Friday, April 30, 2010

Kathi Macias "No Greater Love" - BLOGMANIA Review & Giveaway


Romance with a social message rooted in Christianity is the basis of Kathi Macias' Extreme Devotion Series. In the first installment, No Greater Love the chain of events is based on the Bible verse John 15:13: There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends. This is a tale of modern day martyrdom.
The setting is 1989 apartheid South Africa. The star-crossed lovers are Andrew, the son of an Afrikaner farmer and Chioma, an African servant on the farm. When attraction blurs the line between black and white, the status quo is violently reinforced.
Chioma flees the farm joining a band of rebel nationals. Themba, the group's leader, takes an immediate liking to the beautiful young girl and makes her his wife. The only condition he imposes upon their nuptials is absolute loyalty.

At first, Themba's passion is unrequited, but over time Chioma begins to feel something for her protector. Her parents were massacred while fighting for the cause and her tragic past helps her to understand her husband's motives. Yet, will her conscience allow her to obey Themba and participate in the group's - often bloody - raids?
Things come to a head when Chioma unexpectedly encounters a connection to Andrew. Will the memory of the man she truly loved be enough to prevent an atrocity? Will the words of the Holy Bible - which she first heard at Andrew's farm - be enough to keep her from crossing the point of no return?
Overall, a love story resonates by delving into deeper issues.
Listen to a web radio interview with Kathi Macias at A Book and a Chat.

No Greater Love by Kathi Macias is available for $14.99 at Amazon.com and at KathiMacias.com.
A complimentary review copy was provided by Pump Up Your Book Promotion.





WELCOME to BLOGMANIA !

My Blog is 46 of 123


You’ve arrived at exactly the right time to explore lots of new blogs, all of which, ARE GIVING AWAY A VERY SPECIAL BLOGMANIA GIVEAWAY  (For One Day Only – April 30th).
We’ve done all the work for you. No hunting or surfing. Each blog will have a number and each new blog link will have a number. These numbers will allow you to keep track of which blogs you’ve visited and how many are left to visit. Why not take a moment to make a list of blog numbers  1-123 and check off the blogs as you go.
I know you’ll want to visit as many blogs today as you can. So, if you see something that interests you on any of our participating blogs, why not bookmark that site. Later, when you have more time, you can discover all its fabulous treasures.  
CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! MY GIVEAWAY and RULES: 
Enter to win a FREE copy of No Greater Love.
  1. Leave a comment below along with your email address
  2. Become a (public) Google follower of this blog (widget found on our blog's right sidebar).
  3. Tweet about this giveaway and leave a link to your tweet with your comment.
A winner will be chosen on April 30, 2010.
Blogmania Links:
(Blog- 1) Between The Pages

(Blog -2) The Black Sheep Dances

(Blog-11) Simply Stacie

(Blog-43) Books, Books Everywhere 

(Blog-45) Luxury Reading

(Blog-55) Jennifer Laurens 

(Blog-57) Just Another New Blog

(Blog-60) Travel the Ages 

(Blog-88) Publishing Without a Parachute

(Blog-95) A Mom After God’s Own Heart 

(Blog-105) Truth Be Told


Congratulations to our winner: Christa!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Review & Giveaway: "You Want Me To Do What? Journaling for Caregivers" by B. Lynn Goodwin

Author B. Lynn Goodwin is a fellow book reviewer at WriterAdvice.com. When she became the primary caregiver of her elderly mother, she turned to writing as a form of therapy. In her book, You Want Me To Do What? Journaling for Caregivers, she seeks to bring others the same form of release.

Goodwin cites the research of James W. Pennebaker, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He studied the effects of journaling and found that putting thoughts and feelings on paper is powerful. 

Journaling empowers the writer, who feels heard and acknowledged. It opens up perspective and insight. It reduces feelings of powerlessness. Journaling heals wounds and enhances mental stability.

Goodwin cared for her mother from 1994 through 2001. She knows firsthand what it is like when the parent-child relationship is reversed. Basic tasks can no longer be accomplished. Privacy is diminished. Confusion and embarrassment ensue. While acts of caregiving are rooted in love, frustration can lead to guilt. Goodwin understands the danger of succumbing to raw emotions. Instead of bottling them up, she suggests giving their expression free rein through writing.

The book provides several sentence starters broken down into four sections entitled "Thoughts about Me," "Thoughts about Caregiving," "Thoughts about the One I Care For," and "Thoughts about Reclaiming Myself." Prompts include "I wish I didn't resent...," "When I want to escape...," "I feel burned out when...," "I love you, but..." and "I forget what it feels like to..." These beginnings are followed by blank lines so that the reader can write a response in the book itself, although Goodwin encourages writing in a separate journal in order to fully explore each topic. 

There are no rules for using the book. Goodwin suggests skipping items that do not particularly move the reader and focusing on those that open a cathartic doorway. She encourages caregivers who have hang-ups about writing to put away their insecurities. No judgments are made on writing ability. The key is to start writing regardless of one's level of expertise. Goodwin even suggests drawing for those who feel intimidated or creatively blocked by the act of writing.

The reader is not left hanging upon reaching the book's final page. At Goodwin's website, WriterAdvice.com there is information about writing with other caregivers, sample prompts, writings of those who have tried the process, booklists and more. She encourages caregivers to develop their journal entries into letters, essays, short stories, poems, memoirs and plays. Through her book, she provides an access point for caregivers to share their stories with each other and examine the healing power of the written word.

Overall, this book helps a caregiver sort out frustration and love from medications and bed pans.

You Want Me To Do What? Journaling for Caregivers by B. Lynn Goodwin is available for $10.99 at Amazon.com and at WriterAdvice.com.

A complimentary review copy was provided by B. Lynn Goodwin.


Enter to win a FREE copy of You Want Me To Do What? Journaling for Caregivers.
(1) Leave a comment below along with your email address & (2) become a (public) Google follower of this blog (widget found on our blog's right sidebar).

A winner will be chosen on April 30, 2010.

Congratulations to our winner: Kay!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Review & Giveaway: "Helena: Unwavering Courage" by Sylvia Melvin

A woman gives birth while watching her husband's funeral procession from her bedroom window. She leaves town with her five children to secure an isolated riverside homestead. In a raging thunderstorm, she captains a rowboat in rough waters. With an ax, she decapitates a porcupine with termite-like tendencies. When a fast-moving fire threatens her home, she protects her children. Who is this courageous woman? She is Helena Matthews - grandmother of the author, Sylvia Melvin. All of the stories in Helena: Unwavering Courage are true.

Helena was a real life, flesh and blood woman who lived in a rustic settlement of Ontario, Canada during the early part of the 20th century. Advanced technology left her a widow when her pioneering husband, James, was killed while driving one of the area's first "auto wagons." With the help of her neighbors and her ingrained sense of determination, she perseveres in raising Edith, Ruby, Billy, Harry and Annie as a single mother.

Her children certainly put her to the test. Annie suffers a concussion after falling from the top of a stacked hay bale. Billy uncovers an illicit stash of moonshine during Prohibition. Edith thwarts her mother's attempt to encourage the advances of a gentleman caller. Ruby complains about having to leave her friends to live on the homestead for the entire summer. Harry joins the fun as the neighborhood children transform her brand-new window screens into makeshift sleds to slide down the steps, destroying them all in the process.

It is not just the antics of her children that Helena has to contend with. The owner of the general store cheats her. Their cow gets stranded in the middle of a river. A tuberculosis outbreak is a constant threat.

It is an enchanting idea to write a novel based on the life of one's ancestor. Melvin does a terrific job bringing her grandmother's past to life. What a wonderful way to preserve family history while at the same time sharing it with a larger audience. The book's pictures increase the narrative's depth. Helena's portrait graces the cover while interior photos show Billy and Harry fishing on the river and Edith, Annie and Harry playing in the woods. An epilogue explains what happened to everyone once the narrative concludes with the 10 year anniversary of James Matthews' death.

Overall, this is a real life heroine whose story deserves to be told.

Helena: Unwavering Courage by Sylvia Melvin is available for $10.00 at Amazon.com.

A complimentary review copy was provided by Sylvia Melvin.


Also by Sylvia Melvin: Summer Guest


Enter to win a FREE copy of Helena: Unwavering Courage.

(1) Leave a comment below along with your email address & (2) become a (public) Google follower of this blog (widget found on our blog's right sidebar).

A winner will be chosen on April 15, 2010.

Congratulations to our winner!: Elaine R.

Review & Giveaway: "Summer Guest" by Sylvia Melvin

Stories based on real life situations always add a degree of authenticity to a writer's work. The setting of Sylvia Melvin's Summer Guest is based on her parents' Canadian fishing lodge. Nature is so realistically portrayed that it feels like a three dimensional character - "morning mist caressed the placid lake" to "a tender glow from an exiting sun fell on the western horizon." The beautiful imagery weaves a spell transporting the reader to a relaxing summer by the lake.

Yet amid the natural splendor lies heartache for 24-year-old Amy Lawrence. Due to a downturn in tourism caused by rising gas prices, her family is forced to put their fishing lodge up for sale. The financial crisis has caused Amy's mother to suffer a mental collapse severe enough to require hospitalization. But with her father and cook Thelma, Amy - back home after a broken engagement - is determined to keep the lodge functioning. 

She certainly doesn't anticipate falling in love with a vacationing guest. A disabled veteran of the Iraq war, Matt Monroe is left with a pronounced limp, yet it's his antagonizing banter that engages Amy in verbal combat. Just as they begin to break down each other's defenses, a flirty blonde named Sonja arrives with her parents for a stay at the lodge. Sonja sets her sights on Matt, and Amy must decide if she is willing to compete for his attention.

For foodies, there are an abundance of mouth-watering passages thanks to the marvelous dishes coming out of Thelma's kitchen - "steaming fresh vegetables and tender meat, oozing with succulent juices" to "[fish] fillets turned a crispy brown" to "a huge golden-brown turkey roasting in the oven." The home-like atmosphere extends throughout the book from "the swishing sound of hot, sudsy water oozing out of Amy's mop" to "transform[ing] the bed into a resting place of blue linen and soft, navy blankets." The day-to-day chores of the lodge add a layer of detail that provides readers with a sense of comforting familiarity. 

The only minor flaw is the overly catty dialogue uttered by Sonja. Her jibes at Amy come off as scripted and unnatural. For example when Matt rejects her advances she exclaims, "Men find me irresistible. Why don't you?" It's hard to imagine any woman making a similar declaration no matter her degree of projected overconfidence.

Overall, two wounded souls find each other in the middle of a dark lake, but it is the "lights from the lodge [that] beckon them home."

Summer Guest by Sylvia Melvin is available for $10.00 at Amazon.com.

A complimentary review copy was provided by Sylvia Melvin.


Enter to win a FREE copy of Summer Guest.

(1) Leave a comment below along with your email address & (2) become a (public) Google follower of this blog (widget found on our blog's right sidebar).

A winner will be chosen on April 15, 2010.

Congratulations to our winner!: Pam

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Review & Giveaway: "Beyond Those Distant Stars" by John B. Rosenman

Beyond Those Distant Stars is science fiction that plays well to a female audience. The heroine, Stella McMasters is a cyborg. After an accident at a radiation facility, her remaining essence is transplanted into a mechanical body. Through a futuristic Affirmative Action program, Stella is promoted to commander of a spacecraft due to her synthetic status. Her robotic body is a source of extraordinary physical prowess, but it leaves her feeling inadequate around members of the opposite sex.

She immediately feels a strong physical desire for Jason, the ship's captain. While fulfilling his piloting duties, Jason's brain is temporarily removed from his body. Still, he develops a relationship with Stella through the ship's communication system. After seeing Jason's naked body in its suspended state, Stella indulges in several R-rated fantasies. Yet she feels Jason, upon returning to his body, will be repulsed by her infertile state.

Their love story plays against the backdrop of an intergalactic war. The enemy is led by a God-like entity called the All-Mother. After boarding an enemy vessel, Stella is drawn into a mind meld with one of the All-Mother's alien sons. She gains an innate knowledge on how to operate the foreign ship as well as a direct mental link with the All-Mother herself. These extraordinary abilities, along with her cyborg status, arouse the suspicions of her superiors. Her motives are questioned and her loyalty is suspect. Many believe she is a traitor.

Vice is running rampant throughout the empire. Humanity is ruled by a child emperor, who is being drugged by his supposed protector. Insubordination in the chain of command is a common occurrence. Few can be trusted to maintain order, let alone win the war. Enter Stella and her extraordinary claims. General Gage, a fellow female in a position of authority, is the commander of the Loran Base, where Stella takes the alien ship. Gage believes Stella's story and does everything in her power to help her arrive at a culminating one-on-one battle with the All-Mother.

Rosenman fills each page with a source of tension that unfurls the plot at a rapid pace. The reader feels at one with Stella as she single-handedly turns the tide of an entire war. Her feeling of otherness, brought about by her new body, allows her to establish a unique connection with the All-Mother. Her passion for Jason is put to the test and she must choose between her personal longings and the good of humanity.

Overall, Stella McMasters makes geek chic for a feminine audience.

Beyond Those Distant Stars by John B. Rosenman is available for $16.95 at Amazon.com and JohnRosenman.com.

A complimentary review copy was provided by John B. Rosenman.


Enter to win a FREE copy of Beyond Those Distant Stars.

(1) Leave a comment below along with your email address & (2) become a (public) Google follower of this blog (widget found on our blog's right sidebar).

A winner will be chosen on April 15, 2010.

Congratulations to our winner: Freda Mans!