Sunday, August 31, 2014

ProFoot Pedi-Rock Review


 
I recently got to try this new product from ProFoot called the Pedi-Rock and it has really helped me keep the bottoms of my feet soft and all of those little calluses off!
 
Main Features:
  • Gently removes calluses and dry skin
  • Flex-soft material conforms to the shape of your foot for smooth, soft skin in 60 seconds.
  • Easy-grip shape is fast and effective
  • Silicon carbide crystal surface can be used wet or dry
  •  

    I also loved the shape of the Pedi-Rock, which as you can see is almost shaped like an egg. The ergonomic stone shape is easy to grip and the flex-soft material conforms to the curve of your heel to help give you softer feeling feet in about 60 seconds. The reason it can work so fast is because it's about 3 times bigger than any other leading brand.

     
    It really is easy to use and I like that because in the past, I have dropped products because they were either too small to hold onto or they were so small that it took me twice as long to get done. The last thing I need in my life right now is things that take up time, especially with my RA and Fibromyalgia acting up! I need to get it done as quickly as possible so I don't get cramped or tired hands.  
     
    Everyone is different in how they like to use their products but I will tell you that it is easier for me and quicker to get the dead skin off if I wet the Pedi-Rock first because it softens up the skin so as it dries, it peels the skin off without any trouble. Just go softly until you figure out how much pressure you need to apply to get your feet the way you want them. I would hate for you to burn the bottom of your feet.
     
    About ProFoot:
    In 1987 Dr. Leonard Feldman, a chiropractor and successful entrepreneur, seized an opportunity to infuse the sleepy foot care devices category with innovation and variety. Long dominated by a single brand, foot care product offerings had become boring and stagnant. For years Dr. Feldman had created excitement in the direct mail industry with his unique devices. Strongly believing it was possible to bring the same kind of success to retail stores, he created the brand and the products that would give consumers more choice and value than was previously available. 
    That first year PROFOOT care offered just six items in only 50 stores-mostly small regional, independent drug stores. Today, after ten consecutive years of double-digit growth in sales and market share, it's the second largest brand in the category it helped redefined. Since we introduced the PROFOOT line in 1987, sales have grown dramatically every year as more and more consumers have become loyal PROFOOT customers! Today PROFOOT is the second leading brand in the retail foot care category.
    PROFOOT success has not been limited to this country.  
    Now with distribution in over 20 countries on six continents, we are emerging as a trusted brand worldwide.
    Connect with ProFoot:

    Mailing Address:
    74 20 Street
    Brooklyn, New York 11232
    Email:  cservice@profootcare.com
    Phone:  (800) 526-3668
    Contact Form | Facebook | Where to Buy |

    The winner of my Spa for Ma Giveaway Hop will get a Pedi-Rock just like the one that I just reviewed. You will love how awesome your feet will feel. The Giveaway Hop begins on September 1st and ends on the 15th. Open in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!

    Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from you. 

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

    Remains of Innocence Book Review


    Remains of Innocence
    by J.A. Jance
    on Tour August 2014
     
    Tour Info:
     
    Book Formats: Print Only
    Hosting Options: Review or Showcase
    Giveaway: 1 Physical Book for each Reviewing Host
    Series: Joanna Brady #16 (Stand Alone)

     
    Genre: Mystery/Detective
    Published by: William Morrow
    Publication Date: July 22nd 2014
    Number of Pages: 400
    ISBN: 0062134701 (ISBN13: 9780062134707)

    Synopsis:
    Sheriff Joanna Brady must solve two perplexing cases that may be tied together in New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance’s thrilling tale of suspense that brings to life Arizona’s Cochise County and the desert Southwest in all its beauty and mystery.

    An old woman, a hoarder, is dying of emphysema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In cleaning out her house, her daughter, Liza Machett, discovers a fortune in hundred dollar bills hidden in the tall stacks of books and magazines that crowd every corner.

    Tracing the money’s origins will take Liza on a journey that will end in Cochise County, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is embroiled in a personal mystery of her own. A man she considers a family friend is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee. And now there is the mystery of Liza and the money. Are the two disparate cases connected? It’s up to Joanna to find out.
    My Review:

    If you are a murder/mystery buff like me, then this book is going to be like the best dessert possible! It had me guessing all the way through the book as to what the heck was happening and who was doing all the bad things. It is filled with action and there is never a dull moment, which is what I like in a book. I don't like being bored to death because I figured out who the killer or killers are way too early in the book.

    This one has one shocker after another and the book keeps delivering surprises and also a lot of caring and compassionate people along the way that makes up who and what the town of Bisbee, Arizona is all about. Everyone pretty much knows what everyone else's business is so it's interesting to read what they all think of each other and how they feel as a side note to the two different homicide cases going on at the same time.

    I also loved the fact that they put several women in key positions, especially Joanna, who is the sheriff for the county and that she was overwhelmingly elected to boot! She was able to get to the bottom of both murders and by the time the whole thing was over and done with, it was truly amazing how much information was packed into this book and how many characters were introduced that helped make this such an interesting story.

    Without all the truckers helping Liza get from the East Coast to Arizona was a great twist to add to the story because it gives you a glimpse as to who and how truckers survive on the road. It also gave the story a more personal touch and made for some great background information to help Liza on her journey while she kept contemplating how to find her stepbrother and get his help.

    I really enjoyed this book and I believe if you love mysteries, this is one that you won't want to miss, plus J.A. Jance always has some of the best mystery books that I have read in the past and this one is now my new Best Favorite!

    Happy Reading!

    Author Bio:

    A voracious reader, J. A. Jance knew she wanted to be a writer from the moment she read her first Wizard of Oz book in second grade.

    Always drawn to mysteries, from Nancy Drew right through John D. McDonald's Travis Magee series, it was only natural that when she tried her hand at writing her first book, it would be a mystery as well.

    J. A. Jance went on to become the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family, and Edge of Evil. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona. 
     
    The author is giving one reader their very own print copy to read! You are going to love this story as much as I did. Open in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!

    Friday, August 29, 2014

    Double Blind Book Review


     
    Title: Double Blind
    Author: Tiffany Pitts
    Publisher: Booktrope Editions
    Pages: 280
    Genre: Action/Adventure/Humor/Sci-fi
    Format: Paperback/Kindle

    Synopsis:
    Delilah Pelham’s brother, Paul, is missing. She should probably be worried about that but honestly, he’s been in trouble since the day he learned the words “trust me.” In fact, if it weren’t for his roommate, Carl, she would gladly leave him to his fate. 
    Carl is a good guy, even if he’s a bit of a dork. Okay, a large slice of a dork. Possibly the entire cake. 
    But he wants to help, as do his gamer friends, which is how Deli finds herself in the middle of Hong Kong with the King of the Dorks, running from creepy guys with slicked-back hair and shiny black guns. 
    Back at home, Carl’s friends aren’t faring nearly as well. All they had to do was monitor the situation and feed Deli’s cat while she was gone. How could that possibly end in bloodshed? 
    There is an answer, of course, but no one ever thinks to ask the cat.
    Okay, I have to tell you that this is a mystery/drama book and there are some serious things going on in here but it also is a very humorous book, or at least it was to me.

    It was the way the author had Carl talking to himself and to Deli but the real funny parts of the story are about Deli's cat, Toesy. Carl is somewhat of a computer nerd and he and his friends developed some serious nanotech technology that can do some amazing things and Toesy unfortunately ate one of them while being babysat with one of Carl's friend while Carl & Deli where out looking for her brother Paul.

    Because of that one instance, it turns the rest of this story into something pretty darn funny, even though Carl and Deli are in real trouble and so is the babysitter. I don't want to give too much away but I can say the antics that the cat goes through trying to get help for the babysitter is hilarious and it really did make the book a whole lot more funnier to read.

    You will also laugh a good bit at Carl and his attempts to get Deli to notice him because he really doesn't have a clue and Deli is so independent that she doesn't catch on for quite awhile.

    It's a good adventure book with bits of romance, danger and some really funny parts in it that you will really enjoy!

    Happy Reading!
     
    About the Author: 
     
    Tiffany Pitts grew up in the Seattle area in a time when the Super Sonics were huge and Starbucks was just a store at the end of the Market. Tragedy struck early in her life as her family moved to New Jersey mere months before Bon Jovi’s “Slippery When Wet” album hit record stores. It took nearly a decade to wean herself off the hairspray. But Seattle called her back, so she went; eventually earning a degree in Botany (pronounced “Bar tending”) at the University of Washington.
     
    She made one more valiant attempt to leave the PNW after college by travelling around the country doing not much of value and making very stupid decisions. She is thankful every day that the internet was not a huge deal in those years. Then Seattle called again so she picked up and moved home where she spent many years being a scientist of middling talent in several labs that she absolutely did not blow up—except for that one time and everyone agreed not to talk about that any more.
     
    Now she divides her time between writing fiction and raising two kids who are wonderful but, for some reason, will not stop licking things.
     
    I thought one of you might really enjoy this book as much as I did, so I am giving away my print copy of Double Blind to one reader. Open in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    The Girl in White Pajamas Book Review



    When Officer Bud the PR face of the Boston Police Department is gunned down, his brother, Bogie McGruder, returns from Palm Beach for the funeral.

    Since the BPD is investigating the death of one of their own, Bogie believes his trip to Boston will be a short condolence visit and a chance to meet his secret love child.

    But interacting with a family fueled by alcohol and mired in scandals, Bogie is reminded why he does investigations for his Boston based company from a computer in Florida. Although Bogie wants to contact his ex-lover, Bailey Hampfield, he’s reluctant to do so since Bailey dumped him four years earlier.

    Knowing that Bailey had his child after she cut him loose, Bogie ponders how he can establish a relationship with the three year old daughter he’s never met. While he thinks about it, Bailey gets in touch with him and asks for protection. Someone is trying to kill her.

    By the time Bogie meets Isabella, it’s apparent that he still loves the mother and adores the child. Bogie tells himself that he’s not interested in the BPD investigation into Bud’s death, but he continues to be drawn into it while trying to discover who is attempting to kill Bailey. The investigations seem to parallel each other, then intersect and become intertwined. As the story develops, Isabella, a precocious child obsessed with martial arts, slowly becomes the focus.

    The underlying theme of this mystery is lies. Everyone seems to be running on lies and half truths. The only pure and true character is The Girl in White Pajamas.

    My Review:

    This book is filled with action and lots of lies and secrets right from the beginning page! I don't know how others like to read murder/mystery books or any kind of book for that matter, but I do appreciate the writer giving each person's take on what happened to them that day.

    So, in The Girl in White Pajama's you will get to hear several key players and what their thoughts are and from those intimate details I figured out that the killer was one of two people and I was correct. I love it when I can figure out who did it before the book actually tells me who did, but to me that is the fun part about reading these kind of stories because they cause me to really think and work out different scenarios in my mind.

    This is also a story about family, betrayals, hatred and love, but mostly about a couple coming to terms with decisions that they made three years ago that cost them both a lot of heartache and bad feelings that weren't really necessary because they never stopped loving each other.

    While this is a book about searching for the killer of a Boston cop, it is also a heartwarming story about the ones that Bogie loves and it will ultimately give him more than he could have ever imagined.

    Happy Reading!

    About the Author

    Chris Birdy was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    After graduating from high school, she did a four year stint in the Middle East.

    When she returned to the States, Chris settled down in the Boston area and became a true Bostonian by collecting college degrees while raising a family.

    For more than twenty years, Chris has been a member of the legal community performing investigative work for Boston law firms conducting business in rough housing projects and crack house neighborhoods.  Several years ago, while sitting in a courtroom with a client, Chris watched as a police officer was lambasted by an attorney.

    The attorney was defending a young woman who crashed her car into two other vehicles before she passed out drunk behind the wheel. The occupants of the other cars were seriously hurt and the cop, a former EMT, tried to assist the injured while waiting for ambulances to arrive. The attorney questioned the cop's every move, shredded his testimony and made him seem inept.

    Embarrassed, the cop returned to his seat beside me and muttered, "Everybody lies. The judges lie, the lawyers lie, the witnesses lie.."  Chris wanted to tell him not to worry that in about five years he'd be just as good a liar as they were. The seeds for The Girl in White Pajamas were planted in that courtroom.

    Chris lives outside of Boston and in Palm Beach, Florida with her husband.

    I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

    Monday, August 25, 2014

    The Healing Quilt Book Review


     
    I have a really heartwarming story about a retired older couple who move to Florida to retire but instead find something else that gives them new purpose in life. It's called The Healing Quilt written by Wanda E. Brunsetter, whom you all know writes some pretty amazing Amish stories!
     
    Synopsis:
    Retired Amish newlyweds Emma and Lamar Miller have decided to buy a winter place in Sarasota, Florida. But it wouldn’t feel like home if Emma didn’t take her quilting materials and offer classes. Wounded and hurting people have a knack for finding their way to her classes for some quilting therapy: Jennifer, a pregnant new mom; Mike, a charter boat owner; Erika, a wheelchair-bound teen; Kim, a waitress; Noreen, a newly-retired widow; and BJ, an artist facing illness.  
    And when Jan visits from Indiana, romance is also added to the class discussions.
    My thoughts:

    This is an amazing story of how one couple who starts a quilting class in Sarasota, Florida where they go because of Lamar's arthritis is getting really bad in Indiana where the weather is too cold for him. '

    Even though these people that they are helping are not Amish, they are seeing changes in all of their students, no matter what gender or age, they are unfolding before their eyes. Emma and Lamar see how God works in each of these people's lives and are blessed to know that in some small way that they helped so many people.

    They also have friends coming into town to see them from their Amish community and Star is very jealous when her father meets a woman named Kim and pays her more attention than he does her. She makes him decide between the two of them so even though it hurts him, he goes back home with Star, breaking it off with Kim.

    Kim is told by their pastor's wife when she finds out what she did that it wasn't fair for her to make her father suffer and that he deserves to be happy also. This is just one story of many that are in The Healing Quilt that you will read about and it will bring you great joy and sadness to hear and learn of some of these beautiful stories.

    Another great classic from Wanda E. Brunstetter, whom is one of the best Amish writers I have read!

    Happy Reading!
     
    About the Author: 
     
    Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of over 60 books with more than 7 million copies sold. Many of her books have landed on the top bestseller lists, including the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, CBA, ECPA, and CBD. Wanda is considered one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, and her work has been covered by national publications, including Time Magazine and USA Today. Wanda’s books have been translated into four foreign languages.
     
    Wanda’s fascination with the Amish culture developed when she met her husband, Richard, who grew up in a Mennonite church, and whose family has a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Meeting her new Mennonite sister-in-laws caused Wanda to yearn for the simpler life. In their travels, she and her husband have become close friends with many Amish people across America. Wanda’s desire to explore their culture increased when she discovered that her great-great grandparents were part of the Anabaptist faith.
     
    All of Wanda’s novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Many of her books are well-read and trusted by the Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs.

    Wanda’s primary attraction to the Amish is their desire to live a devout Christian life that strives to honor God, work hard, and maintain close family ties. Whenever she visits her Amish friends, Wanda finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties, which is in stark contrast to the chaos and busyness that plagues so many modern “Englishers.” Time and time again, Wanda loses her heart in the Amish life, and she hopes her readers will, too.
     
    Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.

    Through the Glass Book Review



    I have another thought provoking book that I wanted to share with you called Through the Glass written by Shannon Moroney.

    Synopsis:
    “One month into our marriage, my husband committed horrific violent crimes. In that instant, the life I knew was destroyed. I vowed that one day I would be whole again. This is my story.”

    An impassioned, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful story of one woman’s pursuit of justice, forgiveness, and healing.

    When Shannon Moroney got married in October 2005, she had no idea that her happy life as a newlywed was about to come crashing down around her. One month after her wedding, a police officer arrived at her door to tell her that her husband, Jason, had been arrested and charged in the brutal assault and kidnapping of two women. In the aftermath of these crimes, Shannon dealt with a heavy burden of grief, the stress and publicity of a major criminal investigation, and the painful stigma of guilt by association, all while attempting to understand what had made Jason turn to such violence.

    In this intimate and gripping journey into prisons, courtrooms, and the human heart, Shannon reveals the far-reaching impact of Jason’s crimes and the agonizing choices faced by the loved ones of offenders. In so doing, she addresses the implicit dangers of a correctional system and a society that prioritize punishment over rehabilitation and victimhood over recovery.
    My thoughts:

    This book will grab you in however way it will, because some will see it differently than others but my point of view is that Jason was so absorbed in what happened to him as a child and b what his own mother did along with her many boyfriends, that when he took these pills he was using, he blacks out and doesn't remember doing things.

    To his credit, he actually called the police himself when he realized what he had done and asked them to come and get him. I don't think a truly bad and someone who can't be saved would have done that. It showed great courage on his part to do the right thing once he realizes that he did something wrong and needed to make up for it.

    As for Shannon, his wife of only a month, I can definitely see where this might make her very angry and upset and hurt. I give her credit for standing by him as long as she did but facing reality and given the charges against Jason, they both realized something had to change for Shannon's sake.

    I am sure the decisions that they made were not taken lightly and it's sad that came down to what it did, I believe I would have sent him to a mental hospital for awhile and then maybe some prison time, so I am not totally sure of the verdict. For the victims family it was probably just and fair but Jason also was a victim who just really needed some physiological help and I am not sure you get that in prison.

    Happy Reading!

    About the Author:

    Shannon faced difficult choices as she searched for a path that would lead her out of trauma and toward a positive future. She was awarded a fellowship to complete a Masters' degree in England where she studied trauma and resilience. When she returned to Canada, she became active in the emerging field of restorative justice and began speaking out about her experience, sharing a raw and honest account of the impact that Jason’s crimes had on her professional and community status, as well as on her relationships with others and herself. In detailing her heartbreaking story of grief, violence, judgment and stigma, she also tells the story of a journey filled with compassion, restoration, forgiveness and hope. 

    Since 2008, Shannon has been addressing audiences around the world. Her memoir, Through the Glass, was published in Canada in 2011 where it became an instant national bestseller and nominee for several awards including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction. In 2012, it was published internationally. 

    Shannon now lives in Toronto, Canada, where she is remarried and the mother of twins. A volunteer with Leave Out ViolencE (LOVE), she is also a contributor to the international Forgiveness Project.  In 2012, Shannon's interview for CBC's The Current with Anna Maria Tremonte was named among the top 10 in the programs 10 years on air.

    Disclosure: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.

    A Death In Vegas Book Review


    A Death in Vegas

    by Christopher Meeks


    Book Details:

    Genre: Mystery
    Published by: White Whisker Books
    Publication Date: August 15, 2014
    Number of Pages: 176
    ISBN: 978-0-9836329-9-3 

     

    Synopsis:

    In A Death in Vegas, the president of BenBugs, a company that specializes in beneficial bugs for organic gardening, discovers a young woman dead in his Las Vegas hotel suite. She had worked as a sexy lady bug at his convention booth—and he had nothing to do with her death.

    While that’s being investigated, the FBI raids his booth on a money-laundering scam that he knows nothing about, either. Soon, the coroner doesn’t have good news. The police and FBI are against him—and his wife cannot be found. He flees to find the answers.

    My Review:
    This book is filled with action right from the get go with the murder of the girl who was dressed as a lady bug in this show that they had in Las Vegas. The only reason that Patton had let her stay in his room at the hotel was because she was complaining of being sick and having trouble breathing. Finding her dead the next day starts a storm that continues to set off explosive secrets and events from that point on.

    Bad luck seems to follow Patton when even his own wife doesn't trust him or seem to believe in him. So, he hires a lawyer and then decides to investigate on his own and that is when the action really heats up and the dust really hits the fan and lots of people are left shaken in the aftermath of all the secrets and lies that come to light.

    If you love murder/mystery type books that are filled with lots of action and the real killer is not apparent for quite awhile, then this is going to be a book that you will really love to read. It's a great who done it kind of book that will keep you in suspense until the very end.

    Happy Reading!
     
    PRAISE FOR A DEATH IN VEGAS:
     
    “With his tongue planted firmly in cheek, Christopher Meeks spins a charming and surprisingly sexy tale of murder, betrayal, and the importance of beneficial insects.”
    Mark Haskell Smith, author of Baked and Raw: A Love Story

    “I've never, ever wanted to go to Vegas. I don't care if what happens there, stays there. But Christopher Meeks makes me want to go so I can find out who done it. A fun, exciting read, with Chris's usual wonderful writing and great sense of humor.“
    Jessica Barksdale Inclan, author of Her Daughter's Eyes and How to Bake a Man.

    “Christopher Meeks had me at page three. I couldn’t wait to find out how Patton Burch was going to explain the naked body he woke up to in his Las Vegas hotel room – first to the cops and then to his wife.”
    Sam Sattler, Book Chase

    Read an excerpt:

    CHAPTER ONE
    Under the hotel’s sheets, hands on his chest the way the dearly departed lay, Patton Burch blinked into the void of the ceiling, staring past it to the night before. He smiled. After drinking too much the previous evening, he had still remained the gentleman—except in his dreams where he’d made love to Chatterley. Should he feel guilty? Probably.
    He turned. The other side of the bed was now empty. He’d slept so well, best in months, that he hadn’t heard her get up. The sound of the hotel’s shower, gentle as a rain, swept into the room. Chatterley’s clothes, which she’d slept in, lay as if hastily discarded on the floor. What if she was feeling better, amorous, even? He pictured her showering, comfortable in her body that men craned their necks for. The truth of the situation was that he was now sober, and she was young, vulnerable. The last thing she needed was an older guy taking advantage of her.
    Patton lifted the sheets and saw his boxers were on. He didn’t remember getting out of his clothes. He did remember how Chatterley had trouble breathing last night, and between the drinking and another shot from her inhaler—a bronchial dilator, she called it—she’d been feeling sick again. She’d thought that strange. “I sometimes get shaky after using it,” she said. “It’s like having too much coffee, but I’ve never felt nauseous like this.” She wanted to close her eyes for a few minutes, so he’d offered his bed. “Thank you,” she said. “I just need to relax and catch my breath.”
    That led to her falling deeply asleep on his bed. He let her be. He’d mixed himself another gin gimlet and watched a Star Trek rerun. Captain Picard was on a planet where he had a wife and family. He wasn’t a starship captain anymore but worked as an iron weaver, and no one believed him that there was a space vessel called the Enterprise. He came to love and accept his new family and let go of his past life.
    After that, Patton had been too tired and dizzy to stay up. He remembered checking on Chatterley in the bedroom, hearing her breathe steadily and easily. He’d thought he’d just lie on the bed in his clothes, but here he was under the covers. He wasn’t used to drinking, but it was Vegas. Ah, the fantasy of it all: a woman like her in bed with him. But he had to let her go. He loved his wife—and he wasn’t like his father.
    He could still smell grapefruit on the sheets. When he was a kid and even skinnier, for breakfast his mother would painstakingly cut each section of grapefruit halves for her family. Each pulpy chunk, cut from its heart wall, could easily be scooped up carousel fashion, one by one, and the sour sweet juice could be slurped. He loved that smell. In his dreams, there was something so pure and innocent about Chatterley’s small tight frame, naked and fruity, that their lovemaking seemed as fun as the first time he’d floated down a freshly snowed hill on a sled. In dreams, we get what we need.
    Chatterley was showering now. Maybe he should step out and let her have some privacy. He sat bolt upright. Was his wife due in this morning? No. Maybe tomorrow. He held his chest, feeling the pounding of his heart. Calm down. Nothing had happened. As he thought about the situation more, it wasn’t as if he told Tess everything he did anyway. He’d snuck out to a few afternoon movies over the years and never mentioned them, and she certainly never asked. People could never be completely transparent to their mates.
    The shower was completely steady sounding. He sat up, frowning. When someone’s in a shower, movement makes the sound vary. Wasn’t Chatterley in it? Patton turned his head toward the bathroom door. It was open. That’s why the sound was so loud. “Chatterley?” he said. No answer.
    He swung his legs over the side and stood. They hadn’t closed the thick curtains against the daylight, so the western light, filtered by rare cloud cover, gave the beachscapes on the walls color. Outside, the gentle clay-colored hills far to the west looked flat. Considering that nothing green grew naturally in this area, Las Vegas was an unnatural place for a Lawn and Garden show, but this show was the biggest.
    On her side of the bed on the floor, Chatterley’s purse was upside down with everything in it spread out, including a few coins, her friend Faith’s keychain, and a few panty shields. It was as if she had been desperate for something. Perhaps she’d merely kicked it accidentally. Then he saw her inhaler was in two parts: a small aerosol can and the blue plastic part that the can fit in. He picked up the can. It was empty. She must’ve been looking for another. Why hadn’t she awakened him to help?
    He strode into the steamy bathroom. “Chatterley?”
    The room had both a large whirlpool bathtub for two and a separate shower with a glass door. She wasn’t in either, though the shower was still on, pouring out steamy water. How could she leave it on? He turned it off, and the silence made her absence that much more profound. Did she step into the living room for a moment? Perhaps she’d put on a hotel robe and zipped to the pool. But without a suit? She could be topless in her panties, and the guests would love it. It was Vegas. She had beautiful breasts.
    He could hear the air conditioner, a wide unit wedged into the wall near floor level in the living room, with its fan on high. As he moved toward the room, he was freezing with only his shorts on.
    He stepped into the living room and saw her, near the Stratocaster, crouched naked on her knees before the long wide air conditioner. Her hands outstretched like a swimmer scooping the cool air. It looked erotic. “There you are,” he finally said, wondering about her intentions. He really couldn’t act on them. “Are you really that hot? Are you okay?”
    She didn’t move. Was she asleep? Her head, between her arms, rested on the thick carpet. “Chatterley?” he said and kneeled down to her level. He touched her to wake her, and his first thought was she shouldn’t have been in front of the air conditioner so long because her skin felt downright cold. He shook her. “Chatterley.” She splayed onto her side. Her eyes were open. She didn’t appear to breathe. She stared skyward as if frozen in surprise.

    Author Bio:

    Christopher Meeks has four novels and two collections of short fiction published.

    His most recent novel before this was the acclaimed thriller, "Blood Drama."

    His novel "The Brightest Moon of the Century" made the list of three book critics’ Ten Best Book of 2009. "Love at Absolute Zero" also made three Best Books lists of 2011, as well as earning a ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Finalist award.

    He has had stories published in several literary journals, and they have been included in the collections "Months and Seasons" and "The Middle-Aged Man and the Sea."

    Mr. Meeks has had three full-length plays mounted in Los Angeles, and one, "Who Lives?" had been nominated for five Ovation Awards, Los Angeles’ top theatre prize. Mr. Meeks teaches English and fiction writing at Santa Monica College, and Children’s Literature at the Art Center College of Design. To read more of his books visit his website at: www.chrismeeks.com.

    The Choir Boy Book Review


     
    I have a book to share with you that was very hard to read and it may not be everyone's type of book to read and I normally don't like to comment on such books, but if this book helps even one person avoid the path that Eric took, it will be worth the effort of my reading a book that took me longer to finish reading because I needed breaks from this book and the damage that it did to so many lives that Eric touched. It's called The Choir Boy written by Eric Schneider.

    Eric Schneider was one of numerous young victims in a major sexual abuse case that rocked Boston in the mid-1980s. Some of the boys committed suicide, but the tormented Schneider became a violent teenager, an arsonist, a drug dealer, and a criminal.

    He recounts in detail the incredible challenges he faced and overcame in a new book, The Choir Boy: Why I Turned to a Life of Crime with the Whitey Bulger Gang after Being Raped by My Scoutmaster.

    Schneider hopes that by sharing his struggle to lead a normal life, others can avoid abuse and the troubling consequences of a life of crime. He describes his outrage when the community he lived in refused to believe that a widely admired scoutmaster had been abusing young boys for many years and introducing them to drugs.
     
    Synopsis:
    Eric Schneider was one of the young victims in the notorious Boy Scout sexual abuse case that rocked Boston in the mid-1980s. It was big news at the time, but not until now have we heard from a survivor of that abuse (most of the others committed suicide). Never has there been a more riveting look at the long-term psychological effects of childhood sex abuse.

    By his teens, Eric was a drug dealer, arsonist, and small-time thief. By the age of twenty, he was a major crime figure, working under the umbrella of the notorious Whitey Bulger organized crime network. He specialized in armed robberies, with a focus on banks and armored cars transporting large sums of cash.

    Faced with over 200 years in prison, Schneider testified for the prosecution, sending his partners in crime to prison. He was given a new identity by the Witness Protection Program and he has lived in obscurity since the early 1990s. When his book is published, he will emerge from the safety of witness protection to promote the book.

    Schneider will take you on a journey that will expose you to some of the most frightening accounts of human depravity imaginable, regarding both sex abuse and organized crime. A lifetime struggle with sex addictions (high-end escorts preferred) and addictions to cocaine and alcohol complicate the story, with riveting accounts of his many attempts at rehabilitation. Add to that an unlikely love story, and you have the most powerful story of childhood abuse and crime since the 1995 bestselling memoir, Sleepers.

    All said, The Choir Boy is the inspirational story of a sexual abuse survivor who has been to hell and back, yet still has hope for the future. It is the author's hope that his story will help others who have suffered childhood abuse—and help the parents of children at risk of becoming victims of sexual abuse.
    Like I said earlier, it's a hard book to read and I am absolutely astounded that these people who agreed to adopt this boy would be so totally clueless that something was going on and even when the story broke years later, they still were so worried about their reputation that when counseling was offered to ALL of the victims of this scoutmaster, I believe there were 27 indictments brought against him, even then, they refused to all offers of help and said they would handle it on their own!

    I just can't imagine turning down help for a child who has undergone such a horrific thing and then to simply tell him to get over it and go on with his life and then refuse to talk about it ever again, I guess you can see where this is headed. With no counseling and no one to talk to because he didn't want people to know, he turns to petty juvenile things with other young boys but then it escalates into a bigger problem later on that gets the attention of the known Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger. He ends up doing things that would shock most of us but in reality he was calling out for help but no one heard it.

    He says he wrote the book to help others know there is a different path to take other than the destructive one that he chose and I hope that this book will indeed do that and that is the one reason I decided to go ahead and review it and post about it because it seems like child abuse is one of the most heinous things I can imagine and if I were a judge or jury member, I would either give the death penalty or life in prison with no chance of parole.

    It's a book that will enlighten you on one boy's pain and how he chose to deal with it and while some will not want to read it, I hope you will consider it so that it helps you recognize or pick up on some of the behavior of a child in distress who desperately needs help. The children are so ashamed, threatened by death or a loved one but still, there are signs and acting quickly can be a matter of a life ruined for life or one that survives in a good & positive way.

    Good Luck Eric on your journey & may you succeed with your new life now!
      
    About the Author:
     
    Eric Schneider is a survivor of childhood sex abuse, alcohol and cocaine addiction, industrial poisoning, and a life of crime as a member of the infamous Whitey Bulger organized crime syndicate. At one time a professional bank robber, he became a successful building contractor, is rehabilitated, and is in a loving relationship. He is affiliated with Childhelp, an organization for the prevention and treatment of child abuse.
     
    He lives in Southern California.
     
    You can purchase this book on Amazon.

    Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from you.  

    Thursday, August 21, 2014

    Cocktails for Book Lovers Book Review


     
     
    By Tessa Smith McGovern
    Sourcebooks
    July 2014
    ● ISBN 9781402293405
    ● Hardcover/ $11.99
     
    I have an interesting book to share with you that I normally don't read but the title grabbed me and I was intrigued to know what book lovers drank while they read books, so I reviewed it and it actually has some interesting drinks in there for those of you who like to mix drinks when having a party at your home and this book will provide you with some really good ideas. It's called Cocktails for Book Lovers written by Tessa Smith McGovern.
     
    Synopsis:
    The perfect pairing for anyone with a literary thirst! 
    From Jane Austen's little-known fondness for wine to Hemingway's beloved mojitos, literature and libations go hand in hand. Cocktails for Book Lovers blends these in a delectable book that will delight both readers and cocktail enthusiasts alike.  
    This irresistible collection features 50 original and classic cocktail recipes based on works of famous authors and popular drinks of their eras, including Orange Champagne Punch, Salted Caramel and Bourbon Milkshakes, and even Zombie Cola. So dip in, pick your favorite author or book, and take a sip—or start at the beginning and work your way through. Cheers! 
    Cocktails inspired by your favorite authors: 
    • Charlotte Bronte
    • Dani Shapiro
    • Dorothy Parker
    • Ernest Hemingway
    • F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Flannery O'Connor
    • Jhumpa Lahiri
    • Junot Diaz
    • Virginia Woolf
    • Wally Lamb
    • And 40 more!
    Here is a hint of some of the recipes that you will find in this very interesting take on making cocktails whether for yourself or for friends you have invited over for a dinner party or any kind of party!

    There are plenty of other recipes in this amazing little book that should help you out in any kind of situation. I know I wouldn't know how to make any of these drinks myself so this book will come in handy when and if I ever needed to put on a grand party with some new and exciting drinks to go along with either a dinner or just some desserts!

    ● “Heathcliff’s Crush” and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
    Watch out Cathy Earnshaw! Heathcliff’s got a new love. Read this tumultuous romance with a tantalizing    Madeira, vodka, and Elderflower Presse cocktail in hand. Obsession guaranteed. 

    ● “The Yellow Tonic” and The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman The wrong wallpaper can make anyone crazy. Keep book-club night and your living room Feng-shui by relegating the sunshine yellow to this simple and delicious blend of lemon vodka, orange juice, and lemon sherbet.

    ●  “Papi’s Rum Punch” and This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz Papi and Miguel enjoy Bermúdez rum, and now it’s your turn. This refreshing summer cocktail combines light and aged rum, orange, mango, and pineapple juice.

    ● “Beer Margarita” and The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick Kick off your ball-room dancing shoes and enjoy this entertaining contemporary novel which was the basis for an Oscar winning film… and an unbeatable beer margarita combo.

    ●  “Frankenstein’s Berry Punch” and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley One of Victor Frankenstien’s more successful experiments: Pimm’s No. 1, and lemon/lime soda over ice cubes into a tall glass with fruit and mint. 

    About the Author:

    Tessa Smith-McGovern is an award-winning writer, and founder, host, and executive producer of BookGirlTV, a popular online video series for book clubs. She teaches Writing for Digital Media at Sarah Lawrence College in New York.

    Purchase your copy on Amazon.
     
    Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from you.  

    The Agben School Book Review


     
    Title: The Agben School
    Author: Jo Sparkes
    Publisher: Oscar Press
    Pages: 384
    Genre: Fantasy
    Format: Paperback

    Synopsis:
    Agben had stood for a thousand years. A mysterious school housing more than students, it was the seat of the powerful Women of Agben, and the center for harnessing the potency of herbs. Few knew all that transpired within the walls. 
    And now Marra stood at its gate. 
    Friends and support stripped from her, the fragile life she’d built for herself now lay in tatters. And the source of this evil hunted her like a deer culled from the herd. 
    The gateway before her was her only hope. 
    For as the city itself crumbled, all depended not on a prince trying to save his people, nor the valiant men who’d brought them this far. 
    Everything depended on finding a magic powder in the vaults of Agben itself. 
    Everything depended on her.
    My Review: 
     
    Just so you know, this is the 2nd book in the series of The Gamesmen, which the first one was called Birr Elixir, that I reviewed some time back. Of course, the way the books are set up, you can read this 2nd one without reading the first one and still get the gist of what is going on, but it would help you understand all the relationships between the characters better if you did read it.
     
    It is a lot smaller book than The Agben School because this one covers more ground and gives you a lot more details into the characters themselves and what they want.
     
    I love YA Fantasy books and this one is right up there with the best of them and I do hope you will grab both the Birr Elixir and The Agben School book and join in on the quest to help Marra as she tries to help all of her friends, especially Drail and Tryst. I am not sure from the books, which one she likes or even if she likes either one of them, but I am sure in the books to follow, we just might find out what Marra really wants other than to be the best potion & herb maker that she can be.
     
    The book is available on Amazon or read more about it on Goodreads or read the first chapter.
     
    About the Author: 
     
    A well-known Century City Producer once said that Jo Sparkes “…writes some of the best dialogue I’ve read.”  Her  body of work includes scripts for Children’s live-action and animated television programs, a direct to video Children’s DVD, commercial work for corporate clients. She won the 2012 Kay Snow award for her screenplay, Frank Retrieval.
     
    She’s written numerous articles for internet sites. As a member of the Pro Football Writer’s Association, she was a contributing writer for the Arizona Sports Fans Network, where she was known for her humorous articles, player interviews and game coverage. Jo was unofficially the first to interview Emmitt Smith when he arrived in Arizona to play for the Cardinals.
     
    She served as an adjunct teacher at the Film School at Scottsdale Community College, and wrote “Feedback  How to Give It  How to Get It” for writers, actors, and other artists.
     
    She has other books if you would like to find out about them, follow this LINK.
     
    Connect with her on her Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog | Contact |
     
    Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from you.  

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop**Closed**


     
    Welcome to the Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop!
     
    Hosted by Bookhounds and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
     
    Listed below are some books that I thought you might be interested in reading. All books are print copies. I tried to mix them up a bit so it would have something for everyone. Each title is also a link back to the original review if you need to see what they are about. Don't forget to follow the linky list below and enter to win some more books!
     
     
    1.)  Forced to Love
     
     
    2.) Murdering Lawyers
     
     
    3.)  Along the WatchTower
     
     
    Open in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone! 
     
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Murder Strikes A Pose Book Review


    Murder Strikes a Pose

    by Tracy Weber

    on Tour August 2014


    Book Details:
    Genre: Cozy Mystery
    Published by: Midnight Ink
    Publication Date: January 8, 2014
    Number of Pages: 288
    ISBN: 978-0738739687  
    Tour Info:
    Book Formats: Physical (very limited) & eBook
    Hosting Options: Reviews, Guest Posts, Interviews
    Giveaways: Available With Review + tour wide kindle giveaway!!
    Synopsis:
    When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.

    One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.
    My Review:

    This was an action packed little story that will both warm your heart and make you sad at the same time. Bella, the dog that belonged to George, is left all alone when George is murdered, so Kate has to find out who did this awful thing. She doesn't like Bella at first but she grows on her and good thing, too because one day Kate will need Bella in a way she never dreamed possible.

    There is also a love story going on during this time that will delight you because it offsets the sad parts of the story and makes one heck of an ending! If you love books that have some drama, thriller and romance all tied into one book, then this is the one for you!

    Happy Reading!

    Read an excerpt:

    I laid my body on the cool wood floor, covered up with a blanket, and prepared to die.
    Metaphorically, that is.
    Corpse Pose’s ten-minute rest always soothed my stressed-out nerves, and for once I didn’t feel guilty about the indulgence. My to-do list was blank, Serenity Yoga’s phone was silent, and I had a whole blissful hour between clients to do my favorite activity: practice yoga.
    Even my eclectic Greenwood neighborhood seemed uncharacteristically quiet, lulled by Seattle’s rare afternoon sun. The residents of the apartments above the yoga studio were off at their day jobs; the alcohol-addicted patrons of the block’s two dive bars slept off their Jim Beam breakfasts; the soccer moms shopping at next door’s upscale PhinneyWood Market purchased the day’s supplies in unusual silence.
    I wiggled my toes under a Mexican blanket, covered my eyes with a blue satin eye pillow, and inhaled deeply. The ooey-gooey smell of Mocha Mia’s chocolate caramel cake wafted from across the street and filled my nostrils with sweet toffee-scented bliss—my all-time favorite aromatherapy.
    Paradise. Simply paradise.
    I released my weight into the earth and silently coached myself, exactly as I would one of my students. OK, Kate. Feel your body relax. Notice the random fluctuations of your mind and—
    A vicious snarl ripped through the silence, startling me out of my catnap. I sat straight up, eye pillow falling to the floor with an undignified thump.
    What the heck?
    When had a dog fighting ring moved into the neighborhood?
    A dog fight was the only plausible explanation for the commotion outside. Bursts of deep, frantic barking were followed by high-pitched yelping, all punctuated by the peace-shattering sounds of angry yelling. The phrases I could make out confirmed my suspicions. This had to be a dog fight, albeit one-sided.
    “Control your dog!”
    “Get that vicious beast out of here!”
    And even a simple, “What the hell?”
    I closed the door between the yoga room and the studio’s lobby, hoping to block out the intrusive sounds. Snarls, shouts, and an occasional ear-piercing shriek continued to reverberate right through the wall.
    Undaunted, I imagined that the sounds were merely clouds floating across my mental horizon. Most of those clouds were dark and ominous, like the deep thunderclouds preceding a hailstorm. But every so often I heard a soft voice, more like the fluffy clouds of childhood summers. I couldn’t quite make out his words, but I could tell that the speaker was a man. From his tone, I assumed he was trying to calm beasts both human and animal.
    It wasn’t working.
    Neither, for that matter, was my attempted meditation.
    I’d obviously have to shift tactics.
    I tried drowning out the clamor with low, soft chanting. Then I increased the volume. But even as I belted out Om Santi, my favorite mantra for peace, I felt my jaw start to tighten. My fingernails bit deeply into my palms. My shoulders crept up to my ears.
    An entirely different mantra began pounding through my head: Don’t get me angry; you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
    A series of yelps and the words “I’m calling the cops!” zapped me like a cattle prod. I leapt from my mat and stormed across the floor, determined to put a stop to that infernal racket. I hurled open the door and came face-to-face, or rather face-to-snout, with the source of the commotion. Not more than five feet away from the studio’s entrance stood a paunchy, dark-haired man and the biggest, skinniest, meanest-looking German shepherd I had ever seen. Don’t get me wrong. I like dogs. I love them, in fact. It’s their human counterparts I could sometimes do without. But this frothing breast was no Rin Tin Tin. A long line of drool oozed from its mouth. Its sharp white teeth glinted in the sunlight, and its black wiry topcoat still stood on end from the prior scuffle. The dog was obviously rabid. I didn’t recognize the man standing next to the frightening creature, but I did recognize his activity. He worked as a vendor for Dollars for Change, a well-regarded local newspaper that published articles about homelessness and poverty while employing those same homeless individuals as salespeople. Ordinarily I would have welcomed one of their vendors outside my business. If nothing else, supporting the paper demonstrated yoga’s principles of kindness and compassion. But this was not an ordinary circumstance. I absolutely could not allow that disgusting dog to raise a ruckus outside my studio. The prenatal class would have a fit. Suffice it to say that pregnancy hormones didn’t always leave expecting moms in the best of moods. My moms-to-be liked their yoga practice. They needed their yoga practice. And they needed to be serene while doing it. If a noisy dog fight disturbed their peaceful experience, I’d be the one getting barked at.
    Thinking less than yogic thoughts, I marched up to the pair, determined to put a stop to the chaos.
    “What in the world’s going on out here?”
    The human half of the dastardly duo held a leash in one hand, newspapers in the other. He smiled at me and said, “Sorry about all the noise. I’m George, and this here’s Bella. What’s your name?”
    “Kate Davidson, but—”
    “Well, nice to meet you, Kate. I’d shake your hand, but mine are full, so Bella will have to do it instead.”
    The vicious beast walked up and calmly sniffed my hand. I prayed she wasn’t about to ingest my fingers.
    “Bella, say hello!”
    Upon hearing her owner’s command, the giant hairy monster-dog immediately went into a perfect sit and sweetly offered me her paw. Maybe she wasn’t rabid after all. Just huge and ill-mannered.
    “Don’t mind Bella,” he continued. “She’s very friendly to people. She just doesn’t like other dogs much. She’d be fine if people kept their unruly mutts to themselves, but they think if their rude dog wants to play, Bella has to as well.” He shook his head in disgust. “I don’t understand some people!”
    I tried to interrupt, to tell him that his dog was the problem, but he didn’t give me the chance.
    “Bella and I are new to this neighborhood, and we’re supposed to sell papers near the market. I tried setting up by the north entrance, but there’s a pet store at that end. Pete’s Pets, I think it’s called? The owner was a nice enough guy and all, but selling there was a disaster with all those dogs going in and out. Bella wasn’t happy at all.” He shrugged. “So I guess we’re going to have to hang out here instead.”
    I bit the inside of my lip and considered my options. Up close, George wasn’t exactly the paragon of health I wanted standing outside my business. His friendly smile exposed yellowed teeth in need of significant dental care, and if the sharp, ammonia-like smell was any indication, neither he nor Bella had taken a bath in quite some time. At three-thirty in the afternoon, I could smell whiskey on his breath, and I suspected this most recent drink hadn’t been his first of the day. It would also likely be far from his last. I only knew one thing for certain: if George didn’t frighten my students away, his loud, intimidating, fur-covered companion would.
    I needed them to leave, but honestly, I didn’t want to say it out loud. After all, I taught yoga for a living. People expected me to be calm and collected at all times. I wasn’t allowed to be mean, or even irritated, for that matter. I hesitated as I tried to come up with the perfect words to make him want to move, if not out of the neighborhood, then at least across the street.
    Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately), one of my favorite students picked that very moment to walk up with her five-month-old Lab pup, Coalie. “Hey, Kate!” she said. “I hoped I’d run into you! Do you still have space in your Core Strength class tonight?” Coalie was as rude and friendly as Labs everywhere. She couldn’t stop herself if she tried. She ran up to Bella, wiggling her entire body with glee, and covered Bella’s muzzle in sloppy wet puppy kisses.
    Bella wasted no time. Faster than a 747 and stronger than a freight train, Bella pinned Coalie to the ground between her front legs, snarling and air-snapping on either side of Coalie’s neck. I heard the sound of canine teeth chomping together and imagined soft puppy bones shattering between them. My student screamed. Coalie yelped. George grabbed Bella’s collar while I reached in between razor-sharp teeth to pull Coalie from the jaws of death. The three of us wrestled the two dogs apart, but not before my student almost died of heart failure.
    “What’s wrong with you?” she yelled. “Keep that vicious monster away from my baby!”
    George quickly apologized, but said, “No damage done. Bella was just teaching that pup some manners.” He pointed at Coalie. “See, it’s all good!”
    Coalie, oblivious with joy, seemed unscathed and ready to dive in again. Tail wagging and butt wiggling, she pulled with all her might, trying desperately to get back to Bella.
    Bella had other plans. She sat next to George, glaring directly at that pup with a patented Clint Eastwood stare. Go ahead, she seemed to say. Make my day. My soon-to-be-former student ran off as quickly as her legs would move, dragging the still-happy puppy behind her.
    “See you in class tonight!” I yelled to her rapidly retreating back. I doubted I’d be seeing her any time soon.
    Yoga reputation be damned. I had to get rid of this guy.
    I put my hands on my hips and stood nice and tall, taking full advantage of my five-foot-three-inch frame. “Look. I can’t let you stay here with the dog. She’s obviously frightening people. You have to leave.” I paused a moment for emphasis, then added, “Now.”
    George stood a little taller, too. “Look yourself, lady. The last time I checked, I’m standing on city property. I have every right to be here. You don’t own this sidewalk, and you can’t stop me from making a living on it.” He glared at me, sharp eyes unblinking. “We Dollars for Change vendors are licensed, and no matter how much you don’t like us, the city says we can be here.”
    “There’s no ‘us’ I don’t like,” I replied, frustrated. “It’s your dog. And you may have every right to be here, but the dog is another story. What do you think Animal Control will do if I report a vicious dog attacking people outside my store?”
    George stepped back, pulling Bella closer. Seattle had the toughest dangerous dog laws in the nation. We both knew what would happen if I made that call. “You wouldn’t do that!” he said. “Bella’s never hurt anyone.”
    I planted my feet stubbornly. “Try me.”
    George gave me a wounded look and gathered his papers, shoulders slumped in depressed resignation. “OK, we’ll go. But I thought you yoga people were supposed to be kind.” He shuffled away, shaking his head and mumbling under his breath. Bella followed close by his side.
    “Crap,” I muttered, watching their slow departure. “Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap.” He was right. Like all good yoga teachers, I had extensively studied yoga philosophy and tried to live by it. The teachings were clear: A yogi should respond to suffering with active compassion. And George was clearly suffering, whether he realized that fact or not.
    Threatening to call the cops on George’s dog may have been active, but it wasn’t all that compassionate, to him or to Bella. I felt like a cad. My solution probably wasn’t what the teachings had in mind, but it was the best I could come up with on short notice. “Hang on there a minute!” I yelled as I ran to catch up with him. Out of breath, I said, “You’re right. I overreacted, and I’m sorry. How many papers do you have left to sell today?”
    George stopped walking. When he turned to look back at me, his eyes sparkled with an unexpected hint of wry humor. “About thirty.”
    The calculations weren’t difficult. I wasn’t completely broke—yet—but thirty dollars wasn’t a drop in the bucket. On the other hand, my Monday evening classes were popular, and I had to get this guy away from the front door. Mentally crossing my fingers that the toilet wouldn’t break again, I said, “Wait here. I’ll be right back.” I hurried back to the studio and grabbed thirty dollars from the cash box.
    “If I buy all of your papers, will you be done for the day?”
    “Yes ma’am, and that would be very kind of you.” He gave me a broad, yellow-toothed smile. “Bella and I appreciate it very much.” He took the money, left the papers, and wandered off, whistling. Bella happily trotted behind him.
    “Well, that wasn’t so difficult,” I said, patting myself on the back. “I should follow the teachings more often!” I went back inside and finished my considerably shortened practice. I chose to ignore the quiet voice in my head telling me I’d just made a huge mistake.

    Author Bio:

    My writing is an expression of the things I love best: yoga, dogs, and murder mysteries.

    I'm a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, WA. I enjoy sharing my passion for yoga and animals in any form possible.

    My husband and I live with our challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha and our bonito flake-loving cat Maggie. When I'm not writing, I spend my time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at my favorite local ale house.

    I am a member of Sisters in Crime, The Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and the Dog Writers Association of America.



    Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from yours.

    Pigeon River Blues Book Review


     
    I have a new book to share with you called Pigeon River Blues written by Wayne Zurl.
     
    Synopsis:
    Winter in the Smokies can be a tranquil time of year—unless Sam Jenkins sticks his thumb into the sweet potato pie.

    The retired New York detective turned Tennessee police chief is minding his own business one quiet day in February when Mayor Ronnie Shields asks him to act as a bodyguard for a famous country and western star.

    C.J. Profitt’s return to her hometown of Prospect receives lots of publicity . . . and threats from a rightwing group calling themselves The Coalition for American Family Values.

    The beautiful, publicity seeking Ms. Proffit never fails to capitalize on her abrasive personality by flaunting her alternative lifestyle—a way of living the Coalition hates.

    Reluctantly, Jenkins accepts the assignment of keeping C.J. safe while she performs at a charity benefit. But Sam’s job becomes more difficult when the object of his protection refuses to cooperate.

    During this misadventure, Sam hires a down-on-his-luck ex-New York detective and finds himself thrown back in time, meeting old Army acquaintances who factor into how he foils a complicated plot of attempted murder, the destruction of a Dollywood music hall, and other general insurrection on the “peaceful side of the Smokies.”
    My Review:

    This story is about a small town police sheriff who used to be a New York City cop for over 20 years and it was hard for him to settle down in this small town in Tennessee but he was adjusting when in blows a popular singer who had been getting death threats in the mail.

    It was Sam's job to make sure she stayed alive and he had quite a list of suspects to go through and hopefully he will find the killer before he has a chance to make good on his threats to the singer.

    He almost loses one of his deputies in the process from eating poisoned Chinese food that was delivered to the safe house, but because of his quick thinking, that deputy survived.

    If you love action packed stories that are filled with suspense, then this book will definitely be a winner for you!

    Happy Reading!

    About the Author: 

    Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.

    Twenty (20) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been produced as audio books and simultaneously published as eBooks. Ten (10) of these novelettes are now available in print under the titles of A MURDER IN KNOXVILLE and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries and REENACTING A MURDER and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries. Zurl’s first full-length novel, A NEW PROSPECT, was named best mystery at the 2011 Indie Book Awards, chosen as 1st Runner-Up from all Commercial Fiction at the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards, and was a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. His other novels are: A LEPRECHAUN’S LAMENT and HEROES & LOVERS. A fourth novel, PIGEON RIVER BLUES, is under contract to be published in the near future.

    For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series check it out HERE. You can read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.

    Catch Up With the Author:

      
    Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from you.  

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    Identity Crisis Book Review


     
    Title: Identity Crisis
    Genre: Detective
    Author: Jean Hackensmith
    Publisher: Inkwater Press
    Language: English
    Pages: 260
     
    Synopsis:
    When rumors of how Dan Hamilton actually died reach the Cheyenne Chief of Police, Brian Koski is forced to resign his position as captain of the Sixth Precinct and go into business for himself as a private detective. His partner? A mahogany colored Belgian Malinois named Sinbad. A former NYPD police dog, Sinbad is vicious when need be and reliable to a fault–unless a train goes by or there’s a thunderstorm, then chances are he will turn tail and run. 
    Brian’s first clients are Jeff and Melody Patten. He’s an explosives expert for a local demolitions company, she’s a stay-at-home Mom. Both are devoted parents to their young daughter, Angela. The problem comes in the form of one Collin Lanaski, an unstable ex-Air Force lieutenant and Angela’s second grade teacher, who suddenly starts insisting that Angela is his daughter—the same daughter who died in a tragic car accident four years earlier.   
    What does Collin base this incredible revelation on?  Dog tags and car seats.  Brian is convinced the man has suffered a psychotic break.  He’s delusional and dangerous, and it becomes the P.I.’s job to protect Angela from a madman.
    Wow! This was one action packed book right from the beginning! Although, I believed the man, Collin when he said that Angela was his daughter and not Jeff & Melody's. The stories didn't jibe with me and I got so infuriated with Brian and all of the others who took Jeff & Melody's side when it was plain as day that this man knew his daughter.

    My only thing was I couldn't figure out how come there was a dead child in the car with Collin's wife but it will all make sense in the end. But, I have to admit it was maddening at first how little faith no one gave Collin but jumped on Jeff and Melody's bandwagon.

    It's a story that will horrify you because it was so easy to take this child when she was barely three and change her identity and because she was so young, she didn't remember her real mother and father, especially him, because he was in the military and was serving in Iraq when his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident.

    But, I do have to give Brian credit for deciding to take a leap of faith finally and begin to question the story and after finding some evidence to back up Collin, things start happening pretty fast.

    If you love high drama and lots of action, then this will be the book for you to read!

    Happy Reading!

    About The Author:

    I have been writing since the age of twenty.  (That’s 37 years and, yes, I’m disclosing my age.)  I am the proud mother of three, stepmother of two, and grandmother to twelve wonderful children.  I lost the love of my life, my husband Ron, in November of 2011 when he died in an accident at work.  He took my heart with him and, for a time, my desire to write.  Time, as they say, heals all wounds, and I have again discovered my passion for the written word.  In fact, I find it strangely comforting to delve into the intricate webs that are my character’s lives and immerse myself in their existence instead of dwelling on my own.
     
    Next to writing, my second passion is live theater.  I founded a local community theater group back in 1992 and directed upwards of 40 shows, including three that I authored.  I also appeared on stage a few times, portraying Anna in The King and I and Miss Hannigan in Annie.  I am sad to say that the theater group closed its final curtain in 2008, but those 16 years will always hold some of my fondest memories.
     
    My husband and I moved from Superior five years ago, seeking the serenity of country living.  We also wanted to get away from the natural air conditioning provided by Lake Superior.  We moved only 50 miles south, but the temperature can vary by 20-30 degrees.  I guess I’m a country girl at heart.  I simply love this area, even though I must now enjoy its beauty alone.  I love the solitude, the picturesque beauty of the sun rising over the water, the strangely calming effect of watching a deer graze outside your kitchen window.  Never again, will I live in the city.  I am an author, after all, and what better place to be inspired than in God’s own back yard.
     
    Connect on her Website. 
     
    Disclaimer: Mary Bearden personally reviewed these products. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review, just a sample product. All opinions are mine and belong to me solely. My thoughts and opinions may differ from you.