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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? April 23 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Spring is finally here...and I hope it's here to stay. But, I'm waiting until the first day of May to put our winter boots in storage.

Had a quiet week and then a fun get-together to celebrate a baby shower for a friend of mine. My house renovations are almost done and I look forward to creating my new office. Oh, and I also watched The Greatest Showman and loved it. Is there anything Hugh Jackman can't do? It was a good weekend.

Mailbox Monday Edition



Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


For Review:

 I love that this mystery is set during the time of the Roman Empire


This one is about one of the most famous spies...the Scarlet Pimpernel


This time travel romance is a little Regency, a little contemporary, and a lot Victorian


I've enjoyed this author's first two books and this one is the third in the series


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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


What I read and/or featured last week:



Guest Post: How to Encourage a Love of Reading in Children


 Reading Now:

So entertaining! I hope to go through the whole series.

Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.



Hope you all have a great reading week.




Friday, April 20, 2018

Guest Post: How to Encourage a Love of Reading in Children


Photo credit: Ambro through FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

I've read to my children from infancy until they were 13 and then they ventured off on their own reading journeys. I still miss reading to them, even now that they're much older. This was one of the best things that I did for my kids and that I think all parents should do with their children. Here's a guest post on this topic that I wanted to share with you.


How to Encourage a Love of Reading in Children 

Article by James Daniels

Reading is one of the best activities for a healthy and active brain. Reading helps us understand the world and helps us learn how to communicate better. It doesn’t matter if you are reading fiction or fact, there are only benefits to be had when it comes to reading, from an expanded understanding of the world to simply the chance to slow down and focus in a media-dominated world. Encouraging a love of reading in your children needs to start early, and you can achieve this by:

Reading with Them Every Night

There is no better way to get your children to love books and to improve their reading comprehension than to read with them every night. Take turns reading chapters or pages, depending on how long the book is, and you will forge a bond and a love of reading from early on.

Setting Up a System for New Books

There are three ways to do this, but all of them involve only getting a new book once the last one has been finished. This will encourage your child to actually read the books they have, rather than fall victim to what many readers are victim to – an ever-increasing To-Be-Read (TBR) list. You can either take them to the library to pick out their next book, to the bookstore to buy a new one, or to even go through and pick out a new eBook to read.

Discussing and Engage

Reading is a pleasurable enough past-time, but reading and then discussing is much better. It is the same reason why we like to watch popular television shows or movies because it isn’t just about consuming the content, it’s about engaging and talking about it with your friends afterwards. That’s why reading together is so beneficial, and when your children get older, change this to reading the same book and talking about it throughout your progress.

Helping Your Child Connect

One of the reasons that books capture our hearts is because they say some universal truth about humanity or society that feels true to us. This can be done because we identify with a character or we sympathize with a situation. Either way, books are a treat, and in order to nurture a true love of books, there are a few things you can do in order to connect your child with literature. For instance, you as a family can go through and solve puzzles in an Escape Room OKC, and you can later go and give your daughter or son a book about a detective solving puzzles. This connection will help your child connect with the novel unlike never before, furthering their deep bond with books.

There Is No Right Book

Being told what to read and that a book that does not interest them is important and culturally significant is detrimental to the love of reading. That is why as a parent you shouldn’t try to dictate what kind of book your child reads. Instead, simply support them in their pursuit of reading, not what content lies within.

The more your child reads, the more they will enjoy reading. Try to build a bond with them through your love of reading and engage with them as often as you can, and they will love to read as children and as they grow into adults.

James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Reducing Your Cancer Risk: A Holistic Approach by Carl O. Helvie


For those of you who read my blog, you know that I am always happy to discuss books that feature a healthy and holistic lifestyle. This small book I discovered is a gem. More in my review below.

Book Details:

Book Title: Reducing Your Cancer Risk: A Holistic Approach by Carl O. Helvie
Category: Adult Non-fiction, 174 pages
Genre: Education / Alternative Medicine / Cancer
Publisher: Booklocker
Release date: July 25, 2017
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

The latest statistics show one of every two adults will have cancer and about half of these are preventable. For example, research shows that 30 minutes of exercise daily could reduce cancer risk by 50% and proper nutrition could reduce it 35%. Mental/Spiritual aspects are also important. One study reported those who expressed gratitude had stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, and fewer symptoms of illness, slept better and were better able to tolerate aches and pains.

This 174 page book includes a theoretical framework that provides an overview of factors that are carcinogenic and when avoided can reduce your cancer risks including electromagnetic frequencies, selected carcinogenic chemicals and metals, and ultraviolet rays. It also includes things you can do to strengthen your mind/spirit/body against carcinogens including 1) physical things such as exercise; fluids; nutrition; vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements; immune builders; sleep; smoking cessation, and music, and 2) mental/spiritual activities including affirmations, compassion, faith, forgiveness, gratitude, meditation, optimism, prayer, relaxation, serving others, social support, stress reduction, and visualization. Research based ways to avoid or become stronger against carcinogens, and interviews with over 40 national leaders on these subjects are included in this holistic approach to cancer prevention.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

Reducing Your Cancer Risk is an excellent and practical resource book chock-full of information that can motivate one to make lifestyle changes that can prevent cancer. The book is written by Carl O Helvie, President of the Holistic Cancer Foundation and a lung survivor since 1974. He is a pioneer in the use of holistic approach to cancer prevention and cure.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part discusses Environmental Factors and includes ways  to avoid or prevent exposure to risk factors, such as EMF waves, toxic chemicals and metals, and UV rays, all of which are factors I have read about recently. It astounds me at how toxic our modern world has become and we are exposed from our womb to our death. It can be overwhelming, but as Mr. Helvie states, even small changes can make a difference.

The second part discusses Individual Factors and includes lifestyle choices to increase one's resistance to cancer and build a better immunity, such as exercising, nutrition, sleep and a section on how to quit smoking successfully. It is empowering to know we do have a measure of control. As Mr. Helvie noted from his own experience as a cancer survivor, "it is less traumatic in one's life to improve diet, add exercise, prayer, meditation, and other lifestyle changes than it is to be disrupted by a diagnosis of cancer." How true!

The third part discusses Mental and Spiritual Aspects and includes compassion, meditation, forgiveness, prayer and stress management. This is such an important section in leading a healthy lifestyle but that many practitioners omit when discussing illness.

Although written by an educated man with extensive knowledge, Mr. Helvie keeps the information easy to read and follow by using the format of bullet point suggestions that can be implemented immediately. His tone is friendly and the information succinct and useful with plenty of references and links to interviews with professionals in the field. I have already implemented some of the suggestions in this book and educated my children about them as well.

If you are looking to lead a healthier lifestyle and want to have a practical manual on what to do to prevent cancer, this is the ideal book for you. It is a great starting point that will lead you to more information on specific factors you may personally be dealing with. The contents page, index and numerous links and references to over 40 other professionals make this book a handy resource that has gained a coveted place on my desk. This small humble book is part of my research, as I continue on my quest for a healthier me.

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

Buy the Book:

About the Author:


Carl O Helvie, R.N., Dr.P.H. is a registered nurse with a doctorate in Public Health (Johns Hopkins) and over sixty years’ experience as a nurse practitioner, educator, author and researcher. He has published 9 books and chapters in 4 additional ones, and published 40 articles, presented over 55 research papers internationally and 60 papers for lay groups. Some of his books resulted from his development and over 35 years refinement of the Helvie Energy Theory of Nursing and Health that has been used internationally in practice, education and research in 9 countries. During his academic career Helvie received grants up to $800.000 each for his work with homeless and low income populations and other projects. He has been recognized in most major national and international references such as Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Nursing, and Outstanding Educators in America and has two listings in Wikipedia. He received the Distinguished Career Award from the American Public Association in 1999. He was listed in 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading in 2014 and in 2015 was nominated for Nurse of the Year Award by Medical News.

In 1974, Dr Helvie was diagnosed with lung cancer and given 6 months to live by traditional medicine. He refused chemo and surgery and choose instead to use a holistic natural approach of treatment including physical, mental and spiritual components based upon concepts he learned in public health, from his research of and used in practice, the Edgar Cayce readings and other sources. He not only was cured of cancer but never had a recurrence. He has been called a pioneer in the field of Holistic Health and has taught and used this approach since 1970. For the past 10 years he has been host of the Holistic Health Show (radio) where he interviews leaders in alternative, integrative medicine and health who use all or parts of a holistic approach for chronic illnesses and wellness on www.BBSRadio.com and www.HolisticHealthShow.com In 2012 he published a book on lung cancer that included the holistic treatment plan used when he had lung cancer (Amazon #1 Best Seller). He was subsequently interviewed on over 100 radio and television shows. 

Because of his belief in the value of a holistic approach for staying well and/or regaining wellness and his desire to help others he founded the Carl O Helvie Holistic Cancer Foundation in 2014 at www.HolisticCancerfoundation.com. In 2017 he published a book on Reducing Your Risk of Cancer: A Holistic Approach. Currently, he is age 85, healthy and happy, has a strong faith in God, and is looking forward to many more years helping others.

Connect with the Author: Facebook ~ Twitter ~ LinkedIn




Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Peculiar Courtship by Laura Beers (Review)


A Peculiar Courtship is the second book in The Beckett Files series. These books are Regency spy romances and they are fun!

Book Details:

Book Title: A Peculiar Courtship: A Regency Spy Novel by Laura Beers
Series: The Beckett Files, Book 2
Category: Adult Fiction,  284 pages
Genre: Regency Romance / Historical Romance
Publisher: Phase Publishing
Release date: Dec 1, 2017
Content Rating: PG

Book Description:

Lord Jonathon Beckett’s mission is simple: retrieve Lady Hannah and place her under the protection of the Crown. But he isn’t prepared for the havoc she inflicts on his world, making him question whether his duty as an agent of the Crown should always come before his heart.

Lady Hannah's father has uncovered evidence exposing a French traitor to the Crown. Willing to do anything to silence him, the traitor's primary target has become Lady Hannah. Keeping her safe means locking her away from Society, but she refuses to stand idly by, letting others put their lives on the line to protect her. Instead, she will stop at nothing to learn to defend herself, even at the risk of losing Lord Jonathon’s protection, or his affections.

With a sinister scheme in play to collapse the English government from within, Lord Jonathon must protect Lady Hannah from the French spies intending to use her as a pawn in their game of treachery. But can he protect her from herself?


My Review: 
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

A Peculiar Courtship is the second book in The Beckett Files series. I read the first book  Saving Shadow and enjoyed it. These books are Regency spy romances and they are fun. In this second instalment, we follow the romance of Jonathon and Hannah. Jonathon is the brother of Elizabeth (the notorious spy Shadow) the main character in the first book, who is also part of this story. So although A Peculiar Courtship is a stand-alone novel, I enjoyed having read the first book that gave me a background into the secondary characters.

Hannah becomes the target when a traitor to the crown wants to stop her father from exposing him. Jonathon is assigned to find her when she disappears and to keep her safe when he finds her. But Hannah is not a typical lady of high society and she wants to learn to defend herself. Although Jonathon has a sister who is fiercely independent he is stubborn to accept this in Hannah as he falls for her. It was comical as he commits blunders in his attempt to understand her and court her.

I enjoyed this clean romance and the cast of characters that I grew fond of in the first book. This was a quick enjoyable read with a little less action than the first book, and what seemed to me more romance. The ending was open when it came to the plot thread as we continue to see that the scheme to take down the English government from within has not been resolved. I suspect that we will see more of that in the third instalment To Love a Spy which I look forward to reading soon.

The characters in the 3rd novel were introduced in this book and I am eager to read their story. If you like books in a series and especially Regency historical romance novels, these are fun, adventurous tales to escape with.

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me a review copy. I was not told how to rate or review this product. All opinions are my own.

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:



Laura Beers spent most of her childhood with a nose stuck in a book, dreaming of becoming an author. She attended Brigham Young University, eventually earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management.

Many years later, and with loving encouragement from her family, Laura decided to start writing again. Besides being a full-time homemaker to her three kids, she loves waterskiing, hiking, and drinking Dr. Pepper. Currently, Laura Beers resides in South Carolina.

Connect with the author: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter





Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Exotic Books on my Bookshelf That I Want to Read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. 10 is just a suggestion to aim for if you can hit it. You can do a list of 3 or 5 or 20, whatever you decide. And you can put a spin on the topic if you need to. Each week there is a new list to create. This week it's a freebie topic and I chose:

Exotic Books on my Bookshelf That I Want to Read

Throughout the years, I've collected quite a few books with exotic settings that I'm interested in reading. They open up my eyes to different countries, cultures and political situations. Here are a few that I hope to read sooner rather than later.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? April 16 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

The snowstorm missed us but we are getting ice rain. The commute to work tomorrow will be a mess.

I'm nursing a tiny cold and so did a lot of reading this past week. My hubby and I started our daily evening walks again, but the cold is back and we cut some of them short. I'm dreaming of beaches...


Mailbox Monday Edition



Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


For Review:

She has been dubbed the successor to Ghandi. I love learning about strong women who are game changers for the good of humanity.



Historical fiction set in Italy during WWII


Free Kobo books:

Sounds like the main characters are Italian-American


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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


What I read and/or featured last week:


Book Towns: Forty-Five Paradises of the Printed Word by Alex Johnson (Review) This one gave me the travel bug. I want to visit every one of those book towns.


ICE by Lauren Carr (Review and Giveaway!) This was another winner by Lauren Carr. A new series with a strong set of characters
 


 Reading Now:

I'm loving this one


Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.



Hope you all have a great reading week.




Friday, April 13, 2018

Guest Post: Is There Still A Place For Classic Fairytales in Modern Fiction?



I've seen such an explosion of novels based on fairytales in the last few years, and I've downloaded several on my Kindle too. What is it about fairytale retellings that attract us? Do you like to read books based on fairytales? I thought the following article was an interesting discussion on this topic.



Is There Still A Place For Classic Fairytales in Modern Fiction?

Article by Maggie Hammond

It is interesting to see how fiction has moved with the times, and how stories have changed to appeal to more modern social norms. Back in the '70s and '80s, when many of today's authors were born, children's fiction tended to include a lot of classic fairytales, and this is evidenced from the huge popularity of Disney animated classics like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin. Disney did produce other, non-fairytale based properties, but these tended to stick in the memories of the generations far less than the classic retelling of old tales. This is why you will still find Disney princesses like Cinderella, Snow White, Jasmine, and Belle on products aimed at grown-up audiences who feel nostalgic about these characters, but not so much the characters from the Disney stable like Pluto and Donald Duck.

Fairytales always had some questionable messages in them in terms of the way they presented romantic relationships as of the greatest importance in a woman's life, or that good people were always beautiful and mean people were always ugly. However, these were things that never seemed to matter back then. They were just stories for children to get excited about and were intended to teach any life lessons anyone would expect to be useful today.

However, in modern fiction, both when it comes to books and TV, movies, and even video games, there tends to be a lot more analysis of what messages a work might be sending out - even when it is aimed at adults rather than kids. The line between what is intended for middle grade or young adult and what is marketed to adults has also been blurred a lot more in the 21st century, with many young adult franchises from Harry Potter through to The Hunger Games being enjoyed by adults just as enthusiastically as by the audience they were originally aimed towards.

Does this mean that classic fairytale type stories are no longer appealing? Can you only write these if you put in some kind of quirk or deconstruction where the message is different and the characters can be positioned as role models?

How Disney Has Changed its Stories

It is easy to see from Disney's own journey that they have gone down the path of changing and modernizing their princesses. They are now making stories that are more complex and less about the traditional themes of love and a happily ever after, and more about a character's personal journey, independence, and overcoming their problems. Frozen and Tangled are both very clear examples of this, and the same can be said for Moana. This approach has seen the traditional Disney fairytale princess story evolve into something that isn't traditional at all and has led to a resurgence in popularity of the brand, which was losing its way a little in the late '90s when the trend towards more humorous, 3D animated movies like Toy Story was first emerging. Disney got on board with that trend with their Pixar movies. There was still an audience for the over the top, all singing, all dancing princess stories too - they just had to change the formula a bit to reach it.

This would indicate that the modern audience only really wants a classic story if something new has been done with it. However, there is other evidence that suggests it is not the case. The live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast may not have been as big a hit as Frozen, but the excitement and hype around its release - largely from adults who loved the original movie, showed that there were still a lot of people who wanted to enjoy the very traditional love story of Belle and Beast again, even if it doesn't exactly translate into a 'great message for women' story! Additionally, there are a lot of people who are still very passionate about the old Disney films, with Disney VHS tapes worth a small fortune on the collectors' market.

Darker and Grittier?

If you are considering writing a fairytale style story and don't want to change the tropes to make the love story less important or the heroine a modern, independent woman, there are other ways that modern fiction has changed these classic tales to try and give them a new perspective or appeal to a more modern audience.

One thing we have seen done a lot in the past decade or so is darker adaptations of traditional stories, such as in the TV show Once Upon A Time or movies like Snow White and the Huntsman. The strange thing is, the original stories Disney based their fairytale adaptations on actually were very dark and often didn't finish with a romantic happy ever after at all! The stories were made 'lighter' and less horrifying to appeal to the audience of the time. This is why when we think of The Little Mermaid, we think that in the end she marries the prince and gets to live happily as a human. This is not what happened in the original story at all!

You can, therefore, write something that will appeal to fans of darker stories using fairytales as a source of inspiration, but this is actually a far less novel approach than you might think!

Going Traditional

So, if you still love the idea of a fairytale romance story, complete with a princess, a handsome prince, and a happily ever after, can you do this and not look out of touch with modern fiction readers?

The answer would seem to be yes. If you think about it, most romance stories have some elements in common with fairytales, and it is just the setting and supernatural elements that are missing - you may have a billionaire businessman as a hero instead of a prince, and problems other than curses keeping the couple apart, but the idea is the same.

Essentially, if a fairytale with all the tropes is what someone wants to read, they know they can get lost in an escapist fantasy. This is true of children as well as adults, so if you are trying to write something that entertains and delights rather than teaches, keeping to those tropes is still something that can work.


Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organisations.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

ICE by Lauren Carr (Review and Giveaway!)


After having read several books from the three series of Carr's books on the market, I was excited to read ICE, the first book in the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mystery series with a whole new set of characters. Another winner by Lauren Carr! Take a look at my review and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

Book Details:

Book Title: ICE by Lauren Carr
Category: Adult fiction, 380 pages
Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Cozy
Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Release date: February 26, 2018
Tour dates: April 2 to 30, 2018
Content Rating: PG (It's a murder mystery and there is mild violence. Very mild swearing no F-bombs. No on-stage sex scenes.)

Book Description:

The clues for a close-to-the-heart missing person’s case heat up when Chris Matheson starts chipping away at the ice on the cold case.

When Sandy Lipton and her unborn child disappear, the court of public opinion finds young Chris Matheson guilty. Decades later, the retired FBI agent returns home to discover that the cloud of suspicion cast over him and his family has never lifted. With the help of a team of fellow retired law enforcement officers, each a specialist in their own field of investigation, Chris Matheson starts chipping away at the ice on this cold case to uncover what had happened to Sandy and her baby and the clues are getting hot!

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

After having read several books from the three series of Carr's books on the market, I was excited to read ICE, the first book in the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mystery series with a whole new set of characters. As is Carr's trademark, ICE was a thrilling crime fiction novel filled with twists and turns, non-stop action, strong characters, and comical relief in the form of four-legged companions.

Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent in his forties and the new main character of the series, is a widower with three daughters aged 6, 10 and 13. He moves back in to live with his mother Doris on the family farm. Moving back to town brings back bad memories of when Chris was accused of killing pregnant Sally Lipton 24 years ago. Although he was acquitted, the town is still suspicious of him.

When a dead body shows up on his property, cold cases are dredged up, old flames are reignited and Chris is back in the game. He reluctantly joins a book club which turns out to be the secretive Geezer Squad, a team of fellow retired law enforcement officers, each with special investigative skills, who get together to solve unresolved cases. This is where Carr's skill at creating new and interesting characters comes into play. I just simply loved the Geezer Squad! The four men and two females were unique, razor smart, and used their mature status and life experience to keep active.

But I have to say that my favorite characters were Doris and Sterling. Doris isn't your average grandmother. She is a stylish mature woman, with wonderful mothering instincts and a sharp tongue that can bring grown men to their knees. She was awesome! And Sterling, the goofy German Shepherd, who was injured on duty as a law enforcement canine, just stole my heart and cracked me up with his antics. That casino scene was just priceless.

The only character that I felt was underdeveloped was Helen Clarke, Chris love interest. For some reason, I wasn't too fond of her, and she irked me. I think if her background had been explored a little more, I would have understood her better and connected with her more. Apart from this, Carr captures the essence of family beautifully with heartwarming scenes with Chris and his daughters. Furthermore, she used the external element of an ice storm to build conflict, suspense and the metaphorical feeling of cold cases.

ICE is a strong start to a new series that will have fans of Lauren Carr thrilled to be introduced to another set of memorable and entertaining characters. Carr's Geezer Squad has brought sexy back to mature men and women, whose kickass attitude and smarts sizzle as they melt the clues to those cold cases!

To read more reviews, please visit Lauren Carr's page on iRead Book Tours.


Buy the Book:


Watch the Book Trailer:




About the Author:




Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends May 5, 2018


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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Ralphie, Always Loved by Andrea Yerramilli (Book Spotlight and Giveaway!)


Today I'm spotlighting a beautiful children's book about the power of friendship with a beloved dog. You could win your own copy and a $15 Amazon gift card by entering the giveaway!

Book Details:

Book Title: Ralphie, Always Loved by Andrea Yerramilli
Illustrated by: Samantha Van Riet
Category: Children's Fiction, 32 pages
Genre: Children's Picture Book
Publisher: About Something Good, LLC
Release date: October 28, 2017
Tour dates: April 9 to May 4, 2018
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

This is the story of the life, love, and adventures of a beloved family dog, and how he delighted and touched his family and everyone he met.

Ralphie was born with a heart on his belly.
He loves food, his family, his friends, his neighbors.
He loves pretty much everything and everyone.
And they love him back.
And that's how it is all through his life.
Read the book and fall in love with him too.

Rambunctious and hyperactive, Ralphie had already been returned to the animal shelter three times, but when Andrea and her husband adopted him and gave him a loving home where he was understood, accepted, and taught, he learned fast. As Ralphie's human family grew, so did his capacity for love and the ways he could express it. He remained a loving and beloved family member who touched the hearts of the whole neighborhood until he was ready to say goodbye at the grand-old age of sixteen. Ralphie, Always Loved will remind you of all that is good, and reaffirm your belief in love's power to uplift and transform.

Follow the tour by visiting Andrea Yerramilli's page on iRead Book Tours.


Buy the Book:





Meet the Author:


Andrea has always been an avid reader and that jumpstarted her imagination at a very early age. In fact she escaped to the Land of Make Believe more often than her mother liked.

She is a former marketing professional who is a mom to kids both with and without fur. Andrea says that it helps to have one foot planted firmly in reality while the other is foot loose and fancy-free in Imagination Land. She enjoys the best of both worlds.

In 2013, Andrea and her husband started About Something Good (ASG) as a vehicle to curate, inspire and share goodness in the world. In a world where negative images flood the media, and words like “hate” get tossed around so easily, Andrea felt she needed a space that encouraged and focused on the words like “love” and the beauty that is life.

Andrea is committed to finding the good in everything and believes: that a sense of belonging to someone's heart is what makes us feel complete, that kindness goes a long way, and that keeping your mind and heart open can help when things happen that you don't understand.

Andrea lives in New Jersey with her husband and children.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


Enter the Giveaway!
Ends May 12, 2018


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Book Towns: Forty-Five Paradises of the Printed Word by Alex Johnson (Review)


There are two things that I love to do: travel and read books. So when I came across this book with the topic of Book Towns, I was instantly intrigued. What is a book town? Read on to find out!

Book Details:

Book Title: Book Towns: Forty-Five Paradises of the Printed Word by Alex Johnson
Category: Adult Non-Fiction,  192 pages
Genre: Travel & Holiday / Tourist Destinations / Books
Publisher: Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto Group
Release date: March 22, 2018
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Around 40 semi-official Book Towns now exist around the world, with most concentrated in Europe, South-East Asia, North America and Australia, but until now, there has been no directory of their location, history and charm. Book Towns takes readers on a richly illustrated tour of these captivating literary towns, outlining the history and development of each community, as well as offering practical travel advice.

Many Book Towns have emerged in areas of marked attraction, such as Ureña in Spain or Fjaerland in Norway, where bookshops have been set up in buildings including former ferry waiting rooms and banks. The views of the nearby glacier and dramatic mountains are superb. Although the UK has the best known examples at Hay, Wigtown and Sedbergh, the book has a broad international appeal, featuring locations such as Jimbochu in Japan, College Street in Calcutta, and major unofficial 'book cities' such as Buenos Aires.


My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

There are two things that I love to do: travel and read books. And whenever I do travel I always keep an eye out for bookshops, book stands, and libraries. I love coming home with a book I bought on my travels. So when I came across this book with the topic of Book Towns, I was instantly intrigued. What is a book town?

In Book Town: Forty-Five Paradises of the Printed Word, the author describes a book town as "simply a small town, usually rural and scenic, full of bookshops and book-related industries." The movement began when towns wanted to help their economy by focusing on sustainable tourism so that communities can thrive and the traditional book kept alive. Many of these villages hold literary festivals and other creative events that appeal to artists and tourists.


Damme, Belgium

Alex Johnson has compiled together the very first guide of 45 book towns from nearly 30 countries, giving us a brief history of the town, popular events that take place there and photos of its quaint landmarks. Each section ends with a small information box containing pertinent website links and how to best get to the town by car, train, or bus.

I loved reading about these towns, many of which are in Europe. Each is unique in its own way. It stirred the travel bug in me, making me want to hop on a plane to visit and stroll through their streets, these towns that display their love of books in such creative ways.

A labyrinth of books for sale in the centre of St-Pierre-de-Clages, France

The author dedicates about 4 pages per town, with lots of photos and a short text that packs a punch of interesting info. One learns not only interesting historical tidbits but also fun information about the towns and its inhabitants. Some of these towns offer stunning scenery, making them the perfect place to buy and read a book. Truly paradisaical!

Perhaps the best view from a bookshop in the work (Fjaerland, Norway)

An honesty bookshop on the side of the road, on the shores of Sognefjord, Norway

What is also interesting is that many of the bookshops are also specialty bookshops, selling books on local history, religious books, banned books, old books or books that may not be found elsewhere.

Les Chats Noirs, which specializes in books on social and libertarian movements


Obidos Biological Market, where you can browse a cookbook and pick out the ingredients on the spot (Portugal)

Book Towns is a great coffee table book and ideal to gift to the book lover who loves to travel. It is a book that is a testament to the love that people have of the printed written word, and to the ingenious ideas communities come up with, not only to survive, but in some cases to thrive through local artistry and craftsmanship. The love of books is universal as seen through the colorful pages of this book. It is heartwarming to read about the respect books are given in these towns.

The next time I travel, I will make it a point to take photos of the bookshops I visit. If you find yourself in a book town, stop and visit their bookshops and buy a book or two. You will be supporting the town, the printed word and your own love of reading.

Plenty of bargain books at the Bredevoort Market in Netherlands

Note: All photos provided by the publisher with permission to publish in this post.

Disclosure: Thanks to The Quarto Group for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.


Buy the Book:

About the Author:



Alex Johnson is a professional blogger and journalist, part of The Independent's online team. Alex runs Shedworking, which inspired the book Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution published by Frances Lincoln, The Micro Life, and curates Bookshelf, which was published as a book in 2012 by Thames & Hudson as Bookshelf.

Improbable Libraries, a survey of the most unusual and intriguing libraries around the world, was published by Thames & Hudson in April 2015. His book A Book of Book Lists was published in October 2017 by The British Library.

Alex lives in St Albans, London with his wife, three children, and plenty of books from all over the world.

Connect with Alex on Shedworking  ~ The Micro Life ~ BookshelfTwitter

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday and It's Monday What Are You Reading? April 9 Edition


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

It was back to winter this week with temps well below the zero mark. Winter does not want to leave this year.

I got a lovely email from Feedspot this week telling me that my blog has been selected as one of the Top 25 Canadian Book Bloggers. This is the most comprehensive list of the best Canadian Book Bloggers on the Internet and I'm honoured to have been chosen. Yay!


Mailbox Monday Edition



Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week. Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home on its blog. Link up to share your MM.


For Review:

I like immigrant stories in kidlit.


This one is described as a witty Regency romance.



Free Kindle books:

A novella Regency fairytale. Pure escapism.


Time travel meets the Wild West


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It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever-growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.


What I read and/or featured last week:

From the Future With Love by Alison McKenzie (Review) This was a fun time travel story with a bittersweet ending

The Myths of Safe Pesticides by André Leu (Review & Giveaway!) Eye-opening info on poisons in our food 

The Ticket by Fred Shackelford (Book Spotlight and Giveaway!) Check out this author;s debut novel and enter to win $50 Amazon GC


 Reading Now:



Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.



Hope you all have a great reading week.




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