Wednesday, May 27, 2015


2014-10-08 13.13.47-3
Fred and I with our grandsons

Acts of Kindness – A Surprise Dinner

I know my blog is normally all about literary items, books, reviews, and other noteworthy things for those who love to keep their noses buried in the stacks.  But this has been an interesting week.  Sometimes we need to share.  Sometimes we need to take our noses out of our beloved tomb and see life that is going on around us. Earlier this week, for those who follow my facebook page, please bear with me a moment with I regress….

 Hubby and I were out running errands and stopped in at one of the local taco spots across town. We noticed a man about our age sitting on the curb as we walked into the shop but didn't think much of it, it was an area of town where that sight was not unusual.
While sitting there, with the man sitting just outside our window, I watched people come and go. He sat quietly, observing his surroundings, not saying anything to anyone as they passed by.
He came into the shop and quietly asked if he could have a cup of water and the clerk graciously accommodated his request, after which he went back outside and sat back down on the curb again.
I turned to Fred and observed. The man outside is hungry. Fred handed me the money in his pocket and I went up to the register. I asked the clerk if the gentleman outside had been a customer earlier, she said no.
After asking if it was possible he might need a meal, the clerk ran outside to check with the gentleman and came back to confirm that he was indeed hungry. I proceeded to purchase him the largest burrito they had on the menu. The poor clerk's eyes grew large.
She asked, "You are buying him food?"
"Yes," I replied. "He's hungry."
She added a large drink, on the house, to the burrito. After paying for the food, I asked her if she would mind taking the food out to him when it was ready, as I didn't want to embarrass him.
When we looked up, the clerk was walking out the door with a large bag that appeared to be half filled with items, along with a large drink, which she gave to the man. He jumped up from the curb, to come inside to thank us for our generosity.
We visited for a moment, discovering that he was indeed homeless and living on the streets, surviving on fish that he could catch from the river. He was down on his luck, but still cared for his self-esteem.
He was well-spoken and we enjoyed the short visit with him as we sat there in our gardening clothes, covered with dirt, unlike his clean but worn clothing, neatly trimmed beard, and tidy appearance.
Just as we were leaving, the store manager came up to thank us for our thoughtfulness. Fred and I looked at each other, puzzled. The store had put three to four times the amount of food and drink into the meal for the gentleman than we had. We had only purchased a large burrito.
Then it dawned on me, it wasn't about how much money that we had spent, it was the fact that we had stopped and acknowledged the simple human need of a fellow man. We had said, "You are hungry, here is food for your hunger."
In this area of town, so many people are invisible. We had told this man he was not invisible. He was of importance. He had a basic need that we could meet, today. In turn, it opened a door and gave others the courage to do the same.

 To continue….
This evening, after having a medical procedure yesterday and maybe overdoing things a bit this morning, I suggested we go out for dinner this evening.  Fred had been working out in the yard most of the afternoon and wasn’t in the mood to cook either, so he was all smiles at being relieved of kitchen duty.
 Our favorite diner just recently (last week) opened a new shop over the hill and around the bend from us, so we cleaned up and hurried to beat the after work crowd.
As we were getting out of our car, I noticed a gentleman walking down the parking lot behind us. As I was watching, he reached into his pocket and appeared to pull out a wallet or fold of bills.  Before I realized what was happening, he held the fold of what appeared to be money above his head and started to jog and flick the bills along behind him.
I stared at him and then at the bills.  I yelled out that he was dropping his money.  He needed to stop.  But after he tossed the last of it, he took off running.
 Fred and I looked at each other and Fred went to the farthest bill one way and I went the other way to gather it.  I picked up a bill thinking it might be an advertisement printed on money-type paper – but it wasn’t.  It was a five dollar bill.  The next bill I picked up was a ten. Fred chased after him for a minute, but couldn’t see where he had disappeared around the corner of the building.
He brought what he had collected back to me and we put it all together as we walked into the restaurant.
 After sitting down, we took it out and counted it, twenty-seven dollars.  It was just enough money to pay for dinner.
I looked at Fred and said, “This is a lot more than that burrito cost us.” 
“What do you mean?”  He asked.
 “Before he started throwing the money, the man looked around like he was making sure there was no one else in the parking lot.  It had to be a random act of kindness.  We’ve been got! WOW!!”
 We are used to the joy of giving, but the joy of the total surprise of a gift from a stranger to shy to share any other way.  He had no way of knowing how he made our day, or the way that very small kindness we had shared a few days prior was rewarded by his generosity.
But maybe I need go back even further.  Many years ago when I was but in third grade and having a nickel for a special treat, especially on a hot Texas Sunday evening, was as rare as a snow storm in July.
My daddy preached a sermon on giving.  He shared the story of the Widow’s Mite.  Something about how far her penny went, and how her generosity was far more than that of the wealthiest merchant who gave much, but was truly very little of his great wealth. I remember putting that nickel in the offering plate as it went by and thinking that I had given all that I could give.
My sister gave me dirty looks because she knew that was for our special treat after church.  But I heard what the story was about and it made an impression on that little eight-year-old girl.
 After church, as we were walking down the sidewalk, back to our house, one of the visitors who was at church that evening stopped me.  She reached inside her purse and took out a quarter and handed it to me.
 “I saw you give your nickel in the offering plate tonight.” She said.  “That was very generous of you.  You have a very kind heart.  I hope you keep that heart with you when you grow up.”
 That small act of kindness has stayed with me.  I do not know the lady’s name.  But I do know she made a major difference in the life of a small child on how she looked at kindness to others and how important it is.
 I don’t know who the gentleman was who was so kind and shy this evening.  But his thoughtfulness, whatever the reason, was appreciated.  May he know that he has found a fellow couple who are firm practitioners in the art of Acts of Random Kindness.
 If you have received an Act of Random Kindness or would like to share a special Act of Random Kindness that you have been able to bless someone else with, stop by and post it here.
Bless us all with a smile and cheer our day. I hope this has cheered your day, too.
 Karen and Fred

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Havoc Rising - Good Tales Book Tour Cover Reveal

Havoc Rising - Large
BY Brian S. Leon
  Publication Date: June 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy

  Eternal life. Eternal battle. Steve—Diomedes Tydides to his Trojan War buddies—just had a bad day on his charter fishing boat in San Diego, but when the goddess Athena calls on her faithful warrior for another secret mission, he’s ready. The bomb that exploded inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art isn’t the crime American authorities think it is. Someone also stole the Cup of Jamshid, and Diomedes knows its fortune-telling abilities won’t be used for anything benign. Though Diomedes recovers the Cup from a determined shaman holed up beneath Central Park, when he finds his allies slain and the Cup taken once more, he knows he’s up against a truly powerful enemy. Over a millennium has passed since Diomedes last contended with Medea of Colchis, deranged wife of Jason the Argonaut, but neither her madness nor her devotion to Hecate, goddess of witchcraft, has waned, and she intends to use the Cup of Jamshid to release across the world a dark brand of chaos unseen in human history. Immortal since the Trojan War, Diomedes must once again fight for mortals he understands less and less, against a divine evil he may never truly defeat.

  Brian S LeonAuthor Bio: Brian S. Leon is truly a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. He began writing in order to do something with all the useless degrees, knowledge, and skills–most of which have no practical application in civilized society–he accumulated over the years. His varied interests include, most notably, mythology of all kinds and fishing, and he has spent time in jungles and museums all over the world, studying and oceans and seas across the globe chasing fish, sometimes even catching them. He has also spent time in various locations around the world doing other things that may or may not have ever happened. Inspired by stories of classical masters like Homer and Jules Verne, as well as modern writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, David Morrell, and Jim Butcher, combined with an inordinate amount of free time, Mr. Leon finally decided to come up with tales of his own.

Monday, May 25, 2015

MOLLY LEE - Book Review and Blog Tour

Molly Lee Large Banner
9780692409855Title: Molly Lee
Author: Andrew Joyce
Publication Date: March, 29, 2015
Purchase Links: Amazon ~Goodreads ~ B&N ~ iTunes ~Kobo
Genre: Literature
It’s 1861 and the Civil War has just started. Molly is an eighteen-year-old girl living on her family’s farm in Virginia when two deserters from the Southern Cause enter her life. One of them—a twenty-four-year-old Huck Finn—ends up saving her virtue, if not her life.
Molly is so enamored with Huck, she wants to run away with him. But Huck has other plans and is gone the next morning before she awakens. Thus starts a sequence of events that leads Molly into adventure after adventure; most of them not so nice.
We follow the travails of Molly Lee, starting when she is eighteen and ending when she is fifty-six. Even then Life has one more surprise in store for her.
Molly Lee is the story of a woman who knows what she wants and starts out to get it. Molly is about to set off on the quest of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.
I grew up reading Mark Twain’s books.  I know Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, Becky, and many more of Samuel Clemen’s characters that he introduced us to through the years.  I watched them float down the Mississippi, rescue Becky, white-wash fences, and all the various activities that got them in and out of trouble through the pages of his books.  They were books to grow up with.
It was a delight to have an opportunity to wander through the pages of a story that allowed us to imagine what happened later in the life of Huck Finn.  Molly Lee is the second book in the series of Huck Finn after he grew up.  In this case, it was more what happened after he had a chance encounter with a young lady at the start of the civil war, in Virginia.  Her name was Molly Lee.  The story is what happened for the next forty years, as Molly Lee went in search of Huck Finn (for she had fallen in love with him).
Though written by a male author, he presented a wonderful viewpoint of life for a young lady and then woman who was totally on her own, out west during and after the civil war.  He presented the story with humor, with compassion, but with the blunt honesty and fort-rightness that a western women of that day would have had.
I found the book to be an easy read, but an enjoyable one.  Though there were scenes that could have been very explicit because of the subject matter they dealt with, he handled it with aplomb, and dignity.  Because of this, the story is appropriate for YA as well as New Adult.  I also found it enjoyable as a Woman’s Fiction, and historical fiction read.
I would give this book a Four Star rating.
Danny at the computerFun Facts with Andrew Boyce (and Danny the Dog):

My Top Ten Favorite Things
(In no particular order)
  1. Watching the sun come up out of the ocean. There is nothing more beautiful than a sunrise, except maybe a sunset
  2. A puppy frolicking about
  3. Writing stories
  4. Seeing someone do a selfless act of kindness
  5. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  6. Grilled hamburgers with everything on ’em
  7. My dog, Danny
  8. Coming into home port after a month at sea
  9. A youngster’s laugh
  10. All of God’s creation (except maybe mosquitoes)
I’ve been asked to write a top ten list. You know, I would love to do so. However, the ice cream truck is coming down the street, and I’ve got to get out there and get my daily Popsicle. I even have the exact change today!
Hence, I’ll be turning the honors over to my dog, Danny. Now don’t you all laugh. Danny is an author in his own right. He writes a monthly column for a blogger that gets 1,000 visitors a day. He has his own Facebook author page, and some of his fans (all women) have flown in from around the world to meet him. That is 100% true. So may I introduce you all to Danny the Dog.
Man, Andrew sure can be long winded at times. Hello, I am Danny the Dog, purveyor of wit, wisdom and wonderfulness. So let’s get down to business before Andrew gets back and screws up the whole thing.
Danny’s Top Ten Favorite Things
  1. Hot dogs
  2. Finding chicken bones on the street.
  3. Sniffing where another dog has gone before.
  4. Wait . . . let’s go back to #3. You humans are so proud of yourselves for coming up with Facebook. Well, I gotta tell you, we dogs had our own Facebook while you guys were still living in caves. What do you think we’re doing when we sniff one of our fellow canine’s pee? I’ll tell you . . . we’re reading their post and when we are done, we either “like” it (a quick tinkle) or “comment” on it (a more pronounced stream).
  5. I see we’re out of time, so we’ll have to continue this later. And besides, I’ve got to con Andrew out of a few licks from his Popsicle.
Danny the Dog, over and out.
Andrew pic
Author Bio:
Andrew Joyce's MOLLY LEE is the sequel to his best-selling novel REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. It is the story of a woman who knows what she wants and starts out to get it. Molly is about to set off on the quest of a lifetime . . . of two lifetimes.
Andrew Joyce lives on a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his dog Danny
Author Links:
Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 11.03.14 AMThis tour was hosted by Good Tales Book Tours.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wanderlust in Suburbia - a Book Review


Marilyn Brant 

New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Marilyn Brant offers something unique and personal to the fans of her fiction and to new readers alike — a collection of 21 essays and 5 poems on the subject of motherhood, filled with the warmth, humor, and astute observations that are a trademark of her novels.

Wanderlust in Suburbia and Other Reflections on Motherhood is a “tribute to our mothers and our grandmothers. To our women friends. And to all of us as well.”

Marilyn-Brant-GR-240x300Books with Marilyn are a road of wonder and discovery.  It does not matter if they are paths down a romantic lane with two star-crossed lovers in one of her fun-loving romance novels.  It is totally beside the point if we are rollicking through Europe with a bus load of people discovering places we only dream of going to.  And it definitely doesn’t matter if we are flying across country in a high speed hot-rod with the guy we have had a secret crush on – like forever – looking for our missing brother, while hanging onto our lives by the seat of our pants.  Any read with Marilyn is an adventure.
  Wanderlust in Suburbia is no different.  The only changes consist of the fact that this is a collection of short essays, recollections, and poetry that she has written over the years.  It is a chance to see and discover the world from behind the magical eyes of Marilyn Brant.  We have the opportunity to fall all the way back into the 1970’s again as she and her husband start their lives together and witness, through these vignettes, the changing seasons of her life as she grows and matures as a wife, mother, author, and person. I had opportunity to laugh, cry, and sigh with her as her children grew; as she started writing “for real”.
  The tribute to fathers and dads brought me to tears as she honored her father and husband and all dads in one very poignant essay that is worthy of any publication.  Her wanderings through the early years spanned the seasons, holidays, and other special occasions, as well as the different foibles that we all find ourselves falling into as women and parents. If you love reading the works of Marilyn Brant, or if you love Chicken Soup for the Soul, you will love this gem.
   Even though I have it sitting here on my Kindle, I am buying some hardcopies for some new mommies that I know.  What a fantastic “new Mother’s” gift.  The essays are not only fun and enjoyable, they are packed full of some down home folk wisdom that most any mom would appreciate.
   Thank you for sharing these personal gems of yourself and of your family, Marilyn.  I could hear your voice smiling as I read my way through them all.  This will be a volume I plan on keeping around for a pick-me-up for myself.
   A must read!!!!!!!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Marilyn Brant is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy & mystery. She was named the Author of the Year (2013) by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She loves all things Jane Austen, has a passion for Sherlock Holmes, is a travel addict and a music junkie, and lives on chocolate and gelato. Visit her website:  

Monday, May 18, 2015

THE CEO BUYS IN - A Book Review

Nancy Herkness
Self-made billionaire Nathan Trainor feels restless and disillusioned. His company may be thriving, but he can’t find a woman who sees him for more than his wealth. With his love life in the red, he meets two other billionaire bachelors at the ultra-exclusive Bellwether Club. The three of them make a wager of the heart: they must find women who love them for who they are, not their money.

Savvy office temp Chloe Russell is trying to scrape together the money to support her grandmother. So when a flu epidemic strikes Trainor Electronics and she’s promoted to Nathan Trainor’s assistant, she jumps at the well-paid opportunity. But then Nathan himself falls ill, and he and Chloe must work from his penthouse while he recuperates. Before long, it’s clear there’s genuine heat between them, and it’s more than just a fever spike. Will Nathan win Chloe’s heart—and the bet? Or will their differences destroy any chance for love?
A CEO, a writer, and a star quarterback walked into a bar.  Sounds like the opening line to a really good joke, and you keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.  But this isn’t a joke, this is one well-written hot and bothered novel.  I love a good romance.  I really love a well-written romance novel with a strong female protagonist who doesn’t let the leading man run over her.  I hate lily-livered, simpering leading ladies, who sniff into their hankies and develop cases of the vapors (if only writers knew what vapors really were, LOL). 
Nancy Herkness delivered a complex storyline that kept my attention and entertained my mind as well as my libido on more than one occasion.  Her main characters were well developed with a lot of depth and complexity to their personalities that gave them believability and life that lifted them off the pages of the book.  The brooding, but extremely intelligent hero is always a favorite in my book.  I enjoyed watching this hero and the heroine matching wits as they sparred their way through the pages and sheets of the story.  The surrounding characters were colorful and added to the story.  The storyline itself was simple and straight forward, with a couple of small sub-plots that filled out the novel and gave some backstory to the characters.
It has been a long time since I have sat down and read a simple, straight forward story, where girl and boy meet.  Boy has no desire to fall in love.  Girl has no time for boy in her life.   But life throws them together and BAM!!!!  Life happens, sparks fly.  One problem, the boy is the “king of the castle”.  The girl hates “kings” and all things “rich and corporate”.  Oh, he is not without his own foibles.  Even though he is CEO and successful in his own right, he feels that he is a failure in his family’s eyes.  Then the tables turn and she must come to his rescue and save him from himself. 
 I laughed, I cried, I sweated, I loved reading this, my first Nancy Herkness book.  It won’t be my last.  A definite FIVE STAR rating. 
Nancy Herkness is the author of the award-winning Whisper Horse series, published by Montlake Romance, as well as several other contemporary romance novels.  She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America RITA® award. Her new series, Wager of Hearts, follows the romantic adventures of three very wealthy men who make a life-changing bet. 

Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, New Jersey Romance Writers, and Novelists, Inc. She has received many honors for her work, including the Golden Leaf Award, the Maggie Award in Contemporary Romance, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.  She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in English literature and creative writing.

A native of West Virginia, Nancy now lives in suburban New Jersey with her husband, two mismatched dogs, and an elderly cat. 

For more information about Nancy and her books, visit
Here are the links purchase 

The CEO Buys in

Amazon Print:
Amazon Audio:
Barnes and Noble print

Friday, May 8, 2015

BAITED SERIES - Book Tour and Giveaway

Baited Banner - Large
BK 1 Baited E-Book CoverTitle: Baited (3 Part Serial)
Ali Parker
Publication Date:
April 12, 2015

Rebecca Martin has achieved most things one might hope to by thirty. She is a successful business owner, drives a nice car and is wrapping up the details on a custom built home on the lake. The only thing she is missing is someone to share her accomplishments with.
One man has never been far from her thoughts – Kade McMillian, but his return to town after far too many years of chasing his dreams couldn’t be more poorly timed.
With a younger man demanding Rebecca attention at the office, she has to decide between reconstructing a relationship from her past or diving in deep to something new and seemingly forbidden.


Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Scribd


BK 2 Baited E-Book CoverBK 3 Baited E-Book Cover


Baited Series Box Set


Baited Series Printable Cover 5x8 171 cream


Ali Parker is a contemporary romance writer who is looking to flood the market this year with lots of great, quick reads. For those of you who love a full-length novel, we'll be boxing up the serial trilogies into a box set a week after the last release.
We're looking forward to putting out both Baited, and Ali's latest project, Jaded in the month of April.
Want to know when Ali releases something new? Join her mailing list!
This tour was organized by Good Tales Book Tours.
Guild of Immortal Women Large Banner

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Book One in the
S. L. Stacker
MAY 21, 2015
A near-death experience at the hands of her husband would cause any woman to cling to her crippling trust issues and dating phobia, and Macyn McIntyre is no exception. Falling into the lap of a sexy stranger may persuade her to change her mind, but before Macyn realizes what’s happening, a second potential love interest is vying for her affections. When a threatening letter turns up in her mailbox, Macyn realizes choosing between two guys is the least of her worries. Abduction, violence, and rescue by an elite squad change the course of her life forever. When she seeks revenge on those who hurt her, she has to decide if she can trust the ones who vow they love her. Will Macyn be able to overcome her past and use their aid in her vendetta, or will she take matters into her own hands?  SL Stacker Author PicABOUT THE AUTHOR S.L. Stacker is a romantic suspense author and novelist with Booktrope publishing and a member of International Thriller Writers association. She has written and published three books in the Macyn McIntyre series. Her current work includes several fiction novels, but her focus is Sisters of Summit Bay—to be published in 2015. When she isn’t throwing her readers for a loop and leaving them with cliffhangers, she can be found chilling with her husband, children, and dog. Author Links: Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon logo for booktour-color-cream Series Facebook Cover Art
Baited E-Book Cover

Monday, May 4, 2015

ALL THIS TIME - Book Tour, Review, and Giveaway

All This Time Large

All This Time Cover

American, Lydia Fadoul, hasSyrian spent a year waiting for her fiancé to return from war in Iraq, only to discover that he is broken by trauma and the devastating effects of PTSD. Just when he finally agrees to seek help, he takes his own life and leaves behind a story of murder, betrayal, and mystery. In her second, contemporary fiction novel since Budapest, Tiffani Burnett-Velez weaves a fast-paced literary tale about the rumors we believe and the prejudices we create in order to protect our hearts from the truth.

Some books are easy reads.  They are ones that you sit back in the porch swing on a Sunday afternoon with a big glass of lemonade and spend the afternoon immersed in another world.  A world where boy meets girl, and they run through the meadow with their arms outspread and laugh at the joy of life and the love that they share.  Ahhh what a nice relaxing Sunday afternoon, to sit there and wiggle your toes and grin with the daydreams.
Then there are the books that you sit down and pull your favorite throw close.  Grab your favorite cuppa and make sure it is fresh and hot, because you know, before you open the book, that you are going to need it.  Not all books are easy reads.  But there are some books you want and need to read!  There are some stories that need to be heard. 
ALL THIS TIME is such a story.  From the first page, as I stood in the cold cemetery, next to the cold empty grave, and listened to the dry liturgy of a preacher who no more knew the soldier whose body was lying there in that cold coffin – my heart broke.  It never got any better. 
PTSD is one of those subjects that is hard to talk about.  It is harder to watch a loved one live with. Tiffani accomplished a seemingly impossible task of adequately portraying and vocalizing the pain, anger and confusion that the young fiancĂ© of the dead marine and heroine of ALL THIS TIME went through after his suicide. 
Utilizing a wonderful and tantalizing story of intrigue and mystery to speak to a national tragedy in our nation’s military, Tiffani upheld the honor of our servicemen while speaking to the unimaginable atrocities that oft times drives many of these young men over the edge of sanity.  She addressed the questions of lack of adequate pre-screening and post diagnostic treatment upon return from the theatre of war. 

I deeply appreciated the sensitivity she gave to the many aspects of the vagaries that can cloud such situations involving multi-ethnicity incidents, no matter where they occur or between what peoples.  My hats off to Tiffani for a story well told and job well done on telling a difficult story.  This reviewer would give this book a rating of 4.5 Stars.

About the Author 

4580300Tiffani Burnett-Velez has been a freelance since 1996. Her non - fiction work has appeared in magazines and newspapers in the US and Europe, including Pennsylvania Magazine, Country Discoveries, St . Anthony Messenger,, Yahoo! News, and many more online and in print publications.
Her first novel, Budapest, was featured in the New York Book Festival and the 4 2nd Annual Conference of Jewish Librarians and it's re-release became a 2014 Amazon Bestseller in Literary and Inspirational Fiction. Her second contemporary novel, All This Time, will be released by Booktrope in 2015, and the second, A Berlin Story, in her bestselling WWII novella series, Embers of War, is an Amazon Historical German Fiction Bestseller. She has studied English Literature at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania and holds a BA in Cognitive Science from Ashford University. She is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing.

Author Links Website || Twitter || Goodreads

Publication Date: April 3 2015 Publisher: Booktrope Book Links: Goodreads || Amazon || B&N 

This tour was organized by Good Tales Book Tours.