Book Reviews

Bertha And Tillie FOREVER


For weeks I’ve been trying to make time to read a collection of short stories titled Bertha And Tillie FOREVER by Fran Lewis, but between editing one book and trying to finish another, I simply haven’t had a chance to slow down the chatter in my head in order to hear someone else’s…until today.

After several failed attempts to settle in and soak up the stories of Bertha and Tillie, I finally found myself sitting in a comfy chair on the back porch traveling through one tale after the other.

This book chronicles Bertha’s childhood, growing up as a young girl struggling with being overweight and the seemingly endless bullying that ensues because of it. As if that weren’t bad enough, Bertha’s sister Tillie seems to be everything Bertha believes she is not – skinny, beautiful and basically perfect. It isn’t until Bertha grows older and wiser that she sees the value in being exactly who she is. In spite of all of their differences, Tillie and Bertha are best friends. They may fight with each other, but it is nothing compared to how they will fight FOR each other.

As Bertha shares her experiences, she not only gives an honest and intimate insight into her personal battles with food and feeling second best, but also offers advice to those who may be going through the same things she went through. Along the way, she also educates us on the dangers of bullying and why it’s so important to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. But perhaps the most important thing Bertha teaches us is a lesson in respect as she developes her own set of rules, that in my opinion shouldn’t be exclusive to school or family settings, but should be a general outline to how we treat each and every person that we come into contact with.

In the final section of this remarkably heartfelt book, Bertha hands the pen to her Grandma Katie. Grandma Katie has Alzheimer’s and every single day she struggles to get from morning to night. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read her heartbreaking story. Of them all, I suppose this was the one that touched me the most, maybe because Alzheimer’s touched my life as well, only I was too young at the time to really understand…

I can only imagine how many boys and girls will read these stories and find the ‘Bertha’ in themselves…and much like Bertha, I hope they realize that they are beautiful and special just the way they are.

For a hearfelt read that will take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and have you laughing and crying as you go, download your copy of Bertha and Tilly FOREVER here~



It doesn’t seem to matter if I’m reading one or writing one, either way, I’m not getting enough sleep these days. Not that I’m complaining…well, I am complaining. Not about the reading or writing, because I love doing both and I’m certainly enjoying myself while doing it. No, my complaint is the requirement of sleep. If I could avoid it all together, I could quite possibly find the time to actually do all the things I would like to do in one day. Then again, I do kind of like sleep too…

Last night it was Adrianna by Eileen Register keeping me from slumber. I was about 2/3 of the way through and there was simply no way I was putting the book down before I reached the very end…and even as I did, I couldn’t help but do the automatic finger scroll in search of more. It was close to 3 am when I finally shut down my tablet and rested my eyes. Far too close to morning for my liking when you have two dogs and a kid who like to get up early…and then expect breakfast and such, but Adrianna was well worth it.

The opening sentences of Adrianna describe her riding at high speeds on her stallion, Thunder. Well, if you know anything about me at all, you know that’s all it took for me to want to read this book. Add to that the fact that this story takes place in the Sunshine State, and I am all in :)

Early on, tragedy strikes, providing Adrianna with quite a mountain to climb, both emotionally and physically. It’s a mountain she doesn’t shy away from even as she finds herself at the center of a murderous plot. Adrianna is not only young and beautiful, she is also a wealthy heiress and the list of people who stand to inherit her fortune is long and ugly. As those closest to her try to find out who is behind the attempts on  her life, Adrianna forges forward unwilling to lay down and forfeit after everything she’s already been through.

If Adrianna’s emotional journey and the mystery of a killer on the loose weren’t enough, the layers of this story don’t stop there. In the midst of all of the fear and the pain, there are several love stories unfolding as well. Which, aside from the horse factor, were probably my favorite part :)  What can I say, I’m a sucker for romance, especially when the men posses some southern charm and chivalry. If you’re anything like me and need those happy endings laced with love, then Adrianna is sure to satisfy your cravings!

So, go feed your need :)  ~

Your Shoes My Shoes : We All Love Shoes!


Well, the Tot and I had ourselves another night of book reviewing…we make an excellent team 🙂

Since we enjoyed Barbara Bloom’s first two books as much as we did, we decided to go back for the third!

Your Shoes My Shoes was just as adorable as the others. The lovely rhymes flowed beautifully and were easy to follow  while the colorful images went well with the story, which described all the different types of shoes out there and who they might be best suited for. My personal favorite were the sparkly shoes while my daughter leaned more towards the clown shoes…I’m hoping she’ll grow out of that.

As I’ve come to expect from Barbara Bloom’s books, there were once again elements of education as she touched on counting, as well as colors, in addition to basic knowledge related to shoes in general.

Your Shoes My Shoes : We All Love Shoes! ~ We do indeed 🙂

Killer In Sight (A Tom Lackey Mystery)

Well, I’ve had some time to do some grown up reading. This time I went for a little crime and suspense, mixed with a little paranormal thriller. It made for a tremendous combination, let me tell you!

Sandra Carrington-Smith, who also penned The Book of Obeah which is set to film in 2013, didn’t just write your run of the mill who dunnit when she wrote Killer In Sight. She put on paper a true page turner set to give you the chills at every unexpected and undead twist along the way.

Every aspect of this story was carefully thought out and there is no denying this writer’s skill for bending words to her will and leading the reader’s heart down a journey filled with emotions that range from sheer horror to great love and unbearable pain, all while moving the mind to spin in circles as we try to figure out just who is responsible for this seemingly senseless crime. In fact, I dare you to call out the killer before you reach the end! I can almost guarantee that you’ll be wrong. I was.

Now I’m just hoping I can get my hands on a copy of The Book of Obeah and squeeze in time to read it before the movie comes out 🙂

To find out more about The Book Of Obeah – The Movie be sure to check out the facebook page @!/BookOfObeahTheMovie !!

These Books Are Larger and Thinner Than I’m Accustomed To…

Once upon a time…a time that now seems a long, long time ago…I read only for my own pleasure. I read anything and everything that brought me entertainment and delight. When I was younger, this meant that every book I read had at least one horse in the story…this went on for many years and many, many, many books. Then, somewhere along the way I started reading YA novels that resembled soap operas. I got completely hooked and waited impatiently every time for the next book in the series to be released which I would then devour, often in one sitting.

As I grew up, I spread my wings and flew head first into the world of fiction. I was open to just about anything. If you handed me a book, I was going to read it. That part hasn’t changed. What has changed, is the type of books I’m being handed now and the person handing them to me.

You see, most of the books I’m reading these days are being chosen by my four-year old. They’re larger and thinner than the books I’m accustomed to, with huge fonts, fewer words, lots of pictures and best of all they are all geared towards pre-schoolers. Well, now they are…when I started reading to her they were written for babies. Not so very stimulating for me, but the joy they brought to my daughter were reason enough to keep reading.

Over the last four years, I’ve learned a lot about children’s books that I never knew. I’ve learned that some of them are just awful. Just really, really bad. Some, are simply bizarre and make me wonder WHY?! Then, every so often, you find a true gem. A book so wonderful that it not only delights your child, but is also entirely enjoyable for us mommies and daddies.

Last night at bedtime, we had an opportunity to read two new books by Barbara Bloom.  First, we read Here Comes Pixie Pie: Her Special Day At The Rodeo Fair. We both instantly liked the cover which is pink and girly and has cowgirls on it. All things we happen to love.

The story itself was written in rhyme. It was easy to read and flowed well as we learned all about Pixie Pie, her family and their life on the farm. Parts of the story were interactive and my daughter had fun following along with the colorful images that helped bring the story to life. From observing her, it was clear that she really liked this book, from the pictures to the easy to follow story, she was perfectly content all the way through and eager to read it again.

From a parent’s perspective, I liked how easily the rhyme rolled off of my tongue (I hate when you get into a rhythm and then it stops abruptly or suddenly the line carries on for way too long). I also appreciated the fact that the while the wording was simple and easy for little ones to understand, the author used words like tandem and astrodome, which may not come up in everyday conversation and thus help in building vocabulary without overwhelming little brains to the point of zoning out.

After Pixie Pie it was time for Run Hide The Monster Is Outside: A Tale With A Twist. I have to say, while I really liked both, of the two this was my personal favorite. It was a cute story about being scared of the dark. Most importantly I think, it explained how often the things we think may be monsters, turn out to be completely harmless once we turn on the light and get a better look.

This book was also written in rhyme and had the same type of colorful animations to go along with the story. All in all, I’d say story time was very successful last night and I’m looking forward to a repeat!

Back Into The Sunshine

It’s not often that I choose to read a non-fiction book. In general I find that there is always an abundance of reality and most of it is rather depressing, so if I have the choice, I usually reach for a book that will let me wander off into la-la land where I can escape to the ever blissful bubble of imagination.

However, having fought my own battles with depression over the years, I decided to make an exception and read “Back Into The Sunshine” by Prudence Hayes. An entirely REAL story that may not deliver a whole lot of bliss but instead delivers an even stronger feeling of HOPE.

Through her incredibly honest writing Prudence Hayes gives us an intimate look into the troubled mind of someone battling depression and low self-esteem due to years of mental and emotional abuse. Without holding back, she takes us on her journey of self-destruction, loss and at last, finding her way ‘back into the sunshine’. This book is a must read for everyone who has ever been at war with themselves, battling depression and the dark hell that seems to trap you there. More so perhaps, it is a book for anyone who has ever known and cared for someone who is suffering from these types of mental illnesses and the self-destructive behaviors it provokes, but felt helpless and unable to comprehend or understand what that person is going through. Prudence Hayes has been able to put into words what so many can’t and has therefore given a voice to everyone who has felt lost, alone and unheard. Until now…

New York Hearbreak

After much anticipation, “New York Heartbreak” (Book number 2 in the Blazing Charm Series) will be released in the coming weeks! As my luck would have it, I was able to get my hands on a copy now already…what can I say, I’ve just got those kinds of connections 😉 And as your luck would have it, I’m going give you a little sneak peek right now ~

If you’ve already read “I’ve Got You Covered”, then you know that this fast paced and exciting series revolves around fast cars and the mob ( And if you haven’t, what are you waiting for??). Right along with all the thrills of the danger, we also get served a delightfully heaping portion of love on the side! You also know, that you are about to embark on a superbly entertaining journey, that was carefully crafted by a talented writer, who creates action packed storylines filled with characters you have no choice but to love…or love to hate. Whichever the case may be.

In book number two, we continue to follow Ani and John, as they seem to find themselves in more trouble than either of them could have ever foreseen. With some fast thinking, their unique set of skills and a balanced combination of guts and luck, they manage to get out by the seat of their pants at the very last-minute. But there is no rest for the wicked and there is no peace for Ani and John as the chase continues with their enemies closing in on them from every angle.

Along the way, we also meet new characters, all of which carry an impact as we find out exactly how it is that they are connected to the people we thought we already knew.

Toni Sinns is an author who has truly mastered a little something called MOMENTUM. As one event seems to build on top of the other, achieving such a heightened sense of anticipation that by the time you reach the final page of this book, you will find yourself fighting your own rational mind, as you search against all hope for the hidden pages that hold the answers you won’t get until book three.

Be sure to grab your copy when it comes out…and remember to buckle up ~ It’s going to be a crazy ride!

The Tangled Web

Well, since my last blog addressing my relationship with technology, I have discovered the downside to reading ebooks – if you don’t remember to charge your device, you ain’t readin’ NOTHIN’!

I’m a when-I’ve-got-the-time  sort of person. I’m pretty sure ALL moms are when-I’ve-got-the-time people. Anyway, when I decide that I’ve got time to read, the book better be ready and able…not the case when you forgot to shut down and plug-in the tablet after the previous late night’s reading. Needless to say, at that point, reading get’s bumped and I move on to something else I’ve-now-got-the-time for.

Be that as it may, as of some time last night, I have officially finished reading “The Tangled Web” by J.P. Lane. Here’s what I thought ~

This thriller was loaded with suspense and action. Right from the start, the ride begins and it doesn’t let up until the very last page, and even then, you are left with a feeling that the story doesn’t end there…

J.P. Lane’s writing is eloquent and incredibly descriptive, as she takes the reader on a trip around the world. Painting pictures so vividly with her words, that you may find yourself wishing you could plan a trip to visit the Caribbean to see the stunning scenery with your own eyes one minute, while then vowing to never go there the next, out of fear you may get murdered or worse in the midst of the crime and corruption that seems to breed there. This, of course, is fantastic for the story…but perhaps not so much for tourism on the islands…

The obvious favorites amongst the characters are no doubt Logan and Lauren, however I found myself also taking a liking to one of the side stories involving Mike and Virginia. No matter where you turn in this book, the diversity and details are superb, offering something for everyone and leaving no one behind. There isn’t just one storyline, there are several. Each of which will have you hooked before you even realize you’ve been derailed, ensuring that you don’t know a single strand of the mystery until J.P. Lane decides it’s time.

My advice, don’t fly too close to the web unless you plan to get caught. Once you’re in…there’s only one way out!

Get your own copy and start reading tonight ~

A Story Of Fast Cars, Young Love And Yes, The Mob!

I love to read…almost as much as I love to write. I prefer fiction, but have been known to read some non-fiction as well provided it’s a topic I’m interested in or is guaranteed to make me laugh (‘Lies That Chelsea Handler Told Me’ springs to mind). However, I am also seriously stuck in the dark ages. Truthfully, I like it there! I prefer paperbacks to ebooks, VHS to DVD (don’t even get me started on Blu-Ray, seriously, I would have nothing to say…what is the difference there anyway??) and not for nothing, but I like my entertainment center, which fits perfectly with my big and bulky television/ VCR.  I also miss the excitement of waiting for print photos and not finding out until the film has been developed to see if a shot turned out the way you had hoped. Not to mention the fact that I feel far more creative when using film over digital…don’t ask me why, I’m sure it’s a mental thing…but I digress.

Last Christmas I received a tablet from the jolly old elf, much to my own surprise, by my own request. You see, I thought it would be a handy way to get some writing done no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Well, seven months later and I have finally figured out how to work the thing and it turns out I was right, it is SUPER convenient.

Among other things, I have also discovered that after downloading the free kindle app, I can read BOOKS on it too 🙂 I know, not earth shattering information to most, but pretty enlightening to the dark ages…and also pretty exciting given all of the free ebooks I’ve scored in the last few months from all of the wonderful Indie authors I have met along the way. And while I still prefer a good old-fashioned paperback, there’s something to be said for not needing a nightlight while reading in bed….

This last week I had a chance to read ‘I’ve Got You Covered’ (Book 1 in The Blazing Charm Series) by Toni Sinns.

I got sucked in pretty quickly to this story of fast cars, young love and yes, the mob! If I had to sum it up in just a few words, I would say that it was a bit like ‘General Hospital goes back to High School’ (What? You don’t have a guilty pleasure!? Come on, no judgement…). The more I got to know the characters, the more I wanted to know MORE…and I was not disappointed. Although, I have a sneaking suspicion there are still plenty of secrets left to be revealed come book number two.

The romance between John and Anistasia was refreshingly realistic given that they didn’t just meet and fall in love a second later. Instead, there was a gradual build up as the two got to know each other and I, the reader, got to know them, giving me all the time I needed to reach that ‘when-are-they- going-to-get-together-already?!’ anxiety I so love to suffer through.

I also appreciated the fact that while there was an underlying sense of violence, it was always more implied than actually depicted in such great detail that it might have seared horrific images into my brain for days to follow. I say some things are better left to the reader’s imagination.

Toni Sinns has a remarkable ability as a writer to send the reader on an exciting journey in search of the details that will bring the big picture into full view while only really revealing small fractions of it at a time; all the while still allowing for an easy and enjoyable read that doesn’t end up being more work than entertainment.

I for one, am ready to see what Toni has in store for Ani and John in book number two!

I've Got You Covered (The Blazing Charm)

To get your own copy just check out the links below~

The kindle version for you high-tech folks…

And the paperback for old suckers like me…

In the meantime, turn off the TV, put down the Iphone and step away from the computer… It’s time to read a BOOK 🙂 Next on my list – The Tangled Web by J.P. Lane



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