Tuesday, September 23, 2014

PUB DAY!!!! The Banks of Certain Rivers by Jon Harrison: with a review!

The Banks of Certain Rivers

On sale TODAY!!!!

"Affecting and often tender. Neil's vividly detailed life is sure to appeal to fans of emotionally involving fiction...Confident, clearsighted and poignant."— Kirkus Reviews

In the lakeside resort town of Port Manitou, Michigan, dedicated teacher and running coach Neil Kazenzakis shoulders responsibilities that would break a lesser man: a tragic accident has left his wife seriously debilitated, he cares for his mother-in-law who suffers from dementia, and he’s raising his teenage son, Chris, on his own. On top of all that, he’s also secretly been seeing Lauren, his mother-in-law’s caregiver.
When Neil breaks up a fight one day after school, he doesn’t give the altercation much thought. He’s got bigger issues on his mind, like the fact that Lauren is ready for a commitment and he has to figure out a way to tell Chris that he’s in a serious relationship with someone other than the boy’s mother. But when an anonymous person uploads a video of the fight to YouTube, the stunning footage suggests Neil assaulted a student. With his job, his family, and his reputation suddenly in jeopardy, Neil must prove his innocence and win back the trust of the entire community—including his son’s.
Jon Harrison’s The Banks of Certain Rivers is a powerful tale of family, loss, and the meaning of love.

Praise for The Banks of Certain Rivers:

"Jon Harrison's debut The Banks of Certain Rivers is a jewel-box of a novel. Tracing the limits of one man's love (and self-knowledge) with humor and drama, Harrison breathes life into Neil Kazenzakis and his struggles with such grace that the reader feels like she knows him. Elegant, poignant, and page-turning." — Katherine Howe, New York Times bestselling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

"Urgent, real, and often very funny." — James Frey, New York Times bestselling author of Bright Shiny Morning and A Million Little Pieces

“The Banks of Certain Rivers is a touching, funny and thoughtful novel written with elegance and confidence. Impossible to put down, it’s a book I know I’ll read again and again; it made me laugh, cry and want to be a better writer. It should be at the top of your to-read list.” — Catherine McKenzie, bestselling author of Hidden
Jon Harrison

Born in Michigan, Jon Harrison studied English literature and geological sciences at Ohio University. A lover of the outdoors, he moved to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in 1994 and has lived there ever since. When not writing, he enjoys skiing, running, and climbing.
The Banks of Certain Rivers is his first novel.
@Harrisonpages and his Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/TheBanksOfCertainRivers

I love when Indie authors come out and blow my socks off! It is so great that these authors are able to get their work out and we are able to enjoy it!!! I love books that take place around where I live, it makes me feel so connected! So with this book taking place in the Midwest, I knew it had my interest right way! This book is a page turner, heavy at times, with great characters and like I said before a great setting! You need to pick up this book and read something very original and compelling!! 4 stars!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Highlight: On the Way to Everywhere by Kirsten B. Feldman


On the Way to Everywhere

Though she’s nicknamed for the magical Harry Potter, six-foot, dreadlocked Harry Kavanaugh doesn’t find any wonder in her daily life at an exclusive girls’ school outside of Washington, DC. In fact she wants nothing more than to chuck her lot and enter the wilds of public school—too bad she didn’t reckon on a trip to the hospital, a runaway, and a renegade or three, which just might show her a different path to everywhere.

Kirsten B. Feldman

Kirsten B. Feldman

I grew up on Cape Cod and the Connecticut shoreline and now live outside of Boston, much too far from the ocean and the sand. Reading and writing have played a central part in my life both personally and professionally. I am rarely without a book in my hand. Brown University gave me my undergrad degree in comparative literature and Tufts kindly did the same for my master's in English education. I have worked in a variety of school and museum education settings, including teaching 7th and 8th grade English. My graduate advisor once told me that if teenagers don't make you laugh then consider another career. To me the adolescent voice has such vibrancy and depth to it, whether funny or not; many of my favorite books have this point of view, including: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood. When I started writing No Alligators in Sight, it was unequivocally Lettie's voice that told me the story. May she speak to you as well! If you want to check out other great books with this point of view, see Goodreads interactive list of young narrators and even add your own. https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Blog Tour: I Ate a Cicada Today by Jeff Crossan

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FRANKLIN, Tenn. – When a flying cicada struck award-winning songwriter Jeff Crossan on the 
mouth on his way into a restaurant, he joked to his two kids that he almost ate a cicada. Little did he 
know then that more than 10 years later he would release a full collection of rhymes and illustrations 
because of the near-insect-consuming incident in his first book for children called I Ate a Cicada Today
(September 2014, Big Bound Books, LLC).

I Ate a Cicada Today features Crossan’s own ink and watercolor illustrations – putting his experience 
as a cartoonist to work – alongside his fun animal rhymes like “I leapfrogged a warthog today/The 
doctor thinks I’ll be okay.” On the CD accompanying the book, Crossan plays acoustic guitar and sings
the 16-verse song.

Crossan came up with several of the rhymes while eating with his kids at the restaurant the night the
“dive-bombing cicada” hit him in the mouth. He scribbled them on a napkin, adding more verses soon 
after, but wasn’t sure what to do with such a comical and offbeat song. It wasn’t until years later that
Crossan had the idea to turn the song into a children’s book using his drawing skills to produce the 
colorful and delightful illustrations.

The 32-page hardcover book with accompanying CD will have young readers laughing and singing 
along with each two-page spread featuring a verse about a different animal or insect and Crossan’s 
short spoken asides adding a comic punch to the zany lyrics.

Crossan’s hit songs include country’s No. 1 “You’re Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation,” which earned a 
BMI Million Air Award. He’s worked as a newspaper reporter and photographer, music journalist and 
syndicated radio writer. He and his wife, Linda, reside in Franklin, Tennessee. They have a daughter 
and a son.

An adorable musical rhyming song/story is one so outrageous if can't be anything but funny!  My kids and I got a hoot out of it!  A great book to use when kids are feeling down, since it is both beautiful and hilarious!  4.5 stars 

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Jeff Crossan is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated 
songwriter. His hit songs include the No. 1 country tune 
“You’re Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation,” which 
earned a BMI Million Air Award.

Before becoming a full time songwriter, Crossan spent 
time as a newspaper reporter/photographer, music 
journalist and syndicated radio writer. For several years 
his cartoons appeared in the Presbyterian Voice. He 
earned a degree in journalism at the University of 

Crossan lives in Franklin, Tenn. with his wife, Linda.
They have a daughter and a son who have helped them 
assemble a fine assortment of mammals, reptiles, fish 
and insects.

I Ate a Cicada Today (September 2014) is his first 
children’s book. Originally only a song, Crossan got the 
idea for the rhymes when a flying cicada hit him in the 
mouth in a restaurant parking lot. While he and his two 
kids ate dinner, he scribbled rhymes for a song onto a napkin. 
He revisited the song from time to time 
through several years, 
unsure what to do with the offbeat lyrics, 
eventually developing a picture book 
using his own illustrations as well.

Author Links below:

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#IAteaCicadaToday,@SamiJoLien @JKSLitPublicity

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blog Tour: The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail by Maureen Stolar Kanefield

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Everyone has magic but sometimes you have to search to find out what it is. That’s what Maxwell
Mouse had to do. And he discovered that what he thought was something very bad was actually
something very good, indeed.

The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail is more than just a charming, wonderfully illustrated story. With
childlike innocence, it presents an inspiring motivational model for youngsters—especially gifted kids
and those with special needs—to take another look at themselves and recognize their unique gifts. It
shows them how to see beyond what appear to be limitations and appreciate them as positive attributes
that will help them to soar.

Written by an educator with over 30 years in the trenches and based on sound educational principles
acknowledging the various ways children learn (multiple intelligences), The Magic of Maxwell and His
Tail is a micro-guide to life. It will delight children as they celebrate Maxwell’s triumphs, and warm
the hearts of parents as they watch their kids discover how perfectly special they are.
The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail is the first in a series of books to entertain, educate, and encourage
children to be their better selves.

An adorable book with beautiful illustrations about finding a way to love our self, with a storybook ending that is great for bedtime or anytime.  I think the book is a great tool to use with children when we are addressing things like; negotiate the struggles of growing up, understanding their changing bodies and how to appreciate what gift you were given.
 5 stars

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Maureen Stolar Kanefield has enjoyed over thirty years as an educator, passionately
dedicated to teaching children of all ability levels, from special needs to gifted. An
insatiable learner herself, she has sought ways, inside and outside the box including
integrated curriculum instruction (language arts and social studies) and Gardner’s eight
intelligences, for awakening children’s natural curiosity and guiding them to learning
successes. The underlying purpose of her children’s books is to encourage young readers
to recognize and celebrate their unique gifts.

“The Magic of Maxwell and His Tail” (September 2014, Magic Tale Press) is the first
book in Maureen’s planned series of inspiring children’s picture books. Maureen is a
member of the National Organization of Professional Women, Chicago Women in
Publishing and the Society of Children’s Authors and Publishers.
Maureen lives in Chicago, her base for advocating on behalf of children for enhanced
educational experiences.

Author Links below:

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 #MagicMaxwell @mkanefield @SamiJoLien

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Review: Gravel on the Side of the Road-True Stories From A Broad Who Has Been There by Kris Radish

Gravel on the Side of the Road-True Stories From A Broad Who Has Been There

A woman who worries about carrying a .38 special in her purse, nearly drowns in a desert canyon, flies into the war in Bosnia, dances with the FBI, tells Geraldo he shouldn’t put guests in hotel rooms with rats and spends time with murderers, has more than a few stories to tell.

Gravel on the Side of the Road-True Stories From a Broad Who Has Been There is a daring and revealing adventure itself.

Beloved novelist Kris Radish returns to her non-fiction beginnings with her first, but not last, book of autobiographical essays. Her writing career has spanned four decades and has included award winning newspaper work, magazine features, a national syndicated column, eleven books and enough stories and adventures to fill up many more.

Radish’s talent for telling it like it is, sharing the wit and wisdom of a life lived mostly on her own terms and her keen sense of humor are highlighted in these stories- some of them old- some of them new, but all of them a glimpse into worlds many never dare to enter. This author always lives in a world where nothing is sacred but the sweet emotions of the heart.

Kris is definitely a broad who has been there.

Kris Radish
Kris Radish

University of Wisconsin with a journalism degree and hit the ground running. Her father calls her "the tornado". She worked as a newspaper reporter, bureau chief, nationally syndicated columnist, magazine writer, university lecturer, bartender, waitress, worm harvester, window washer....to name a few. Her first two books were non-fiction and then Radish became a full-time novelist. The Elegant Gathering of White Snows, Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn, The Sunday List of Dreams, Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral and Searching for Paradise in Parker, P.A., The Shortest Distance Between Two Women, Hearts on a String, Tuesday Night Miracles have won her acclaim and a great following.Her ninth novel, A Grand Day to Get Lost was released April 1. Her tenth novel, The Year of Necessary Lies and a non-fiction book, Gravel on the side of the Road-Stories From A Broad Who Has Been There will both be published in 2014. Radish is also working on her next two novels and another work of non-fiction.

Kris Radish has a way she writes that leaves the reader feeling connected to her.  She writes from the heart and she writes truth.  She has done some amazing things and shares them in this humorous and fun novel.  There is something about Radish's wit and perspective that captures my heart and keeps me turning pages!!!  5 stars

Review: Wild Within: How Rescuing Owls Inspired a Family by Melissa Hart


Melissa Hart, a desperately lonely young divorcée and L.A. transplant, finds herself stranded in rainy Eugene, Oregon, working from home in the company of her two cats and two large mutts. At the local dog park, she meets a fellow dog owner named Jonathan: a tall, handsome man with a unibrow and hawk-like nose. When he invites her to accompany him on a drive to Portland to retrieve six hundred pounds of frozen rats and a fledgling barred owl, sparks fly!

Their courtship blossoms in a raptor rehabilitation center where wounded owls, eagles, falcons, and other iconic birds of prey take refuge and become ambassadors for their species. Initially, Melissa volunteers here in order to “sink her talons” into her new love interest, but soon she falls hopelessly in love with her fine feathered charges: Archimedes, a gorgeous snowy owl; Lorax, a fractious great horned owl; and Bodhi, a baby barred with a permanently injured wing. As “human imprints,” these birds see themselves and people as the same species yet retain a wildness that hoodwinks even the most experienced handlers. Overcoming her fears, Melissa bravely suffers some puncture wounds to get closer to these magnificent creatures.

Melissa and Jonathan start out convinced they don’t want children, but caring for birds who have fallen from their nests triggers a deep longing in Melissa to mother an orphaned child. Thus they embark on a heart-wrenching journey to adoption. Every page sparkles with vivid imagery and wit in this beautifully written memoir of parallel pursuits. Wildness Within is, above all, about the power of love—romantic, animal, and parental—to save lives and fulfill dreams.

Melissa Hart

Melissa Hart lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband (photographer Jonathan B. Smith) and their daughter. 

Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Orion, High Country News, The Advocate, Adbusters, Hemispheres, Horizon Air Magazine, Writer's Digest, and The Writer.

She teaches Feature Writing courses at the School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon, and speaks frequently for writing-related organizations and conferences in the Pacific Northwest.

In her free time, Melissa likes to hike and run half-marathons, kayak and camp and cook and travel to quirky places.

I adored this book cover to cover!!!  I am in love with owls and found this memoir to be both fascinating and heartwarming!!! It is not only about the love of animals, but about the love of family in various forms and how healing living things can, in turn, heal you too.  Brilliant! 5 stars!

Movie Reviews

*Thank you Edify Media for this review copies.


When Calls the Heart - Second Chances DVD

Editorial Reviews

With Billy Hamilton now out of the picture, life for Elizabeth is starting to return to normal. Still feeling guilty about being duped by Billy, Elizabeth again tries to apologize to Jack. And while Jack does his best to smooth things over, his clumsy wording only offends Elizabeth, putting Jack back in the doghouse. Elizabeth vents her frustrations to Abigail, who not only lends a caring ear, but also shares a tasty pastry.

My Review:
This movie will make you want to start the series from the beginning! I loved the characters immediately. It is a feel good movie that brings to light how friendship and love can help that you though even the toughest of times! 4 stars  


About the Film: Jake (played by Jason Burkey – October BabyMom’s Night Outis tired of living on the family farm, submitting to the rules of his Father, Mr. Abraham (played by John Diehl (StargateJurassic Park IIIA Time to KillThe Client).
One day, Jake demands an early inheritance from his father.  Much to the surprise of Jake – and Jake’s older brother, Seth (played by Dave Blamy – Destiny Road,Mandy & the Forgotten Christmas) – his Father agrees to Jake’s request and Jake is off to the big city.
Jake charges into the city, intent on proving that his modern ways are better than his dad’s traditional ways. He arrives in the city and embarks on his new life.  For a while, he does well-surprisingly well all while taking huge business risks.  His fast lifestyle finds him making “easy” money – even winning a bet with an interested and attractive local coffee house barista named Summer (played by Zoe Myers – Anchorman 2, ATL, Destiny Road).
Jake’s flamboyance quickly attracts the wrong women including the seductive Laura (played by Johanna Jowett – Life as We Know ItDestiny Road), whose rich mobster boyfriend Frank (played by Robert Davi – Die Hard, James Bond’s “License to Kill“, The Iceman) is often dangerously nearby.  
Jake seemingly has got the it all: money, ladies, prestige – but then suddenly, he loses it all and finds himself on the wrong end of the deal he made with mobster Frank and running for his life.  And then, it gets worse.
Just when Jake thinks he’s hit bottom, the bottom really drops out – and he is now eating out of dumpsters and literally eventually ends up in the hog pen.  He’s burned all his bridge and now, out of options, Jakes is forced to confront himself and, if he is to survive, he must discover who he really is.
Featuring a popular and recognizable cast, including Edie McClurg (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) and cameos from the likes of world famous pollster Scott Rasmussen, Talk Show host Sean Hannity and Psychologist Dr. Bev SmallwoodA LONG WAY OFF is a dramatic motion picture with high artistic merit and educational value. Thematically, it is all about family values, loyalty and friendship, sacrifice and love— positives every viewer can relate to on a very intimate level. 
A LONG WAY OFF will have you laughing, crying and entertained in a profound, powerful, and life-changing way.
My Review:
Sometimes words are not enough to describe how something makes you feel, when you feel it so deep inside.  This movie is heart warming and heart breaking at the same time, amazingly profound and can be felt in your bones, and if you take to heart the lessons within it can be life changing.  5 stars


Editorial Reviews

Sometimes you have to find the courage to make some waves.

In The Perfect Summer, fatherless teenager Jake (Adam Horner) was happy living in Chicago, until his mother (Sydney Penny) decided to uproot them to a small surfing town where her estranged father (Eric Roberts), Jake's grandfather, lives. The transition isn't easy for anyone and it seems everywhere he goes, Jake manages to make enemies, including the town bully, Tyler (JD Banks), who doesn't like the new interloper or his interest in young surfing prodigy, Kayla (Katie Garfield).

Stuck in the beach town with no friends and no knowledge of surfing, Jake has nowhere to turn until Cody (Jason Castro), the local surf shop owner, reveals that Jake's grandfather is a surf legend. Tired of feeling like an outcast, Jake asks Lou to teach him about surfing. Jake learns to face his fears, push through inhibitions and realizes that winning the respect of his new peers and Katie's heart might mean facing the biggest challenge of his life.
My Review:
A movie for all all ages: this movie teaches us that stepping out of our comfort zone, facing fears ans past demons can lead to the most uplifting experience of your life...that sometimes it is ok to make some waves!! 4 stars


*Disclosure: I was sent a sample of the product for review purposes only. I was not compensated in any way. All opinions are my own based on my experience with this product.
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