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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? Oct 24 Edition

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It 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.

It's finally starting to look and feel like fall here in Montreal. Blustery windy day today and the streets are now full of fallen yellow and blazing orange leaves. Some areas only an hour away already had their first snowfall. I'm not ready for that yet...

Some great books in my mailbox this week! The first 3 are kidlit.

#BabyLove: My Toddler Life by Corine Dehghanpisheh

In #BabyLove: My Toddler Life, a new children’s picture book by Corine Dehghanpisheh, a curious toddler loves to play… especially with his mommy’s smartphone!

When Mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment. Mommy reminds her little one that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention.

Her simple reminder: Put down our phones.

Pedro 'n' Pip by Taylor Barton

Pedro ‘n’ Pip is a raucous, uplifting rock ‘n’ roll odyssey about a tenacious ten-year-old girl, named Pip, and a ‘rockoctopus’, Pedro, who she meets while scuba diving after an oil spill in the Gulf. Together, they forge a powerful friendship and unite sea creatures and landlubbers alike to help clean up our waters for the good of all. A funny, tender, courageous story meant to raise environmental awareness in our kids.

Mama's Knight: A Cancer Story of Love by Aurora Whittet

Once upon a time . . . It’s how all heroes begin their story, and you’re a hero, too! Your mama has cancer, and it’s a scary journey, but you can help your mama just by being you—special, wonderful, YOU. Your mama loves you just the way you are. You are your mama’s knight.

Mama’s Knight: A Cancer Story of Love is an emotional toolbox that can help kids and parents communicate about what it means for Mama to have cancer. The book is filled with tools and activities designed to make coping with illness easier on both parent and child, and can be personalized for each child.

Time Shift by Kris Trudeau

TimeShift is a gripping journey of suspense, drama and sci-fi action spanning 900 years in 185 days. Four interconnected story lines turn up the heat in this futuristic techno-thriller.

Owen Taylor is suspicious when a team arrives from eighty years in the future to enlist him for knowledge they claim only he possesses.

In 2097, the missing link to Artificial Intelligence is uncovered when conventional robots are programmed with human personalities, giving them the desire to “be.” While these free-thinking robots struggle to understand their own existence, they discover a dislike for human inefficiencies and materialism. Quietly, they strive to free their race from human constraints and their population explosion goes unnoticed until it’s too late.

Tricity is on the brink of falling into the robots’ clutches and the only solution whereby control of the city can be seized from the metallic malcontents is so unconventional that the odds of success are virtually nonexistent. During this 185-day mission, teams must alter elements of the past to save the future. If they are successful, time will “shift” and rewrite the future without the robots’ destruction.

Owen has no idea how he can help these teams save his city from the rogue, experimental robots, eighty years before the conflict even erupts. Although he is the key to saving the future in 2097, Owen may not be alive long enough to help. Caught up in a whirlwind of time travel, futuristic technologies and mysterious accidents, Owen’s life may never return to normal.

TimeShift unravels the complex relationships and unique challenges faced by each team member during this seemingly impossible endeavour. Each person has the potential to shift time in a way that could drastically alter or undo key events and de-create people throughout history, changing the world for better…or for worse.

The Stages of Grace by Connie Ruben & Kate O'Neill

This book was written out of a desire to share with others who have loved ones with Alzheimer's disease what I have experience as Grace' caregiver and friend. I wanted to capture the emotions, the expected and the unexpected issues, the painful times as well as the humorous and loving moments that Grace and I have shared as a result of this disease. This is not mean to be a handbook for dealing with Alzheimer's disease, but I hope that by sharing my feelings and experiences, readers may recognize they are not alone on this particular journey.

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.

Posts From Last Week:

Date Like a Girl, Marry Like a Woman by Jessica R Bunevacz (Book Spotlight & Giveaway!)

Reading Now:

Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The 10 Myths of Teen Dating by Daniel Anderson and Jacquelyn Anderson (Review)

A uniquely resourceful book for any parent with a teen daughter and an eye-opener for any young girl who wants to date.

Book Details:

Title: The 10 Myths of Teen Dating: Truths Your Daughter Needs to Know to Date Smart, Avoid Disaster, and Protect Her Future
Authors: Daniel Anderson with his daughter Jacquelyn Anderson
Publisher: David C Cook
Published: September 2016
Trade paperback, 254 pages
Content rating: G

Book Description:

There's no greater moment of panic in a parent's life than when their daughter begins to date.

Due to their lack of knowledge about the world their teens face coupled with the scant dating information they received as teens, many parents feel ill-equipped to guide their daughters through the minefield that is teen dating.

And by the same token, teenage girls crave information about dating and relationships. And left to their own devices, many will develop their own assumptions about dating by talking to their friends or watching the latest TV shows and movies. But that will only lead them down a path toward heartbreak.

So how do you engage your daughter in discussions about dating, relationships, and her future happiness? Expert educator Daniel Anderson and his twenty something daughter, Jacquelyn, help you navigate the biggest dating myths, including: the myth that a boyfriend will make your daughter happy, that she should trust her feelings, or that sex will enhance her relationship. Combining the latest scientific research with poignant personal stories, as well as proven truths and practical application, The 10 Myths of Teen Dating will equip you to teach your daughter how to date smart for today . . . and tomorrow.

Purchase a copy:

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

I enjoy reading parenting books because although I consider myself a good parent, there is nothing that prepares you for the lack of confidence you will feel on some days. My kids are now teens and it reminds me somewhat of the toddler years when testing independence was a big transitional stage. 

So the minute I saw this book I thought I could use some advice as my daughter is now 15 and the topic of dating has come up because some of the older teens she is hanging out with are dating and getting married young. As parents, we are relieved she feels like we do that she should focus on her studies and use her youth to travel, make new friends and learn about other cultures. But as I began to read this book, I realised that although my daughter may be mature, she certainly wasn't immune to the way teens and her peers think! 

I'll tell you straight off that this is one of the best parenting books I have read. It's well-written and researched and the author is a veteran high school teacher who is also a father of two grown daughters and a son. The writing is engaging, intelligent and at times poignant. The minute I began to read this book, I learned new things and I continued to learn new things throughout. 

As a parent, I appreciated the psychological, physiological and statistical information dispensed in such an absorbing way that I easily read through this book. Every chapter ends with questions for reflection, questions for parents to discuss with their daughters and a short intro to the next chapter. I read many non-fiction books and the way this one is laid out is well-organized with a creative narrative that includes conversations with teen girls and anecdotes of actual incidents that are insightful and drive the point home.

What's more, the author's daughter who is now also a teacher, includes her honest observations and feelings of what it was like to be a teen girl during the dating years. She includes her views on why certain parental tactics did not work and the mistakes she made. Her candid and sincere remarks were an eye-opener for me! This dual viewpoint, actual make that triple viewpoint of experienced parent, teacher and teen daughter was brilliant.

My experience as a Special Care Counsellor applauds the valuable information this book provides in helping both parents and teens navigate the difficult and emotionally trying teenage years. This is an excellent resource for both parents, educators, counsellors and teens. But the parent in me is so grateful that Mr. Anderson took the time to write a book that informs and empowers both parents and their daughters to work together and understand each other. The world of teens, their lingo and way of communicating today is so different from when we were that young, that as parents we need to stay abreast and do all we can to understand it.

I will recommend this book to all my parent friends, make sure my husband reads it too and apply the good advice and suggestions to open discussions on dating with my daughter. This is a must-read for all parents of teens, even those who only have boys so they can help them understand how girls think in terms of a relationship. It will be included in my list of Best Books Read in 2016. Highly highly recommended!

To read more reviews, please visit the authors' page on Litfuse.

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

About the authors:

Daniel Anderson is a former college All-American basketball player, an expert educator, and a father of two grown daughters and a son. As a veteran high school teacher in the public school system, Daniel was troubled by how his students approached dating and relationships. He and his daughter, Jacquelyn Anderson---a twenty something and also a high school teacher---decided to address this need by equipping parents with The 10 Myths of Teen Dating, their first book together. Daniel and Jacquelyn both make their home in Portland, Oregon.

Connect with the authors:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall (Review & Giveaway!)

Book Details:

Title: The Cautious Maiden (Book #4 in The Everstone Chronicles) by Dawn Crandall
ISBN: 978-1629117508
Publisher: Whitaker House
Published: October 4, 2016
Trade Paperback, 304 pages
Content: G

Book Description:

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother Ezra turns their deceased parents' New England country inn into a brothel to accommodate the nearby lumberjacks;but when Violet's own reputation is compromised, the inn becomes the least of her worries. In an effort to salvage her good name, Violet is forced into an engagement with a taciturn acquaintance: Vance Everstone.

As she prepares for a society wedding, Violet learns that her brother had staked her hand in marriage in a heated poker game with the unsavory Rowen Steele, and Ezra had lost. Now Rowen is determined to cash in on his IOU. With danger stalking her and a new fiance who hides both his emotion and his past, Violet must decide who to trust and who to leave behind.

My Review
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

The Cautious Maiden was a delightful read. I love a good historical romance novel every now and then and this clean, sweet Christian novel was refreshing. Although this is the fourth book in the Everstone Chronicles, it is a stand-alone novel with new main characters, including some of the characters from previous books as secondary characters. I did not ever feel like I was missing out by not having read the first three books.

Violet meets handsome and well-to-do Vance Everstone, a former Boston society rake turned Christian, and ends up in a compromising situation with him after he tries to help her. This leads Vance to propose to her to save her reputation and she accepts. Throughout their engagement their attraction to each other is mutual and Violet must decide if she can trust him.

Both Violet and Vance were great characters because they were flawed and well developed, although it seems Vance had more issues because of his past womanising habits. He was somewhat of a tortured soul and Violet's kindness, honesty and bold ways of dealing with things was refreshing. She did not act like a damsel in distress and was not intimidated by Vance's past.

This is very much a character-driven novel. I enjoyed the story and the element of danger introduced toward Violet in the beginning, although it was a little underplayed once she got engaged to Vance and I no longer felt Violet was in danger until the end of the story. I was expecting Rowan Steele to show up sooner in the story.

Well-written and engaging, this fourth instalment in the Everstone Chronicles is a delightful read for all fans of Christian historical romance.

I look forward to reading the first three books in this series. Be sure to check them out!

About the Author

Dawn Crandall is an ACFW Carol Award-nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles, which consists of four books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, The Captive Imposter and The Cautious Maiden.

Apart from writing, Dawn is also a mom of two little ones and serves with her husband in a premarital mentorship program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn't begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream. It didn't take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do. 

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and an associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter. She is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency.

Connect with the author:  Website

Enter the Giveaway!

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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.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Date Like a Girl, Marry Like a Woman by Jessica R Bunevacz (Book Spotlight & Giveaway!)

This past summer I reviewed Date Like a Girl, Marry Like a Woman and today I'm welcoming Jessica R Bunevacz back to my blog as I kick off her spotlight book tour.  Her book is like reading advice from your best friend. Be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy for yourself!

Book Details:

Book Title: Date Like a Girl, Marry Like a Woman by Jessica R Bunevacz
Category: Adult non-fiction, 241 pages
Genre: Self help, romance, love, memoir
Publisher: SZ Publishing
Release date: July 5, 2016
Tour dates: Oct 17 to Nov 4, 2016
Content Rating: R (This book has sex advice)

Book Description:

Navigating our romantic lives can be filled with incredible highs and unfathomable lows. Everyone enters relationships with a unique idea of what makes connection work. But even with our differences, we have a common thread running through all of us: the deep desire to love and be loved.

Based on her experiences, and with the help of her closest friends and the men in her life, author Jessica R. Bunevacz created a series of guidelines for women looking to enjoy dating and romance and avoid common pitfalls and difficulties.

Whether you're dating, getting ready to walk down the aisle, or are already married and looking to take your marriage to the next level, it's profoundly important to celebrate where you are on your journey and make every day special and meaningful for yourself and those around you.

Date like a Girl, Marry like a Woman incorporates Bunevacz's own stories of love, dating, and marriage with practical advice for today's modern relationship and reminds readers not to settle for anything less than the best.

Buy the book: Amazon

Meet the Author:

What do you get when you mix a strict Catholic upbringing, a strong curiosity for the opposite sex, and the need to grow up quickly? If you are lucky you get an outcome like Jessica Bunevacz, the vivacious first time author behind "Date Like a Girl, Marry Like a Woman: The Polished Woman's Guide to Love, Romance and Sex."

Jessica is a former actress and fashion model born and raised in the Philippines, and currently living in Los Angeles. A happily married mother of three, she has made the journey from MANnizer to the quintessential polished woman. Utilizing her own past experiences and a passion for helping others, she will quickly become the best friend you wish you had!

Connect with the author: 

Enter the Giveaway!

Win one of 3 prizes:

Grand prize: copy of book plus a Polished Woman Make-Up Kit (USA only) 
​- ​
2nd prize: copy of book (print or ebook) and $25 Amazon gift card (int’l) 
​- ​
3rd prize: copy of book (print or ebook) and $20 Barnes & Noble gift card (int’l)

​Ends ​Nov 12
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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Mailbox Monday and It's Monday, What Are You Reading? Oct 17 Edition

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia who now blogs at To Be Continued. It 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.

Went apple picking with kids and friends last Monday. Came home and made apple pie. Yum! 

My son crunching on a freshly picked Cortland apple

One review book in my mailbox and two bought:

Body Punishment: OCD, Addiction and Finding the Courage to Heal by Maggie Lamond Simone

For as long as she can recall, Maggie Lamond Simone has been plagued by self-loathing and urges to harm herself physically while emotionally sabotaging her life. In Body Punishment: OCD, Addiction and Finding the Courage to Heal (Central Recovery Press, April 2015), she reveals it all. The obsessive thoughts that drove her to cut, starve, pick, drink, pluck, purge, and otherwise hurt herself. The profound shame, the utter despair and the confusion over her own inner workings that prevented her from establishing stable, long-term goals and healthy relationships. 

Through this poignant story of her painful, eye-opening journey she explores the issues of substance abuse, anxiety, and depression that commonly occur with OCD, all in an effort to further the dialogue around mental illness and eliminate the shame and help others find a way forward toward healing.
In Body Punishment, Maggie Simone provides a deeply personal account of her experiences with OCD and addiction. She shows how one can overcome significant psychiatric challenges while leading a productive, fulfilling life.”
—Kevin P. Hill, MD, MHS, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School

The Ruins of Lace by Iris Anthony

The mad passion for forbidden lace has infiltrated France, pulling soldier and courtier into its web. For those who want the best, Flemish lace is the only choice, an exquisite perfection of thread and air. For those who want something they don't have, Flemish lace can buy almost anything-or anyone.

For Lisette, lace begins her downfall, and the only way to atone for her sins is to outwit the noble who know demands an impossible length of it. To fail means certain destruction. But for Katharina, lace is her salvation. It is who she is; it is what she does. If she cannot make this stunning tempest of threads, a dreaded fate awaits.

A taut, mesmerizing story, The Ruins of Lace explores the intricate tangle of fleeting beauty, mad obsession, and ephemeral hope.

What a Mother Knows by Leslie Lehr

How Far Will a Mother Go to Find Her Daughter?

Michelle Mason can't remember that day, that drive, that horrible crash that killed the young man in her car. All she knows is she's being held responsible, and her daughter is missing.

Despite a shaky marriage, a threatening lawsuit, and troubling flashbacks pressing in on her, Michelle throws herself into searching. Her daughter in the one person who might know what really happened that day, but the deeper Michelle digs, the more she questions the innocence of those closest to her, even herself. As her search hurtles toward a shattering revelation, Michelle must face the biggest challenge of her life.

A poignant story of the unshakable bond between mother and child, What a Mother Knows is about finding the truth that can set love free.

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.

Stop by and enter my giveaways!

Also posted on the right sidebar.

Hope you all have a great reading week.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom by Wendy Speake & Kelli Stuart (Review & Giveaway!)

This is the perfect book for Christian moms who are creative but need inspiration to pursue their creative gifts.

Book Details:

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom by Wendy Speake & Kelli Stuart
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Published: September 27, 2016
Trade paperback, 208 pages
Content rating: G

Book Description:

What was God thinking when He created you creative and then gave you children?

Creative moms often feel as though they must lay their passions down. But God had something special in mind for the creative woman during this intense season of mothering.

In this Pinterest age of handcrafted children's parties, Instagram photos of beautifully decorated homes, and blogs filled with poetry and prose, it is clear that we are in the midst of a brand new artistic renaissance. Not one born in Italian cathedrals or Harlem jazz clubs, but rather in kitchens, nurseries, and living rooms around the world. Mothers, working in the cracks and crevices of each hectic day, are adorning the world with their gifts, and they're showing all of us the beauty of this Life Creative.

In this book, you'll learn:

-Why the world needs your art
-How this Life Creative begins at home
-When art can turn a profit
-Your part in this modern day Renaissance

Life Creative paints the stories of moms, just like you, who are fitting their inspired lives into the everyday, ordinary places of motherhood. Women like home decorator Melissa Michaels and jewelry designer Lisa Leonard, author Angie Smith, recording artist Ellie Holcomb, and many more.

Purchase a copy: Life Creative Website

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

This book's title is very apt and meaningful as it captures perfectly what this book is all about. Being an active and creative mom, I was curious about this book, especially after I read Kelli Stuart's powerful and compelling novel Like a River From Its Course, which made it on my Best Reads of 2016 list.

Although nonfiction, Life Creative is beautifully written, full of imagery, quoting Scripture and poetry. It is a delight to read. It's an inspiring book written specifically for Christian moms, encouraging them to pursue their creative gifts to honor God, assist their families and the community and to make a living if so desired. I totally agreed with the authors' statement that our ministry starts with our children. Sometimes through the sleepless nights, feedings and diaper changes, we forget.

I was truly able to relate to some of the honest stories in this book, stories about mothering, feelings of being lost and confined in the dark days of sacrificing so much for family, of having to take care of babies and toddlers and feeling frustrated because our creative self is stifled. Gently, and using scripture and life experience, the authors encourage and motivate mothers not to give up but to start little by little to feed that creative side.

That's what I did when my children were toddlers. During naptime, I would write every day and soon enough a novel was born. I went through postpartum depression, and writing my novel was therapeutic for me. So this book really spoke to me. I was nodding my head as I read along. I loved reading the many anecdotes of creative moms and how their art, whether writing, photography, jewellery making, cooking, painting or music fed their souls, children, families and their ministry.

I applaud the authors for writing this inspiring book to encourage moms to pursue their creative goals and that it is part of our role as mothers. The book itself too has a pretty layout, with a quote at the beginning of each chapter and interspersed throughout the text, appropriate for a book on creativity. It is a beautiful book, very positive in tone and topic and life as an active Christian. Highly recommended for all the moms that need a boost to discover or rediscover their flare for being creative in any way they love.

To read more reviews, please visit the authors' page on Litfuse.

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

Meet the Authors:

Wendy Speake is a trained actress and heartfelt teacher. She ministers to women's hearts through storytelling and life applications, utilizing drama, comedy, poetry and the study of God's Word. During her career in Hollywood, Speake found herself longing to tell stories that edify and encourage women. She is the author of Triggers: Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses (BRU Press, 2015). Speake is a wife and homeschooling mother of three boys.

Kelli Stuart is a writer and a storyteller at heart. She has written for several websites including The Huffington Post, 5 Minutes for Mom, The MOB Society, (in)courage and Compassion International. She is the author of three books, including Like a River from Its Course (Kregel Publications, 2016) and a noted speaker. Stuart her husband live in Florida with their four children.

Connect with the authors: Website | Instagram

Enter the Giveaway!

Join Wendy, Kelli, and other moms in celebrating the beauty of being a creative mom by entering to win the Called to Be Creative Giveaway (details below) and by attending their author chat party on October 27!


One grand prize winner will receive:

One copy of Life Creative
A Starbucks gift card

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 10/27. The winner will be announced at the Life Creative Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Wendy, Kelli, and other creative moms, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via social media and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Michelangelo's Ghost: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery (Book spotlight and Giveaway!)

Last week I reviewed Michelangelo's Ghost on Essentially Italian. And so I wanted to tell you about this addictive mystery series. Every year there is a book that I consider to be a hidden gem, a book from which I wasn't quite sure what to expect that turned out to be one of my favorites of the year. This time, Gigi Pandian's latest treasure hunt mystery novel happens to be my hidden gem. 

Read my review and then enter the cool giveaway to win a copy of the series!

Book Details:

Book Title: Michelangelo's Ghost: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery by Gigi Pandian
Category: Adult fiction, 288 pages
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
Release date: October 2016
​Content Rating: PG

Book Description:

A lost work of art linking India to the Italian Renaissance. A killer hiding behind a centuries-old ghost story. And a hidden treasure in Italy’s macabre sculpture garden known as the Park of Monsters… Can treasure-hunting historian Jaya Jones unmask a killer ghost?

Filled with the unexpected twists, vivid historical details, and cross-cultural connections Pandian is known for, Michelangelo’s Ghost is the most fast-paced and spellbinding Jaya Jones novel to date.

When Jaya’s old professor dies under eerie circumstances shortly after discovering manuscripts that point to a treasure in Italy’s Park of Monsters, Jaya and her brother pick up the trail. From San Francisco to the heart of Italy, Jaya is haunted by a ghost story inexorably linked to the masterpieces of a long-dead artist and the deeds of a modern-day murderer. Untrustworthy colleagues, disappearing boyfriends, and old enemies—who can Jaya trust when the ghost wails?

Praise for Gigi Pandian's Jaya Jones Mysteries:

“Charming characters, a hint of romantic conflict, and just the right amount of danger will garner more fans for this cozy series.” – Publishers Weekly on Quicksand

“Pandian’s sprightly prose celebrates the pleasures of Italian painting, food, and landscape. The light touch, swift pace, and verve maintained throughout the novel disguise the deeper thought and scholarship underpinning the story, which like the stage props of a conjurer, make the magic happen.”– Linda Lappin, Author of Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

To read reviews, please visit Gigi Pandian's page on Italy Book Tours.

Meet the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. She spent her childhood being dragged around the world, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gigi writes the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, and locked-room mystery short stories. Gigi’s debut novel, Artifact, was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant and named a “Best of 2012” debut by Suspense Magazine. Her fiction has been awarded the Lefty Award and short-listed for Macavity and Agatha Awards. Sign up for her email newsletter at

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

- Signed copies of the first 3 books in the series
- 6 book-themed recipe cards from the locations where each book is set (Italy, Scotland, India, France, and the US)
- $20 gift certificate to the winner’s favorite bookstore

Open to USA & Canada
Giveaway ends on Oct 29

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Forever Fit and Flexible: Feeling Fabulous at Fifty and Beyond by Cheryl L. Ilov (Review)

We love reading books that feature wellness at any age. As we get older feeling good can be a challenge. We are pleased to feature Cheryl Ilov's exercise program that brings us back to the basics in this easy to practice new book she published.

Book Details:

Forever Fit and Flexible: Feeling Fabulous at Fifty and Beyond by Cheryl L. Ilov
Willow Bay Publishing
Published: June 24, 2016
ISBN-13: 978-0997681307
Paperback: 200 pages
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
Content rating: G

Book Description:

Do you believe that getting older means losing health and vitality?
Here is your path to feeling youthful and vibrant.
"...IIov has an engaging style and much to offer....Forever Fit and Flexible is a well written, thorough guide to healthy living that will be enjoyed by a wide spectrum of readers looking for the same." --Blue Ink Review
Forever Fit and Flexible: Feeling Fabulous at Fifty and Beyond offers you the possibility of living with a new sense of energy and vitality as you move into your fifties, sixties, seventies, and beyond. Once you get moving, you’ll want to keep moving!
Imagine starting each day with a spring in your step. Envision liking what you see in the full-length mirror before you get dressed. Now visualize that you can engage in any activity with strength, grace, and confidence.
In Forever Fit and Flexible, Cheryl Ilov provides a program that will help you create this and more. Her movement lessons provide the building blocks to better posture, core strength, flexibility, balance, and functional strength. As you develop a solid physical foundation, you will also:

  1. eliminate chronic pain
  2. improve injury-related mobility issues
  3. experience increased energy
  4. develop mindful self-awareness and a positive mindset
  5. and much more!

My Review:
Reviewed by Maria Fragapane

Forever Fit and Flexible by Cheryl L. Ilov presents the over-50 reader with principles that reconnect us to simple, functional, pain free movement. Cheryl's program incorporates these fundamental principles from the movement arts of Pilates, Feldenkrais, dance, and martial arts.

Through engaging storytelling of her own personal experiences and of those around her, the author quite easily convinces the reader that the quality of our movement and our life is directly related to our combined use of body and mind.

I appreciated the simple explanations of how one can build a solid foundation and the small steps that can get even the "unfit" to a healthier, better place. I not only loved the exercises because of
their simplicity but because I know that they work! Through my own experience working with older adults, I've seen that learning to become reacquainted to everyday movements by slowing down and thinking through them is the key to becoming "fit and flexible".

The only thing missing from this gem of a book are photos, which I think are essential is a book that teaches exercise movement. Although the exercises are explained in a simple to understand manner, a photo can convey at a glance what the reader has already read and thus imprint it in their mind, making it easy to follow and practice.

In my opinion, Cheryl has successfully created and described a program that can be understood and easily incorporated in the every day life of the 50+ and beyond. I would definitely recommend this book.

Disclosure by Maria Fragapane: Thanks to Buy the Book Marketing for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

About the Author:

Cheryl Ilov has always been drawn to health and wellness, the biological sciences, and movement arts, including classical ballet. She began her professional life as a respiratory therapist, and after seventeen years of practice, she returned to school and earned her master's degree in physical therapy in 1996.
Cheryl discovered The Pilates Method in 1983, and once she began working as a physical therapist, she made the connection that Pilates presented a wonderful tool to help people of all ages recover from injuries and illnesses. She immediately began applying the principles of Pilates to her patients to improve their quality of life and level of function. In 1999, she founded Ilov Integrated Arts, specializing in Pilates-based rehabilitation. Cheryl had her first experience with The Feldenkrais Method® in 2000.
She began the required four-year training program to become a Feldenkrais practitioner in February 2006 and graduated in November 2009. During Cheryl's remarkable journey of learning, healing, and self-discovery, she also discovered a martial art called Ninpo Tai Jutsu. She fell in love with the art and the training as well as the powerful connection between Feldenkrais and martial arts and their incredible healing power.
Cheryl has dedicated her life to helping others achieve the best quality of life possible. Having personally experienced the anxiety of dealing with chronic pain, stress, and fatigue, she also understands the frustration of feeling out of control, gaining weight, and struggling to find a healthy, effective way to recover after devastating injuries. Cheryl has integrated her education, experience, and expertise to develop a program for people, regardless of their age or current level of function. It is her firm belief that anyone can be fit, flexible, healthy, vibrant, and energetic in their fifties, sixties, seventies, and beyond.

Journey Out of Fat, Dumb and Ugly by Cherie Esteves (Book Spotlight & Giveaway!)

I enjoy discovering books that help people change their thought patterns from negative to positive ones. Books that empower individuals to take steps to find beauty in who they are. Need a boost? Check out this book and enter today to win a copy.

Book Details:

Book Title: Journey Out of Fat, Dumb, and Ugly: Making the Journey to Self-acceptance and Inner Peace by Cherie Esteves
​Category: Adult nonfiction, 180 pages
Genre: Inspirational / Self-help
Publisher: BookLogix
Release date: September 2016
Tour dates: Sept 26 to Oct 14, 2016
Content Rating: PG-13

Book Description:

Are you tired of living your life according to the labels that have been slapped onto you? Do you feel you are always pressured to conform to other people’s ideas of who they believe you are? Do you feel destined to live a life of mediocrity and unhappiness, despite the fact that you know you are meant for something bigger?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you will easily identify with journey.Journey is a lost and tortured soul on a personal quest to escape the physical, mental and emotional servitude of the unfair labels, invisible barriers, and dire consequences of a lifetime of decisions made out of fear and feelings of inferiority. Journey’s Path to freedom is a dramatic, tear-jerking, yet funny roller-coaster ride that beautifully demonstrates how to:
  • Change the directions of your thoughts and life.
  • Use the power of your pain to discover and serve your life purpose.
  • Eliminate toxic relationships and self-sabotaging behavioral patterns.
You have the power to remove whatever labels have been placed on you. If you know there’s more to you than meets the eye, and you’re determined to break free of a lifetime of painful stereotypes and a mediocre, dissatisfied existence, then this book is our key to opening the door to the exceptional life that you always imagined.

Buy the Book: Amazon ~ Author's Website

Meet the Author:

Cherie Esteves was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, the city she so affectionately calls her first love. There she was deeply rooted and heavily influenced by the rich, diverse crosspollination of the European American culture that makes New Orleans one of the most unique and intriguing cities in the world. Cherie moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1989, where she raised her two beautiful children and has continued to live for over twenty years. Her production company’s name, Creole Peach Productions, was born out of her alliance to both cities.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

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