Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Hard Day's Night Review Tour

Blurb:
High school senior Kalin (Lennon) Macready knows several facts for certain: John Lennon is his hero. Beaumont Finley Danforth II (Fin) is his best friend. And—this is the complicated one—he feels more for Fin than mere friendship.

For weeks, Lennon pesters Fin, who like Lennon admits to questioning his sexual orientation, for a commitment to spend twenty-four hours together exploring “the gay side of life.” Fin reluctantly agrees. Each boy will seek to answer the daunting question, Am I gay? Lennon pre-plans the day, filling the hours with what he assumes “gay life” is all about: shopping for fashionable clothing, indulging in lavish dessert crepes, boogying to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”, and yes, listening to show tunes.

However, Lennon quickly realizes that in creating his plan he has succumbed to the most common and distorted of gay stereotypes. Can he be gay and not fit them? And more importantly, is it possible that spending one very hard day and night together will help Fin accept that he’s gay, too? If so, maybe Lennon has a shot at winning the heart of the boy of his dreams.

“A Hard Day’s Night” is an amusing young adult contemporary romance about two boys who seek to discover if they must fulfill stereotypes to be together.

In the end, maybe all you need is love.


Excerpt:
“Okay, ladies... and, um, dudes... let’s take it from the top!”

I’m not sure how much Fin and I really like that Boom Boom Pow, but we’re quick learners and we know how to “jack the style” of the fifteen middle-aged Moms at the On Stage Dance Academy’s Super Saturday Zumba Fitness Class.

Here’s a brief rundown of how we ended up shaking our booties at a com- petition dance school’s Saturday afternoon Zumba class:

Warning—it ain’t perty.

Everybody knows the song “Dancing Queen” by ABBA. It is arguably the number one song representing the queer man’s love of grooving. Now, rock ‘n roll, and I will venture to label ABBA’s hit as such, has long been all about the way the political breezes are blowing, and since the song’s release in 1976, the gay community has embraced it. Though purely unintentionally on ABBA’s part, “Dancing Queen” has become more of a political statement regarding busting out of the closet than a mere song about dancing with your prom date. And so, I thought I’d take Fin dancing in my effort to explore our gay pride.

See where I’m going with this?

Problem: We are barely eighteen years old. We do not own fake IDs. Even if my Jeep could handle the two-and-a-half hour trek to Boston, we would get laughed out of any dance club at which we dared to we show our boyish faces.

What to do? What to do?

I knew that as part of our gay exploration it was critical that we dance and jive and feel the beat from the tambourine. But where could Fin and I do this both locally, and legally?

It hit me like a sledge hammer—Zumba Fitness Class!


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Author Bio and Links:
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty-two years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships, and she believes that physical intimacy has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, CoolDudes Publishing, and CreateSpace for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

Mia is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights, especially marital equality. Now marital equality is the law of the land!! WOOT!! Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Stop by Mia’s Blog with questions or comments, or simply share what’s on your mind.

Find Mia on:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wellness Wednesday - Stress Relief

Today's another de-stress day. Between school, work, and life in general, things are hectic and crazy. And I figure that I'm not the only one who might need some stress relief today. I love the Axis of Awesome, they are a great comedy act. These are two songs of theirs that always cheer me up so I hope it does the same for you.






Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Lost Concerto Book Review


A woman and her young son flee to a convent on a remote island off the Breton coast of France.  Generations of seafarers have named the place Ile de la Brume, or Fog Island. In a chapel high on a cliff, a tragic death occurs and a terrified child vanishes into the mist.

The child’s godmother, Maggie O’Shea, haunted by the violent deaths of her husband and best friend, has withdrawn from her life as a classical pianist. But then a recording of unforgettable music and a grainy photograph surface, connecting her missing godson to a long-lost first love. 

The photograph will draw Maggie inexorably into a collision course with criminal forces, decades-long secrets, stolen art and musical artifacts, and deadly terrorists. Her search will take her to the Festival de Musique, Aix-en-Provence, France, where she discovers answers to her husband’s death, an unexpected love―and a musical masterpiece lost for decades.

A compelling blend of suspense, mystery, political intrigue, and romance, The Lost Concerto explores universal themes of loss, vengeance, courage, and love.


My Review:
4.5 stars

Wow…what can I say? This book was phenomenal. I’ll admit, while I originally thought it sounded interesting, I didn’t think I would like it this much. That last line of the blurb? Sums up this book perfectly. While I had a hard time getting into the story at first, I soon was anxiously reading, wondering what was going to happen next. I was traveling along with Maggie, trying to figure out all the plot twists while connecting on an emotional level as well. The fact that I not only connected with these characters, but connected with them on such an emotional level surprised me. To go from disliking a character to rooting for him, feeling Maggie’s grief and pain like it was my own…yeah, I was very emotionally involved.

As for the plot…well, I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll just say that while sometimes, I saw some of the twists coming, I was still blindsided by others. The story hardly ever got dull, and I didn’t want to have to put the book down to go to class.

While I was expecting a good read, I wasn’t expecting this to be one of my favorite reads of 2015. That being said, I highly recommend you give TLC a try, as it is a marvelous read. You won’t be disappointed.

*I received this in exchange for an honest review.*
*This is a sponsored post.*

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Hydra Offensive Book Blast

Blurb:
The nation of Ansgar is divided.

In the east, King Eadric Garrard has crushed one rebellion but gets no rest as the rebellion in the West is rapidly spiraling out of control. If he can't get things in line soon, his reign could be at an end.

Raedan Clyve has traveled across the Vast Sea to secure treaties and trade. Unchecked in his studies of magic, his powers are growing beyond his control. The dark path he has set himself on leads to destruction and chaos, but is it too late to turn back?

Kyrie Salas captains the Dragon's Breath, chartered to carry the Western emissaries across the world. She sees the potential in Raedan and seeks to harness it. But will her emotions get the best of her?

War has raged, battles have been fought, and lives lost. But the conflict for the future of Ansgar is just beginning.


Excerpt:
Peter Wellstone spread his ledgers across one of the tables and opened them, the books seeming to fall open exactly at the right place. The other council members spread their own books and papers. Alden looked stern, reading the reports for a second time.

An uncomfortable silence hung in the air. “Tychor sent a request to his father,” Alden said at last. “He asked for enough timber to build a small city.”

“Bugger,” Peter said. He was responsible for the distribution of supplies and building materials. “I told you that withholding supplies would lead to trouble.”

“There’s no trouble,” Eadric said. Lumber and nails and carpenters to assemble the buildings were in short supply. The rebuilding of the fortresses in Kerberos were more important than comfortable quarters for the army.

“Yet,” Peter added.

“His Grace will not take kindly to having to send supplies to the front,” Sinclair Dohr said. “His letters have been increasingly critical of the war. And he isn’t the only one with those thoughts.”

“He’s an overweight, pompous ass,” Eadric said with a shrug. “No one listens to what he has to say.”

“They may not listen to what he says, but they watch what he does,” Alden said. “If he decides to limit the number of troops that he contributes to the cause, or if he withholds supplies…”

“Then I’ll deal with him like I dealt with Magnus Jarmann,” Eadric said. As if having four of his dukes rise up in open rebellion weren’t enough, he had to deal with the fifth’s complaining and constant second-guessing. It was a wonder that Medwyn Chalmers stayed in his mountainside castle, rather than bringing his “advice” directly to Eadric.

The king stood and began to pace. In the west, lesser lords and nobles alike had been increasingly vocal in their complaints. Lands trampled by armies, cities devastated, warehouses and granaries pilfered.

“He wouldn’t dare join the rebels,” Eadric said. Of all of the men who owed their position to the Crown, Lord Chalmers was chief among them. His territory produced timber and iron in great supply, but it was Eadric’s subsidies and edicts that made those materials the most sought after in Ansgar.

“If this stalemate holds, they may be more likely,” Sinclair said.

“When the snows melt, there will be no stalemate,” Eadric said. “My soldiers will crush this rebellion once and for all.”

The council didn’t move for a long minute.

“Order supplies shipped to the forward camps,” Eadric said at last. “Order them to winter quarters.”



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Author Bio and Links:
Joshua Johnson is the author of "Gunpowder Fantasy" The Cerberus Rebellion and the creator of the Griffins & Gunpowder universe. When he isn't working or spending time with his family, he writes novels, short stories and novellas.

He currently lives in Northern Illinois with his wife and young children.

You can visit his website at www.gunpowderfantasy.com

Twitter     |     Facebook

Kobo     |     Smashwords     |     Amazon

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wellness Wednesday - Another Omega-3 Fish Oil Review



So I keep trying new brands of fish oil, both because I’m asked to and because I’m always looking for the best supplements at the best price. Last month, I was given the opportunity to review Life & Food’s Omega-3 Supreme Fish Oil 1400mg capsules. I planned on writing about the benefit of omega-3s, but then I saw this on Life & Food’s Amazon page and had to share because they summed it up pretty well.

“Studies have shown that diets high in Omega-3 fatty acids may lower a person's health risks. Eating a diet rich in fatty acid containing fish - cold-water swimmers such as pollock, sardines and salmon - can help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Some studies show there is a proven link that EPA and DHA reduces inflammation from arthritis conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Other sources of Omega-3 include olive oil, walnuts and flaxseed.” (From Life & Food’s Amazon page)


Life & Food Omega-3 Supreme Advantage 
- Fish Oil concentrate made from IFOS 5-star certified fish oils.
- Sourced from wild Alaskan caught Pollock and a sustainable and certified operation by MSC.
- USA manufactured and laboratory tested in FDA, GMP, NSF certified facilities.
- Molecularly distilled, clean refined and tested.
- Easy to swallow, soft gelatin capsules enteric coated for max absorption and no fish burps. 
- Guaranteed to be pharmaceutical grade 75% Omega-3s


After taking these for a month, here’s what I have to say:

My Review:
3 stars

The capsules were easy to swallow, and I didn't have to deal with fishy burps or breath, which was a big relief.

However, I wasn't a fan of having to take two capsules a day to get an effective dose instead of one and I wasn't a fan of the fishy smell. The smell of omega oils doesn't usually bother me, but these did. I also noticed that I seemed to experience heartburn more frequently as well while taking these this past month, though I don't know for sure if that was due to these.

All in all, these were good omega oil supplements, but I probably won't take them again due to my reaction to taking them. However, I seem to be one of the few who had issues, so I would still recommend looking at other reviews and trying these if they sound like something you'd like.


*I received this product in exchange for an honest review.*

Monday, September 14, 2015

Blind Redemption Cover Reveal

A woman is missing, paths are misleading. Can Psychic Detective Jackie Vaughn see through the veil of lies to find her?

Synopsis:
Kidnapped and sold into the Chinese slave trade, the survival of Annette Freder, the wife of University Chancellor Charles Freder, depends on struggling psychic detective, Jackie Vaughn.

Crippled by grief over the unexpected death of her wife, Jackie deals with her anguish through pills and booze. While these coping mechanisms numb her pain, the growing addiction hampers her abilities, and places her health and livelihood in jeopardy. The missing person’s case of Annette Freder shifts Jackie’s focus, challenging her psychic abilities.

While on the job in China, Jackie finds herself with limited access to medication, resulting in bouts of withdrawal and depression. But that is just one of the many hurdles hindering Jackie in her quest to find Annette and return her to safety. Will corrupt police, maxed out credit cards, an ousted Greek intelligence officer assassin, and a revelation from an unexpected source prove too much for her?

Entangled deceit and unraveling lies, Blind Redemption captures the essence of the human spirit and the power of redemption



And now, for the cover...

Blind Redemption Cover


Pre-order Links:
WIP     |     Amazon US     |     Amazon UK
Amazon AU     |     Amazon DE     |     ARe



a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Authors:
DENISE DEARTH is a novelist and songwriter. Blind Redemption is the first novel in the compelling Jackie Vaughn detective series. She is a member of Broadcast Music Incorporated, a music performing right organization, and the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981. When’s she’s not writing she may be seen riding a two-toned, sky blue and white Victory Vegas Steel horse into the Midwestern sunset.

Denise Dearth can be found at:
Website     |     Facebook


AMY GILLEN is a co-creator of the Jackie Vaughn detective series. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Indiana University. She is a poet, photographer, and entrepreneur with a passion for kayaking and travel.

Amy Gillen can be found at:
Website     |     Facebook

Friday, September 11, 2015

Three is Not a Crowd Cover Reveal



threeisnotacrowd-bannr

Synopsis:

Why would anyone think three was a crowd?

No. No. No. No. No.

Three is a triangle…
and did you know it’s the strongest geometrical shape?

All the best things come in threes…
Musketeers, primary colors, three-ringed circuses, stooges, blind mice, little pigs. The list goes on.

Of course they say trouble comes in three too…
but we won’t go there… or will we?

**giggle** There’s three sheets to the wind.

And **sigh… drool** there’s three piece suits.

And trust us, it’s no coincidence that there are three ingredients in a BLT.

Or only three elements to the game Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Want to get physical???
Well, there’s… three-legged races… (what were you thinking?)

Political? Of the people, by the people, for the people.

Or creepy? Hear no evil. Speak no evil. See no evil.

Why, three has so much going for it we don’t even need to mention a…
1............      2............     3............ sandwich
(substitute your own dream guys)

And of course, there’s: On your Mark. Get Set. And Go!

So Go! Read the short stories in…

THREE IS NOT A CROWD


And now, for the cover…

threeisnotacrowd-smallpreview


Pre-order Links:
WIP     |     Amazon US     |     Amazon UK
Amazon AU     |     Amazon DE     |     ARe


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Stories Included:

LilyV
Brad has a thing about elevators. He’s also had a tough week.


An accidental encounter with Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome Aiden, and sweet, shy, and innocent Danny, will turn his elevator 'thing' into something very B.A.D.


 asta
I’m every bit the Everyman.

Or at least I was until I started my current relationship.


You see, there are three of us in this couple: me, my boyfriend, and my boyfriend’s alter ego…


Eric

Three college cheerleaders are bound together by unrequited love, secrets, and lies.

That is until dangers on a road trip threaten their lives.


Who will survive?


 alina


Plagued by nightmares of a lost twin, David struggles to uncover the truth of his past.

 His family insists he never had a brother, enlisting therapist after therapist to cure him.

David’s only happiness is his boyfriend Terry.

Is the dream-visiting twin real?

Or is he a symptom of a mental disorder?


And real or not, will David and Terry’s relationship survive his presence?


 kay

Flynn Jacobs is small, eccentric, and neurotic. He's spent his whole life being ridiculed and bullied.

On a rare night out with work colleagues, Flynn finally meets Riley, a man he has admired from afar.

Riley isn’t looking for anything special. His boyfriend Mitch is out of town and Riley is bored. Shy Flynn is a challenge. He's meant to be a one night stand but Riley finds he likes Flynn more than he should…


What will happen when Mitch returns from his business trip?


 LV

Richard believed his friendship with Laura was based around their passion for writing.

He didn’t realise he was falling in love with her, until it was too late. 


After all, how could he possibly be falling in love with Laura, when he still loved Bill?


eddy 

Malcolm has a decision to make.

His two best friends, Jack and Thomas, have just given him a very interesting proposal to mull over.

His mind, his heart, and his Little Malcolm need to agree.

The decision could change his life forever…


 aimee

Daniel and Michael go shopping for sex toys.

Michael believes their relationship is complete.

That is, until he lays his eyes on the gorgeous shop owner.

Perhaps things are better in threes…


 rian

Chrissie is a very smart Rottweiler who has never shifted until now, enjoying his life as a dog.

What happens when he and his owner, Simon, fall for the same guy?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Practicube Large Ice Cube Mold Review


The one drawback of traditional ice cubes is because the cubes are smaller it require more cubes to keep the temperature down. More cubes with smaller surface area means more melting and less drink in your drink.
Having one larger ice cube rather than several small ice cubes means you have more surface area to cool your drink and more heat that is required to melt the cube which means the ice sticks around longer.

Praticube's custom ice cube tray mold makes 4 extra large (and one of the largest on Amazon) ice cubes at 2.25 inches (most trays top out at 2 inches). Each cube can last up to 4 hours.

Because each tray is made from durable, safe, BPA-free silicone, you can use it for all kinds of cubes like coffee cubes, tea cubes, juice cubes, and more. The only limit is your imagination.

All Praticube trays are covered by Pratico Kitchen's lifetime no-hassle warranty. If anything happens we will replace it free of charge.



My Review:
4 stars

I loved using this ice cube mold. I used mine (I only received one, but they now sell them in two packs instead of single packs) not only to create ice for my drinks, but to also make ice pops. Stick a popsicle stick in them, set them in the freezer and wham! Perfect ice pop. I liked using this mold because the cubes were super easy to get out, just had to tap the bottom and they came right out. I only had difficulty removing them once or twice. The mold was also very easy to clean and reuse. I also liked that there wasn't really much of a smell, which I've run into before when buying silicone products.

My biggest issue was that these are kind of expensive, especially since you can only make 8 cubes at a time (4 for me). However, they're durable and easy to use, and they're a fun novelty item. I mainly used mine to make ice pops, which my friends loved. So you'll most likely get your money's worth out of these molds. Plus, you can get 20% right now just by ordering them through Amazon. Overall, these were great ice cube molds that I both recommend and will keep using.

*I received this in exchange for an honest review.*

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wellness Wednesday - Biotin



Since I’ve finally been able to kick my nail biting habit, I now have longer nails. However, years of nail biting has done its damage. My nails are thin and chip or break off easily. I wanted to do something to help repair the damage done to my nails so I started doing my research and came across biotin. Biotin, aka Vitamin B7, is primarily beneficial for your nails, hair, and skin, though there are other health benefits such as increased metabolism and controlling blood sugar levels. For more information, check out WebMD or this article from StyleCraze.

So after learning about biotin and consulting with my doctor, I decided to start using it. So when I was given the opportunity to review these, I jumped at it.



Nourish your hair, skin and nail from the inside out with Maximum Strength 10,000 MCG Biotin from 100Naturals.

100Naturals Biotin has the maximum strength 10,000 mcg PURE biotin in each capsule. One bottle has 90 vegetable capsules (a 3 month supply) that are easy to take and absorb. They are also made in the USA in FDA registered facilities that are NSF and GMP certified as well as cruelty-free. 


My Review:
4 stars

These capsules were easy to swallow and didn’t have an odor, which I really enjoyed. And after taking these for a month now, I’ve already started to notice a change in my nails. My fingernails not only grow faster, but they seem to be coming in stronger than they used to. I’ve had fewer nails chip or break off and the tips of my fingernails don’t bend as much as they used to when pushed down. However, I’ve also noticed some other benefits.

For instance, I’ve noticed that my hair isn’t coming out as much when I shower or brush it as it used to. I have very thick hair, so losing some of it made sense, but now that I’m taking biotin, it’s decreased a bit.

Unfortunately, I haven’t really noticed any difference to my skin or my metabolism though, which I was hoping for. However, I’ve only been taking these for a month now, so hopefully, that will change more in the future.

My other issue with these were the price. You get a 3 month supply for about $14, which isn’t bad, but there are cheaper alternatives available. However, while the cheaper alternatives contain the same amount of biotin, they also contain calcium as calcium carbonate, which doesn’t seem like it would make that big of a difference unless you were allergic to it or had high blood calcium levels. However, that would be up to you to decide whether you wanted to pay more for pure biotin or less for a mix with calcium carbonate added in.

Overall, these definitely show promise, and I will continue taking them to see if they keep working and improving my nail health (among other things).


*I received this in exchange for an honest review.*

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Wellness Wednesday - Garcinia Cambogia



Yes, I realize that today is Tuesday, not Wednesday. This was originally going to be last week's WW post. However, I ended up being asked to host two tours on Wednesday, so I decided not to post this then. I was going to push it back to this week, but when I looked back on past weeks, I realized just how bad I've been about posting for WW. So, I decided to do a double Wellness Wednesday post this week instead of postponing again. 

I decided to do a post on garcinia cambogia because I've been hearing a lot about it lately. Jonah Hill credited his drastic weight loss a few years ago to using garcinia cambogia, and he's not the only one. So many celebrities and health gurus have been talking about it. 

Now, I've struggled with my weight for most of my adult life. While I realize that I will never be skinny and am okay with that, I do want to be healthy. And part of being healthy is getting back in shape and losing some of my extra weight (no joke...doctor's orders). I've already started exercising more and eating healthier, but I wanted to see if using garcinia cambogia would help. I tried it in the past, but didn't really see drastic results. In fact, I couldn't even tell if the results I was getting was due to the garcinia or just due to the lifestyle changes I'd made.

Now that I had a pretty good weight loss baseline, I was ready to try again. I was given the opportunity to review Pinnacle Nutrition's 100% Pure Garcinia Cambogia. They claimed to be the most potent garcinia cambogia available, so I figured I'd give it a try. Here's their information and my review:




Take advantage of what experts call a revolutionary breakthrough in weight loss! Rather than risking your health with products that contain dangerous stimulants, our 100% natural Garcinia (with 75% more HCA than most competitors) is your answer! No jitters, no upset stomach, no side effects.

Heard about other Garcinia not working - They aren't formulated properly! We have the absolute HIGHEST, MOST POTENT, DOSAGE OF HCA AVAILABLE ANYWHERE, so you may notice a difference faster and see more weight lost. Get the MOST for your money! Plus, our Garcinia is 3rd party lab tested, so you know what you're really getting! If you tried other products but didn't see results...you NEED to try ours!

Lose Weight Or Your Money Back!
Pinnacle Nutrition's products are all covered by a LIFETIME Manufacturer's 100% money-back guarantee.


My Review:
2 stars

I really wanted this to work. I truly did. Unfortunately, I did not get the results I was expecting. I didn't really get any results at all actually. I took these for 2 weeks and in that time, I actually gained weight instead of losing it. I didn't notice any energy increase but I did notice that it would raise my blood pressure and heart rate, side effects I wasn't expecting. Which leads me to the fact that...

The company claims in their description that there are no side effects, but I had several that could potentially be linked to these. Along with the raised blood pressure and heart rate, I found myself feeling nauseous often while taking these. I started expecting to become nauseous while taking these, which is never a good sign. And once I stopped taking them, I noticed that I wasn't experiencing nausea anywhere near as often as I had been.

The only reason I gave this a two star instead of a one star is because I couldn't link the symptoms I was having to the garcinia. While I did notice an increase in symptoms, I continued having them after I stopped taking the garcinia. So, I don't know if the capsules were to blame or not, but I won't be using them again, and I wouldn't really recommend these. However, this is just my experience. If you look on Amazon, they've gotten lots of great reviews, so I could have just been one of the anomalies. Nevertheless, I won't be using these again nor would I recommend them.

*I received this in exchange for an honest review.*