Friday, February 27, 2015

Health Update #2

I wanted to say a huge Thank You to all of you who have left such kind messages and prayers on my behalf. I didn't realize it had been this long since I posted on my health issues but actually, Mother Nature put a hold on quite a few things lately.
As for the MRI with the IV contrast, the Radiologist said that something is there but from the looks of it, it isn't acting like cancer. Never knew that something had to be doing anything to look like cancer, but anyway, I am suppose to go back in 3 months to have another one done to see if anything had changed. For whatever bizarre reason, (whether insurance policy or this doctor is not one of those doctors who likes to cut on people unless it is absolutely necessary).  So, we are going to be doing Mammograms every 3 months for awhile until they are satisfied it isn't anything weird.
Well, I take that back, I will do this next one and then I am going to demand that they do a biopsy because I am not going to keep going every 3 months for mammograms. Might as well find out and get it over with then to keep dragging this on. And I better not find out this is all about getting more money from the insurance company and me!!
As for the Gastro biopsy's that were taken, because the blizzard of sleet and ice caused so many tree's to fall which made ALOT of power lines go down, I didn't get to see my Gastro doctor either that day because his office is about 35 miles from where I live so, we weren't able to get out until the road crews came and sawed all the tree's and moved them off the road and we didn't get power or telephone service back until early Friday morning last week! So, we went without any power from Sunday night until this past Friday night!!!
I have rescheduled that appointment for March 10th and will also be seeing my pain specialist that day also since they both work not far from the hospital in that town. So, I really don't have any answers yet on anything but I am a little concerned that they haven't tried to call or send me a letter saying everything is okay.
I can tell you this, if this ever happens again, I will not be staying here in a totally electric home! I will find a hotel and stay there for the time being, even though we really can't afford to do that, I am not going to sit here and freeze again and eating crackers and peanut butter!
This whole experience on top of the health situation has tore my nerves up pretty bad. I am so exhausted all the time and I know that having Hypothyroidism and Fibromyalgia is probably kicking in also, but I don't ever remember being this flat out exhausted all the time. I have to take more naps now or I can't make it.
I fear for my blog but right now I just don't have what it takes to get things done. I know I owe you guys some books and I am actually getting them ready to be shipped, so while they are late, you will still be getting them if you answered my email in a timely manner. I actually have another one I need to pick a winner tonight also so I can get them all sent at the same time. So, just hang in there with me and I will get out what I owe everyone as soon as possible.
If I messed up any book blasts or promo's on anything, I am very sorry but with what all is going on right now, my plate is full and I get so tired so easy now that I am surprising myself with what I am able to get done before I have to lay back down.
That is all the new information I have so far which isn't much except I guess Charlie, our Yorkie, wanted to commiserate with me so he chewed on both sides of his back until he broke out and they had to give him some shots and now he is taking some antibiotics to help them heal. Can you believe that?  Poor baby! Who would have thought that a dog would want to feel bad right along with you?
Actually, I think since we didn't have power and I wasn't sure how much they could take, because it got down in the teens a few nights and days and he had a red Santa sweater that I put on him, so he may have had some kind of allergic reaction to wearing that sweater for a few days. I keep his hair almost like a buzz because he has such dry skin and if his hair gets the least bit long, he goes to biting it trying to get it off, so he goes pretty regular to have his hair cut or he would be one big mess!
Okay, I need to try and get a few more book reviews up before I call it a night but wanted to let everyone know how things turned out. Oh, I didn't get my Echo Cardiogram done either because they had no power either last Friday, so I will be getting that done this coming Monday, March 2nd, so I do still have tests that haven't been done quite yet!
Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers and I appreciate each and every one of you who send good thoughts my way. I welcome them all with hope and love.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Health Updates #1

Well, I have dreaded this conversation for quite awhile and kept hoping that my feeling bad would just disappear and be gone one day and I could pick up the pieces and continue to do what I love doing, which is reading books and giving my input along with some of the most interesting product reviews and giveaways that I have had the pleasure of reviewing and passing along to you, my readers.

I know most of you by now, know that I have been missing in action off and on the last few months and I really thought one magical day I would wake up and feel better and rush right in get caught up and everything would be right as rain.

Well, it looks like that isn't going to happen, not yet anyway, maybe sometime later on this year, but not in time for me to get all the things I need to catch everyone up on. When it became obvious that it was taking me weeks instead of days to read books to review, I knew I had a serious problem.

Back around 2 days before Christmas I had to call an ambulance to come and get me because my husband was at work and no one was here with me except Charlie, our Yorkie. I had called my Gastro doctor's office and at first they were going to call in some nausea meds that you don't take by mouth because everything I ate or drank didn't stay down. I had nothing in there but I was constantly retching clear green bile. I actually filled up 3 small wastebaskets full and was growing very weak and knew I would pass out if this kept up which is why I called the ambulance.

It took them about 6 shots of every known nausea medication but it finally succeeded. They never could figure out what caused it and chalked it up to the virus that was going around. Well, that is until it happened again last week but this time it was not clear green bile, it was dark brown muddy stuff with specks of black things mixed in. And I was on fire in my stomach and chest. I was afraid that stuff from my colon was backing up into my stomach, but the Gastro doctor assured me that if that was what was happening, it would smell very awful. I really didn't pay any attention as I was so sick and on fire so bad, it was all I could do to hold onto my sanity. This went on from 7 pm until 7 am the next morning.

I did call the ambulance again around 4 am because I knew my husband would have to get himself and his rider to work without them being marked down as inexcusable absence. He did come to the hospital as soon as he dropped the other guy off and told his boss where he was going. Back at the hospital, it took quite a few more nausea shots to calm me down and the dark brown muddy stuff kept coming. They got me stabilized but did not admit me. They suggested I call my Gastro doctor and let him determine what to do.

I ended up having an endoscopy done and what they found in my stomach was not pretty. I never knew this but you can get polyps in your stomach! He removed several to be sent off for biopsy and he also took pictures of the other side of my stomach which showed something like a hemorrhaged rash like poison ivy or acid burns. He also took biopsy's of those. What the doctor in the ER did not tell me (he said my blood work was fine) was that my Calcium levels were off the charts and that my sugar was also.

Who knew that you could make too much calcium? Well, the Parathyroid is responsible for that so he is retesting that to see if it is still high. I think they will have to come out if it is because it is evidently very dangerous. Also, he is re-doing the sugar test and some other blood work to see what else the ER doctor might have missed.

Also, during all this, every time someone took my blood pressure, it started at 210/100 and then lowered to 193/93 and it has been steady between 149 and 160. I have never had high blood pressure but it does run in the family and my mother actually died of a stroke when she was 54. But, she was bad to not take her blood pressure meds and she drank beer every day, so I am sure those factors didn't help. I am hoping that all this excitement going on is what caused it to be so high but we will be checking it on a regular basis to see if it goes down. I can't believe I am being hit everywhere all at once! Can't I get a break somewhere?

Now, comes the hard part. I knew back in the beginning of January that my mammogram came back abnormal but it has done that off and on for years so I felt no immediate rush and with all of this other going on and in general not feeling good, I let it slide. Plus, I admit it, I knew the deductible would kill us. But, with all the ambulance rides and so forth, I guess it's a moot point at this time. So, before I had the mammogram done again, I had them do the blood work first and then proceeded to the mammogram section.

Well, they scared me pretty bad, I have to admit. At first it was just like any other re-do of a mammogram, then she went to show the radiologist and he wanted more precise pictures and I have never had these before so this was new. Then, she comes back and says I have to have an Ultrasound done ASAP! They would not let me get dressed and I waited about 20 minutes while they hunted down someone who could do one.

While doing the Ultrasound, the Radiologist came in to supervise, which worried me even further, and they found what they were looking for. Imagine your breast as a clock you are facing. Between 11:00 and 12:00 is where they found the mass but to their surprise (because it never showed up on the mammogram) I also had a cyst somewhere in the near vicinity and I don't know if it was below or above because by this time I was getting a bit hysterical, although, I never let on to them that I was. I was cool as a cucumber and didn't react at all.

The Radiologist said I needed to have a biopsy done ASAP and that waiting a month or two was out of the question. So, he called my OB/GYN doctor and the next thing I knew, I had an appointment with a surgeon for today, February 4th, at 2:30. I don't know if this is just to talk and set up the biopsy or what. But, I am guessing they will want to do it as soon as humanly possible.

With all of this going on, I don't know if all of this is related or not but I find it all very strange that it's all on my right side, the side I have been trying to get people to listen to me for months. While I was retching this last time in the hospital, I kept telling the doctor and the nurses that it felt like I was getting Charlie horses in my back and right side of my body. I haven't had Charlie horses since I was in my 20's, so this is not something I am prone to have.

My right side is where a lot of my really bad pain starts and then it goes up my back and spine until my shoulders are in pain also. Who knows if all of this is related but this is going to sound weird, but I am finally glad that something is showing up and that I have everyone's attention because people were starting to make me think I was insane because I complained so much about my right side. So, while this might mean something bad for me, it is also a great burden lifted off of me because I feel vindicated and I am relieved that I am not crazy! Which is what a lot of doctors think, except for my Gastro doctor who has been with me from the beginning in 2003. He never gave up trying to find out why and now I know what I have always known in my heart, that my pain and sickness was not in my head and that I am not crazy!!

Lastly, to those of you that I owe reviews, whether they are products or book reviews, my future is uncertain until all these tests come back and treatments are started. I have not opened a good bit of them and if you would like them back, I can certainly send them back to you if you could send me a postage paid label. I wish I could just say I would send them back myself, but living on Disability has it's limits and I have no idea what medical costs I will be facing. Same thing with the books. I will gladly send them back if you want me to. If you haven't shipped out the books or products, please put a stop on them so it's one less thing I have to worry about.

I haven't decided on the book spotlights that I have signed up for in the future, but if it makes you a little uneasy as to whether I can get them up, please don't worry about hurting my feelings. I have another blogger who said she could help take those for me and put them on her blog so you won't miss whatever date you gave me, if that is acceptable. Just let me know what you would like done, and I will do my best to make it happen.

I truly hope that I don't have to close my blog down so you may see health updates from time to time and I will make that decision somewhere down the line.

Thanks to all of you who have followed me from the beginning and who entered my giveaways. I feel like I am letting you guys down the most but believe me when I say this, I thought long and hard on this subject for the last 2 weeks and it wasn't made lightly.

Here's hoping we see each other later on when my health issues are put to rest. And as always, pass along any good book titles that I can read to help keep my mind off of the scary things that might come down the road! I will definitely miss all of you.

Updated news from my visit with surgeons:

It looks like I won't know anything for another week or so. They want a breast MRI done because they will use a contrast that will light up every single bump and lump in there. They need that to show them exactly where to go for the biopsy. But, here is the kicker: Normally insurance companies won't pay for this because they say it's not been proven or it's not necessary!

Well, when a leading cancer doctor tells me it is necessary because they have to see it to make sure they get the right place for the biopsy, I believe I would prefer to tell the Health Insurance people to go fly a kite and when it's your turn to have breast cancer, let's see what you do!

She told me not to worry, that she has done this numerous times and it's basically a scare tactic hoping you will give up and pay for it yourself. She said she has yet to be turned down and doesn't intend to be turned down on this one either. Once they have that image, then we can schedule the biopsy and thank goodness, I will be given some happy medicine so I won't feel too much! That was what was really bothering me the most.
On another note, I have a frigging temperature!!! It was 100, so I stopped and got all kinds of things to help me get that number down to at least 99 and they will schedule it as long as it's no higher. Also, my blood pressure is not going away 154/92, so I guess when I see the heart doctor this coming Monday for my Echo Cardiogram, I will have to tell her so I can go on something I guess. I am also experiencing a severe sore throat that I think my brother gave me because he was sick recently. I have told people not to come around when they are sick because I catch things in a blink of an eye. My immune system is shot to heck and this was the last straw!

I need all of my energy and strength for what's coming down the road and I may have to ban everyone from coming until after we get this done. Hopefully, by Friday or Monday we will have a concrete date for the special breast MRI and I will keep everyone posted. Thank you for all of your prayers and thoughts. I really do appreciate the comments and they do lift up my spirits. Thank you all for taking the time out of your busy schedule's to leave a thought.

Third Update on February 8th:

Mike finally gad to take me to the Urgent Care on Thursday because I was still running a 100 degree temperature and my throat was really hurting pretty bad. He was also sick and so was my brother but both of them were ALOT MORE sick than me. My brother was blowing blood thru is nose and I told them I had to get better before next Wednesday because that is when they are going to do the Ultrasound for the right breast. Then, they will send that imaging disk to the surgeon so he knows exactly where to go. I will be given happy medicine the day of the biopsy so hopefully I won't  fell the needles. BUT, that was when we found out I still had the a 100 degree temperature and by the time the doctor came into the room, I was ready to pass out, so he made sure I was okay. It was all the poking around and I don't due well with needles, especially on an empty stomach.

After the MRI of the right breast is done, they will schedule the biopsy. I guess this is normal but it all seems to be running pretty fast for me. Is this normal to have everything go so fast? I am feeling better today but still very tired  and not sleeping well.

My other problem is that my Echo Cardiogram will be done on Wednesday so I will have to inform them of how high my blood pressure was been going on and I am hoping it's just because of all of the events leading up to this. I am keeping my fingers crossed on that one! I also have a dental cleaning appointment on Tuesday but will be rescheduling that because I have no idea how long as of this is going to be and with my Fibromyalgia and RA, I get so very tired easily, especially if I get in a panic mode.

If it  is all right with you guys, I am going to keep the same post and just keep adding updates, so that  no one will have to go looking for previous posts and  to piece them together.  You may notice a few days slipping here and there as my energy levels see to be all over the place while I am getting better.

Thanks so much  for all the encouraging words that have been left. Does anyone know a group that helps people in Metro Atlanta for dinner meals? I don't really need it for my self as don't really feel too hungry but I know Mike needs some help as he has to keep working.  It would be one less thing I have to worry about. Any and all suggestions  would be  deeply appreciated.

Well, here's hoping that come Wednesday that the lump is not too bad. Of course, that  means finding  a surgeon who is the best of the best! Good news! Blood pressure is down to 137, so at least something is finally going my way!

February 12, 2015

I was going to write these updates on different posts, then thought that if you hadn't read them from the beginning, you might be lost and not understand what is happening.  My husband and I both for some odd reason, both got sick last week! I didn't know even I was sick until we had met with the surgeon and they took my vitals and low and behold I had a 100 degree temp. So, I had to go to an Urgent Care since my Internist is so hard to get in to see and the surgeons said they wouldn't touch me with a 10 foot pole if I had a fever, so since last Friday I have been holed up in my room trying to wait out the flu which is silly since I had the flu shot and the pneumonia one also. So did Mike! I guess we got one of the bad batches.

Feeling much better as of this moment and I plan on keeping my 1:15 appointment today for the right breast MRI where they will inject some kind of contrast that will light up every nodule, bump or fatty tissue that is not suppose to be there. I am scared witless as I didn't want to know if they will be doing this by IV or if they shoot it into my breast so I guess I will know when I get there!

I don't think I had the same thing as he did as I never coughed or struggled to breath and he was coughing blood and blowing it, too, so who knows what the heck is going on anymore. Since they won't be using any happy drugs today, I told him to go on to work and if something should happen, they can get in touch with him. She did day that once they got the images from the MRI and knew where the mass was, then they would have me come back and then I will be getting the happy meds and would need a driver. I would think that might get scheduled some time next week as they are moving pretty fast on this.

My other concern was I had to re-schedule my Echo Cardiogram that was suppose to  have been done this past Monday but I was so sick and still had a fever, so they said no way would I come into the heart center and put other patients in jeopardy with more serious heart issues. So, that one got rescheduled for the 20th. I have to have those done every few years because of the leak that is in my heart and they need to keep an eye on it to see if it grows and then the wall that separates the right and left is not as rigid as it's suppose to be (which is actually a birth defect) and so because it's floppy, they say it could let blood cots pass through, so they need to keep an eye on that too.

I guess Mom must have passed all this on to me as it is all hereditary and no one else seems to have a problem that I know about yet. I dread that test also because they have to stick me with something and cause an air bubble to travel up into my heart and watch it on the screen and if the bubble gets through the wall, then that's not good because it means my wall is getting less weak. Oh, well, what can you do??? Sounds like if one thing doesn't get me, something else will, huh?

Anyway, I wanted to say Thanks so much to all  of you who still stop by and leave me such wonderful words of encouragement and when I am feeling down, I come by and read some of them and realize I am not alone in this world. I know my husband, Mike and my Yorkie, Charlie love me, but it's nice to know I have others I can talk to. Mike gets emotional and I am trying to keep everything light and easy for him because I know it's hard for him. I worry about him so I have asked all our friends to try and keep his spirits up and to act normal around him. He's a natural ham if you know what I mean and I need him to stay that way for his benefit and for mine because if he loses it, then I most definitely will not be able to put up a good fight and I want my father to be proud that I gave it my very best fight to the end, and really, that is about all you can really do, don't you think? Anyway, enough of the morbid stuff!

Still no word from the  Gastro doctor about all the biopsy's that they did from my stomach but I see him on the 17th, so I will just wait and see, so no news on that front yet either.

Please forgive me if I am not personally responding to your emails but I am getting like  800 a day and I am so very exhausted right now and it's all I can do to keep Charlie fed and make sure he is being taken care of  along with making sure that Mike is eating and taking care of himself.  Between that and taking my growing number of my growing number of  medications, I think I am doing a pretty good job of keeping it together.

I wish I could personally answer them all because it would  mean I am well on my way to being free and that would just make my day!! BUT, even with my pleas to stop sending me requests, am still getting over 900  emails and it's taking it's toll on me as my doctor's are getting concerned how high my blood pressure has risen. I am so sorry that I am going to have to cancel getting emails and newsletters for now but it's the only way I get them to stop.

I love reading my favorite ones and will not accidently stop yours too, but if that happens, you will  know ahead of time, that I am trying to get the spam and junk email out of the  way so I can finally get to my friend's emails because right now after reading about 50 emails, I have to stop and turn the computer off. The lights are causing me to misspell just about every word and its taking me about an hour to just post what I have just written to spell check the words and to separate them because they are starting to run together.

I will wait until I have some test results to share before I post more.

I did not know this at the time of my test nor was I explained about it afterwards. I found this out all by myself and I am quite upset!!
  • Evaluate the size and precise location of breast cancer lesions, including the possibility that more than one area of the breast may be involved (this is helpful for cancers that spread and involve more than one area)
  • Determining whether lumpectomy or mastectomy would be more effective
  • Detecting changes in the other breast that has not been newly diagnosed with breast cancer (There is an approximately 10 percent chance that women with breast cancer will develop cancer in the opposite breast. A recent study indicates that breast MRI can detect cancer in the opposite breast that may be missed at the time of the first breast cancer diagnosis.)
  • Detection of the spread of breast cancer into the chest wall, which may change treatment options
I did want to mention that I did have the MRI with contrast done today and thankfully, the girl who had to put the IV in, was an Angel because she found it on the first try and there were no passing out or any other antics that usually happen when nurses don't listen to what I have been told what to tell them by the IV Team of Nurses.

I have no veins apparently and the ones that I do have (on my right crook of my elbow only) and it sits right up under the skin but everyone wants to think they know best and try to go too deep and they blow it, but Thank Goodness, this beautiful young girl listened to me and I didn't even feel it when she got it in and we are all good to go.

So, the test is done and now comes the waiting part as to when they will schedule the surgery to see what kind of cancer it is or if it is even cancer. The tech did say while trying to find the little adhesive dot to put on my right breast, she found the lump and I guess for the first time so did I because it hurt like HELL, but I didn't tell her that. I kept that private dread to myself because I had been hoping it really wasn't there and the radiologist at my local hospital was just seeing things. So, no such luck!

On another note, not a peep out of the Gastro doctor, but I do go see him on the 17th for the results of the stomach biopsy we did of 2 different things, so this is really turning out to be a glorious February 2015 so far for me!! How about any of you? I must say I am getting a little tired of playing like the nice Southern gentle woman that everyone reads about in books or see's on TV shows or movies. I am just about ready to bust out my pipes and give everyone something to really wonder if I have gone stark raving mad and foaming at the mouth or did I take one too many of my medications or am I slap butt naked on booze!  Take your pick because it won't be long before these lungs start cranking out some things that I am getting mighty tired of holding back!
 Love Always~

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Mad Dog Justice Book Review

I have such a heart stopping thriller to share with you and if you love them as much as I do, this is definitely one book that you don't want to miss. It's called Mad Dog Justice and it's written by Mark Rubinstein.
Roddy Dolan, a surgeon, and Danny Burns, an accountant, are being hunted as prey. Whoever is after them, and for whatever reason, they are in the crosshairs of killers. Their lives are unravelling. They must hide, send their families away, and leave everything behind.  
As the jaws of the vise grow tighter, Roddy and Danny are not sure they can even trust each other. And the police are asking all the wrong questions.

The second book in the Mad Dog series, Mad Dog Justice is a harrowing tale of friendship and betrayal. From the tense opening scene to the frenzied climax, you will keep turning the pages to see what happens next.
My thoughts:
You will have to forgive me a little bit on this one. I have had it read for quite awhile but I have been sick it seems with one thing after another and my book reviews suffered as a consequence. I was able to read my books to keep the sickness and discomfort (might as well say pain) at bay, but the typing the reviews got the better of me.
This was such a great jaw dropping book that I hated it that I didn't give get to give the author his due when I first read this great book! If you are a true lover of crime/thriller/mystery books, then you definitely don't want to miss this one.
It has all the makings of a book that will leave you sitting on the edge of your bed wondering what is going to happen next to these guys who just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and just can't seem to figure out what is the best course of action to get themselves out of the pickle that they are in!
So, if you want a book that might keep you up all night wondering what these colossal messed up guys are going to do about some seriously bad guys on their tails for things that they didn't do and are still trying to find out exactly what did their dead friend got them into, then you will love this book as much as I did.
Just be forewarned: You won't be able to put it down and you will undoubtedly get the same reaction that I did (or at least I think you will) as to why they just didn't come clean to the cops and let them handle or sort out this mess that seems to get bigger each day!
Happy Reading!
About the Author:
Mark Rubinstein was born in Brooklyn, New York. He dreamed of playing baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers since his all-time hero was the Dodgers' first baseman Gil Hodges. Rubinstein played high school baseball and ran track. His love of sports led him to read sports fiction, and soon he became a voracious reader, developing an enduring love for all kinds of novels.

He graduated from New York University with a degree in business administration. He then served in the army and ended up as a field medic tending to paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division. He was so taken with these experiences that after his discharge, he re-entered NYU as a premed student.

He entered medical school at the State University of New York's Downstate Medical Center. As a medical student, he developed an interest in psychiatry, discovering in that specialty the same thing he realized in reading fiction: every patient has a compelling story to tell. He became a board-certified psychiatrist practicing in New York City.
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.

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart Book Review

Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Literary
Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 6, 2015
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 9780062267504

Already optioned for film, The Girl with a Clock for a Heart is Peter Swanson’s electrifying tale of romantic noir, with shades of Hitchcock and reminiscent of the classic movie Body Heat. It is the story of a man swept into a vortex of irresistible passion and murder when an old love mysteriously reappears. 
On an ordinary Friday evening at his favorite Boston tavern, George Foss’s comfortable, predictable life is shattered when a beautiful woman sits down at the bar, a woman who vanished without a trace twenty years ago. 
Liana Dector isn’t just an ex-girlfriend, the first love George couldn’t quite forget. She’s also a dangerous enigma and quite possibly a cold-blooded killer wanted by the police. Suddenly, she’s back—and she needs George’s help. Ruthless men believe she stole some money . . . and they will do whatever it takes to get it back. 
George knows Liana is trouble. But he can’t say no—he never could—so he makes a choice that will plunge him into a terrifying whirlpool of lies, secrets, betrayal, and murder from which there is no sure escape. 
Bold and masterful, full of malicious foreboding and subtle surprises, The Girl with a Clock for a Heart is an addictive, nonstop thriller—an ever-tightening coil of suspense that grips you right up to its electrifying end.


It was dusk, but as he turned onto the rutted driveway he could make out the perimeter of yellow tape that still circled the property.

George parked his Saab, but left the engine running. He tried not to think about the last time he’d been to this almost-hidden house on a dead-end road in New Essex.

The police tape was strung in a wide circle, from pine tree to pine tree, and the front door was plastered with red and white tape in an X pattern. He turned off the engine. The air conditioner stopped blowing, and George almost immediately felt the smothering heat of the day. The sun was low in the sky, and the heavy canopy of pine trees made it seem even darker.

He stepped out of the car. The humid air smelled of the sea, and he could hear gulls in the distance. The dark brown deckhouse blended into the woods that surrounded it. Its tall windows were as dark as its stained siding.

He ducked under the yellow tape that declared police line do not cross and made his way toward the back of the house.

He was hoping to get in through the sliding-glass doors that opened into the house from the rotted back deck. If they were locked, he would throw a rock through the glass. His plan was to get inside the house and search it as quickly as possible, looking for evidence the police might have missed.
The sliding doors were plastered over with police stickers but were unlocked. He entered the cool house, expecting to be consumed with fear once he was inside. Instead, he felt a surreal sense of calm, as though he were in a waking dream.

I’ll know what I’m looking for when I find it.

It was clear that the police had thoroughly searched the property. On several surfaces there were the streaky remains of fingerprint dust. The drug paraphernalia that had been on the coffee table was gone. He turned toward the master bedroom on the east side of the house. It was a room he had never been in, and he opened the door expecting a mess. Instead, he found a fairly neat space, a large, low-ceilinged bedroom with a king-size bed that had been made up with floral sheets. There were two low bureaus opposite the bed, each topped with a plate of glass.

Faded Polaroids were pinned under the grimy glass. Birthday parties. Graduations.

He opened the drawers, found nothing. There were some old items of clothing, hairbrushes, perfume bottles still in boxes, all with the dusty, floral smell of mothballs.

A carpeted stairwell led to the lower level. As he passed the landing by the front door he tried hard to keep the images out of his mind. But he looked extra long at the place where the body had fallen, where the skin had turned the color of not skin.

At the bottom of the stairs, he turned left into a large finished basement, musty-smelling and windowless. He tried the wall switches, but the electricity had been turned off. He pulled the small flashlight he’d brought out of his back pocket and cast its thin, dim light around the basement. In the center of the room was a beautiful vintage billiards table with red felt instead of green, balls scattered randomly across its surface. In the far corner was a high bar area with several stools and a large mirror engraved with the logo of George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey.

In front of the mirror was a stretch of empty shelf that he imagined had once held an array of liquor bottles, long since emptied and thrown away.

I’ll know what I’m looking for when I find it.

He returned upstairs and looked through the smaller bedrooms, both of them, searching for any sign of their most recent occupants, but found nothing. The police would have done the same, would have bagged as evidence anything that struck them as significant, but he had had to come and look for himself. He knew he’d find something. He knew she would have left something.

He found it in the bookshelf of the living room at eye level in a wall of books. It was a white hardcover book, slipcovered in plastic as though it had once belonged to a library, standing out among the other books, most of which were technical. Boating manuals. Travel guides. An ancient set of a child’s encyclopedia.

There was some fiction on the shelf as well, but it was all mass-market paperbacks. High-tech
thrillers. Michael Crichton. Tom Clancy.

He touched the book’s spine. The title and the author’s name were in a thin, elegant red font. Rebecca. By Daphne du Maurier.

It was her favorite book, her one and only favorite book. She had given him a copy the year they had met. Their freshman year of college. She had read parts of it out loud to him in her dormitory on cold winter nights. He knew passages by heart.

He pulled the book out, ran his finger along the deckled edges of its pages. It fell open at page 6. Two sentences were boxed by carefully drawn lines. He remembered that it was the way she marked books. No highlighter. No underlined passages. Just exact outlines around words and sentences and paragraphs.

George didn’t immediately read the marked words; the book had fallen open not by chance but because a postcard had been tucked between its pages. The back of the postcard was slightly yellowed with age. There was nothing written on it. He turned it over and looked at the color image of a Mayan ruin, standing untoppled on a scrubby bluff, the ocean in the background. It was an old postcard, the color of the ocean too blue and the color of the grass too green.

He turned it back over. “The Mayan Ruins of Tulum,” the description read. “Quintana Roo. Mexico.”

My thoughts:

Wow, this was some story! I didn't get pulled into the whole idea of Liana and George. I knew from reading so many of these type of books that her story was just too full of holes, but you know men, they believe what they want to hear just so they can have the sexual favors.

I figured he was headed for disaster and even after years go by and he finds her again, he still decides to give her the benefit of the doubt and tries to get her out of trouble with the bad guys. When will men ever really listen and learn to hear a snow job a mile away?

It's definitely a story full of adventure, thrills and lots of action if that is your type of book. I wished I had felt better when I was reading this as it would have really would have made my days a lot more fun, but because I was very sick with the flu, I think I missed some key evidence, so I will be saving this book to read again when I am in my detective mode and can really give it the once over in good fashion!

Happy Reading!

About the Author:

Peter Swanson is the author of The Kind Worth Killing, and has degrees from Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College. He lives with his wife in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is at work on his next novel.
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.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Growl Book Review

Title: Growl
Author: Ashley Fontainne
Publisher: RMSW Press
Pages: 315
Genre: Gothic Horror/Suspense
Format: Paperback/Kindle

My name is Sheryl Ilene Newcomb. And yes, my initials are S.I.N. A funny little piece of whimsical humor my parents found amusing when I arrived. 
Then, it turned out to be true. Looking back with wiser eyes now, my family and I concluded that the events leading up to my transformation started the summer I turned nine. But the day we realized there was a problem, and no turning back, was a week before I started my senior year at Junction City High. The day the fangs and claws appeared and the monster inside of me emerged. 
When mutilated corpses appeared near a pile of brush down by Caney Creek, everything changed. Because evil woke up and growled, its ominous rumblings heard by every living thing in Locasia County, Mississippi.| 
My thoughts:
If  you are a lover of YA Fantasy or any other type of horror/fantasy type of books, then this one will definitely please you! You will have to give me a little slack on a few of these new reviews as I haven't been feeling well while trying to read and get these reviewed. It took me a little longer than usual to get into the book, but not because it was a slow or bad book, but just because my mind certainly wasn't on the story.
But, once I was able to get into the story and away from my current medical problems, the book picked up and got very interesting. I wished I had been able to re-read it again with fresh eyes and mind because I would have loved it even more! It took me longer to get the grasp of what was going on because I wasn't my usual self but once I figured it all out, I was in for the long haul.
Sometimes, books are exactly what a person needs when one isn't feeling so great and needs to get lost in a story so unlike their real lives that it makes the day seem better and not so scary after all. Like this book, Growl, I could have been facing a lot worse things than what I am facing now, but thank goodness, I have great authors like Ashley Fontaine to take my mind off of the ugliness of my real world and put me in one that has nothing to do with me and just let's me get engrossed in the story and root for my favorite hero or heroine.
Whatever type of book is your favorite, I hope that when faced with some really sad news, medical nightmares like mine or just the blues, that you are able to reach for a book and get lost for a little while at least in something that has nothing to do with you and let yourself go into that fantasyland that this author has created for you, almost like they knew you might need it!
I don't know what her feelings are on this book, Growl, but it sounds like maybe, just maybe there might be a sequel coming on down the road, which would be awesome to read!
Happy Reading!
About the Author:
Award-winning and International bestselling author Ashley Fontainne is an avid reader of mostly the classics. Ashley became a fan of the written word in her youth, starting with the Nancy Drew mystery series. Stories that immerse the reader deep into the human psyche and the monsters that lurk within us are her favorite reads.
Her muse for penning the Eviscerating the Snake series was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Ashley’s love for this book is what sparked her desire to write her debut novel, Accountable to None, the first book in the trilogy. With a modern setting to the tale, Ashley delves into just what lengths a person is willing to go when they seek personal justice for heinous acts perpetrated upon them. The second novel in the series, Zero Balance focuses on the cost and reciprocal cycle that obtaining revenge has on the seeker.

For once the cycle starts, where does it end? How far will the tendrils of revenge expand? Adjusting Journal Entries answered that question: far and wide.

Her short thriller entitled Number Seventy-Five, touches upon the sometimes dangerous world of online dating. Number Seventy-Five took home the BRONZE medal in fiction/suspense at the 2013 Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards contest and is currently in production for a feature film.
Her paranormal thriller entitled The Lie, won the GOLD medal in the 2013 Illumination Book Awards for fiction/suspense and is also in production for a feature film.

The suspenseful mystery Empty Shell, released September 29, 2014. Ashley then delves into the paranormal with a Southern Gothic horror/suspense novel, Growl, scheduled for release in the Spring of 2015. Plus, she will be teaming up with Lillian Hansen (Ashley calls her Mom!) to pen a three-part murder mystery/suspense series entitled The Magnolia Series. The first book, Blood Ties, is due out the Summer of 2015.

Ashley also hosts The WriteStuff, a popular BlogTalk Radio show, each Friday night at 10 p.m. CST.
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.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Beekeeper's Son Book Review

I have a really interesting book to share with you today called The Beekeeper's Son written by Kelly Irvin that I thought you might like to hear about.

Sometimes it takes a barren landscape to see the beauty of God’s creation.

Phineas King knows better than to expect anything but shock and pity wherever he shows his face. Horribly scarred from the tragic accident that claimed his mother’s life, he chooses to keep his distance from everyone, focusing his time and energy on the bees his family raises. If no one sees him, no one can judge him.

So why does he start finding excuses to seek out Deborah Lantz, the beautiful new arrival in town?

Deborah can’t get out of Bee County, Texas, soon enough. Once her mother and younger siblings are settled, she is on the first bus out of this dusty town. She is only waiting on the letter from Aaron, asking her to return to lush Tennessee to be his fraa. But that letter never comes. As she spends time getting to know Phineas—hoping to uncover the man beneath the scars—she begins to realize that she no longer minds that Aaron hasn’t sent for her.

As both Deborah and Phineas try to come to terms with lives that haven’t turned out the way they imagined, they discover that perhaps Gott’s plans for them are more extraordinary than they could have dreamed. But they need to let go of their own past sorrows and disappointments to find the joy and beauty that lies just ahead for them both.  
My thoughts:
Well, this book sure did have a lot of goings on at all hours of the day! It's a wonder anyone had time to think, let alone get thru school, which was a real concern for Aaron.
I have to admit being an Army brat growing up, I was so sick of travelling and all the shots I had to get so I wouldn't catch anything, took all the pleasure out of flying for me, so as a young teen and adult I refused to fly or drive anywhere when my parents got the urge to go places. But, I can see both sides now and I wish not more then anything that I could travel the world around and back again.
Isn't it always interesting how we always want what is over the horizon rather than trying to find something good in the place where you are now?
I rooting for all the characters in the book because they all have seen their share of misery and it's time for a little bit of fun and happiness for them all. Take a journey with them on this wonderful book and experience the wonders of what true love can do for you when you let in the right people who come knocking!
Happy Reading!
About the Author:
Kelly Irvin is the author of the Bliss Creek Amish series and the New Hope Amish series, both published by Harvest House Publishers. Love Still Stands, the first book in the New Hope series, debuted in September 2014, and the follow-up, Love Redeemed, released March 1, 2014. The final book in the series, set in Branson, MO., is A Plain Love Song, slated for release in July 2014.

The Bliss Creek Amish series, set in Kansas, includes To Love and to Cherish, A Heart Made New, and Love's Journey Home.

In the New Hope series, familiar characters from Bliss Creek move to Missouri to start a new district and a new life.

Kelly recently signed a contract with Zondervan Publishing for a three book series, The Amish of Bee County. The first book, The Bee Keeper's Son, will debut Jan. 20, 2015

Kelly is also the author of two romantic suspense novels, A Deadly Wilderness and No Child of Mine, set in San Antonio, Texas.

The Kansas native is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. In addition to attending the ACFW annual conference regularly, she has attended the Glorieta Writers Conference. She also serves as secretary of the ACFW San Antonio local chapter Alamo City Christian Fiction Writers.

A graduate of the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism, Kelly has been writing nonfiction professionally for thirty years. She studied for three semesters at the University of Costa Rica, learning the Spanish language. As a journalist, she worked six years in the border towns of Laredo and El Paso, where she was exposed to culture and language that serves as fodder for her fiction writing. She has written hard news, features, entertainment pieces, restaurant critiques, editorials, and weekly columns. Writing awards include the Silver Star Award from the Texas Mental Health Association for articles pertaining to mental health and numerous awards in news, feature, and editorial writing from the Texas Press Association and Texas Press Women.

For 20 years, she has worked in public relations for the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department, where her duties include writing and designing an employee newsletter, writing news releases, collaborating on marketing campaigns, coordinating ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings, coordinating press conferences, updating the web site, and acting as a media spokesperson.

Kelly has been married to photographer Tim Irvin for twenty-six years, and they have two young adult children. A recent addition to the family is their first granddaughter. In her spare time, she likes to write short stories, read books by her favorite authors, and play with the new baby.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Wedding Cake Book Review

Wedding Cake (1)
Wedding Cake
Wedding Cake by Josi Kilpack

After years of mysteries, murder, and mayhem, the big day has arrived, and Sadie wants nothing more than for her wedding to Pete to be completely uneventful. When she receives a threatening, anonymous text message just days before the ceremony, she's determined not to let it interfere with the celebration she has carefully planned for months. But as the threat escalates from a distant fear to a frightening reality, Sadie realizes just how much she's underestimated the situation.

Desperate to put an end to the games, lies, and manipulation that has shadowed her life, Sadie, her fiancée, Pete, and her children pull out all the stops. What they don't know, however, is just how far Sadie's nemesis is willing to go to make good on the thread she made to Sadie three years ago.

Will the wedding go off without a hitch, or will "'til death do us part" come far too soon? There's no turning back for anyone in the riveting conclusion to this twelve-volume culinary mystery series.

My thoughts:

If you are a romantic at heart and love a juicy mystery involved in the middle, then you will love reading Wedding Cake!

It has all the elements needed to make a very happy occasion for the couple who want to get married except for one looming disaster, who is Jane and why is she stalking Sadie and her family?

Although I did not know at the time that this was a series, (there are 11 other books before this one!), I still was able to read this one and figure out what the past books might have been like. Of course, the whole story would have been a lot richer if I had read the others, but it still was interesting and I am glad that Sadie and Peter are still together.

If you have the chance, I would recommend reading all 12 books so this last one will seem like a victory to everyone involved on the right side of the law, of course! The books don't look like they are huge reads, so I bet it wouldn't take long to catch up. I hope some day that I will be able to just that.

Happy Reading!

Author Josi S. Kilpack

Josi S. Kilpack hated to read until her mother handed her a copy of The Witch of Blackbird Pond when she was 13. From that day forward, she read everything she could get her hands on and accredits her writing “education” to the many novels she has “studied” since then. She began writing her first novel in 1998 and never stopped. Her novel, Sheep’s Clothing won the Whitney Award 2007 for Mystery/Suspense. Lemon Tart, the first book in the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series was a finalist in 2009. Josi currently lives in Willard Utah with her husband, children and super-cute cat.

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.