Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Teaching Your Children the Power of Words


This week we have been studying the power of words as part of our study on Proverbs 4. 

"1 Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. 2 I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. 3 When I was a boy in my father's house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, 4 he taught me and said, "Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. 7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. 8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. 9 She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor." 10 Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. 14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. 16 For they cannot sleep till they do evil; they are robbed of slumber till they make someone fall. 17 They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. 18 The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. 19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. 20 My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. 21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22 for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. 24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. 26 Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. 27 Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil."

Genius de Milo (Finders Keepers) (Volume 2)


Title: Genius De Milo
Author: Russ Colchamiro
Publisher: Crazy 8 Press
Pages: 320
Genre: SciFi/Comedy
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Best pals Jason Medley and Theo Barnes barely survived a backpacking trip through Europe and New Zealand that — thanks to a jar of Cosmic Building Material they found — almost wiped out the galaxy. But just as they envision a future without any more cosmic lunacy:

The Earth has started fluxing in and out of existence, Theo's twin girls are teleporting, and Jason can't tell which version of his life is real.
 

All because of Milo, the Universe's ultimate gremlin.

Joined by the mysterious Jamie — a down-and-out hotel clerk from Eternity — Jason and Theo reunite on a frantic, cross-country chase across America, praying they can retrieve that jar, circumvent Milo, and save the Earth from irrevocable disaster.

In author Russ Colchamiro’s uproarious sequel to Finders Keepers, he finally confirms what we've long suspected — that there’s no galactic Milo quite like a Genius de Milo.

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My Impressions:
 
The whole I was reading this book I kept getting reminded of the old movie Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure. It had that same comedic, yet partially serious feel to it. There is so much going  on in this story that you never know what the next page will hold. Will you meet another talking animal, star crossed lovers? Who knows. That was part of this amazing ride that Russ brings you on.
 
Unfortunately, I did not get to the read the first book where Jason and Theo are introduced and start on their epic adventure, but I did not feel that I lost out by picking up in the second. If anything it gave me a deeper appreciation for the characters and a desire to go and read the first one. Although this is a fun filled sci-fi book, it still manages to touch on topics such as loyalty, world issues, and family ties while we journey the universe with these two  20 year olds searching for themselves and trying to save the universe at the same time.

Cannot wait to read the first boo in this series and can easily recommend it to the YA audience, middle school kids and adults that need a good laugh.

Disclaimer: 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.
 
Enjoy and Excerpt:
Jason’s smile dropped away, replaced with a silent, open-mouthed slug of resignation, that whatever was happening was authentic, and unfolding in real time.

In a shared-brain moment Jason and Theo slowly panned in Jamie’s direction  until finally she felt their accusatorial eyes lock on her. And though neither of them spoke, the imputation of blame came through with perfect enunciation: What did you do? What’s coming?

But what could she say? Which cluster of words could encapsulate both the scope and nuance of their predicament? Jamie could offer a pretty good guess as to why their immediate surroundings morphed before their very eyes—it had to be Brigsby-related, didn’t it?—but when it came to the what, she was equally mystified.

So all she could do was stand there. She blinked a few times. Then a few times more. The night went bracingly still, as if every fractal of sound had been drained from the Universe. The three of them held in place, petrified, as if the incredible forces converging upon them were seemingly just to be unleashed. Which, of course, they were.


About the Author

Russ Colchamiro is the author of the rollicking space adventure Crossline, the hilarious scifi backpacking comedy Finders Keepers, and the outrageous sequel, Genius de Milo, all with Crazy 8 Press.

Russ lives in West Orange, NJ, with his wife, two children, and crazy dog, Simon, who may in fact be an alien himself. Russ is now at work on the final book in the Finders Keepers trilogy.

As a matter of full disclosure, readers should not be surprised if Russ spontaneously teleports in a blast of white light followed by screaming fluorescent color and the feeling of being sucked through a tornado. It’s just how he gets around — windier than the bus, for sure, but much quicker.

His latest book is the science fiction novel, Genius De Milo.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Twist of Fortune


 Title: A Twist of Fortune (Book 4 of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series)
Author: Mike Martin
Publisher: Booklocker
Pages: 278
Genre: Mystery
Format: Paperback

A Twist of Fortune is the fourth book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series and it continues the adventures of Sgt. Windflower as he tries to solve crime and experience the joy and the sadness of life in a small maritime community. Follow along as he feels the sometimes bitter taste of an east coast winter and the unique culinary delights of this part of the world.

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  • A Twist of Fortune is available at Amazon.



Giveaway!
Enter to win an autographed copy of Mike Martin’s The Walker on the Cape: Book 1 of the Sgt. Windflower Mysteries series!  Leave comments on each blog stop for 5 extra entries! 

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Enjoy and Excerpt: 

Windflower woke a little foggy from his nap but could tell by the growing darkness he had been asleep for much longer than he wanted. He jumped out of bed and was quickly in the shower and out again. As he dressed he glanced out the bedroom window. The drifting snow was being piled up against his back fence; looks like the wind has picked up too.

When he got outside that theory was confirmed by biting winds that accompanied the steady snowfall. That likely meant it wouldn’t be long before the call would come to close the highway outside of Grand Bank. Half a dozen times a year, more in a bad one, the snow and gale force winds united in an unholy marriage that drove all sensible people back into their cozy homes. It also made it both unsafe and unwise to venture out again until the storm had done its worst.

About the Author

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. The Body on the T was the second book, Beneath the Surface is the third installment and A Twist of Fortune is the newest book in the series.
  

He is a member of Ottawa Independent Writers, Capital Crime Writers, the Crime Writers of Canada and the Newfoundland Writers’ Guild.
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Grey (The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1)


Title: Grey (The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1)
Author: Christi J. Whitney
Publisher: HarperCollins/HarperVoyager
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult (Urban Fantasy)
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Sebastian Grey always thought he was a fairly normal teenager – good friends, decent grades, and a pretty sweet job in his foster brother’s tattoo shop.

But when strangers arrive in town, Sebastian soon realizes that his world is nothing at all what it seemed. Secretive gypsies surround him, shadowy figures stalk him, and the girl he’s been dreaming about turns up at school.

Now Sebastian must protect this girl at all costs, even if it means he will never be normal again.

My Impressions: 
When I first got this book I handed it off to my daughter, since this genre is right up her alley, and planned to read it closer to the blog tour date, but as soon as she was done she kept harping on me to pick it up and read it telling me she knew I was going to like it and she was right.  I adored this book. It is one of those rare ones that once you pick it up, you simply do not want to put it down till you know how the story will unfold. This coming from a woman who simply does not really enjoy reading supernatural/paranormal types of books. I was pleasantly surprised and think I might have finally found an author in this genre I can enjoy! 

What really captured me was the unique way that Grey was spun. It has a love story, but not your typical one that you might think of, and unpredictable plot twists and turns that keep you glued to the pages till the bitter end. Plus  characters that encompass the story. Chirsti writes in a way that teleports you into the story and the lives of each character. Effective and clear writing style that gives great detail, without going overboard and dragging it out, but making sure the picture if fully painted in your mind.  

This is an excellent read for YA and adults alike. 

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Enjoy an Excerpt:
‘Sebastian!’

I hear my name, but I can’t answer. I’m trapped by the image in my head.

It flashes again.

Rainbow-scorched leaves. Gypsy music.

Caravans of faded paint.

‘Sebastian Grey!’

Dark and nothing.

I struggled for words. ‘Yes, sir?’

Are you joining this group or not? I need to get a list . . . ’

Another flash.

Bonfires. Starless night.

A girl dancing. Ribbons in her hair.

‘For the last time, Mr Grey, wake up!’
My mind ripped free. I jolted, launching papers into orbit. For a split second, I wasn’t convinced of my surroundings. Then, as fluorescent lights bored through my skull, it hit me.

I was in the middle of class.

And twenty-five pairs of eyes were staring straight at me.

All my school supplies littered the floor – textbooks, papers, colored index cards. Everything except the pencil that I’d somehow snapped between my fingers. I coughed and hunkered in my seat. Across the aisle, Avery leaned sideways in his desk, giving me the look I’d seen way too many times: the one that questioned my sanity.

‘Crap,’ I whispered.

I’d done it again.

Mr Weir moved closer. He glowered at me from under spidery eyebrows. I prepared myself for the tirade. But just as he took a wheezing breath, the bell rang. I shrugged and gave him my best smile as the room reverberated with slamming books and screeching chairs.

Mr Weir grunted and waddled back to his desk, my outburst promptly dismissed as more important matters – like the end of the school day – took precedence. I dropped to one knee and recovered my textbook.

‘Hey, Sebastian, you okay?’ Avery towered over me. ‘What just happened there?’

I blinked away the lingering haze. ‘It appears I must have dozed off.’

‘Seriously, man,’ said Avery, his brows shooting up. ‘Who talks like that?’ He knelt and picked up one of my library books, examining it with a shake of his head. ‘I swear, sometimes I think you read way too many old books. They’re messing with your head.’

I snatched it out of his hands. ‘I don’t read old books.’

‘You read Shakespeare.’

‘That’s different.’

Avery laughed, shoving papers at me. ‘Sure it is.’

I stuffed them in my bag, taking care to hide my tattered copy of Hamlet from Avery’s prying eyes. We squeezed into the crowded hall, avoiding locker doors banging open and shut around us.

‘You never answered my question, you know,’ Avery continued.

‘I realize that.’

We strolled in companionable silence down the hallway. Okay, maybe I was the one who was silent. Avery Johnson – senior superlative and social giant – had something to say to everybody we passed. At the end of the corridor, he stopped.

‘Okay, what was it this time?’

‘Nothing,’ I replied. ‘I fell asleep.’

‘Yeah, right,’ Avery said in an amused huff. ‘That wasn’t a nap. That was a complete zone out. Same as this morning in gym, when you stood there like a zombie until Alex Graham smacked you in the face with the ball.’

‘I’m athletically challenged.’

‘Try strange,’ he replied.

‘Can you maybe find another expression to stare at me with? It’s not helping.’

Avery went dramatically serious. ‘Sorry.’

‘Oh, that’s better,’ I replied. ‘I feel much more comfortable now.’ Avery’s features didn’t change. There’d be no avoiding it this time. I worked out my confession. ‘Okay, so you know when you stare at a camera flash and then you keep seeing the glow, even after it’s gone?’

‘Yeah . . . ’

I gripped the strap of my backpack. ‘Well, I keep seeing this same thing in my head, like a camera flash. Only not a light. An image. It used to just happen at night, but now I’m starting to see it during the day.’

‘What exactly do you keep seeing?’

‘A girl.’

Avery whistled slyly. ‘Must be some dream, eh?’

‘No, it’s not like that.’ My head throbbed. I pinched the bridge of my nose between my fingers. ‘It’s not a dream.’

‘A vision, then,’ said Avery, lighting up like Christmas. ‘You can see the future! Or maybe the past. You know, like that guy on TV. The one that helps the cops solve cases and junk.’

I grinned sideways. ‘If only. ’Cause that would be kind of cool.’

‘And profitable,’ added Avery. ‘We could totally . . . ’

‘Hate to disappoint,’ I said, holding up my hands before he could spout off some money-making scheme that I would – mostly likely – lose cash on. ‘But I don’t have dreams, visions, premonitions, or anything worth printing up business cards for. It’s just an image. I probably saw it in a book somewhere.’

‘Well, whatever it is, when you come out of it, you do this jerking spaz thing.’ He demonstrated for my benefit. ‘Like a bad episode of Sebastian Can’t Dance. Maybe you should ease up on the caffeine.’

‘Oh, you’re hilarious,’ I said, shoving him towards the exit doors. I wasn’t about to tell Avery I’d seen the image every night for two months, and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had any decent sleep. I’d reached the limits of sharing. ‘Glad to know I covered all the basics of self-embarrassment. Maybe next time I’ll work up a drool.’

Avery pushed open the set of metal doors, flashing a Cheshire grin as he passed through. ‘Hey, don’t worry too much about it, Sebastian. It’s not like it’s the first time you’ve done something weird.’



About the Author
Christi J. Whitney is a former high school theatre director with a love for the arts. She lives just outside Atlanta with her husband and two sons. When not spending time with them or taking a ridiculous number of trips to Disney World, she can be found directing plays, making costumes for sci-fi/fantasy conventions, obsessing over Doctor Who, watching superhero movies, or pretending she’s just a tad bit British.

Her latest book is the young adult urban fantasy novel, Grey (The Romany Outcasts Series, Book 1).


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Disclaimer: 
“I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.”

Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack: A True WWII Teenage Love Story



Letters to Loretta rom the Radio Shack, A True WWII Teenage Love Story
by Laura Lynn Ashworth

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

LETTERS TO LORETTA

FROM THE RADIO SHACK, A True WWII Teenage Love Story

Read the rare and recently discovered real time letters between Sal, age 19, and Loretta, age 15, during the final terrifying three years of World War II, 1943-1946.

Both from the Douglas Park neighborhood in Chicago, the two adolescents discuss with humor and candor, the Navy, war, politics, hit music, life back home and their relationship.

Sal nicknamed Slabby for his movie star good looks, deciphers code out of the Navy’s radio shack on a minesweeper in the Pacific.

Loretta monikered Duchess for her aloofness, lives with aunts and her widowed father, while holding day jobs and enjoying an active social life with friends.

Letters to Loretta from the Radio Shack lets you experience World War II, both in battle and on the home front, through the eyes of adolescents in a way that Hollywood has never portrayed.

My Impressions: 
Wonderful story of love, survival and friendship during the WWII era. This book is unique that you get to experience the war through 2 perspectives-a normal citizen and a Navy man and the difference could not have been any greater. Ms. Ashwood did an amazing job transporting the reader back to this era with her language, scenes and interactions between the characters. I felt like I was living and breathing this story from all perspectives and it was amazing!



Loretta and Sal are brought together by their neighborhood. Sal longs to hear news from his old haunting grounds back home and Loretta spends her time with her girlfriends trying to forget the atrocities that Sal is witnessing and how life has changed for so many.  The two share the most intimate parts of their lives with each other and joke around waiting for the day they can be united. 

Like many love stories from this time period, they ended abruptly and without warning, much like the end of this book. I thought it fit beautifully to make the reader remember that this is a true story from a period long ago, but never forgotten.



Giveaway:  

Ms. Ashworth will be awarding $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.
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Follow Along on the Tour for more chances to win!

February 9: Long and Short Reviews YA
February 16: Writer Wonderland
February 23: Andi's Young Adult Books
February 23: Rainy Day Reviews - promo
March 2: Nickie's Views and Interviews
March 9: Unabridged Andra's
March 16: Readsalot - review only
March 23: Hope. Dreams. Life... Love
March 30: Books Direct
April 6: My Devotional Thoughts -review only
April 13: LibriAmoriMiei - review only
April 20: CBY Book Club
April 27: Laura's Interests - review
May 4: Archaeolibrarian - I dig good books! - review only
May 11: FictionZeal - review only
May 18: Jersey Girl Book Reviews - review only
May 18: Our Families Adventure
May 25: View from the Birdhouse - review only



ENJOY A EXCERPT: 
January 5, 1943
US Naval Training Station
Farragut, Idaho
1330 So. Washington Ave.
Chicago, IL

Dear Loretta,

Gee, but aren't you thoughtful. By the way, every time I write a letter to you, you seem to be writing a letter back home. Isn't that a co-incidence or isn't it? I received two letters to date, so “keep em flying.”

It was just a month ago that I left and I'll be damned if I know whether it seems like a year or a week. As far as concerning you, it seems like a year. I presume you're still as sharp as a whip, you old prankster. Say, in your next letter send me a couple of pictures of yourself, one of them recently taken and you may charge it to Uncle Sam and his fleet.

So I see your stepping out now, you're really cooking with the right kind of material. Don't forget I've got a date with you when I get back home, which I hope won't be any longer than a year.

Had a lot of fun at the rifle range this week as no doubt Joe will tell you. I still get three square meals a day, and are they square. A slice of bread with plenty of nothing.

This weather we have up here now surely reminds me of Chicago. It’s dingier than a campaign speech and it just knocks the hell out of these Californians out here. They're just used to beautiful women and mild weather, while we in Chicago are used to gales and violent women.

Do you know what? In “Frisco” the taverns close at midnight. Now isn't that a whacky thing to do?

Haven't seen many movies lately except for a few Navy films showing recent battles to get us boiled. But if we don't get our liberty Wednesday, I'll boil over like a frozen motor. They're going to keep an eye on our company while we're on liberty (now what the hell do you call liberty like that?) and if we're good we'll get one every two weeks. Very, very thoughtful, don't you think? I'll leave you know how I make out, so until then.

Lots of love, Slab
AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Laura Lynn Ashworth is an award-winning copywriter and political cartoonist.  While helping an elderly family member with veterans administration paperwork, she ran across “the letters” and instantly knew of their rarity, freshness and historical significance.  Although she received three publishing contracts within two months of sending the letters to major publishers, Ashworth decided to publish them herself on the advice of best-selling authors.  She currently lives and works in a northwest suburb of Chicago.

10% of author proceeds will be donated to the USO and VFW in loving memory of Sal and Loretta.

Website:  http://lauralynnashworth.com
http://lauralynnashworth.com/store/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007518694413