Posted in Guest Author, promotion

Please welcome Michelle Isenhoff as she shares her New Release with us!

Please welcome Michelle Isenhoff and her new release “Taylor Davis and the Clash of Kingdoms!”

Taylor Davis would get stuck with an archenemy that won’t stay dead.

TaylorDavisBook2_cover_600x900

Taylor Davis is back, and he just can’t catch a break. Most of his friends only concern themselves with girls and grades, but he has to worry about retaliation from hellish warlords.

When three of his classmates succumb to a strange malady, Taylor becomes the target of irrational violence. Is it a coincidence, as Elena so firmly believes? Or could there be a more dangerous explanation?

The epidemic soon spreads to national leaders. Taylor and his team are called on to uncover the root of the problem before violence breaks out on a worldwide stage. Their quest leads them to the heart of Africa, to the underworld, and to a second encounter with an enemy who just won’t stay dead.

Book two of the Taylor Davis series is now available for Kindle, Nook, and paperback formats.

And book one is now FREE!

TaylorDavis_FlameOfFindul_cover nook

Sometimes life gooses you when you’re not looking. You might be happily coasting through days in a little New Jersey suburb, dreaming about Jennifer Williams and making plans to see the new movie showing uptown when—bam!—everything changes in an instant. Your family moves overseas and suddenly you’re hacking at water demons with a four-foot blade.

Taylor Davis didn’t want to move to the Caribbean, and he certainly doesn’t want save the world. But when he’s sucked into a supernatural world of angels and their adversaries, that’s exactly what he must do.

The Flame of Findul–the sword that guards the Tree of Life–has been allowed to burn out. Taylor and his new teammates must relight it in the forge of Findul the firesmith before the tree falls into the wrong hands. But Findul hasn’t been seen for several centuries. And a formidable enemy, one who has eaten of the tree, stands in their way.

Free on Amazon and Smashwords!


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Teaching our Kids to be Self Focused

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m a huge fan of Zig Ziglar, so when I saw this post on my Facebook page, it inspired this blog post. 🙂

I don’t know about you, but when I was younger (many moons ago. ;)) if a friend, co-worker, or boss didn’t see my value, I would make it my mission to prove them wrong. I would spend time agonizing over their opinion and become frustrated when they couldn’t see how incorrect they were.

Of course, I’m older and wiser now and I know better, but what would’ve happened if I had figured this out earlier? I probably would have used all that energy to focus on accomplishing something, or maybe just enjoying my life a bit more.

This is an important lesson for our young people to learn early, and that is to be internally oriented and self-focused. Being self-focused is different from being selfish. I think I need to make this distinction. Being self-focused in the context in which I’m writing about anyway, means that a person focuses on his or her own set of internal values and desires. So when they encounter a negative or toxic person that person won’t have a huge impact on them, because they’re busy working on their own goals and aspirations.

As a parent, I worry about this. I don’t want my kids growing up with this kind of insecurity. So how am I going to raise them to be internally oriented? That’s a good question. I thought about it for a while and I’ve decided that this is the best way for me to do it.

The best way to do this is by being an involved parent. I have to remember that my kids are experiencing many things for the first time. What that means is even though I may think what they’re going through isn’t a big deal. It is to them. They don’t have the life experience that I do, and because of that experience, I’m supposed to be a guiding force in their lives. I shouldn’t use that experience to belittle the event they’re dealing with. I should use it to help them through it and give them some guidance on how to deal with it.

Often times, we adults forget this and try to brush off our child’s feelings because we’re trying to put food on the table, are worried about our jobs, or one of the other million things that parents worry about besides our kids.

If we focus on our kids, that also gives them permission to focus on themselves. It teaches them that we value them. This is important because then they learn to value themselves and they won’t fall prey to the toxic people that they’ll inevitably encounter in their lives.

Thanks for reading my post today. I’d love it if you’d share your thoughts, so leave a comment!

Posted in reviews

My thoughts on “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! I’m back today with another book review. I just finished reading John Green’s new book, “The Fault in our Stars.”

I must say, I absolutely loved this book. It’s very emotional, but with humorous parts that captured the essence of the characters’ personalities beautifully. I really liked the two main characters and the way they looked out for each other.

Hazel Grace is a wonderful girl who has terminal cancer and she meets Augustus at a Support Group meeting. The story is about how these two meet and fall in love even though the odds are stacked against them.

It’s a story about granting last wishes and even though there’s a lot of humor in it, the deeper message comes shining through. I would highly recommend this book. This is hands down the best John Green book I’ve read.

The cover and blurb are below.

The Fault in Our Stars is a love story, one of the most genuine and moving ones in recent American fiction, but it’s also an existential tragedy of tremendous intelligence and courage and sadness.” —Lev Grossman, TIME Magazine

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Thanks for stopping by to read my review. I’d love to read your thoughts, so if you’re so inclined leave a comment! 🙂

Posted in promotion, Uncategorized

Please Welcome Kelly Martin as she shares her New Release with Us!

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’ve got Kelly Martin here today and she’s sharing her New Release with us! It’s titled “The Afterlife of Lizzie Monroe.” It’s on sale for $.99! Check it out! And there’s a giveaway on her Blog! Click here to go enter!  http://www.kellymartinbooks.blogspot.com/

BLURB:
If Shane Davis had it to do over again, he wouldn’t have gone out that night. He wouldn’t have burned down the church. And he sure wouldn’t have taken the annoying dead girl home with him.Now that Shane has her, he has no idea what to do with her. He can’t release her into the “wild” because people will recognize her (being a hundred and fifty year old town ‘legend’ will do that). He can’t send her away because she can’t take care of herself yet. And she can’t stay because if people find her, they’ll know he burned the church. Being eighteen now, Shane definitely doesn’t want that fact coming out.Unbeknownst to Shane, someone has figured out the girl’s secret and will do anything to get it for himself… even kill the girl who isn’t so immortal after all.
EXCERPT:
 
Shane jumped to his knees, but Lizzie grabbed his arm to keep him from attacking Drake. She wasn’t worth it.
 
Shane looked down at her, his face hard. “He needs to learn to keep his mouth shut.”
 
Lizzie opened her mouth to speak, but Drake beat her to it. “And I bet you are the one to teach me, right, Davis?”
 
“Shut up,” Cheyenne said, stepping in front of Drake. “You two just cool it. You’re acting like children.”
 
“He started it.” Drake sat back down on the rolling chair in a huff. He ran his hands thought his hair and sighed.
 
Lizzie tugged on Shane’s arm to pull him down to her. He complied, but didn’t seem pleased about it. He wrapped his fingers around hers, holding her hand. If Lizzie’s heart could beat, it would have beat out of her chest. Even though he was holding her hand, he kept his eyes on Drake and Cheyenne. Lizzie wasn’t even sure he knew he was holding her hand, but Lizzie knew and she didn’t try to let go.
Buy Links:
 
 
BIO:
 
Kelly Martin is a bestselling author of four young adult/Christian novels: Crossing the Deep, Saint Sloan, The Deception of Devin Miller, and Big is Beautiful. Saving Sloan, the Saint Sloan sequel, will come out in early 2014. The first of the Hindsight series, Out of the Blue, comes out in February 2014.
 
My Links:
 
 
 
 
 
Sign up for Kelly’s newsletter:
 
 
 
 
Join Kelly’s street team to get exclusive content and prizes: http://www.facebook.com/groups/1451773008377850/
 
Amazon Reviews:
“…It’s been quite awhile that I have picked up a book that I didn’t want to put down! Once again you have outdone yourself Kelly!The Afterlife of Lizzie Monroe is about 2 teenagers from 2 different Centuries with two different sets of beliefs. Set in a small local Tennessee Town, Lizzie is an innocent girl, and a local legend, who is a devout believer from the 1800’s and Shane Davis is a child of the current century who has had,what some would call a rough life, and doesn’t believe in anyone or anything. Brought together by one deliberate act of arson, the two are brought together to teach each other that life isn’t always as bad as you perceive it to be.Is there more to the legend of “Lonely Lizzie” than what Shane has learned from a 2nd grade field trip and tales spun through out the centuries?Is it fate or some sort of Black Magic? Are they star crossed lovers? Or just two lost and lonely souls meant to meet at this particular place and time to teach each other that there is more to life than what you feel at the moment you chose to do something you may find yourself regretting forever? Is the destiny you chose for yourself in that one moment of hurt,sadness or anger, the destiny chosen for you for all eternity?.” Gina, Amazon
~*~*~
 
“Oh Kelly, Kelly, Kelly. You had me a bit skeptical with this one. An dead girl who isn’t actually dead after 150 years?! I’ve read my share of paranormal stories…some good and some not so good. You got me with this one though.How the symmetry of events in this book went from one instance the next was perfect. And the last half of the book literally had me parked on the couch with my heating blanket unable to move until I finished. And let’s not even get into the twists in the book…just wow.I want to say so much, but I won’t for fear of spoiling some major ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ and ‘ohemgees’ in this book…” DMC, Amazon
 

What can we do about Office Bullies?

Photo courtesy of Lachay Orpen
Photo courtesy of Lachay Orpen

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about a hot topic that is on everyone’s mind. That topic is bullying. Bullying is everywhere these days; however, it has been around forever.

I just finished reading “The Book Thief.” A very emotional story and my review is posted here:   https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/a-review-of-the-book-thief/

Anyway, as I read the story, I felt the fear of the Germans and the Jews and it made me realize that Hitler was a very powerful bully. This is an extreme example of what can happen when a bully gains power. This is why we must do something about this horrible epidemic.

I know what you’re thinking, this is an extreme example and it has only happened once in our lifetime, but in my opinion once is one too many times. We encounter bullying in all forms. Our kids experience it in our schools. We experience it in the workplace. I’ve written about it many times on my blog and I’ve read many other articles about it.

I have a friend who has just gone through some office bullying. Office bullies are the worst. She was dependent on the bully for training for her position. The bully didn’t like her from day one. She would scream at my friend and treat her disrespectfully in front of customers. My friend went to the boss, but the boss did nothing. You see the boss was dependent on the bully as well. She wasn’t going to upset her either.

The bully was horrible to my friend, she got others in the office to side with her, and they worked against my friend. They sabotaged her and misled her during training. When you’re trained incorrectly, on purpose, you’re bound to make mistakes and incur the wrath of not only the bully but the boss as well.

My friend had no choice but to leave the position. She’s well rid of the job, but it’s unfortunate because she could have excelled at it if the environment had been different. This is why people become bullies, because they get the results they want. It works for them.

It’s unfortunate, but true. So what can we do? We can make sure the bullies don’t win, but we’re going to need the help of corporations. It’s going to require Human Resources to crack down on complaints of bullying and support the victims who report it. I’m sure many events go unreported because the bully is in a position of power. We need to break the code of silence.

We need anti-bullying campaigns not only in our schools, but in our corporations as well. The question is, how do we do that? My guess is that we need to get our representatives involved. We need to make it part of a political campaign.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. If you’d like to share your experiences with office bullying, please leave a comment. I’d love to read them! And if you have any solutions to the problem, I’d love to read those too!

Posted in reviews

A Review of “The Book Thief”

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you!  I’m back today with another book review. 🙂 I told you that I plan to read more this year! The book I just finished was “The Book Thief.”

The extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller that will be in movie theaters on November 15, 2013, Markus Zusak’s unforgettable story is about the ability of books to feed the soul.It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

My Review:

I must say that at first the author’s writing style was hard to get used to, but then the story sucked me in. I loved Liesel’s (the main character and the book thief) strength.  This was truly a heartbreaking story. It amazes me what people endured during World War II.

This story illustrates how tragic the war was not only for the Jewish community, but for the German people as well. Many Germans didn’t agree with Hitler’s philosophies, but were powerless to do anything about it.

The power of the human spirit overshadows the tragedy of this war and it’s the only thing that does. Many Germans secretly disobeyed Hitler’s rules at great peril. I fell in love with Hans Hubermann the accordion player and his kind, generous spirit. He was a strong, quiet man who hid a Jew in his basement for a good portion of the war. I also loved Rosa who’s rough exterior hid a huge heart.

This is a tragic story of loss. Liesel lost many people she loved throughout the book. This is the emotional part of the story. I really felt the depth of her despair and I felt the losses right along with her. There were moments of joy throughout the story, but they were fleeting. It’s hard to experience joy when you’re living in constant fear. I could feel the Hubermann’s fear all throughout the book.

The end of the story was an example of the endurance of the human spirit. Liesel must continue to live after everyone she loves dies. After all that she has suffered, she does just that and she’s reunited with her friend Max. It’s a bittersweet moment for them both.

“The Book Thief” is not an uplifting story, but a dramatic account of what World War II was like for the Germans as well as the Jews. I feel it’s an accurate depiction of what Hitler did to everyone and it’s an example of what can happen when a mentally ill person gains power.

I highly recommend this book. It’s not uplifting, but what it does do is put things in perspective for you. It makes you realize that whatever your troubles are they’re nothing like what the Germans and Jews suffered during World War II.

Thanks for reading my post today. Please share your thoughts! I’d love to read what you thought of this book or if you have a book recommendation for me.

Posted in reviews

A Book Review of “And the Mountains Echoed”

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! This is my first post of 2014 and I’m starting it off with a review. You see, I received from Santa a new Kindle Fire and I’ve been putting it to good use. 😉 I’m going to read a little more this year because there are just so many darn good books out there and it’s a great way to relieve stress.

One of the first books I bought was “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini.

Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

My Thoughts:

I read his first two books and I must say I read both of them in one day. They were that good!

This third book I didn’t like as much and I think the reason is because it dealt with the separation of a brother and sister.  Now that I have kids, I’m very sensitive to anything that could disrupt a child’s life. I automatically imagine my boys in a similar situation and it upset me. My boys are so close that I know it would tear each of them apart to be separated like the siblings were in this story.

However, that being said, the story was well written. This author is very descriptive and I love his way with words. That hasn’t changed from his first two books.

The story evolves and illustrates the complex relationships within families. It reflects the complicated dynamics that evolve among the members and the choices that they make because of them. It’s a great story, well written and at times disturbing and emotional.

So if you’re looking for a good read on a snowy day. This one’s a good pick. If you haven’t read his other two books, “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns,” pick those up too. They’re even better! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I hope you enjoyed my post. Leave a comment if you’d like to share your thoughts on any of the books  by Khaled Hosseini.