Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Sacred Year Book Review

I have a new book to share with you called The Sacred Year written by Michael Yankoski.

The Sacred Year: How Contemplating Apples, Living in a Cave and Befriending a Dying Woman Revived My Life. 
One searcher’s honest and fascinating journey to encounter God, love others, and discover his true self through a year of spiritual practices. 
Frustrated and disillusioned with his life as a Christian, motivational speaker Michael Yankoski was determined to stop merely talking about living a life of faith and start experiencing it.  
The result was a year dedicated to engaging in spiritual practices, both ancient and modern, in a life-altering process that continues to this day. Whether contemplating an apple for an hour before tasting it (attentiveness), eating on $2.00 a day (simplicity) or writing simple letters of thanks (gratitude), Michael discovered a whole new depth through the intentional life. 
Stirred on by the guiding voice of Father Solomon, a local monk, Yankoski’s life is slowly transformed. Both entertaining and heart-wrenching, Yankoski’s story will resonate with those who wish to deepen their own committed faith as well as those who are searching – perhaps for the first time – for their own authentic encounter with the Divine.
My Review:

This book is about a who one day was asked when are you most like yourself?  It got him to thinking and along with the Hebrew word, "Selah", which means pause and think about it, these two simple sentences forced him to wonder about everything in his life so he set about to find out.

Follow him in his search along with his wife. They visited all kinds of ethnic races and they both learned that the one true thing that they all wanted was to love and be loved back. I think that is pretty simple and yet people make it so hard that some never experience that feeling.

We get so tied up in what Hollywood thinks love is that we don't really see true love when it's staring right at us. They want us to believe love is some tragic affair and that love is an elusive thing. Well, it's not and when you stop and really look around you, it will find you in the most sincere moment.

If you love reading books that help further your mind and educate you on how to make yourself a better person, this book will definitely give you some value tools to use in your every day life!

Happy Reading!

God is at work everywhere. And every-when. We only need to open our eyes and take the time to notice.

Michael Yankoski is a writer, aspiring theologian, and urban homesteader who dreams of becoming a competent woodworker, musician, and sailor. He received his MA in theological studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, is a (novitate) Oblate of St. Benedict, and has authored four books. Michael grew up in Colorado, feels at home on the Pacific Coast, and currently resides in Indiana, where he and his wife are pursuing PhDs at the University of Notre Dame.

Join Michael and #EmbraceTheSacred—seek out God at work in the mundane and attend to what God is doing in your life. Share those moments on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and make sure to use the tag #EmbraceTheSacred.

As a thank-you for ordering The Sacred Year, Michael is giving away a free ebook! Email your proof of purchase of The Sacred Year to, and you will receive A Straightforward Guide to Three Essential Spiritual Practices ebook for FREE! Learn more here.

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, September 25, 2014

Black Moon Book Review

Title: Black Moon
Authors: Becca C. Smith and F.M. Sherrill
Publication Date: July 7, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Shea Harper is forced to stay in boring, hot and dry Phoenix, Arizona for college. But once she meets the enigmatic yet positively egocentric Lucian, Shea’s life changes forever.

She finds out that she comes from a long line of descendants called Vessels. In her soul is the key to destroying an ancient prison protecting the world from darkness itself: Lucian’s father.

Up until now, Lucian has captured every descendant except Shea. With her powers awakening, all vampires want to drag her down to the pit. But Lucian is territorial. She’s the first female Vessel… and he’s convinced she belongs to him.

Saucy and tauntingly surprising, Black Moon captures the struggle between burning desire or denying the heart. This is a love story that will drain you dry.
Purchase your copy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | 

If you love reading about vampires then this is the book for you! It is a little different than the normal vampire stories because this one doesn't have any female vampires in it as the old boy's club is prohibited from turning females or that is what their master tells them anyway.

It's a good story and it is different in that Shea is what is called a Vessel, which could help end the biggest vampire out there out of his jail where he was put by the guardians of the light around 3,000 years ago and he has gotten quite bored and angry about the whole thing.

Shea has a protector she did not even know she had all her life but it complicates things because Aidan is actually her best friend and secret guardian who is suppose to help protect her and keep her away from other vampires wanting to snatch her to help free their master.

There is quite a bit of shocks coming for all three of these people, Lucian included. It seems the master hasn't told any of his follower's the whole truth and what I learned in the end was a shocker for sure! Lucian and at least one other vampire will be shocked to the bone to hear about this latest deception.

And yes, it looks like there will be at least another book coming for this story. I, for one, can't wait to read it because it is bound to cause a lot of trouble for all three of our heroes.

Happy Reading!

About the Authors:

Becca C. Smith received her Film degree from Full Sail University and has worked in the Film and Television industry for most of her adult life. In 2010 Becca published her first novel, Riser followed by the sequel, Reaper, in 2011, and the finale, Ripper in 2013. In 2012 Becca wrote the children’s novel Alexis Tappendorf and the Search for Beale’s Treasure. She is also the co-author of the teen graphic novel Ghost Whisperer: The Haunted. Most recently Becca released Atlas, the first book in a new urban fantasy series. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband, Stephan and their two cats Jack and Duke.

Connect on her Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |

F.M. Sherrill: recent citizen of earth. Plans on ruling the planet once she gets over the common cold. Or, F.M. Sherrill: time traveler. Decided to alter the space-time continuum by writing a novel, thus changing history slightly, which will eventually lead to the rise of a new human species.

But here it is. F.M. Sherrill is a novelist, A.K.A. an avid bullshitter; that's why she lives in L.A.. She's been writing for as long as her ancient mind can remember, devouring tales like an anemic vampire roaming the streets in hot pink heels, always thirsty for more. When she's not writing, she's making steampunk weapons, sewing giant plant-eater Mario plushes, making costumes for some film bloke or cosplayer, and sculpting/casting movie prop replicas while gardening in her urban apartment. Her favorite tools? A soldering iron, a blowtorch, a band saw, a sonic screwdriver, a replicator and an active imagination.
Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter |
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, September 24, 2014

Tavern on the Edge of Time Book Review

Title: Tavern on the Edge of Time
Author: Peter Durrach
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 366
Genre: Sci-fi
Format: Paperback

During the year 2125, former asteroid miners Max Cody and Elaine Zhou never get a moment’s rest. No sooner have they doused the flames of war between Earth and Mars or returned from their first trip to the Tavern on the Edge of Time when they are called upon to help fit out the fledging Martian colony orbiting Jupiter’s moon Callisto. In parallel, Earth extradites the war’s fomenter, ex-billionaire arms merchant Xanthus Rex, hoping to gain from his insights into Martian teleportation technology, but he manages to turn Earth’s resources toward private revenge against Max, Mars, and the Callisto Colony.  
In the meantime aliens are leaking into the Earth-Mars continuum from the Tavern, whose proprietor repaired and upgraded Max after accidentally injuring him during an asteroid mining expedition. Max’s enhancements help, of course, but when strange beings with the power to animate matter—the Assemblers—find their way to Earth, Max, Mars, and humanity are sorely beset. Worse yet, the Tavern itself is becoming unstable, its acquisitive host having overstretched his considerable powers. His prospecting for collapsed neutron matter has also opened portals between continua, inadvertently adding still more aliens to the mix. That’s when the Assemblers’ overlord arrives and Max finally meets his match.  
Oh, and Elaine is expecting their hybrid baby. Yes, you might say these are difficult times at the Tavern on the Edge of Time.
Purchase your copy on AmazonBarnes & Noble | iTunes | Discuss on Goodreads |
Okay, I am going to have to be honest and admit that I didn't know that this was book 3 of a series and that I did not read the first two. That was my fault and I should have paid more attention to that fact because it really would have made more sense to me if I had.
The trouble with Science Fiction books is that the first 2 books would have laid out the groundwork, without that groundwork, I wasn't able to understand this 3rd book at all. I tried, I really did but the way it starts, it assumes you read the first two books. I normally don't make these kinds of mistakes because believe it or not, I really love Science Fiction books, so I was really mad at myself for this mistake.
From what I can gather of Tavern on the Edge of Time, it would have been a great book continuing on in the story from the first two books. Because I didn't really know what these characters had done in the previous book, it was hard for me to follow their conversations in this book because some of the dialog assumes you already know what happened in the first two books. So, that is where I got lost and the story seemed to veer off for me.
But, if you did read the first 2 books, then this 3rd book will probably delight those of you who are Science Fiction buffs because the characters are all different types of species and from different planets. There is also a colony on Mars, which is what this whole story is about.
Evidently there was a war between Earth and Mars in the past books and much of what is going on in this 3rd book is the fallout from that war. Which is the last reason I got lost in this book because I didn't know anything about the war or the people involved and who did what.
So, I have mixed views on this book and wanted to explain why because I am not knocking the book, it really sounds like something I would have loved to be a part of, I just didn't know it was the middle book with more to come. Otherwise, if you have kept up with the whole series, this will definitely be a treat for you to continue following Max and Elaine and all of their other characters in this latest adventure that they are embarking on.
Happy Reading!
About the Author:
Peter Darrach has lived in New York, London, Prague, Munich and Vienna. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and a Master of Arts degree in German Literature, both from Pennsylvania State University. Darrach pursued a career in sales and marketing in fields as diverse as amusement parks and retail before moving to Europe in 1991.
Since then he has worked in Eastern and Western Europe, holding a series of executive positions with blue chip FMCG companies.  Most recently he has returned to the U.S. to pursue his career as a business coach and fiction author and currently lives in Florida.
Connect with him on his Website | More Books | 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.  

Two Empty Thrones Book Review

Title: Two Empty Thrones
Author: C.H. MacLean
Publisher: CNH Publishing
Pages: 242
Genre: YA Fantasy
Format: Paperback; Kindle

With her powers growing every day, fourteen-year-old Haylwen Rightad thinks she’s safe in the magical forest. And now that she finally has the friends she always wanted, what is there to be afraid of? 
But she’s not out of the woods yet. Old enemies rip through her beloved forest, threatening to haul Haylwen and her newfound friends away. Their safety shattered, Haylwen and her friends are suddenly at each other’s throats. Is the friendship she worked so hard for already ruined, or is there another, unseen enemy at work? 
Haylwen and her brother must unmask this mysterious enemy before they can fight it off. But even if all their enemies are destroyed, the King of the magic users will stop at nothing to ensure he’s still in power when the dragons take over the world. And he’s hidden an enemy where Haylwen would never think to look. 
If no one is what they seem, who can she trust?
My Review:

This was a really great YA Fantasy book to read. I was really thrilled that along with this book they sent me the first book also, One is Come. It helped set the pace for the second book, Two Empty Thrones and there will be at least one other sequel.

There are quite a few magic users in this story, some are good and some are not so good. Haylwen and Cadarn are good kids at heart but there are some who wish to exploit them and defeat them in a cruel fight over power that began long ago when their parents got married and were punished for doing nothing more than teaching others how to use magic.

There is no bad language and no graphic details which make these books a great read for young adults. So refreshing to be able to read a book without having to wince every time you have to get through bad language or too graphic parts. I can't wait to read the next book.

Haylwen heard a crash, the distant sound of breaking wood. She started walking, and then heard the sound of a chainsaw. She picked up the pace. Nacia was gesturing to the twins, who looked confused, then angry. They started running, sprinting past Haylwen. By the time Haylwen got to the farmhouse, the boys were standing next to Feabee on the porch, the three of them looking like thunderclouds.

Nacia ran over to stand with her mother, Topaz, just inside the door. They looked so much alike, one just an older version of the other, a mirror through time. Haylwen drifted to stand by her parents off to the side, while Cadarn stood by himself to the side of the porch. Everyone was looking down the path, to where the sounds of crashing branches and large motors were gradually coming closer. Feabee made an occasional gesture to the twins to let them know what the rest were hearing.

Haylwen blanched at a particularly loud crash, wincing. Her father looked at her questioningly. “They are trying to help, and it is hurting them,” Haylwen whispered. Her father held his questioning look for a moment. His eyes popped wide and suddenly narrowed as he heard what she’d said. He looked into the forest briefly and then turned and started to say something to Haylwen.

He was drowned out as a large, olive-green truck crashed through the last of the branches, leaves and twigs caught in its grille and hanging from the roof rack. It looked like some savage beast, a destroyer of trees. It revved its engine and then growled its way up the slope to stop halfway up. It backed off the dirt road onto the grass as a shiny black SUV quietly rolled out from the mangled tunnel of trees. After the SUV passed it, the truck threw itself in a roaring spin that threw chunks of green and mud behind it to block the road out. It sat there, engine still growling. The smell of diesel rolled up to the house.

The SUV pulled off the road and drove across the rolling lawn, leaving crushed grass in its wake. It stopped with the passenger side at the very edge of the farmhouse porch. The passenger door opened and a tall man in a charcoal suit stepped out, directly onto the porch.

With his blond hair chopped short, it took Haylwen a moment to recognize him. “Mr. Johansen,” she whispered, clutching her father and sliding behind him. Her ex-principal was here? A wave of fear washed over her, carrying memories of when he had grabbed herthe feel of his hands on her neck, the chemical smell of his car as he’d stuffed her in.

“You have nothing to fear from him,” her father said in a quiet, but stern, voice, tension rolling off of him.

Haylwen’s mother, Crystyn, leaned over, turning to look Haylwen in the eye. “He will never touch you again, I promise.” Crystyn stood, taking a couple of firm steps to stand a bit ahead of Haylwen and her father. Abrennin twitched away as Crystyn moved past him, like he had gotten a shock. He gave her a brief look of surprise and confusion, but she wasn’t paying attention.

“May I help you?” Feabee said. “You realize this is private property.”

Mr. Johansen took a step toward Feabee, a reddish hue seeping from him. Haylwen’s guts clenched. He was going to use magic to hurt Feabee!

Abrennin whispered something and then choked. Haylwen's stomach twisted more, realizing what her father’s choking meant. With me and Cadarn here, our parents’ Oath is in effect. Mom and Dad can’t use magic. Her parents might protect her from a physical attack, but what about a magical one?

Feabee shot Abrennin a wide-eyed look and he nodded once. She blinked, then her jaw muscles jumped as a green glow slipped around her. Haylwen squeezed her father’s hand, a question. He smiled thinly and squeezed back. Of course, Feabee could use magic!

“I have information that you are willfully transgressing against federal law,” Mr. Johansen said. Haylwen gave a little gasp as a red arc shot from Mr. Johansen, a striking snake, to bounce off Feabee's green shield. “You are harboring fugitives, aiding and abetting criminals.” Another red snake slithered along the ground, trying to work its way under Feabee's shield.

Feabee shook her head with a smile.

“You think truancy laws are less important than any other?” Mr. Johansen said loudly, standing a bit taller. “We must make sure the children of society are safe.”

“My paperwork is in order and has not expired,” she said.

“Perhaps, but it only lists three students,” he sneered.

Haylwen looked over to Cadarn, sharing the look of guilt and fear that this was about them. Haylwen felt her fear twist into anger. Feabee, Nacia, and the twins were going to get in trouble because of her! She looked up at her father, who just held her hand and shook his head slightly.

“Actually, I submitted updated paperwork, which was received two days ago,” Feabee replied.

“And I was sent to confirm the information was accurate. We have the right to do an inspection for classes equal to, or larger than, five,” he said.

“There is no such law,” Feabee retorted, eyes narrowing.

“Law? Oh, I guess you didn't see the express invitation to an inspection on the forms you completed?” he sneered. His red bubble pulsed. Several snakes struck as he said, “The forms you signed authorized the right of inspection with acceptance. We must make sure there is actual learning, to prevent child neglect.”

Feabee threw apologetic looks at Haylwen's parents. “Invitation? I didn't see…” Her green shield was weakening under the repeated attacks.

“You understand that the neglect laws include all students, correct?” The red intensified, and the attacking snakes grew in number. “Under the child abuse and neglect statutes, we have the authority to take all of the children into custody immediately,” Mr. Johansen said.

Haylwen watched as the green glow started to show tiny spots of black, gaps in the shield. Two more red snakes quickly shot out from Mr. Johansen, squirming against the black spots, trying to force their way in. Feabee looked resigned, trapped. Haylwen felt her father try to say something, but he tensed and choked.

“You have no authority here.” Haylwen gave a small gasp, hearing her mother's voice with such power. “You will take your polluting trucks and leave immediately.” Crystyn stalked across the porch to stand ahead and to the side of Feabee, making Mr. Johansen shift to face her. Haylwen glanced up at her father, who was breathing easier. His face was an odd combination of confused and proud.

Mr. Johansen looked over Crystyn's head, following where she had come from to see Haylwen and Abrennin standing there. He gave a little smirk, a twisted look of revenge.

“Ah, Mrs. Rightad. I see where your vandalizing daughter gets it.” Several thick red snakes slowly approached her mother. “If I leave, it will be with your truant children...”

A white glow erupted around Haylwen's mother. Haylwen squinted, slightly blinded as the white glow around her mother flared even brighter, engulfing the snakes, obliterating them.

“You will leave with nothing,” her mother said in a tone that sent shivers down Haylwen's spine. Her mother had locked eyes with Mr. Johansen. Though he was at least a foot taller, he seemed to shrink with each passing moment, while Haylwen’s mother seemed to grow. The white glow increased in intensity and size, washing like waves against the receding red of Mr. Johansen. “If you ever come close to either of my children again—”

“I did nothing, I have witnesses,” Mr. Johansen interrupted, momentarily straightening, the red pushing against the waves.

The white flared again, and Mr. Johansen took a step back. He had only the slightest hint of red around him now, flickering.

“You have nothing to withstand a mother protecting her child,” Haylwen heard her mother say, as another blinding flare of white pulsed out. Mr. Johansen took another step back, stumbling, withering even more under her fierce gaze.

Crystyn pointed her finger toward the SUV as another pulse of the white light washed over Mr. Johansen. “You and your agent's invitations are revoked!” Haylwen's mother nudged Feabee, who nodded once.

Mr. Johansen slid backward down the stairs, banging into the SUV, scrambling to open the door and get inside before being sucked away. He slammed the door closed, and the SUV's idling engine roared, tires spitting grass and dirt in every direction. Everyone was pelted, but Haylwen noticed not a fleck hit her mother.

The SUV bounced down the hill as the olive-green truck tore out of the way. The black SUV disappeared into the tunnel as the truck spun around, engine roaring, tires clawing the ground, making a new set of wounds in the grassy field. A cold shiver crawled up Haylwen's legs, tightening around her throat, as she looked at the ruined lawn. Even after the smell of exhaust had drifted away, the wounds were mocking proof they weren't safe. It was only a matter of time.

About the Author: 
To young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out.
“You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.
With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.
But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.
Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.
So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.
C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.
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, September 22, 2014

Behind You Book Review

Title: Behind You
Author: Carly M. Duncan
Pages: 208
Genre: Mystery
Format: Paperback/Audible
When a mysterious attack lands Heather in the hospital on the brink of death, her family rushes to her side. Through an inconvenient maze of shadowed memory and family secrets, Heather can trust only herself to discover if her husband, parents, sister or aunt tried to kill her.  
During the course of their own narratives, each character confesses to their various crimes of passion, envy and ignorance, weaving Heather’s mystery into an untraditional tale about seizing the opportunity to start over.
My Review:

This is definitely a different way to read a book. It takes each character in Heather's life and you will read and see first hand their accounts of what happened to them that day that Heather was attacked. It will also give you some background information on each character also, so that you may try to figure out who it was that tried to kill Heather off.

I found it to be quite enlightening because each person had a different take on the situation and none of them jibed with Heather's account. It was like everyone was reading the story the way that they wanted it to be, not the way it really was.

This family is definitely off it's rocker because of the relationships they have with each other. I thought my family was messed up, but this one takes the cake! I will admit, though, it was a very good story and the ending was something that I did not expect at all!

If you like drama and suspense that keeps you guessing right up til the end, this book is for you! I really enjoyed reading it because it did keep me guessing and that is something that doesn't happen very often and when it does, it leaves an impression with me for a long time to come.

Happy Reading!
About the Author: 
Carly M. Duncan is a television producer by day and a writer whenever there is time. Her first short story was published when she was in high school after a writing group prompted her to begin blogging before it was cool. Carly’s debut novel, Marcie, was released in 2013. Though she’ll forever be a California girl at heart, she now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two children and beloved Westie.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hidden in The Stars Book Review

I have a new book to share with you in the Quilts of Love series and this one is called Hidden in the Stars written by Robin Caroll.
A quilt holds the secret to a killer still at large—and who his next victim will be. 
Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21‑year‑old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer. 
Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?
My Review:

This was a really sad story to read because Sophia had no idea how many lies her mother had told her all her life. She didn't know she had a grandmother until her mother was killed and then to find out in the end that what killed her was something really dumb that she had been doing for years. And then it finally caught up with her.

But, while this story is tragic and sad for Sophie, in the end, she will find something more precious and lasting.

If you love reading mysteries that also include a romance, then you will love this book. I have been reading all the Quilts of Love books and if you have too, then you will love reading this one also, because just like all the others, this one is a classic to treasure!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Joyful Book Review

If you love reading Amish stories, then you will want to read this one called Joyful written by Shelley Shepard Gray.

A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series. 
Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together. 
When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.
Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong. 
Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her—or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth—or risk losing his chance at love forever.
This is a really good story about how sometimes love can go very wrong but for the right reasons. Of course, if Randall had explained the real reason to Elizabeth, he might not find himself in this situation.

When his brother gets married and moves out, it's all up to Randall to keep everyone going so he figures he doesn't have time to go courting Elizabeth, so instead he breaks her heart and that is where the trouble begins because he really does need her help with the household chores.

I, myself, don't think I could have been that forgiving, but Elizabeth did and while she's there at his house, she tries very hard to keep her heart from getting broke again.

There is another background story going on also, which is a nice surprise, because I like the stories that I read to have more than just one main focus person. So, you will also get to read about Judith & Ben and how they fit into the storyline.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

No Time To Die Book Review

By: Kira Peikoff
Pinnacle Books: August 26, 2014
Cost: $9.99
Pages: 440 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7860-3489-5

I have an awesome high drama/thriller book to share with you called No Time To Die written by Kira Peikoff that I think you will enjoy reading.

Someone is out for blood—Zoe Kincaid’s blood. She’s a 20-year-old trapped in the body of a 14-year-old girl and her DNA could hold the secret of immortality. Could it be the Columbia University researchers who see her as the key to fame and tenure? The shadowy figure, known only as Galileo, who is kidnapping the world’s best researchers? The Justice Department head who seems a little too intent on getting her alone? Or the maniac who just fed a leading scientist to his chimpanzees?  
Zoe knows that unlocking the secrets of genome could save her beloved grandfather, a retired physician and former Olympian who grows frailer by the day. Can she trust the rogue physician whose secret lair hides discoveries that might just save her grandfather? Heart-pounding twists just keep coming in Kira Peikoff’s stunning biomedical thriller, NO TIME TO DIE (Kensington Publishing; August 26, 2014.)  
Science has barely begun to unlock the secrets written in our DNA. Researchers are relentlessly hunting for the answers to chronic diseases, cancer, rare disorders and the biggest mystery of them all—aging—but at what cost? Bioethicist Peikoff asks the most troubling scientific question of our time in this taut thriller: when does medicine cross the line?
My Review:

This is really a quick action medical thriller about a girl who suffers a rare disorder but from that disorder, it has the potential to help people live longer lives by postponing the aging process. Zoe just wants to help her grandfather so he's not in pain anymore and she wants him to be around as a buffer between her and her parents. They are very strict to say the least because of her condition.

Zoe decides to go against her parent's wishes and she sets out for the adventure of a lifetime. Not all of it is pretty but she meets some very good friends along the way and even forms a crush on the son of one of the scientist's who helps her get away from her parents and into the secret compound that is being run by multiple doctors from just about every field of medicine.

There is no foul language or sexual situations so it's appropriate for young adults to read. You will be fascinated by the story and how brave Zoe is when facing all that might happen if something goes wrong and they do have several close calls. It's full of action and you definitely won't find this book boring which means if you are like me, I just had to keep reading so I could find out what happens!

Happy Reading!

Praise for No Time To Die:

“An intelligent, exciting tour d' force; the story is tight, the characters are fascinating, and the twists are terrific and totally unexpected... A crackling good read….Has the magic touch.”New York Times bestselling author Michael Palmer

“Breathless thrills and pace, but real substance too: a perfect mix of nail-biter and thought-provoker, from a writer to watch. Highly recommended.” –#1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child

“NO TIME TO DIE takes a terrific, original premise―what if someone literally could not age?―and turns it into a heart-pounding thriller that keeps its surprises coming to the last page. Fans of Michael Crichton will love this.”New York Times bestselling author Joseph Finder

“Peikoff spins a fast-paced thriller with sound cutting-edge science to explore the fundamental mysteries of aging--mysteries that, for the first time in history, we are now close to unraveling. NO TIME TO DIE may be fictional, but it vividly evokes the most exciting aspect of my research to date.”Dr. Richard Walker, Editor-in-Chief, Clinical Interventions in Aging

About the Author:

KIRA PEIKOFF is a writer based in New York City. She graduated with high honors from New York University in 2007 with a degree in journalism, after four years of various reporting internships: covering street crime for The Daily News, writing about Capitol Hill for The Orange County Register in Washington, D.C., reporting on business and technology for Newsday, and researching feature stories for New York magazine.

After completing her first book, Living Proof, Peikoff worked for several years in the editorial departments at two New York publishing houses, which gave her an invaluable inside look at the publishing process and the rapidly changing industry.

Peikoff is working on her third thriller, freelancing for a variety of major media outlets, and attending Columbia University's Master of Science program in Bioethics.

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.

Sulan: Episode One, The League Book Review

I have a YA Fantasy/Urban Fantasy book to share with you called Sulan: Episode One, The League written by Camille Picott that I think you will really enjoy reading.

Sixteen-year-old Sulan Hom can’t remember life before the Default—the day the United States government declared bankruptcy. As a math prodigy, she leads a protected life, kept safe from the hunger and crime plaguing the streets of America. She attends the corporate-sponsored Virtual High School, an academy in Vex (Virtual Experience) for gifted children.  
Beyond the security of Sulan’s high-tech world, the Anti-American League wages a guerrilla war against the United States. Their leader, Imugi, is dedicated to undermining the nation’s reconstruction attempts. He attacks anything considered a national resource, including corporations, food storage facilities—and schools. When Sulan witnesses the public execution of a teenage student and the bombing of a college dorm, she panics. 
Her mother, a retired mercenary, refuses to teach her how to defend herself. Sulan takes matters into her own hands. With the help of her hacker best friend, Hank, Sulan acquires Touch—an illegal Vex technology that allows her to share the physical experience of her avatar. With Touch, Sulan defies her mother and trains herself to fight. 
When Imugi unleashes a new attack on the United States, Sulan finds herself caught in his net. Will her Vex training be enough to help her survive and escape?
This is a pretty good book for a young adult or even yourself to read if you like YA Fantasy or Urban Fantasy type books. It really doesn't have any really foul language or sexual situations, so it's appropriate for a young adult to read.

This book hits on a subject that we have all been wondering about lately and that is if the U.S. dollar collapses and countries that we owe money to are demanding we pay the loans back to, so it's not as far off as you might expect. The book doesn't really give a time frame but because of some of the technology that they are using, it's a safe bet it's in the future, long after I am gone for sure.

The young people get caught in the middle because it's not safe to go to school anymore, which is a wild idea but seeing as how the government can't pay teachers, I imagine this wouldn't be too far off the grid. So, Sulan and all her friends do their schooling thru computers while sitting safely inside their homes. They appear like avatars while in the "virtual" school room and never see each other personally except for when they meet outside of school hours.

Sulan and her friends are gifted in different ways but Sulan is a genius at match and science, which makes them all targets for governments looking to finally take down the United States. The story is about unfriendly people trying to kidnap Sulan and her friends so that they can build things in the future that would be the downfall once and for all of the United States.

It's a pretty good story and it's filled with action from page one to the very end. Can't wait to read the next installment!

Happy Reading!

About the Author:

Camille Picott is a fifth-generation Chinese American. She writes science fiction and fantasy books with Asian characters and/or Asian settings. Camille grew up reading speculative fiction stories largely devoid of Asian characters and culture. This, coupled with a passion for her heritage, is the reason she strives to bring some aspect of Eastern myth, legend, culture, and ethnicity to all of her writings.

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.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stolen Dreams Book Review

Print Release Date: October 15, 2014
Audiobook Release Date: TBA
Well, it's finally here, the last book in the Cassie Scot series called Stolen Dreams! I almost hate to see it end but maybe once her and Evan have children, the author, Christine Amsden might bring it back. You never know, but it could just be wishful thinking!
Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have hated one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt.

When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood's grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie's father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot.

But things may not be precisely as they appear.

Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own? Conclusion to the Cassie Scot series.
The Cassie Scot Series:  
Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs.  
Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective (Cassie Scot #1) 
Secrets and Lies (Cassie Scot #2)  
Mind Games (Cassie Scot #3)
My Thoughts:

If you have read the other books before this one, you pretty much know all the characters involved. And if you haven't read the other books, then please check them out because it's a really good series and a great YA Fantasy/Paranormal story about a woman who loves a man her family hates for various reasons and they are off and on again so many times throughout this story.

Finally, in this last book, they have the chance to be together until a tragedy happens that I was not even expecting to both sides of the families.

Pretty soon it's clear to everyone that someone has used the feud between Cassie's family and Evan's family as a way to cover up what they were ultimately looking for. It's a reason that even I wasn't expecting because no one even knew that this person even existed or how he existed until a well known vampire enters the picture and provides some much needed answers to the right questions.

Will both families finally stop feuding long enough to capture their enemy who is bent on destroying both families?

This book will finally answer a lot of questions for everyone connected to Cassie. You definitely won't be disappointed and will hate seeing it end, just like me.

Happy Reading!

About the Author:

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations.

Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone. At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work.

Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

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, September 15, 2014

Expecting Book Review

I have a really unusual book to share with you that would definitely turn anyone's world upside down if it had happened to any of us. What happens when a mistake from the wrong sperm donor gets mixed up? The book is called Expecting written by Ann Lewis Hamilton.

A mom, a dad, a baby...and another dad. 
Laurie and Alan are expecting, again. After two miscarriages, Laurie was afraid they'd never be able to have a child. Now she's cautiously optimistic — the fertility treatment worked, and things seem to be different this time around. But she doesn't yet know how different. 
Jack can't seem to catch a break — his parents are on his case about graduating from college, he's somehow dating two girls at once, and he has to find a way to pay back the money he borrowed from his fraternity's party fund. The only jobs he is qualified for barely pay enough to keep him in beer money, but an ad for the local sperm bank gives Jack an idea. 
Laurie and Alan's joy is shattered when their doctor reveals that Laurie was accidentally impregnated by sperm from a donor rather than her husband. Who is Donor 296. And how will their family change now that Donor 296 is inarguably part of it?
I would say this was something that would be someone's worst nightmare come true, especially for the father of the baby. It's still the wife's baby but with another man when her doctor accidently uses the wrong sperm!

It is quite a shock because it gets worse. The other donor is from another country so there will definitely be tell tale signs that this baby is not from the father, which makes him very depressed, sad and mad.

Laurie actually becomes friends with Jack because she wants to know all about the man who donated the sperm so she could get pregnant and that upsets Alan even more. He decides to move out and considers having an affair.

Will they all be able to come to terms with what happened? After all, it's not the baby's fault that the mistake was made at the doctor's office. Laurie for sure loves the baby because she is the mother after all, no matter whose sperm they used. But, what will happen with Alan and Jack?

Don't miss out on this amazing story that tells of a journey between three adults and one baby and how they overcome great odds and find happiness.

Happy Reading!
About the Author: 
Ann Lewis Hamilton has written for film and television. Her first novel Expecting will be released in July 2014.

Ann Lewis Hamilton's television credits include, among others, Grey's Anatomy, Stephen King's Dead Zone, and thirtysomething. She co-edits a small online literary magazine, Hot Valley Writers, and writes a blog, Book Club for One. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia in a house full of typewriters - her grandfather was the editor of the local newspaper where her father worked as a reporter and her mother wrote for the society page. Ann's goal was to write and draw for MAD magazine, but instead she graduated with a BA from the University of Virginia and an MFA from UCLA. However, she still has a subscription to MAD.

When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time as a amateur astronaut. (Not really, but she has seen Gravity three times and would consider being an astronaut if she got to meet George Clooney.)

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.
I thought this was such a great story that I wanted to share it with one other reader. This is a paperback copy book. Open in the Continental U.S. only. Good Luck Everyone!

The Good Dog Book Review

I have a really amazing children's book to share with you called The Good Dog written by Todd Kessler and illustrated by Jennifer Gray Olson.

Join Tako on an adventure as he makes a brave choice and proves that heroes come in all shapes and sizes. 
When little Ricky Lee finds a puppy on the side of the road, he takes him home and names him Tako. Ricky's parents say that they will allow Tako to stay only if he is a good dog and follows the rules--or it's off to the pound he goes!  
Tako wants more than anything to be a good dog and stay with Ricky, but when greedy Mr. Prichard hatches a plan to put the Lee family's bakery out of business, Tako has to break the rules to protect his new family.  
Will he be able to spoil Mr. Prichard's plan and be a hero, or will he end up in the pound?
Purchase your copy on AmazonBarnes & Noble | IndieBound |

This is actually a very good book because of the beautiful pictures that are illustrated throughout the book. Even if your child hasn't mastered reading quite yet, the pictures alone tell a story about Tako and Ricky Lee.

It is actually a teaching story also about what to do when approached to do something wrong versus doing the right thing. All children will probably get that message but then the story also has a moral for older children to show them that some people might disguise their bad intentions by offering something that they may want.

Lastly, for much older children, the story will also gets them to thinking about how to handle using your own judgment even if it means breaking some rules. All in all, it's a great book for all ages because there is something there for each age group.

This is what is considered a Picture Novel and here is the concept behind the book:
Philosophy behind the format:  
When Todd Kessler began Blue’s Clues, the prevailing “wisdom” was that children had short attention spans and would never sit still for a continuous half-hour narrative. Instead, he believed that kids would happily engage in a long-form television program if the story and characters were compelling enough to hold their attention. Blues Clues’ international success proved his theory.  
The Good Dog aims to apply the same concept to publishing for young children. The prevailing “wisdom” in that industry is that longer format books will not hold a young child’s attention. Once again Todd believes that we are underestimating the intelligence of our children and their thirst for richer, more challenging stories.
 About the Author:

Todd Kessler is the co-creator and show runner of the highly successful children’s television series “Blue’s Clues”. A signature of Todd’s work is that it has always been developed with the input of actual children (and sometimes dogs and cats too). His artistic and innovative creations have garnered him the prestigious Peabody Award, seven Emmy nominations, two Television Critics Association awards, five Parent’s Choice awards, first place in the children’s division of the Toronto International Film Festival, and a New York Film Festival Cine Golden Eagle. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife.

About the Illustrator:

Jennifer Gray Olson is a children’s book author and illustrator based in Southern California. Her love of creating entertaining characters and the worlds in which they live led her into illustrating. Her work is created through a combination of ink and watercolor. She lives in Corona, Ca with her husband, three children, two cats and one very good dog.

More info on book at their Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest |

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. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Shawndirea: Chronicles of Aetheaon Book Review

I have a really awesome Fantasy book to share with you today that I really enjoyed reading called Shawndirea: Chronicles of Aetheaon, Book One written by Leonard D. Hilley II.

Often the smallest unexpected surprises garner the most demanding dilemmas, which proves to be the ordeal that entomologist Ben Whytten faces. While netting butterflies to add to his vast collection, he mistakenly sweeps what he thinks is the most spectacular butterfly he has ever seen into his net. Upon examining his catch, Ben is horrified to discover he has captured a faery and shredded her delicate wings into useless ribbons.

Devastated, Ben vows to take Shawndirea back to her realm, Aetheaon; but he discovers that doing so places their lives into immediate danger. To get to Aetheaon, they must pass through a portal rift deep inside the haunted cavern, Devils Den.

Once they cross the rift, Ben enters a world where mysteries, magic, betrayal, and power struggles await. He must adapt quickly or die because Aetheaon is filled with enchanted creatures and numerous races where chaos often dominates order. And since Shawndirea’s destined for the throne of Elvendale, opposing dark forces plot to prevent her from ever reaching her kingdom again. The faery's magic isn't enough to fully protect them, so he must trust other adventurers to aid them during their journey.
Purchase your copy on Amazon. 

I am a huge Fantasy fan because they are just so magical and because I can escape into their world without feeling like it's a part of my world, if that makes any sense. I especially love the ones about faeries, dragons and so on. So, Shawndirea was right up my alley!

Shawndirea is a Princess in her world of the faeries and she does have enemies that don't want her to become the Queen but the funny thing is, she doesn't want to be Queen either, so it's kind of pointless, but her enemies haven't asked her about her desires so they don't know this except for her mother.

She decides to visit our world to find her soul mate, disregarding the fact that she is tiny and humans are not. That is how she meets Ben and he agrees to follow her back to her world because he owes her for destroying her wings.

Once they get there, he has to change his name to Roble because faeries don't much care for humans and especially ones that come from our world. They start right from the beginning to have all kinds of escapades and dangerous encounters with demons and spirits and all manners of things that don't want them to return to Shawndirea's world.

There's a lot going on in Shawndirea's world and if they can't get back in time to help save the world that she lives in, things can get very ugly very fast. They meet and pick up several strangers along the way that end up being friends and allies. It's an unlikely group of allies, but together they can overcome a lot if they manage to stick together and help each other out.

This is really one of the better Fantasy books that I have read in awhile and I think you will enjoy it immensely! I can't wait for Book Two, because the journey is just beginning for them all!

Happy Reading!
About the Author:
Leonard D. Hilley II is a native of Ohio.  Born in Middletown in 1966, his family moved to Alabama when he was six months old.  At the age of three he was reading books.  By age eleven he wrote his first novel.

Leonard spent most of his youth exploring the bluffs, meadows, and woods in the Pleasant Hill community near Fort Payne, Alabama.  When he was ten years old, he viewed Dr. McKabe's insect collection and immediately his love for biology was birthed.  He collected and reared butterflies and moths for many years.

Leonard currently lives in the mountains of Kentucky with his wife and two children where he is busily working on more novels, a screenplay, and a children's picture book.
Connect with him on his Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |
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.