Saturday, September 23, 2017

Chasing Darkness by Julie Cassar ~ My Thoughts

Chasing Darkness

Chasing Darkness
by Julie Cassar

Series: Stealing Light #2
e-book, 225 pages
Expected publication: September 26, 2017

As Cecelia Walker embraces her gift of stealing Light, she learns of the horror that lurks in every shadow. A hellacious evil force seeks to quench its insatiable hunger for power. Which souls will fall in the path of its destruction?

Angels, Anninox, and other-worldly warriors wreak havoc and join in the battle for souls, while CeeCee and Cash find themselves as pawns in the center of this deadly game. Chasing the Darkness, they discover that all choices come with a cost. Will her power be enough to save them, or will it be used against her as Dark forces invade every inch of her life and threaten to drive a wedge between these long-lost soulmates?

My thoughts about Chasing Darkness ~~ 

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first lines.)

First line—"I stood in the room of white, but could not bring myself to look at the throne where He would soon be sitting. I hung my head in shame and waited for my judgement."

Stealing Light, book 1 in this series just blew me away! And Chasing Darkness continues with that same kind of awesomeness. I went back and re-read Stealing Light just so I could get caught up in the story again. It was just as good the second time. Then the action takes off in Chasing Darkness

I love CeeCee and Cash together and this book gives us a little more of their history as we see their relationship deepen. CeeCee has so much to learn about the Light and the Darkness. This is a scary time for CeeCee as the Darkness and the shadows become evil things. She starts to grasp the power of her Light and learns to use it to fight the Darkness. Epic battles ensue! 

Chasing Darkness is such an exciting look at a different world; a world that is full of light and dark, good and evil. I devoured this story and I can't wait to continue this tale in book three as CeeCee and Cash 'chase the Darkness.'

I received a copy of Chasing Darkness from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.


I loved book #1 in this series! Read my thoughts here


About the author

Julie Cassar's debut Young Adult Fantasy "Ruby Blue" Series has been met with rave reviews and has spent weeks on Amazon's Fantasy Series Best Seller List as well as its Top Rated list. A graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art, specializing in Graphic Design, Cassar has also worked as a production artist, designer, painter and photographer. She has been featured in Fitness Magazine, "Outdoor Athlete," and publishes a monthly blog.

Connect with Julie


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Book Spotlight Giveaway! The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I have sooooo many books! The Book Spotlight Giveaway feature that I post every Saturday is a way for me to clear my shelves and to share some of the many books I have. This feature is a way for my to cull my collection and to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy these treasures.


The book this week is another book club read from the past. I loved this heartbreaking story and we had a great discussion about it. I got this copy from a friend and now I'm passing it onto one of you. 

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!


The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published June 2nd 2002 by Little, Brown and Company

Once in a generation a novel comes along that taps a vein of universal human experience, resonating with readers of all ages. The Lovely Bones is such a book - a phenomenal #1 bestseller celebrated at once for its narrative artistry, its luminous clarity of emotion, and its astonishing power to lay claim to the hearts of millions of readers around the world.

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."

So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on eath continue without her - her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling.

Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy

About the author

Alice Sebold

Alice Sebold is an American writer. She has published three books: Lucky (1999), The Lovely Bones (2002), and The Almost Moon (2007).

Connect with Anne


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Monday, September 18, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? September 18, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's an opportunity to visit other blogs and to comment on their reads. And ... you can add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!


We had another great week with some cooler temps, some rain. I love sweatshirt weather! Hubby was gone over the weekend so I was able to have some quality time to myself.... and I spent a good share of it reading cause, why not? 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you all have a good week. Happy reading!

What I'm currently reading

Cardinal Cabin
by Joanne DeMaio

Treachery in Death (In Death #32)
by J.D. Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen

What I recently finished
Chasing Darkness (Stealing Light #2)
by Julie Cassar
My thoughts will be posted later this week. 

Stealing Light
by Julie Cassar
This was a re-read for me as I got ready to read book 2. I love this series. Read my thoughts here.

Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems 
Phyllis Cole-Dai & Ruby R. Wilson
Beautiful book, inspiring words. Read my thoughts here.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes
Love and Other Consolation Prizes
by Jamie Ford 
My thoughts will be posted later this week.

What I am going to read next

A Little Bit of Grace
by Phoebe Fox 

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?


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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems ~ My Thoughts


Poetry of Presence

Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems
Edited by Phyllis Cole-Dai and Ruby R. Wilson
Paperback, 248 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Grayson Books

Mindfulness poems invite us to bring our whole self to whatever moment we’re in, and truly live it. They encourage us to be more present, more attentive and compassionate, in the living of our days. They grant us a taste of being good enough, just as we are, in this world, just as it is.

Poetry of Presence is a collection of more than 150 mindfulness poems, mostly by contemporary or recent poets. These poems call us to the Here and Now, and help us to dwell there. The Here and Now is all that truly belongs to us, and as the poets say, it’s enough.

This is a book for the times we live in. An inspiring read for lovers of beautiful, accessible poetry, it’s also a valuable resource for literature teachers, spiritual directors, meditators, interfaith clergy, mindfulness trainers, social workers, counselors, poetry therapists, hospice and grief workers, and medical personnel.

Anthologized poets include Yehuda Amichai • Margaret Atwood • Ellen Bass • Wendell Berry • Robert Bly • Billy Collins • Mahmoud Darwish • Thich Nhat Hanh • Joy Harjo • Tony Hoagland • Miroslav Holub • Marie Howe • Erica Jong • Kabir • Galway Kinnell • Ted Kooser • Howard Nemerov • Kathleen Norris • Mary Oliver • Rainer Maria Rilke • Rumi • May Sarton • William Stafford • David Wagoner • Alice Walker and many more.

My thoughts about Poetry of Presence ~~

Poetry of Presence is a beautiful collection of poems, written by many very talented poets. It is a collection to savor and reread. You will find yourself coming back to it over and over as life changes happen, each time gaining more wisdom, advice, and peace from the words within.

Okay, I have to be completely honest here for a bit. I did not enjoy poetry in high school; all that analyzing and pulling each poem apart, trying to discover it's meaning. It just wasn't fun for me as the teacher tried to get us to 'get it'. So, my attitude has always been, I don't do poetry.

Poetry of Presence advises the reader to slow down, read and enjoy each poem, think about how it relates to your life. Some you may 'get' right away—it will speak to you. Others, maybe not. Or maybe not right now. Maybe it will speak to you at a later time. Come back to it.

This is going to be a slow read for me because I am going to take their advice. I am going to savor each poem, marking the ones I love and noting the ones to come back to. Honestly, Poetry of Presence made me rethink my feelings about poetry—I now do poetry.


Purchase Poetry of Presence

About the Editors

PCD for web

Originally from Ohio, Phyllis Cole-Dai now makes her home in Brookings, South Dakota, where she resides with her husband and teenage son in a cozy 120-year-old house. Poetry of Presence is her seventh book, and her only volume of poetry. She has also created four music albums and is in demand as a public speaker. “My profession,” she likes to joke, “is whatever doesn’t pay well.” But don’t let her humor fool you. Her work is driven by a profound desire to help create a more humane world for this and future generations. In 2013 her adopted city awarded her the 14th annual Dorothy and Eugene Butler Human Rights Award.

Ruby Portrait

Ruby R. Wilson graduated from South Dakota State University with majors in German and Geography. Though she had a hard time figuring out what she wanted to be when she grew up, she has now found her niche as an archivist in the University Archives & Special Collections Department at SDSU, and as a freelance writer and photographer. She has published three poetry chapbooks: Campus Sketches: Images of South Dakota State University in Word and Photograph (2012), At the Rim of the Horizon (Finishing Line Press, 2014), and Maybe the Moon is Falling (South Dakota State Poetry Society, 2014), one of four winners of the Society’s chapbook competition. She lives on a small acreage in rural Brookings County with her husband Jim. She can sometimes be seen gathering seeds from big bluestem and other native plants, or gazing at stars that aren’t crowded out by city lights.

Fellow writers and great friends, Phyllis and Ruby brought complementary strengths to the creation of Poetry of Presence. Phyllis has practiced mindfulness meditation for more than half her life. Ruby possesses a poet’s eye and ear, and a passionate love of language. They share the belief that mindfulness poetry can help change the world—one poem, one reader, at a time.


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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Book Spotlight Giveaway! Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler

I have sooooo many books! The Book Spotlight Giveaway feature that I post every Saturday is a way for me to clear my shelves and to share some of the many books I have. This feature is a way for my to cull my collection and to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy these treasures.


The book this week is another book club read from the past. I got this copy from a friend and now I'm passing it onto one of you. 

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!


Back When We Were Grownups

Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler 
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Alfred A. Knopf 

"Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered that she had turned into the wrong person." So Anne Tyler opens this irresistible new novel.

The woman is Rebecca Davitch, a fifty-three-year-old grandmother. Is she an impostor in her own life? she asks herself. Is it indeed her own life? Or is it someone else's?

On the surface, Beck, as she is known to the Davitch clan, is outgoing, joyous, a natural celebrator. Giving parties is, after all, her vocation-something she slipped into even before finishing college, when Joe Davitch spotted her at an engagement party in his family's crumbling nineteenth-century Baltimore row house, where giving parties was the family business. What caught his fancy was that she seemed to be having such a wonderful time. Soon this large-spirited older man, divorced with three little girls, swept her into his orbit, and before she knew it she was embracing his extended family plus a child of their own, and hosting endless parties in the ornate, high-ceilinged rooms of The Open Arms.

Now, some thirty years later, after presiding over a disastrous family picnic, Rebecca is caught un-awares by the question of who she really is. How she answers it-how she tries to recover her girlhood self, that dignified grownup she had once been-is the story told in this beguiling, funny, and deeply moving novel.

As always with Anne Tyler's novels, once we enter her world it is hard to leave. But in Back When We Were Grownups she so sharpens our perceptions and awakens so many untapped feelings that we come away not only refreshed and delighted, but also infinitely wiser..

About the author

Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated at nineteen from Duke University and went on to do graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University.

The Beginner's Goodbye is Anne Tyler's nineteenth novel; her eleventh, Breathing Lessons, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Connect with Anne


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Friday, September 15, 2017

On Tour: The Pursuit of Lady Harriett by Rachael Anderson, an Excerpt and a Giveaway!

Visit other stops on the tour here.

The Pursuit of Lady Harriett

by Rachael Anderson

When wills clash and hearts collide, who will reign victorious? 

Termed an Incomparable during her first London season, Lady Harriett Cavendish is beautiful, spirited, and confident, capturing the attention of a great many suitors. Unfortunately, they all failed to capture her attention, and she concluded the season as unattached as she’d begun it. Only weeks prior to her second season, Harriett encounters Lieutenant Christopher Jamison while visiting Tanglewood Manor. 

Recently returned from war, the lieutenant is everything that Harriett's previous suitors were not. He’s arrogant, ungentlemanly, irritating, and challenges her at every opportunity. When he goes too far, Harriett decides that it’s time to turn the tables on him. But as she sets out to put the lieutenant in his place once and for all, she discovers there is more to him than meets the eye, and when it comes to matters of the heart, she has no control whatsoever.


Harriett looked at what remained of the cake. Apparently, he didn’t intend to finish it off after all, so she collected their forks and stood. 

“Forgive me for saying so, but you look quite done in, Chris. If you do not go up to bed now, you will probably fall asleep here. Only imagine what Mrs. Caddy might say if she discovers you here with the mostly-eaten cake. For your own sake, you ought to retire. I will do my best to tidy things up.” 

Before she could move away from him, he grabbed her hand and guided her to sit back down, keeping hold of her fingers. 

“Not so fast, my lady. I meant it when I said that I’m in desperate need of the distraction that only you can provide. Thus far, all I have done is burden you with my troubles.” 

“I do not feel at all burdened, sir.” 

Indeed, Harriett suddenly felt breathless and somewhat giddy. The effect this man had on her was something of a wonder. 

“Sir?” he asked. “I thought we were beyond that.” 

“I thought so as well, but you only just called me ‘my lady.’” 

He frowned and blinked as though he hadn’t realized he had. “Forgive me, Harry. I fear my exhaustion has muddled my thinking.” 

This time, she did not let the name slide. She snatched her hand free and frowned at him. 

“Obviously it has.” 

He laughed—not a tired attempt at a laugh, but a real one filled with the richness that warmed her straight through. Only this time, it did not bother her at all. In fact, it felt wonderful, almost like a compliment. 

“I knew you’d come through for me,” he said, leaning close enough to touch shoulders with her. “You have no idea how much I needed to laugh or how good that felt. I could honestly kiss you right now.” 

Harriett tried her best not to blush or appear astonished by the suggestion—he had obviously made the comment in jest—but when his smile widened into a devilish grin, she knew she’d failed. He leaned in closer, and his gaze wandered briefly to her mouth before returning to her eyes. She could smell vanilla and lemon and a hint of something else—leather perhaps? A delightful pulse whipped down her arm, and she was hard-pressed not to shiver. 

“Admit it,” he said. “You have missed me.”


USA Today bestselling author, Rachael Anderson is the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can’t sing, doesn’t dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

$25 Amazon Gift Card or 
Paypal Cash Giveaway 

Ends 10/1/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 


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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Release Day! Me & Milo the Great by Michelle Schlicher

Happy Release Day!! 


Me & Milo the Great

Me & Milo the Great by Michelle Schlicher
Print and e-book
Published: September 14th 2017

My name is Holiday Sanchez. I carry a heavy burden.

But I'm not the only one.

There are others who know what it feels like to remember. Maybe they are the answer. Maybe we can help each other. Maybe I'll finally get past it.

Maybe it just takes time—and a little bit of magic.

Congratulations Michelle
 on the release today of 
Me & Milo the Great!

I loved Me & Milo the Great.
You can read my thoughts HERE


About the author

Michelle Schlicher

Michelle Schlicher is the author of the novels The Blue JayGracie’s Song and Come This Way. She lives outside of Des Moines with her husband, two children, two fluffy dogs and a cat that followed her home to become a prince. You can follow her on Instagram @michelleschlicher.

Connect with Michelle


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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr ~ My Thoughts


The Summer That Made Us

The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr 
Print and e-book, 336 pages
Published September 1st 2017 by MIRA

Mothers and daughters, sisters and cousins--they lived for summers at the lake house until a tragic accident changed everything. The Summer That Made Us is an unforgettable story about a family learning to accept the past, to forgive and to love each other again.

That was then... For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree.

All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything. This is now... After an accidental drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. For good. Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth. 

Robyn Carr has crafted a beautifully woven story about the complexities of family dynamics and the value of strong female relationships.

My thoughts about The Summer That Made Us ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first lines.)

First line—"Charlene Berkey was devastated. Her television career had come to an abrupt end."

This was a great story to read, but at the same time it was a tough story to read. These two families had so much going for them, summers together at the beach house, cousins getting together each summer making wonderful memories. Until one summer, when it all starts to fall apart. The drowning death of the youngest little cousin seemed to send everyone into a tail spin. But evidently, there was so much more going on, secrets were being kept, blame was placed on others, and sisters who were estranged for years and years afterwards.

Now, one of the cousins is dying of cancer and she wants to spend one last summer at the beach cabin, to try to heal this broken family. Everyone is invited to come and spend some time together but not everyone is happy about the prospect of opening up all the old wounds. The family dynamics and the drama of it all made this an engaging story that I was totally wrapped up in.

I truly loved this story with all the supposedly 'normal' characters as well as the ones with their plethora of issues. Not everything and everyone is who or what they appear to be and figuring it all out made this book a page-turner for me.

The Summer That Made Us is my first Robyn Carr book but I loved her complicated characters and I loved the depth of her story, so it will not be my last. I will definitely be looking for more of her stories to read.

I received a copy of The Summer That Made Us from Little Bird Publicity via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.


About the author

Robyn Carr

A RITA award-winning author of 25 novels, Robyn Carr has found a whole new following with her stories about the independent women and former marines of Virgin River."

RT's Career Achievement Best Author Award winner (2010) for Contemporary Romance.

RWA's Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award recipient 2016

Connect with Robyn


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Release Day! Magnolia Nights by Ashley Farley

Happy Release Day!! 


Magnolia Nights

Magnolia Nights by Ashley Farley
Kindle Edition, 237 pages
Published: September 12th 2017

From the author of the bestselling Sweeney Sister Series and Sweet Tea Tuesdays comes a new novel of passion, intrigue, and redemption. 

Ellie Pringle has spent endless hours and countless dollars working with a therapist to remember the lost years of her childhood. She’s baffled and more than a little intrigued when the grandmother she hasn’t seen in thirty-four years dies and leaves her a fortune. The time has come to face her past in person. Still reeling from a recent breakup of a long-term relationship, and with nothing to keep her in San Francisco, Ellie packs her meager belongings and boards a plane for the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Standing in the entryway of her grandmother’s antebellum home on South Battery Street in Charleston, Ellie faces the first of many ghosts who will soon haunt her. On her first night in the creepy, creaking mansion, as she’s perusing the titles in a dusty bookcase, she comes across her deceased mother’s leather-bound journal. Her mother’s words create more unanswered questions and send her on a quest to find more journals. As Hurricane Irma bears down on the South Carolina coast, Ellie encounters Julian Hagood, a handsome architect who has the talent to restore her dilapidated mansion and the charm to mend her broken heart. But as Ellie reads her mother’s diaries, they dislodge a stone in the wall that safeguards her memories, causing her world to come crumbling down. Revelations about her childhood lead Ellie on a harrowing journey of discovery that will hold readers spellbound until the dramatic conclusion.

Congratulations Ashley
 on the release today of 
Magnolia Nights!

I loved Magnolia Nights!
You can read my thoughts HERE


About the author

Ashley Farley

Ashley Farley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her goal is to keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. If her story stays with you long after you've read the last word, then she's done her job.

After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote Saving Ben in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save.

Ashley is a wife and mother of two young adult children. While she’s lived in Richmond, Virginia for the past 21 years, part of her heart remains in the salty marshes of the South Carolina Lowcountry where she grew up. Through the eyes of her characters, she’s able to experience the moss-draped trees, delectable cuisine, and kind-hearted folks with lazy drawls that make the area so unique.

Connect with Ashley


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Release Day! Cardinal Cabin by Joanne DeMaio

Happy Release Day!! 


Cardinal Cabin

Cardinal Cabin by Joanne DeMaio
Kindle Edition, 215 pages
Published: September 12th 2017 by Joanne DeMaio

From New York Times bestselling author Joanne DeMaio comes a heartwarming novel as merry and bright as a red-feathered cardinal taking flight.

Frank Lombardo's never been spontaneous. The closest he's come was accepting a side job chopping firewood for a lakeside community of rustic cabins. But with another lonely holiday season imminent, Frank's sister urges him to be spontaneous because, seriously, who does he ever expect to meet out in the woods?

With a suitcase in hand and a bit of reluctance, too, Penny Hart arrives at Cardinal Cabin on Snowflake Lake. It's only for a brief stay, though nobody knows where she is. Not her boss, not her friends...

Only Frank Lombardo. As the two unexpectedly meet at Addison's hidden hideaway, a spontaneous kiss sets everything amiss. But can the magic of this quaint New England town keep these snowy sweethearts together?

Cardinal Cabin is an enchanting tale about finding love where you least expect it. So come on inside. A cozy fire crackles, lights twinkle on the evergreen tree, snowflakes tap at the windowpanes, and little redbirds bring cheer this time of year.

Congratulations Joanne
 on the release today of
Cardinal Cabin!


About the author

Joanne DeMaio

Joanne DeMaio is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. She enjoys writing about friendship, family, love and choices, while setting her stories in New England towns or by the sea. Currently at work on her next novel, Joanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

For a complete list of books and to learn more about the author, visit She also enjoys hearing from readers on her Facebook Page.

Connect with Joanne


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