Sunday, October 4, 2015

Taken Away

Taken AwayTitle: Taken Away
Author: Patricia Yager Delagrange
Publisher: Ravenswood Publishing
Pages: 400
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Jessee Bradford, a respected young veterinarian in Santa Barbara, California, comes home to find his wife Serena and baby daughter Sofia missing. Jessee fears they have been kidnapped or worse. The FBI investigators believe his wife, the only daughter of a wealthy philanthropist who never approved of their marriage, simply abandoned Jessee and took their child with no intention of returning.
After months of fruitless searching, Jessee relocates to his grandparents’ home in Iowa, where he takes over his grandpa’s veterinary practice. There he finds the family closeness he’s been missing and falls in love with a female equestrian Laura. When Jessee and Laura attend a gallery opening of an artist named She, the paintings remind Jessee of his wife Serena’s art work. Thus begins Jessee’s search to find She while his future with Laura teeters precariously on the edge until the truth about She is discovered.

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My Impressions: 

When I first got this book I really did not know what to expect since I have not read anything by this author before. I was pleasantly surprised though to see how much depth the characters had, and how easily transported and transfixed I was into the lives and stories of Jessee, Laura, Sophia and Serena. This book was an easy, enjoyable weekend read that I ended up adoring.

 I will say that I did not like Serena at all in the beginning. She comes across as a pretentious witch that I wanted to hit, but then that is the beauty of the depth of these characters. I did enjoy reading a book from the man's point of view for a change. Most books when it involves children is from the mothers pov, so it was nice to see that switch and how a father reacts to his missing wife and daughter. 

This book has a great plot that does not end the way you think it will. It has intricate characters that push the story along  nicely without too much down time that can get boring and tedious to read about. Easy one to recommend for anyone that loves a great romance, mystery type of story.

About the Author: 

Fascinated by broken-hearted couples and atypical families, Patricia weaves engaging tales of men and women who create cohesive families where love reigns supreme.  She sprinkles her books with intriguing characters who struggle to find balance in life after tragedy.  Whether an unwed teenager, desperate widow, abandoned father, or a couple who stray from their marital vows, her characters form relationships impacted by their desire to create a family.

Aside from writing, her favorite things to do include riding her Friesian horse, Maximus, dot-to-dot for adults, and watching Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington movies.  She spends a majority of her days writing while her two very large Chocolate Labs lounge on the couch cuddled next to her and her MacBook.

She writes a blog every Wednesday, so if you’re interested, sign up (to the right) on the mailing list and she’ll notify you after she posts her blog on this website.  Or just drop by Wednesday mornings and leave a comment.


I received a free copy of this book from the author via Pump Up your Books in exchange for my honest review, which I have given. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Dos Angeles, the first in a franchise of mysteries featuring Paco Moran, puts the multicultural thirty-something ex-LAPD homicide detective turned reluctant private eye on the trail of a beautiful young Latina on the run with ten million dollars in cash. Half Anglo and half Mexican, Moran is a transitional character equally at home working in Beverly Hills or blue collar Boyle Heights, the tough East Los Angeles neighborhood where he was raised by a single mom. In his debut case Paco quickly learns he will be the fall guy if he doesn't track down the young immigrant who allegedly stole a small fortune from a sleazy Hollywood producer secretly laundering money for a notorious drug cartel. Paco's frantic search takes him on a roller-coaster ride through a shadowy place he calls Dos Angeles a city within the city and a virtual country unto itself.

Enjoy and Excerpt: 

Shining her light through the opening she saw what appeared to be a fully equipped home office. It had a desk with a computer, a printer, a multi-line phone system and custom-built shelving holding an array of accordion files and cardboard storage boxes. On entering she found an illuminated light switch she quickly turned on.

With the room now brightly lit by a series of overhead spots, the first thing she noticed was one of the storage boxes had fallen off a shelf and it was lying face down on the carpeted floor. Alongside it was a banded stack of dollar bills. Turning over the box Maria was shocked to see it was filled with more wrapped bundles of cash. But the bills weren’t ones—they were all hundred dollar Benjamins.

Almost tripping in her haste to see what was in the other boxes, she took another down, placed it on the floor and quickly removed its fitted lid. It, too, was filled with packets of hundred dollar bills. Like a pirate sifting through a chest of precious Spanish doubloons, she quickly determined there was close to a hundred thousand dollars in just that one box.

It had to be a sign, she told herself. She had suffered and endured so much over the last two months. There had been days when she didn’t know if she even had the inner strength to carry on. Now—with this amazing stroke of good fortune—she finally had some hope again.

But first she would have to get all of the money out of the house.

And once she did… where in the world would she go?

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Emmy nominee Michael O’Hara-- who has written and produced some of the highest-rated television movies and miniseries in recent memory – is adding author to his resume with the August, 2015 the publication of his first novel,  Dos Angeles.

The book, featuring a bilingual and bicultural private eye named Paco Moran, centers around Moran’s desperate search for a beautiful young Latina immigrant who stole ten million dollars from the mob. In a pre-publication review American Book Award winner Peter Quinn said: Paco Moran’s debut in Michael O'Hara's Dos Angeles is fast-paced, finely crafted, and full of surprises. It's noir fiction for the 21st century, a helluva ride from the first page to last. Here's hoping O'Hara brings Paco back very soon. I can't wait!

A former award-winning journalist and NBC Vice President of Media Relations, O’Hara made an auspicious debut as a writer/producer with “Those She Left Behind,” a critically acclaimed family drama that continues to be the highest-rated TV movie (25.1/38 share) on any network in over twenty years. It starred Gary Cole and Colleen Dewhurst (who won an Emmy Award for her performance). That success was followed by the widely praised NBC movie “She Said No” which won an American Women in Radio & Television Award for Best Television Dramatic Special.

O’Hara next wrote and executive produced “Switched at Birth,” the blockbuster NBC miniseries that earned an Emmy nomination as Best Dramatic Special and remains the highest rated (22 rating/33 share) miniseries on network television since its initial telecast over two decades ago. He was also the writer and executive producer of “Murder in the Heartland,” a celebrated ABC miniseries which garnered a Casting Society of America Award and two Emmy nominations. Right after that he created and executive produced the first of 22 “Moment of Truth” movies for NBC, establishing one of the most successful film franchises in TV history.

O’Hara also wrote “She Woke Up Pregnant,” the pilot for ABC’s ‘Crimes of Passion’ franchise. It scored an impressive 13.4 rating and 21 share, making it the highest-rated ABC movie of the year. He went on to write “One Hot Summer Night,” another ‘Crimes of Passion’ thriller that was ABC’s highest-rated Thursday night movie of the season. Other producing credits include two CBS projects: “Twilight Zone – Rod Serling’s Lost Classics” and “A Child’s Wish,” which was filmed in the Oval Office and featured a cameo appearance by then President Bill Clinton. In addition he wrote and executive produced NBC’s “In His Life: The John Lennon Story” and “1st to Die,” a two-part NBC miniseries based on the best-selling novel by James Patterson.

Overall O’Hara has produced four miniseries and 33 Movies of the Week. Besides his Emmy nomination, other honors include: a Christopher Award (“A Child’s Wish”); a Prism Award (“The Accident”); a Humanitas Award nomination (“Heart of a Child”); a National Easter Seal Society Award (“To Walk Again”); an International Health & Medical Film Award (“Heart of a Child”); and the Media Award from The National Council on Problem Gambling (“Playing to Win.”)

Want to Learn more: 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Goddess Fish Promotions.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Parenting Devotional

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.
Mark 6:31, NLT
Many families need to heed the traffic sign that reads, “Slow down and live.” That’s pretty good advice for family living. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, “Why am I going a breakneck speed? Why am I killing myself like this?” On one occasion, Jesus advised some rest and solitude for his disciples after a rather hectic time. He said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” The fact is we need to come apart with our family or our family will come apart.

Healthy families view time as a controllable resource, needing the same attention that money does. They set priorities and budget time for family activities. They know that the family that prays together and plays together stays together.

One night a young son came to his father who was in his bed almost asleep. “What do you want, son?” he asked.

“Nothing, Daddy,” he said. “I want to crawl in beside you and talk a little.”

The father pulled the covers back, and in he came. He snuggled there in silence a short time and then said, “Daddy, it was fun holding your hand in front of that lion’s cage.”

“It sure was,” answered the father. “Were you scared?”

“Just a little bit,” he replied.

After another short time of silence the son said, “We really had a good time together today, didn’t we, Daddy?”

“We sure did,” the father said.

And that was all. The son quickly went to his room while the father was reminded of the importance of taking time to be together as a family.

A Life of Inches

Title: A Life of Inches
Author: Douglas Esper
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Pages: 260
Genre: New Adult/Coming of Age/Sports Fiction

Ryan Kelly and Woodie Wodyzewski always fight for every inch. Whether on the baseball diamond, the basketball court, or even the dance floor, these two friends are true competitors. When Ryan beats Woodie in a bike race because Woodie has the misfortune to be hit by a car, he seems to have won. But the beautiful girl who crashes into their lives is worth far more than any trophy. Molly De Leon knows all about winning, and nothing will keep her from her goals. Ryan and Woodie have been vying for Molly since the day they met. How can she possibly choose between them? Woodie has a complicated family situation and she desperately wants to help him through his misery and confusion. A little on edge with a temper, he’s the bad boy in her life who reminds Molly a lot of her mother, a powerful politician she’s grown up watching bend men and women to her will with a simple smile. Ryan, on the other hand, is very close to his parents, grounded, and has a good sense of humor. He’s not your typical jock; he’s a safe, reliable pick, and a constant in Molly’s life—that is, until his injuries lead him down a destructive path. Molly realizes it’s time to make a decision… But how can she risk losing either one of them when they both own a piece of her heart?

My Impressions: 
I love baseball, so given the chance to read a book about baseball, in any form, is right up my alley. Ryan and Woodie are characters. They have been best of friends for as long as they can remember and are both super competitive, even when it comes to love. One fateful day they both cross paths with the most beautiful girl they have ever seem and instantly fight for her attention and of course to claim a victory over the other guy. Molly is not like any girl they have know. She is a beauty that is also just as competitive as the guys and soon the 3 forge a friendship that takes them on a ride none will ever forget.

I enjoyed watching these two fight and compete over everything from girls to baseball to who can get to the next location the quickest. This whole book was fun, fast paced, roller coaster of a ride. Just when you think you got the 3 of these main characters nailed down, something sneaks up on you and rips the rug out from under you. The author does an amazing job with the character development all the way through to minor characters. You feel for these guys, you root for them, share in their set backs and heart aches and get swept up in the pure emotion of what baseball and love are all about.

I can easily recommend this book to anyone that loves a great coming of age book coupled with some romance, determination, competition and the great American sport of baseball. Personally I cannot wait to read more by this author!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Books.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Inside the Criminal Mind by Stanton E. Samenow

In 1984, this groundbreaking book presented a chilling profile of the criminal mind that shattered long-held myths about the sources of and cures for crime. Now, with the benefit of twenty years' worth of additional knowledge and insight, Stanton Samenow offers a completely updated edition of his classic work, including fresh perceptions into crimes in the spotlight today, from stalking and domestic violence to white-collar crime and political terrorism.

Dr. Samenow's three decades of working with criminals have reaffirmed his argument that factors such as poverty, divorce, and media violence do not cause criminality. Rather, as Samenow documents here, all criminals share a particular mind-set--often evident in childhood--that is disturbingly different from that of a responsible citizen.

While new types of crime have grown more prevalent, or at least more visible to the public eye--from spousal abuse to school shootings--little has changed in terms of our approach to dealing with crime. Rehabilitation programs based on the assumption that society is more to blame for crime than the criminal, an assumption for which a causal link has yet to be established, have proved to be grossly inadequate. Crime continues to invade every aspect of our lives, criminal court dockets and prisons are oppressively overcrowded and expensive, and recidivism rates continue to escalate.

To embark on a truly corrective program, we must begin with the clear understanding that the criminal chooses crime; he chooses to reject society long before society rejects him. The criminal values people only to the extent that he can use them for his own self-serving ends; he does not justify his actions to himself. Only by "habilitating" the criminal, so that he sees himself realistically and develops responsible patterns of thought, can we change his behavior.

It is vital that we know who the criminal is and how and why he acts differently from responsible citizens. From that understanding can come reasonable, compassionate, and effective solutions

My Impressions: 
Originally published in 1984, Dr. Samenow,  a clinical psychologist, has re-released his book taking a look at the criminal mind and updated with several decades of further information. I have not read the original version of this book, so all I will be discussing is the current version. Some sections which have been added since the original version are: the possible role genetics play in criminality, the use of computers for criminal activities, new drug influences,and the effect of violent video games/films.

While I do not agree with all the ideas behind what makes a criminal or not, the book was a fascinating read. I was afraid when I got this book that it would only focus on the negative aspects of criminals, but the author did a good job of balancing the attributes that can lead to criminality and how one can overcome. I appreciated the extensive research that is provided and  how thorough the author covers each chapter.

This is a book that captures the evil in this world and then people who commit such atrocities. It is not an easy read and not for the faint of heart.  I can recommend this book those studying psychology, sociology and criminal justice or for those with a fascination in one of these areas.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from Random House as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Extraordinary Days

**A percentage of the sales of this book will be donated to Children's International, a not-for-profit organization very close to the author's family's  heart. Past books in the series have benefited The American Red Cross, The American Cancer Society, Tuesday's Children [a 9/11 charity], and The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.***

A mystery is introduced in No Ordinary Day, the first book in the Extraordinary Days series that is carried through all eight volumes and solved in the last book, Sunday's Child: Born on the Sabbath Day, due out in January of 2017.

In the late spring of 1991, a flood and fire of historic proportions tore through the pretty resort town of Obergrande, New York, in the central region of the Adirondack mountains.

The twin disasters destroyed a large part of the east side of the town that bordered the Hudson River and Lake Obergrande.

In the aftermath, a new dam was built, and that damaged part of the town “drowned,” covered by the new, larger lake.

During that terrible flood, five kindergarten girls were trapped in their drowning school, huddled together as the water rose higher, rescued just in the nick of time. The nightmare bonded them, and three others like them, to each other for life.

These are their stories.

International attorney and human rights advocate Elisa Santiago believes she has life under control—an impressive career, a solid group of friends in Obergrande, and a handsome law partner for hot “car action” when she needs release. Little does she know that her entire world is about to burn down when she discovers that nothing she believes she knows about herself and her past is true.  Can the gorgeous former CIA operative, acting as her guide and guard as she returns to Colombia, the land of her birth, looking for answers, set her world on fire in a good way?

THURSDAY’S CHILD: Far to Go is the fifth book in the eight-book series The Extraordinary Days by breakthrough novelist Polly Becks. The first book, No Ordinary Day, tells the tale of an epic tragedy that changes life forever in a small town in the wild, mystic Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, and the mystery surrounding that tragedy.


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Enjoy an Except: 
“That’s not the pole my crotchless panties fly underneath, Sloane.”

“Open mine next,” said Elisa quickly, stepping closer with an enormous basket and embracing Sloane, who was choking with laughter at the raunchy words coming out of the pastor’s mouth.

“Oh, wow—thank you, Elisa,” Sloane said as she unfolded many layers of white cloths, each of them containing a different aromatherapy object—some shower tablets, others diffusers, still others sachets for her dresser drawers, potpourri or tinctures of essential oils. “This is phenomenal.”

“In addition to smelling nice, the tinctures are supposed to help your brain heal after injury,” Elisa said. “I have had a few cases where my clients have benefited greatly from this. And the cloths are meant to be steamed and infused with essential oils, then put on your eyes for relaxation.”

She and Sloane exchanged a kiss on the cheek.

“And here’s something easy for you to be looking at, rather than these folders of work,” Briony said, closing some of the scattered documents on the bed with one hand as she held out several thick magazines and a binder to Sloane.

“Is—is that what I think it is?” Sloane whispered.

“Well, if you think it’s pre-press copies of the upcoming issues of In-2-It and Vogue for Fashion Week, as well as a confidential early draft of the Jimmy Choo and Ferragamo lines, along with a buyer’s order form for free samples—”

“Oh—my—good—lord!” Sloane shrieked happily, snatching the paper pile from Briony’s grasp. “Eye-gasm!”

“We also have a ton of yummy snacks, fresh fruit and baked goods, Italian sodas, audiobooks, a sex-toy catalog—”

“Is that also from you, Grace?”

“No, that’s from Corinne,” Grace said.

Corinne shrugged. “It’s either sex toys or veterinary equipment, I can’t remember. They look a lot alike.”

A tap came at the bedroom door.

“Come in,” Sloane called.

Tentatively, Dr. Marlowe opened the door. “Is the coast clear?”

“I think we can declare a moratorium on the blue talk,” said Elisa. “We do not want you to be uncomfortable, Dr. Marlowe.”

“Just Marlowe, please. I wanted to let you know that the chili is ready, and that I’m hitting the streets for a while,” the professor said. “Is there anything you need me to pick up, Sloane?”

“No, I’m so good,” Sloane said, leafing through the fashion magazine previews. “Thanks.”

Marlowe smiled. “OK, then. See you later, ladies.” He disappeared again, closing the door behind him.

Grace waited until she could no longer hear the sound of his boot steps, then turned to Sloane in amusement.

“What’s he doing here? You told me you couldn’t stand each other.”

“He’s dating me,” Sloane said as she continued to thumb through the fashion mags. “At least I think he is. I’ve never dated anyone before, so it’s hard to tell.”


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Polly Becks has been making her living writing for more than twenty years, as well as working as an editor, curriculum developer, and teaching secondary-school Spanish. She has more than 350 books to her credit, mostly educational materials, as well as professionally published fiction in both the adult and YA market in a variety of genres, plus more than 30 Children’s books. She is excited about exploring the digital literature frontier and is honored to be the launch series for GMLTJoseph, LLC. - See more at:
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