Saturday, January 31, 2015

What I Love About Delaney Jan 2015

What you are into: Boys-need I really say more on this front? Your life is about good looking TV boys, musicians, boys walking down the road, in the car next to us. Does not matter to you. You even learned to say "Eye Candy" in ASL just so we can talk about cute boys.You are also into piercings right now. You want snake bites, but we compromised on a single lower lip piercing and gages for your ears.

Things we enjoy doing together: Learning ASL, walking, movies (just not horror), getting our nails done (just not feet) and watching you tubers be stupid. 

Favorite Photo: 
                                                   Your new pierced lip for your 15th B-Day!

What you want to be when you grow up: Right now you are saying you want to be tri-lingual in Swedish, English and ASL and want to work as a photographer.

Your Style: Tomboyish-jeans, t-shirts, basketball shorts, boys high top shoes. Most clothes are black, white, purple and blue.

Favorite things we did this month: Your Birthday of course is at the very top of the list! You turned 15 this month and already you are looking forward to being 16! I am sitting here like slow down pumpkin and enjoy your early years. They disappear to fast.

Scripture Verse for the month: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Accomplishments/Struggles:  You still struggle with accepting who you are in Christ. Your unique attribute, gifts, style. Your self esteem is low, but we are working on making you realize how beautiful, talented and special you are. You are a great artist. You practice drawing alot, signing and just enjoying life.

What I love About Drake Jan 2015

Scripture Verse.. Job 36:22
"God is exalted in his power. Who is a teacher like him?"

Favorite Photo...
Favorite Things We Did... This month we went ans hung out with other church families playing games, eating, and fellowshipping. You also lost your bottom left tooth this month wrestling around with your sister and Kristian. It went flying across the room and we had to search for it for 10 minutes. You did not seem to fazed by it though. More excited to get tooth fairy money. This was also your sisters birthday. The big 15, so we all went ice skating with some of her friends at the Dr. Pepper Center. This  month also held some neurological challenges for you. With your father being gone, you have developed a nervous tick (Titubations) that was linked to PTSD. Too be safe though we had to run you through a slew of tests that involved an EKG, EEG and PET Scan to rule out any other neurological issues, including seizures.  Though most of the doctors were awesome, your anesthesiologist at Children's was horrible. He had no patience's, bedside manners or concern for your fear. This was also the month that we got rid of all of Sky's puppies, which broke your heart.  Grandpa and Gradma Marie also came down to visit from Minnesota. We spent a week up at a cabin in Wills Point, were you played on the lake, fed horses, got stuck in a row boat with Delaney and Kristian and played several games with Grandpa that he made you guys for Christmas. We also learned a new card game called Golf that we fell in love with.

What Things You Are Into: You still enjoy riding your bike, skateboarding, playing your wii and x-box. You still love Wreck it Ralph, Toy Story and other disney shows. Right now you are obsessive over Full House and Girl Meets World. 

New Sayings:  "Bam, take that" This comes out when you lay down a good card or win the game.

Struggles and Accomplishments: This month you are still learning to set your boundaries. You are trying really hard to recognize your emotions, explain them and understand them when they pop up. You are also working on eating healthier, cutting out junk food and setting new routines. You are already up to recognizing 56 sight words on your own! This is huge. When you started 2nd grade you were only reading at a Pre-K level. You are now on a Kinder level! You have grown so much over the course of this year its amazing.


Friday, January 30, 2015

The Guardian

by Natasha Deen






For seventeen-year-old Maggie Johnson, transitioning the dead isn’t hard.  What’s tough is surviving the insults and pranks of Serge Popov, high school thug and the dumbest jock to ever set foot in Dead Falls, Alberta.  When she finds him dead from alcohol poisoning and later discovers his spirit trapped in her room, she figures it’s a case of divine justice. Let the jerk rot.  But someone—or something—has a different agenda.  If Maggie doesn’t help Serge cross over, she’ll die at the hands of the otherworldly entity that’s taken an interest in the deceased bully. As she digs into the circumstances of Serge’s death, now classified a murder, she’ll uncover the secrets hidden by the world of the living and the wonders revealed by cities of the dead—if her investigation doesn’t kill her, first.



My Impressions 

Really great book from the first page to the end. Excellent character development. Plot that moves the story along nicely and keeps you engaged and wanting more . Full of suspense, drama, and dysfunction that you love. This is one of those rare books you want to pick up and read again and again over the years . 



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Excerpt One:




I hated the guy, but I was sorry he was dead. Seventeen is young to off yourself. And I was super creeped out that he’d decided to do it in my car. But that was Serge. He always had to be the last to give you the finger—even from the grave. I flipped my cell around and phoned my dad.


He picked up on the third ring. “Hey, baby girl, what is it?”


The sound of his voice—soft and gentle—soothed me. My whole life, it’s never been anything but me and my dad, which made us both seriously over-protective of each other. 


I went for a casual tone and said, “Hey, Dad, I got a problem here.” 


Through the phone lines, I felt him stiffen.


“Yeah?” There was an edge to his voice, like he was ready to put on a military uniform and turn our beat-up minivan into a Sherman tank.


“Nothing like that—well, a bit like—Dad, Serge’s body’s in my trunk.”


There was a stunned pause, “Maggie, what did you do?”


“What! Nothing—!” 


Okay, maybe I deserved that. One day, I’d live down the sausage incident but right now, I was staring at the cadaver of my six-foot-three-inch tormentor. It didn’t seem like the time to argue over the past. “He killed himself…in my car.”


There was a worried, processing silence on the other end.


“You sure?”


“I think I know a dead body when I see it.”


“No, I mean about him killing himself. You sure someone didn’t dump him in your car?”


Well, thanks a lot daddio. That just added a whole new level of creep-me-out to the October night.





AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Award-winning author Natasha Deen has written everything from fantasy to comedy, mystery and horror, and she was the 2013 Regional Writer in Residence for the Metro Edmonton Library Federation.  When not working on her manuscripts, she inhales disgusting amounts of chocolate and wrestles her furry children for a spot on the couch. Visit her at


Author Links:


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Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Highland Pearl (Highland Treasures Book 1)

Title: A Highland Pearl
Author: Brenda Taylor
Publisher: Bethabara Press
Pages: 350
Genre: Scottish Historical Romance
Format: Kindle

A sweet romance blossoms amidst feuding and war. With her reputation at stake after being accused of practicing witchcraft and hated as a member of a rival clan, Maidie considers leaving Clan Munro and returning to the home of her birth in Clan Cameron. Fierce battles, a tragic encounter, and a handsome clan chief compel her to make crucial decisions in this haunting romance set in the16th century Highlands of Scotland.

Maidie is summoned to Fàrdach Castle of Easter Ross-shire to assist in caring for the wounded of Clan Munro after a battle with Clans MacKenzie and Cameron. She dreads the task since her husband, Kenneth Munro, was killed in an earlier battle. Maidie is a healer, taught by her mother, with the skills and knowledge needed to tend the wounds of Chief Andrew Dubh Munro who is seriously wounded.

People in the castle and those in the village of Drumainn turn against Maidie. Angus, the castle physician, resents her for taking his job in caring for the chief. She is hated by some, because she is a member of the enemy Clan Cameron and came to live in Ferindonald, the Munro lands, with her husband.

Maidie considers returning to the land of her birth in Clan Cameron with her young son, Sven, but falls in love with Andrew while caring for his wounds. Although her neighbors now call her a witch, she wishes to stay in Drumainn because of her love for the chief.

Against an effort to guard his hardened heart from another hurtful encounter with a woman, Andrew falls in love with the tender, caring healer, Maidie. He wants her to stay in Drumainn, but his enemies, the Camerons and MacKenzies, have other plans.

My Impressions
This book was nothing like what I expected. I really thought it was going to be some cheap, sleazy romance novel that was over the top. Boy was I wrong!This book was romantic in a sweat, steamy kinda way that wanted more of. Full of mystery and suspense that had you eagerly turning the pages not wanting to miss a thing or put the book down till the end.

I loved the chaos and feuding clans that made war inevitable and romance as well. The characters were strong alpha types, but relatable. They drew you in to the story and left you either loving them or hating them-sometimes both. Overall this is a easy book to recommend that lovers of mystery and romance will both enjoy.

About the Author
The desire to write historical fiction has long been a passion with Brenda B. Taylor. Since elementary school, she has written stories in her spare time. Brenda earned three degrees: a BSE from Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas; a MEd from Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas; and an EdD from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas; then worked as a teacher and administrator in the Texas Public School system. Only after retirement could she fulfill the dream of publication.

Brenda and her husband make their home in beautiful East Texas where they enjoy spending time with family and friends, traveling, and working in Bethabara Faith Ministry, Inc. She crafts stories about the extraordinary lives of ordinary people in her favorite place overlooking bird feeders, bird houses, and a variety of blooming trees and flowers. She sincerely thanks all who purchase and read her books. Her desire is that the message in each book will touch the heart of the reader as it did hers in the writing.

Her latest book is the historical romance, A Highland Pearl.

For More Information

Thursday, January 22, 2015

ITGIRL4LIFE! Review and Guest Post

Author: Tamara Branch
Publisher: Heart Project Publishing
Pages: 98
Genre: YA/Self-Esteem
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Writer, artist and speaker, Tamara Branch serves up 40 bite-sized chapters on how to build unshakable self-confidence, honor your life, and shine bright in the world, in ITGIRL4LIFE: How to bring out your special something and so much more. Packed with sage advice, life-changing insights and affirmations to help you soar, ITGIRL4LIFE offers ideas, tools and principles that you can reference and build upon, supporting you in becoming your best. Get ready to fall in love with your own wisdom, beauty and strength.


The Author is also hosting a Rafflecopter Code for $25 iTunes Gift Card Giveaway:
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My Impressions:  
This was a short read, less than 100 pages, but an exceptional one for the most part. Filled with wisdom, advise and lessons for young girls this quick read will help parents and  family with daughters turn a negative experience into a positive one.

I love books that encourage girls to see their worth and appreciate the unique ways God made each of us. But I disagree with the premise of this book. As a christian I prefer to teach my children and guide them to look towards God for their strength, courage, wisdom, etc., not inwardly. That being said, the basic principals this book lays out are not all bad. The author does offer insight and wisdom in letting girls know they need to investigate their feeling and girls do need to have a strong sense of self-worth. She also touches on helping girls understand their hidden talents and motivations. With that being said if  parents have filled their children with scripture and the will of God over their will,  they could still use the guiding principals the author lays out and tweek them to a focus upward. 

Guest Post: 

It’s all in the NAME: How I came up with the title for my first book
by Tamara Branch

When a prospective reader comes across a title that pops, they want to open up that book, flip through and investigate. Your title is like the first hello, the introduction. You want to make it good. I started writing my first book under the working title, Foundation for Girls — an inspirational handbook on how to build unshakable self-confidence, honor your life and shine bright in the world. I wanted to write a book that reminded girls of their wisdom, beauty and strength. I wrote 40 empowering ideas, tools and principles that would support girls in stepping into their greatness. The working title was spot on for writing purposes because it gave me a strong theme to follow. However, I always knew it was not the IT. I needed a title that resonated with the target audience emotionally, was as clear and concise as a hashtag yet captured the true essence of what book is about.

First let me say that coming up with a great title was not easy. It took a minute. I finished the content and it was time to start brainstorming. I began honing in on my book’s message, and intention. The book was packed with the important foundational principles that we often forget when we are feeling stressed, scattered, or out of balance. I kept  jotting things down. Every brainstorming session brought me closer. This book is chock full of  ideas on what you can do to empower yourself in any given moment. One day while watching one of the entertainment news shows, I finally got it! The reporter said, “The new IT girl is blah, blah blah,” I forget who they were talking about but it was a new Hollywood starlet that made a splash onto the scene. We all know she has about 15 minutes, before she’s off her throne, right?

Anyway, just hearing that phrase sparked a whole train of thought. I started thinking about the ‘it girl’ idea prevalent in Hollywood and how it stems from the notion that certain people are stars. She has IT - that ‘special something’ - that smile, that style, those boobs, those legs, that hair, that particular talent, etc.  This idea has become a part of the psyche of our society. The ‘it girl’, on tv, in films, at school, on the cheerleading team, at work and on the block, shines brighter than the rest. She’s favored and often celebrated for all of her superficial qualities. The celebration doesn’t last long. After her popularity dies down, a new girl is given the ‘it girl’ title and on and on ‘it’ goes. When taken out of context it can be damaging and the unfortunate pervasive message to many girls is that only a few are special, and that specialness is fleeting and based on other people’s judgement.

Ding, Ding Ding! After my ponderings, I had the perfect title for my book and it expressed exactly what was in my heart. ITGIRL4LIFE: How to bring out your special something and so much more, came to me fast and furious, along with a definition. “An ITGIRL4LIFE is a girl who loves herself, is authentic, takes charge and makes a difference. She has IT. IT is the GREATNESS she was born with.”  That was IT! The message of the book is that you have IT already. It’s your job to tap into IT and live your life to the fullest and here is a blueprint to help guide you to bringing out your specialness so you can create an amazing life for yourself. I was pleased.

Knowing your book’s core message is the key to finding your perfect title. It’s never one thing that gets you there. It’s the combination of all your efforts, being open to the magical whispers around you and your own clarity about the who, what, and why of your masterpiece.

About the Author:
Tamara has worked as a professional model and actor for almost two decades. She strutted down the runway for designers Calvin Klein, Donna Karen and Christian Dior, acted in a few independent films, co-hosted PBS New York’s education series, “What’s up in Technology” and appeared T.V. commercials and print ads for Levi’s, Old Navy, Hershey’s, Colgate, Kellogg’s Special K, Revlon, Hanes, Nike and many others. A Penn State alumnus and lifelong student of personal development, Tamara is deeply passionate about uplifting the human spirit.

After graduating from Institute for Integrative Nutrition, studying under Deepak Chopra, Dr. Andrew Weil and some of the top health and wellness experts in the world, she was inspired to raise the bar on her own ‘self care’ and support others in living more vibrantly. She is an abstract artist and teaches a dynamic dance class, where she gets to fuse her varied background, having trained in everything from jazz, ballet and modern to Afro-Caribbean and Salsa.

Tamara was recently asked to become a Female Visionary Author guest blogger for The Brave Heart Women Global Community.  She’s a SAG/AFTRA member since 1998, a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is represented by Abrams Artists Agency.
Tamara currently lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband of seven years and offers ITGIRL4LIFE workshops to assist girls on their self empowerment journey.

For More Information
**Disclosure** This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from Pump Up Your Book.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I, James (The Eternity Series Book 2)

Product Details
File Size: 2242 KB
Print Length: 285 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1927867312
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Eternity4Popsicle Publishing (September 16, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

My Impressions
This book was a little hard for me to get into, but it quickly picked up in a couple of chapters.  The only real issue I had with then book was the author did not always provide clear and concise character transitions which at times left me confused. Other than that relatively small issue I enjoyed the book. 

The book moved along nicely and wonderful imagery throughout. Amazing character development and plot that made you feel transported into the lives of each character. I loved James. He was dependable,  loyal, strong and an upright man. 

For a book that took a while to hook me in, I was sad to see it end. 

For More Information

  • I, James is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt:

It required two days of marching to get to what I’d learned was a plantation, which was in the middle of nowhere.  When we finally arrived at our destination, I considered how memorable my last 16 months had been since I was removed from a prince’s life.  Yes, they were memorable.  And even though I had a pouch full of coin hidden inside my drawers, I was now a slave on a plantation in Africa.


Mike Hartner is giving away one $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins November 3 and ends January 30.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, February 2.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


  a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author
Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He's traveled much of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.

From the Author
I, James is the second in a series of books in a saga which will span continents and time to arrive in present day North America. Each in the series will be connected, though that connection may not be obvious for several more books. It's almost like looking at a menorah (sic). Many lines, seemingly individual, connect to center at different points. 

For More Information