog Tour

Bending the Boyne: A Novel of Ancient Ireland by J. S. Dunn
Genre:Historical Fiction

Description from Goodreads: 2200 BCE: Marauders invade ancient Eire seeking copper and gold. The astronomer Boann and the enigmatic Cian must use all their wits and courage to save their people, the peaceful starwatchers, from the invaders' long bronze knives and scavenging ways. Tensions between new and old cultures and between Boann, Elcmar, and her son Aengus, ultimately explode. What emerges from the rubble of battle is a fresh take on Ireland's oldest legends.
BENDING THE BOYNE draws on 21st century archaeology to show the lasting impact when early metal mining and trade take hold along north Atlantic coasts. Carved megaliths and stunning gold artifacts, from the Pyrenees up to the Boyne, come to life in this researched historical fiction.

My thoughts:  I am very impressed with the work that went into this book.  It is about ancient inhabitants of Ireland.  This group of people were starwatchers and studied the heavens.  They carved the cycles of the solar system and season into rock and temples.  They were a peaceful people,

They must deal with Invaders from the sea who come to plunder the metal resources and leave destruction in their quest for precious metals.  The Invaders take natural resources from the starwatchers without a care to trade or whether or not it takes the food that they needed for the winter season.  The detail that J.S. Dunn explains the process of the early miners and the refining process of copper is very interesting.  You can tell that he did meticulous research on the Bronze Age.  In his Biography at the back of the book it states that he has a keen interest in the early Bronze Age Culture.  It also indicates that he researched and made friends in the fields of "archaeology, geology, and Bronze Age tool-making."

Boann is learning of the heavens from her father, his apprentice, Cian, has left the community to dwell with the invaders.  She is planning on taking her father's place when he passes and carving the history of the stars into stone.  It is a very meticulous and exact trade.  She is placed in a position to keep peace between her people and the Invaders by marrying their chief.

Cian watches and learns from them.  He then is placed into a position where he can help his people by learning from the enemy and knowing how they work.  

This historical fiction novel is well thought out and very interesting.  I personally love to find out about ancient cultures.  I was unfamiliar with the people of the Boyne.  They have left amazing mounds as a tribute to their culture that predated Stonehenge.  If you love historic fiction and ancient civilizations then I highly recommend this book to you.  

Excerpt taken  from PUMP UP YOU BOOK's Promotion Page:
 After he took a ritual sweatbath, the elders introduced him to Basajuan. The man stood like a bull with an incongruous broad smile.
Cian turned over the agreed weight of gold. Basajuan labored at hammering the gold into a wide flat sheet, Cian working nearby to make a new curved anvil. The great smith wanted the anvil for just this project. Cian chipped and polished small stones into rectangles which Basajuan used to smooth the sheet gold into final shape.
At the anvil, the smith fashioned a cape of gold. It spanned the chest and over each shoulder and upper arm, with its opening at the back of the neck. Basajuan bent over the anvil to finish the exceptional cape, embossing tightly spaced curving ribs alternating with curving rows of tiny raised bosses, until the gold appeared to be a flow of luminous textile and beads folding around the lucky wearer. Its underside, he would finish with reinforcing leather held with bronze strips.
This flowing gold cape astounded all who saw it; it was an unprecedented object.
“Who shall receive this cape?” Cian inquired as the smith tapped the final rows of dazzling embossed beading into the gold’s arcing surface.
“This? This cape of mine is going to Taranis, the chief trader at a great estuary north of here.” The master ran his hands over his delicate work. “I shall never see it again.” He stared with Cian at the gold treasure that would travel far away from his talented hands.
“Will this chief know where it is that you Basques obtained the gold for it?”
Basajaun considered this, wiping his brow. “What do you suggest?”
“Let Taranis hear that this gold came from the Starwatchers. Nothing more.”
Basajuan agreed with a wink.

Visit the Facebook page: 

There is a giveaway for this book happening at Goodreads right now.  Go to this link, and enter. It runs until December 3rd.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

In My Mailbox #40

In My Mailbox is hosted by the Story Siren.  Make sure to stop by her blog every Sunday to see the links of all the blogs participating in this weekly MEME.

I am happy to report another great IMM post.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi ~ won from Hooked to Books
Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon ~ won from darkangel88
Neversink by Barry Wolverton ~ Received to Review from Walden Pond Press

EBooks to review :
Emotionally Charged by Selina Fenech ~ won in a Library Thing Members Giveaway

The Demon of Ranaissance Drive by Elizabeth Reuter ~ won in a Library Thing member giveaway

The Forgotten Child by Lohrainne Eckhart ~ won in a Library Thing Member Giveaway

Coexist by Julia Crane~ part of an upcoming blog tour in November

There is my mailbox.  I hope you had a great mailbox as well. Leave me a commment or a link so I can check out your goodies!