Author Archives: Carrie
by Michelle E. Reed
Young Adult Dystopian
In Life, A.D. you have two choices: join the program or face the consequences.
Seventeen-year-old Dez Donnelly crashes headlong into fate on the side of a rural highway, her life ending in a violent collision of steel and screaming brakes. The train that delivers her newly departed soul to the crossroads of the afterlife won’t be carrying her to the sweet hereafter until she accepts her abrupt end and learns to let go of the life she’ll never finish.
Her new reality is conduct manuals, propaganda, and unrelenting staff, all part of a system to ease her transition from life to death, while helping her earn her way out of limbo. Atman City, beautiful and enticing, is an ever-present temptation that is strictly off limits to underage souls. The promise of adventure proves too strong, and beneath the city’s sheen of ethereal majesty, Dez discovers a world teeming with danger.
Welcome to Life, A.D. where being dead doesn’t mean you’re safe, and the only thing harder than getting out of limbo is getting through it.
About the Author
Michelle E. Reed was born in a small Midwestern town, to which she has returned to raise her own family. Her imagination and love of literature were fueled by a childhood of late nights, hidden under the covers and reading by flashlight. She is a passionate adoption advocate who lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their yellow lab, Sully.
You could win:
Three (3) ebook copies of Life, A.D. by Michelle E. Reed (International)
One (1) signed paperback copy of Life, A.D. by Michelle E. Reed (US only)
If you go online to research a diet like Weight Watchers, you’re definitely going to find a lot of differing opinions out there. But there are some common issues that seem to pop up over and over again on consumer complaint websites. It’s important to understand what you’re getting into before starting a diet like Weight Watchers, so let’s go ahead and go over what these things are.
Weight Watchers throws lots of coupons and promotions your way to get you to join. You can find the current promotions at www.ultimatecoupons.com and www.weightlosstriumph.com. But once you join, some people say that it’s really hard to get out. If you’ve given them your credit card they’re going to start charging you every month, and some complaints report that it’s difficult to get those charges to stop.
The vast majority of people who have tried Weight Watchers have been satisfied with the program. This article focuses on some issues you may face if you join WW.
Complaint #1: Poor Customer Service
Weight Watchers is a huge corporation, above all. It’s true that it helps thousands of people drop the pounds every year, and offers great discounts to get people to join. But it’s still a business. And businesses want money. What I keep hearing over and over again is that the customer service is bad. It’s hard to get someone from Weight Watchers on the phone. Stephanie of Louisville, KY and Laura of Madison, WI, were on hold for 30 minutes and their problem was not properly solved, according to their report. The customer service seems to not respond to emails. There are cancellations of meetings at the drop of a hat, and for financial reasons. Maybe Weight Watchers isn’t making enough money with one branch of meetings, so they’ll go ahead and cancel them. This can be very frustrating when you’re looking for a warm and supportive environment where you can lose weight.
Complaint #2: Automatic Push Program
Hold onto your cancellation number when you leave Weight Watchers, because there are a lot of instances where people continue to get charged. Cynthia of Concord, CA, who struggled with her cancelation on Oct 2013, reports on ConsumerAffairs: “you can check in but you can’t check out!” In fact, this seems to happen often. If you leave Weight Watchers then check your bank statement every month to make sure that the charges are not coming up. It’s very frustrating when you cancel a subscription to anything, you continue to get charged, and then you receive poor customer service over the phone. Stay on top of it and don’t let it happen to you.
Complaint #3: I’m actually gaining weight
Can you believe that this happens quite often? The point system is really only a theory about weight loss, and every body is not the same. So, some people oddly enough gain weight when they’re eating within the points system. This can be very frustrating. Who wants to spend all that time and money just to be gaining weight? If this is what you’re experiencing, you need to lower your point value, and if you’re already at the lowest number of points that is allowed, then it’s time to find a new weight loss plan because Weight Watchers is not the program for you.
Complaint #4: You’re still going to be eating some fake foods
Even with the points system that allows you to eat normal, healthy foods, you’re still pushed to eat Weight Watchers packaged foods which are far from healthy. The food is loaded with preservatives and doesn’t taste very good. So if you are trying Weight Watchers so that you can avoid this diet “food”, then think again. You’re still going to be eating the fake stuff.
–This article offered by Pauline
The Whole Golden World
by Kristina Riggle
Seventeen-year-old Morgan Monetti shocks her parents and her community with one simple act: She chooses to stand by the man everyone else believes has exploited her—popular high school teacher TJ Hill. Quietly walking across a crowded courtroom to sit behind TJ, and not beside her parents, she announces herself as the adult she believes herself to be.
But her mother, Dinah, wants justice. Dinah is a fighter, and she believes with all her heart and soul that TJ is a man who took advantage of her daughter. He is a criminal who should be brought to justice, no matter what the cost to his family.
Rain, TJ’s wife, is shocked that her handsome, loving, respected husband has been accused of a terrible crime. But has her desperation to start a family closed her eyes to the fault lines in her marriage? And can she face the painful truths about herself and her husband?
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
This is the second book I’ve read that deals with the subject of a student/teacher affair, but I must say this one resonated with me a lot more. Though there were a wide cast of characters in the novel, I think any given reader could find themselves identifying with not just one, but several of those affected by the actions of the affair.
I think what I appreciated most about this novel is that each and every one of the characters was just so human. From Morgan, the 17 year old who feels not good enough, to TJ, the teacher who is tired of being berated by his wife, Rain, and all the way to Morgan’s mother Dinah…no one is fully either a sinner or a saint. I couldn’t believe the range of emotions Kristina Riggle brought me through, and by the end of the book, I had changed my initial opinion of nearly every single character.
The one problem I had was that the symbolism and motivations were a bit too conspicuous sometimes. Morgan has one huge insecurity that keeps being mentioned again and again, and she even writes poetry that contains some very heavy handed metaphors. I suppose it kind of annoyed me that the reader was being spoon-fed this type of information–I prefer to find and decipher the symbolism in books for myself, thanks.
I can’t say that the book had what I would exactly call a happy ending, but I think after seeing what each character had to separately go though, that each ended up where they belonged. No one escaped without some kind of damage being done, and it really makes you think about the selfish decisions we make each day and how we don’t think about who they will affect.
This book should appeal to readers in their twenties and thirties, both those young enough to remember the bad decisions of their teenage years, and those at an age to wish they had those years back. I think women, particularly, and book clubs, will love this stellar offering.
About the Author
Kristina Riggle is a former newspaper reporter now pursuing her first love, writing fiction. Her character-driven novels have been honored by independent booksellers in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions, and her debut, Real Life & Liars, was a Target “Breakout” pick. She finds people of all walks of life fascinating, as in the old A&E “Biography” slogan, “Every life has a story.” She’s the co-editor for fiction for the e-zine Literary Mama, and has published short stories at Literary Mama, Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. When not writing, she can be found taking care of her two kids and dog, and squeezing in time to read whenever she can.
For Your Heart
by A.L. Davroe
Hill Dweller Retellings, Book One
Experience THE BALLAD OF TAM LIN like you’ve never read it before…
It has been seven years since Jeanette Sauderheim followed her best friend into Carver Hall Park…and came out alone. Jeanette has never gotten over his mysterious disappearance nor has she gone back into the park. While that traumatic night still haunts her, Jeanette distracts herself by balancing her time between trying to pass Spanish, hanging out with her friends, and reading the latest manga.
But, when a promise to a friend drives her back into the park, she’s forced to re-live the memories of that night. Lost and confused, Jeanette crosses paths with Tamrin, whose violent reaction to her provides yet another reason to avoid the park.
Tamrin, a knight of the Summer Court, has been sent to Earth to guard a garden of roses that hold special meaning to the queen of the Summer faeries. When his distraction at meeting Jeanette leads to her picking one of the Summer Queen’s roses, Tamrin vows to right his failure to do his duty.
However, the equivalent of one of the queen’s roses is a human heart and Tamrin’s reluctance to readily exact the sum from Jeanette sets in motion a spiral of love, betrayal, and magic that could mean damnation for them both.
*This is an Upper YA paranormal romance novel with NA and contemporary fantasy appeal.
About the Author
A.L. Davroe writes both YA and adult speculative fiction. Her debut YA paranormal romance novel, FOR YOUR HEART, releases October 31, 2013. By day, she lives in Connecticut her two feline hench-creatures. She’s a terrible blusher, has a weak spot for cuddly animals, loves Laffy Taffy and Cadbury MiniEggs, and she’s a huge advocate of alternative healing methods. She also wears Vibram five-finger toe shoes and corsets…Though not always in the same ensemble. She’s a Capricorn, a Hufflepuff, and a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal.
Girls are Players
by Ingrid Seymour
G.A.P. Series, Book Two
About the Author
We need to get something straight here: Nutrisystem is no magic bullet for weight loss. It’s true that eating less, focusing on low glycemic mini-meals, and moving more are going to naturally take some pounds off of your body. But it’s important to consider some other tricky body issues that can halt even the most rigorous diet. If you’re armed with knowledge about these potential problems then you’re going to have a lot more success as you begin on your journey with the Nutrisystem diet, or any other program designed to help you lose excess body fat.
A couple walls you may run into
If you found a nice deal or coupon online, started Nutrisystem, and the pounds aren’t coming off, here’s what you ask yourself: Am I drinking enough water? Dehydration will completely halt weight loss in its tracks. It can even lead to weight gain, explains nutrition expert Diana Ross.
If your answer was “yes”, you now need to check for food allergies. No joke. Food allergies will keep the weight from falling off even on the most rigorous diets. Get checked for gluten intolerance (Nutrisystem has a gluten free option) as well as lactose intolerance and egg. Get the major allergens checked and then proceed.
Let’s say you have no allergies. Now you need to check your thyroid. Hypothyroidism can oppose weight loss because an underactive thyroid decreases the Basic Metabolic Rate—your metabolism—leading to weight gain. Many hypothyroid patients struggle to lose weight.
This is going to sound new-agey, but sometimes we have trouble letting go of fat when we have emotional trauma that we’re holding onto. It’s not the diet; it’s not the exercise or health problems that are the culprit. Perhaps your body is holding on for some reason, and you need to experience some feelings inside to let it go. Are there emotional memories from your past that you’re holding onto, just like you’re holding onto the weight? It’s time to get a journal to write about these experiences so that you can let them go. I know this might sound cooky but it really helps your body to energetically let go of the past. When you’re holding onto emotions, it can affect the way your body is holding onto so many things.
Certified personal trainer Malia Frey explains that emotions and weight loss go hand in hand. Whether it is stress, depression, or a personal/childhood trauma, you need to deal with it in order to see weight loss success. Charlene Juliani was an overweight depressed mother of 6 who tried so many diets with no success. She would lose weight and gain it back again and again. It was not until she put her emotions in order that she joined Nutrisystem and lost almost 40 lbs. On Weightlosstriumph.com you can read Charlene’s story and get discounts for Nutrisystem.
Whether stress, illness, or negative thoughts are slowing down your progress on Nutrisystem, the most important thing you can do is not blame yourself or the diet. You didn’t get heavy overnight and you certainly won’t get slim overnight, so take a deep breath, reaffirm your goals, and have faith in yourself. It’s scientifically proven that negative thoughts about anything can be detrimental to moving forward. Go deep inside yourself and go to the scary places you’ve been avoiding for so many years. You’re likely to find old baggage that is getting in the way. See a therapist or counselor if you must. Get that old stuff out and the old baggage that you’re carrying on your body will fall off as well. Acupuncture is great for moving the energy through your body, as are many other forms of non-traditional medicine.
–This article offered by Pauline
by Sandra Neil Wallace
Red O’Sullivan’s world is crumbling around him: the mine that employs most of town is on the brink of closing, threatening to shutter the entire town. Red will be part of the final graduating class of Hatley High School, but he’s got his own burdens to bear: his older brother, Bobby, died in the war, and he’s been struggling to follow in his footsteps ever since. That means assuming Bobby’s old position as quarterback, and leading the last-ever Muckers team to the championship. Maybe then his angry, broken-hearted father will acknowledge him, and they’ll be able to put Bobby’s death behind them.
While the Muckers are racially-united, their town is divided. Anglos live near the top of the mountain and Mexican Americans down below—where Red’s best friend Cruz lives, and Angie, who Red longs to be with. When the Communist scare threatens to tear the team apart, Red and the hardscrabble Muckers must find a way to go undefeated and win the state title.
I went into this book thinking it was going to be mostly about football, but in reality the football is only a vehicle for the other stories the author wants to tell.
The main character of this story is Red O’Sullivan, who is having a hard time in life. Between a father who barely cares if he’s there or not, a mother who’s gone crazy, and trying to live up to the reputation of his dead older brother, it’s a wonder Red is keeping himself together at all. But with the support of his best friend, Cruz, Red proves himself on the football field, and brings the mining town together in a tumultuous time.
The author has a knack for making you feel the desperation in the characters, and in the town itself. For generations, the mine has been Hatley’s main source of income. But over time, the mountain has pretty much given all it’s got to give. Jobs are getting scarce, and the town, which was already on a fine line, is getting ready to collapse. Races are sharply divided, but the one thing everyone can agree on is cheering for the high school football team, aptly and sadly named the Muckers. Their practice field is full of rocks, and they have to practice tackles with a school bus. No one expects Red to do much, but to everyone’s surprise, and his own, he does.
I did enjoy the book, but there were so many parts of it I thought were very slow and found myself skimming. For the first few games, the football was hardly described at all. But I did feel for Red and everyone else in the town, who had all suffered in some way or another.
While the story touches the reader’s heart, it’s even more emotional when you think that this book was actually based on a true story. I am very glad I’m living in the generation I am a part of now.
If you like your sports stories with plenty of background and heart, give Muckers a read.
About the Author
For fifteen years, Sandra Neil Wallace was a news anchor and ESPN sportscaster before writing novels. After the publication of her first book Little Joe, she was named an outstanding newcomer to the children’s literature scene by the Horn Book. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, author Rich Wallace. Visit Sandra at www.sandraneilwallace.com and on Facebook and Twitter.
One commenter will win a copy of the book. US ONLY PLEASE.
by Laury Falter
The Apocalypse Chronicles, Book One
On an ordinary day in early September, Kennedy Shaw leaves for school unaware that within a few minutes the world she knows will be gone – succumbed to an outbreak of epidemic proportions. After finding a safe haven inside the security of her enclosed high school, she learns that four others have survived, one being a bold, mysterious transfer student from Texas whose unruffled demeanor harbors more than a cool interest in her. As they struggle to survive the dead fighting their way inside, will Kennedy discover there is more to life than survival? And will she and the others find a way to live in this terrifying new world?
MY THOUGHTS: 4 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
I have to say, I’ve never read a book with a heroine like Kennedy before–and that is an awesome thing! A teenage girl, given elite military training by her Navy SEAL father, Kennedy uses throwing stars and can handle an assault rifle like a pro. Unfortunately, since the death of her father just a year ago, these characteristics haven’t helped her stay the the top of the popular list at school. Good thing she’s a senior and about to get out of there…that is until the world ends one morning, and her schoolmates and teachers turn into flesh eating monsters.
Only 5 people survive and find themselves barricaded inside the school together. Luckily for Kennedy, one of her fellow survivors is the guy she’s been crushing on from afar for over a year, Harrison. She will soon learn that he has his secrets, just like she does. And his may put them all in danger, or be their salvation.
The idea of apocalypse survivors being locked in one place together is not new, but the author made this story her own. Each of the high schoolers is unique and come to find their place in the aftermath of the zombie attacks. Kennedy becomes sort of their leader, which is fine with her because the only person she really trusts is herself.
You could almost say the book is kind of broken into two parts. The beginning of the apocalypse and its’ immediate effects take up the first part, and then several weeks pass before any action happens again. It’s not really implied what happens between the characters themselves in the time that passes, just that everyone becomes used to the new, strange routine of living in a school. I would have liked to see what passes between Kennedy and Harrison in this interim, because without knowing this, it seemed to me like their romance moved very quickly.
The relationship between Kennedy and Harrison was interesting, but it had touches of things I’ve seen before in other stories. He gives her the whole spiel of “I like you but stay away from me for your own good” and of course she does not listen to him. In the second part of the book, it felt like their romance went from 0-60 in no time at all. Maybe this can be attributed to the stressful and unique situation they are in together, I don’t know. I just didn’t feel like there was enough development in my opinion.
I liked the end of the story and how the book actually explained where the zombie virus came from–a lot of books and movies don’t bother to do that. This is the first book in a series and definitely leaves the reader with a cliffhanger. I’ll be more than ready to read the next one in the series!
About the Author
Laury Falter is a bestselling author of young adult romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She has three series out: the Guardian Trilogy, the Residue Series, and the Apocalypse Chronicles.
I’ve had an oily t-zone forever, so it’s definitely a struggle to find the foundation with the perfect mix of shine control, coverage, and staying power. Luckily, I don’t have to look anymore! Say hello to new Stay Matte Foundation by Rimmel London.
Rimmel London is bringing you new Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation - a breakthrough feather light, oil free formula with an airy mousse texture that’s comfortable on your skin, never heavy or greasy. Your new beauty staple delivers all day shine control and blends flawlessly for a natural looking matte finish, all while minimizing the appearance of pores.
The weight is over – finally, shine has met its matte.
I had to go out of town today and needed makeup that I wouldn’t have to stop to touch up or reapply. I knew it would be the ideal day to put my Stay Matte Foundation to the test!
I started off with my usual moisturizer and a primer.
Excuse my unmade bed, let’s all pretend we don’t see it.
As you can see, I have some redness around my nose, and just a generally oily forehead.
So time to put the Stay Matte foundation to use!
See that little blob? That is seriously all I needed to cover my entire face. It was almost a touch too much, in fact.
I dotted the foundation around my face, then blended with a makeup sponge. Can I tell you, this foundation blends like a dream! No visible makeup lines whatsoever!
And here I am with the Stay matte on! I feel that it brightened up my complexion overall while getting rid of the shine and redness.
And how did it perform? Wonderfully! I never had to powder my face once while I was gone all day.
So I am definitely going to be buying another tube when I run out of this one (which will be a while, as you see from the amount I used)! If you suffer from oily or combination skin ( I wouldn’t recommend this for dry skin), give Rimmel London Stay Matte Foundation a try when it hits American shores in January 2014!
**DISCLAIMER: I received this product free to try from Influenster. All text and opinions are my own.
Today I’m spotlighting the adventure/fantasy series by Amy Lignor, Tallent & Lowery! Let me tell you about each of the books.
In 1902, in a dark room on the fifth floor of Carnegie Hall, thirteen people came together to continue a tradition that had been set in stone thousands of years before.
In 2012, Leah Tallent is Head of Research at the New York Public Library. Stoic and stable, brilliant and cynical, she has forever enjoyed her existence among the book stacks. But even with her unparalleled intellect, there was no way to know that on the historic steps between America’s famous lions, she would become involved with a crazy man on a fanatical quest.
Gareth Lowery has spent his life searching for the ultimate artifact that he is certain exists. His life’s pursuit has been to retrieve twelve keys hidden by men whose job it was to protect the single biggest secret ever kept. To find the keys he must enlist the help of an unwilling guide who, unfortunately, knows much more than he bargained for.
From the first page to the last word, this fantastic duo become immersed in a whirlwind treasure hunt with historical and passionate repercussions. From the strange and eerie Winchester House to the blustery darkness of Loch Ness, Gareth and Leah will quickly learn that the theory of duality is correct: For every bad there is a good and, for Heaven, there most assuredly exists…Hell.
The Sapphire Storm–Book Two
After going up against a man who believed he was the Devil, himself, the beloved characters from 13 – Leah Tallent and Gareth Lowery – are beyond exhausted. Now they are about to embark on the most terrifying journey imaginable…a trip to meet Leah’s parents.
When Leah arrives where the ‘home fires burn,’ her sarcasm burns even brighter, while Gareth Lowery – the handsome adventurer – uses his charm to sway the ‘odd’ Tallent clan. But when a frightening call from Gareth’s sister arrives telling him that her love has disappeared, the daring duo is soon running away from one horrific situation directly into another. A new puzzle from the past has come to life. Following clues left behind, the courageous couple becomes embedded in a world filled with liars, killers and greed.
And when the riddle of a famous ‘Bard’ is solved, a strange woman appears who has far more in common with Leah than she can possibly imagine! The heart-stopping suspense of this new quest takes them from Coptic Cairo to the magical world of Petra, in search of a cave deep underground that once housed a true ‘Illuminator.’
Yet again, they must find the answers and stay one step ahead of true villains who are determined to make sure that – this time – Tallent & Lowery do not survive.
The Hero’s Companion–Book Three
With their second battle behind them, Leah Tallent and Gareth Lowery find themselves still knee-deep in hell. What should’ve ended with a celebration of passion wrapped in each other’s arms becomes a nightmare once more, as a mysterious man demands Leah to return home, or else her beloved father will be found at the bottom of the sea.
Scrambling to figure out what’s happened Tallent & Lowery walk in on a family that has literally gone insane: A mother filled with accusations, three sisters who wish them nothing but certain death, and a frightening story of a blood-red eye that leads to a puzzle with immense repercussions. The woman named Anippe who readers questioned in The Sapphire Storm is back, with an item in her possession that will have Tallent & Lowery heading out on an adventure based on pure emotion and ultimate fear – where victory may just depend on their willingness to sacrifice each other.
The time has come for Tallent & Lowery to go head-to-head with the mysterious voice from 13, as a villain is unveiled…and a war begins!
Creating a Famous Duo in Fiction
by Amy Lignor
Personally, my own favorite duo out there in America is the same duo that brought about ‘Tallent & Lowery’ in the first place. Patience and Fortitude, the majestic lions that sit in front of the NYPL, not only greet millions everyday, but they also protect the home, so to speak, of Leah Tallent.
Sherlock and Watson are probably the most famous detective pair out there in the literary world; when it comes to other media venues, you have everything from Crockett and Tubbs to Scooby-Doo and Shaggy to Batman and Robin. Various daring duo’s have always graced the screens – big and small – and have always served up the perfect banter and wit in books we’ve come to love.
With Leah Tallent & Gareth Lowery, I wanted to draw on all of these pairs in very subtle ways. With Leah’s happy (sometimes not) sarcasm and dryness, mixed with Gareth’s easy-going manner and love for her – their combined passion for solving these puzzles have drawn readers to their sides. To me, no matter what unique web they find themselves trying to unravel, it’s their strength as a duo that makes the book a success.
When the partners happen to be male and female (Nick and Nora Charles, for example), they can also bring a true bond into the book, which adds to the power of the story. Leah Tallent has certainly gotten into some dire situations in books; 13, The Sapphire Storm and now, The Hero’s Companion. Yet, it’s not her intelligence or her way of reasoning things out that saves her – it is her partner, Gareth Lowery, who makes sure that Leah always has something worth fighting for.
Gareth, of course, is the one who basically ruined Leah’s quiet librarian life in the first place when, in 13, he appeared inside the basement of the NYPL to retrieve a frightening book that’d been buried in the cornerstone of the building. He expected to discover the next steps he had to take in order to complete a lifelong mission of his. What he never expected was to discover the hard-headed, smart-mouthed, warm-hearted librarian who would literally be the brain and soul he needed for the rest of this life.
Being able to take the detective aspects and combine them with the romantic aspects of literary partners (insert pretty much all of Jane Austen partners here), has allowed ‘Tallent & Lowery’ to become far more than just banter and wit. And…with the next four novels to come, readers will be more than surprised when they find out that this pair may just have to live with the fact that their adventures and puzzle-solving could lead to a break-up that neither saw coming.
When it comes down to duo’s, the literary world has offered more than its fair share. ‘Tallent & Lowery’, hopefully, will become one of those teams that will never be forgotten.
Until Next Time, Everybody,
About the Author
Being the daughter of a Research Librarian, books and information were always a ‘gift,’ and there is nothing I like more. In fact, if the NYPL would let me live in their basement, that’s where I would be. I am very proud of my books – especially the ‘Tallent & Lowery’ series – which has been so well-received that I am beyond humbled. Being able to ‘link’ historical locations together and create puzzles that bestselling authors have called, “The Da Vinci Code With Heart”; “Action/Adventure Gold”; and “The Best of the 21st Century” has been beyond my wildest expectations. I am the Owner/Operator of The Write Companion; and I recently was beyond honored to be asked to take on the role of Editor-in-Chief of Hallowed Ink Press – an amazing traditional publisher that will break new ground in the industry. Life is busy…but it’s good. And I have a wealth of friends, family and fans to thank for allowing that to happen! My favorite advice? “While I live, let me LIVE!”