Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Book Review: Spread Too Thin

                                                                                   BOOK INFORMATION:                                                                  

You know the drill. Somebody asks, "How are you?" and you respond automatically: "Crazy busy!" "I'm exhausted!" "Running too fast."

And it's no wonder! Between the breakneck speed of your job, the one million family activities on the calendar, the volunteer luncheon you signed up to host, the growing to-do list on your phone, and the workout you've been meaning to get to for weeks--if you ever stopped long enough to think about it, you'd be curled up in the fetal position on the floor.

Life these days. It's exhausting, isn't it?

Ellen Miller gets it--and she wrote Spread Too Thin just for you. Whatever stage of life you find yourself in, you don't have to live it frantically. Written for women who care deeply and extend themselves selflessly, this 90-day devotional offers an honest look at the obligations that have drained us and then point us toward a more abundant life with Jesus. Through personal stories, practical insights, and classic Ellen humor, you'll discover that it is possible to find hope--and even peace!--throughout your harried, overcommitted days.

                                                                        MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK                                                              

This is the devotional I needed. I really enjoyed this devotional. It was inspiring and fed my soul. It came at a time my life was so busy I couldn't think straight. When life came to a crashing point and I was forced to relax a little. I found this book to be medicine I deeply needed. The author is super real and inviting. She gives valuable inside into how to pause and learn how to pace yourself. This book also taught me how to say no! Which is really hard in the world we live in now. 

The book has 90 chapters, each containing one or two pages. So it is short and sweet for even the busiest person. The devotional is 3 months or 90 days  and is broken into four parts:

+ Part 1 - Heart Conditioning
+ Part 2 - Mind Games You Can Win 
+ Part 3 - Strength Training for the Long Run
+ Part 4 - Soul Searching for the Abundant Life

The daily devotionals have an inspirational quote to start out. Then you have some nice reading with follow up questions. There is a scripture to reflect upon, there is also a place to learn how to apply what you have read to your real life. 

I want to put a note that the author did use quite a few different biblical translations. I prefer the King James Version but I didn't feel like she picked bad translations or took anything out of context. 

Disclaimer:  I received a review copy from the publisher. Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Book Tour: Her Claim

Her Claim
Rebecca Grace Allen
(Legally Bound, #2)
Publication date: April 23rd 2018
Genres: Erotica, Romance
She’s no princess. He’s no prince. Then again, they never wanted a fairy tale.
Legally Bound, Book 2
Cassie Allbright takes no prisoners. A half Cuban ball-busting attorney, she’s too tough to admit what she wants in bed. But tough is the only way to cut it in her high-powered firm, and Cassie doesn’t need a knight in shining armor. And she definitely doesn’t need Patrick Dunham—an arrogant, chauvinistic man-whore with a knack for pissing her off.
Bound to the helm of his family’s publishing house, Patrick is shackled to a life of power and wealth he never wanted. Seduction is his only distraction—his nights of pleasure always temporary, because happily-ever-afters are not for him. But while luring a woman into his bed has always come easy, the high-and-mighty Cassie has never succumbed to his charms.
Their verbal sparring turns to foreplay, but instead of scratching an itch, it only whets their appetites. Patrick gives Cassie a taste of what she’s secretly craved, and Cassie’s dark desires stir up things Patrick never knew he wanted. Enchanted, he offers to fulfill her most dangerous fantasies. She agrees, with an iron-clad escape clause: her heart is off-limits, and so is his.
Funny thing about hearts, though. They have a way of ignoring the fine print.
Warning: This book isn’t for the faint of heart. Disclosure includes angry, vying-for-control hate sex and one steamy weekend in Miami. Ready? Break the caution tape and proceed.


Jesus. Cassie. Finally.

The reality of the situation slowed him down. She wasn’t someone he was going to be able to dodge after they saw this through. But she clearly wanted this, and he didn’t need to explain anything, since she knew his M.O. It was almost unsettling, how into this he was before giving his usual speech; a gentle, “Just so you know, I can’t stay the night” before things got started. It wasn’t the only sign he was way off his game. By the time he’d gotten this far with a woman, he’d clearly stated his intentions, and knew what she wanted once the clothes came off. Patrick didn’t have a clue with Cassie.

“Something wrong?” Her tone was low, taunting and tempting as fuck.
“You sure about this?” It was the only question he could manage through his lust-fogged brain. “I don’t know if…”
If that drink impaired your judgment. Or if you’re sure about fucking someone you hate.
She pulled back and studied him, blue eyes sharp and cautious. If she was doubting this and wanting to put the brakes on, she was smarter than him.
“I’m sure,” she said. “Are you?”
“Fuck yes.”
“Good.” He glanced outside to gauge how much farther they had to go. When was the last time he’d been this worked up on the way back to a woman’s home?
He knew when. But he wasn’t going there now.
The driver pulled up in front of her building. Patrick fumbled for his wallet, handed over some cash and yanked the door open. Cassie shimmied out and led the way inside. His pulse hammered as he hovered behind her, waiting for her to unlock the door. The second they were inside her front hallway, a narrow space that barely fit the two of them, he slammed the door shut and pressed her up forcefully against it. She dropped her purse and threw her arms around him, and then everything was a blur of hands and mouths. The sensation of her tongue gliding along his raced straight to his cock. Frantic, she went for his jacket, yanking it off him.
“Suspenders?” she asked, palming the elastic bands crossing his chest.
“What? I like the look.”
Whether Cassie liked them or not he couldn’t tell because she shoved them down and went for his shirt buttons like she couldn’t get him undressed fast enough. He wasn’t any different, all twisted up with sexual tension. The heat between them was insane. She wasn’t the cold woman he’d thought she was, and his mind was reeling instead of calculating his next move. He wanted every inch of her. Like he’d imagined for months. Had she always felt the same?
Shoving her backward, he held her still and growled, “How long?”
“How long what?”
“How long have you wanted me?”
Cassie narrowed her eyes. She opened and closed her mouth, then huffed out a breath. “Since April. Jack’s birthday.”
Her reply felt like triumph. Patrick grinned. “Me too.”
It wasn’t the truth. He’d wanted her from the minute they’d met. But she didn’t need to know that.
He attacked her again, his mouth on her lips, her jaw, her neck—hard, violent kisses set to bruise. He unzipped her skirt, loving the feeling of her warm skin and bombshell hips as the fabric slid to the floor. She kicked off her shoes, and he stopped kissing her long enough to hastily unbutton her blouse. He wanted to savor the moment of getting a look at her all disheveled in a black lace bra, but he was too worked up.

He needed to pounce. To touch and taste and bite. To get inside this infuriating woman, right the hell now.

Author Bio:
Rebecca Grace allen holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a double concentration in Creative Writing and Literary Comparison as well as of Master of Science degree in Elementary Education, both of which seemed like good ideas at the time. After stumbling through careers in entertainment, publishing, law and teaching, she’s returned to her first love: writing. A self-admitted caffeine addict & gym rat, she currently lives in upstate New York with her husband, two parakeets, and a cat with a very unusual foot fetish.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Book Review: Rain Is Not My Indian Name

                                                                                   BOOK INFORMATION:                                                                  
It's been six months since her best friend died, and up until now, Rain has succeeded in shutting herself off from the world. But when controversy arises around her aunt Georgia's Indian Camp in their mostly white midwestern community, Rain decides to face the outside world again—at least through the lens of her camera.

Hired by her town newspaper to photograph the campers, Rain soon finds that she has to decide how involved she wants to become in Indian Camp. Does she want to keep a professional distance from the intertribal community she belongs to? And just how willing is she to connect with the campers after her great loss?

In a voice that resonates with insight and humor, Cynthia Leitich Smith tells of heartbreak, recovery, and reclaiming one's place in the world.

                                                                        MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK                                                              

I have been trying to read more Own Voices story. I was so excited about this book. In a world where there are a million different children and middle-grade novels, it is amazing to me that we have almost no contemporary Native American books. It is very rare that a Native American novel isn't problematic so I went into this both excited as well as very weary. This book blew me away. Cynthia Leitich Smith is a wonderful storyteller and created one of the best middle-grade novels I have read in a long time. 

The book follows the cute character of Cassidy Rain Berghoff. She is a very relatable girl and I feel like most kids will be able to relate to her on some level. She just seemed real, she had real emotions. She was just dealing with life and trying to figure out what her purpose was here. She had hard times but she got through them. She showed real growth throughout this small book. 

This book tackles some pretty serious issues. It does this flawlessly and with so much grace. As the story unfolds we learn that Rain (Cassidy) is dealing with some pretty serious grief. She has lost both her mother and her best friend Galen's death. Her friend Galen has just past away and it brings up that pain she experienced when her mother died a few years earlier. To make matters worse her father is stationed overseas and she misses him. Only being able to exchange letters and audio recordings. She feels as if she is drifting away from her family. 

In the town that she lives everyone knows everything, and the women are catty and nosy. She is the minority here, and they don't seem to ever let her forget it. She is also trying to figure out where her heritage is going to take her. All this makes the book a beautiful coming of age story. 

This is a great story about what it feels like to be culturally mixed in a white community. I think for readers that aren't native American reading this novel will expose you to various microaggressions, cultural biases, and blatant racism, and will be an eye-opening experience. Don't get me wrong though, this book is so much more than just a book about racism. This book is really about a girls journey to healing. It is about grief and acceptance. It's about going through life after the death of a close, maybe even best friend. 

The only complaint I have about this book is that is pretty short, which makes things seem rushed at the end of the book. When a book is this short ( took me only three hours to read while watching a little one) you need to pack a bunch of detail and action into a few pages. This book just was boring in a few points which a book this short couldn't afford. 

Overall this was such an amazing book. 

                                                                                   AUTHOR INFORMATION:                                                                  

Cynthia's fiction is noted for its diversity, humor, lyricism, and mid-to-southwestern settings. Still early in her career, she has shown tremendous range and loves to experiment.

JINGLE DANCER, illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu, (Morrow / Harper-Collins, 2000)(ages 4-up) was a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award, runner-up for the Western Writers Association Storyteller Award, and Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies. It was also named to the Texas 2 x 2 List. School Library Journal said, “…a welcome addition to stories about traditions passed down by woman of a culture.” Book magazine named it among “Debuts that Deliver.” 

RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME (HarperCollins, 2001)(Listening Library, 2001)(ages 10-up) also was an Oklahoma Book Award finalist and earned Cynthia the title of 2001 Writer of the Year from Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. Kirkus said it was “tender, funny and full of sharp wordplay.” School Library Journal called it, “a wonderful novel of a present-day teen and her patchwork tribe.” Audio File adds,"Rich with sorrow and the longing for resolution in a life diminished by loss, the story of Rain's journey toward her own identity is captivating and exceedingly hopeful." And Bob Langstaff at WAMV AM/Amhert, VA noted, "It's kind of like a combination of 'Northern Exposure' and 'Party of Five'." The audio production was aired as the November 2005 Book of the Month by Red Tales, Aboriginal Voices Radio, The Earth 106.5 (based in Canada).

Cynthia also is the author of INDIAN SHOES (HarperCollins, 2002)(ages 7-up). Kirkus declared: "A very pleasing first-chapter book from its funny and tender opening salvo to its heartwarming closer. An excellent choice for younger readers." School Library Journal hailed: "a good book for any elementary-aged reluctant reader and a necessity for indigenous children everywhere." INDIAN SHOES has been named a Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies, a finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters Award, to the 2003 Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street College of Education; and to Choices 2003, Cooperative Children's Book Center. It also was named to the NEA Native American Book List and the 2004-2005 Crown List. Most recently, INDIAN SHOES was chosen as the featured intermediate title for "Read On, Wisconsin!" (an online book club for students sponsored by the state's First Lady) in March, 2005.

Cynthia's latest picture book is SANTA KNOWS (Dutton, 2006), a holiday title, co-authored by her husband, Greg Leitich Smith, and illustrated by Steve Bj√∂rkman. SANTA KNOWS is Cynthia and Greg's first book written together. The Horn Book Magazine named it among "Holiday High Notes." Kirkus Reviews called it "…a newly minted winner." Publishers Weekly cheered it as "fantastic," and The Miami Herald highlighted it among "Worthy Titles for the Holidays."

Cynthia's first upper YA novel is TANTALIZE (Candlewick, 2007))(Listening Library, 2008)(Walker U.K., 2008), a gothic fantasy aimed at ages 14-up. It’s one of the new books that signal an expansion of her writing from contemporary realistic fiction to also embrace fantasy. TANTALIZE also is her first title set in Austin, where she now makes her home. The Horn Book calls the novel an "intoxicating romantic thriller." BookPage says the book "will appeal to fans—both teens and adults—of Buffy the Vampire Slayer." TANTALIZE was named a Borders Original Voices Nominee in March 2007 and Chapters (Canadian bookstore chain) named it a Junior Advisory Board Pick. In addition, the novel was chosen for the 2007 Texas Book Festival and the 2007 National Book Festival. The Bloomsbury Review cheers, "Cynthia Leitich Smith is the Anne Rice for teen readers."

Cynthia’s latest YA Gothic fantasy is ETERNAL (Candlewick, 2009), a companion book to TANTALIZE.

Cynthia has published short stories, including "The Gentleman Cowboy"

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Book Tour: Sons of God

Sons of Gods
Arthur J. Gonzalez
Publication date: January 25th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult
Long ago, the wrath of the three God brothers marked the onset of the Great War. The other Gods watched in horror, until they, too, were forced to take sides. Their beloved Mt Olympus collapsed, ruin was brought to all Divine, and the Age of Darkness gripped the world in its clutches. But a group of Gods was wise, and before their impending deaths, they had crafted a pact, committing to one day rebuilding the Territories – the Heavens, Seas, and the Underworld. It would usher in the world they protected and honored out from its darkness. And from it would rise the new Greats: the Sons of Gods.
Cienzo has always had an affliction for metal and fire; never did he anticipate it would one day translate to wielding dormant powers. It is during a journey to fulfill a promise to his dying sister, that he is plunged into a dark and magical world, and where great responsibility is bestowed upon him.
Is he worthy of assuming the throne of the Territories? Can shattering steel and splitting fire change his mind?
Goodreads / Amazon


IT WAS HIM. Finally, after all the years she had waited, he had arrived. She felt the after-chills of his powers prickling over her skin. It was absolutely refreshing. She knew this moment would change him. She remembered how it changed herself. But she would ease him through the transition. They would become friends. It was their destiny. 
She watched him sleep in the bed. She could not help but feel touched by his love for his sister. Even after she had warned him of his abilities, he had chosen to think only 
of her. She had never imagined this being the situation when she envisioned the moment in her mind. How very sweet, indeed. He would make a wonderful king ... in time. 

She wondered if it was why her powers of persuasion hadn’t worked on him. She had felt its fingers caress his brain, prying apart his thoughts; but something inside of him had been stronger. Possibly love? No one had ever been so strong as to dismiss her abilities. A first for her. 

Author Bio:
Arthur J. Gonzalez is a Young Adult author of the Photo Traveler series. Originally born in Miami, FL, you can now find him living on the West side in Los Angeles. If he’s not drinking coffee or playing with his adorable Schnoodle, Sookie, then he’s probably enjoying a nap. Also, he forgets the lyrics to nearly every song.