The Pregnancy & New Mum Bibles I Couldn’t Live Without

When you’re pregnant, you’ve often plenty of time to research every aspect of pregnancy – and there’s LOADS of information out there. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be reading all the pregnancy and baby books you can get your hands on! Particularly if you’re an older mum too (anything over 35).

pregnancy and baby books - pregnancy woman reading on a yellow sofa

There are distinct schools of thought on the best way to bring up baby, from the controlled crying techniques of Gina Ford to the co-sleeping recommendations of James J. McKenna.

Pram or baby sling? Breastfeed or bottle feed? Cot or Moses basket? There are reams of information on every aspect of motherhood even down to what to put in your hospital bag.

You really need clear, concise information from a reputable source you can trust and these pregnancy and baby books became my bibles. I heartily recommend all of them.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

This was the book I turned to every night and at every twinge.  Murkoff does not sugar-coat the information and points out what can go wrong as well as what is usually nothing to worry about. Don’t expect cuddly photos of newborns, but do expect practical, “does what it says on the tin” advice.

Pregnancy and baby books: cover of What to Expect When You're Expecting (4th edition)

The latest edition (the fourth) has been completely revised and updated.

“Heidi Murkoff has rewritten every section of the book, answering dozens of new questions and including loads of new asked-for material, such as a detailed week-by-week foetal development section in each of the monthly chapters, an expanded chapter on pre-conception, and a brand new one on carrying multiples.

The Fourth Edition incorporates the most recent developments in obstetrics and addresses the most current lifestyle trends (from tattooing and belly piercing to Botox and aromatherapy).

There’s more than ever on pregnancy matters practical (including an expanded section on workplace concerns), physical (with more symptoms, more solutions), emotional (advice on riding the mood roller coaster), nutritional (from low-carb to vegan, from junk food-dependent to caffeine-addicted), and sexual (what’s hot and what’s not in pregnant lovemaking), as well as much more support for that very important partner in parenting, the dad-to-be”.

Your New Pregnancy Bible – The Experts Guide To Pregnancy And Early Parenthood by Dr Anne Deans

On the other hand, if you want to spend, like I did, hours staring at pictures of developing babies so you can gauge how big your little one is at every stage of your pregnancy, this is the book for you.

Pregnancy and baby books: cover of Your New Pregnancy Bible by Dr Anne Deans

Far friendlier in tone than “What to Expect”,  it has clear explanations of the labour process and a great medical reference section. It gives added peace of mind because it was written by a team of eminent specialists under the direction of a leading UK obstetrician.

“….this latest edition of Your Pregnancy Bible has been updated to take account of recent changes in antenatal and newborn care and to provide a more comprehensive discussion of caesarean deliveries.

Given a fresh design, it still contains special fold-out sections on each of the trimesters and the birth process; week-by-week images of the developing baby; in-depth chapters dealing with all aspects of antenatal care, labour preparation, delivery experiences and care of the newborn; comprehensive reference sections on medical treatments and procedures in both pregnancy and the postnatal period and an extensive glossary of ante- and neonatal terminology”.

Secrets of the Baby Whisperer

When Caitlin was born I was completely clueless.  I hadn’t even put a nappy on a baby before.  And I certainly didn’t know anything about a day in the life of a baby.  For example, I had no idea that a newborn will need substantial naps during the day and will not be able to play for much more than 45 minutes at a time.

Pregnancy and baby books: cover of Secrets of The Baby Whisperer

It was with a huge sigh of relief that I stumbled upon Tracy Hogg’s wonderful Baby Whisperer books. Both this one and her problem solving guide (below) were invaluable in teaching me the importance of routines so that everyone in the family knows what is happening and where they are. Tracy sadly died in 2004 but her advice is still relevant today I think.

“In this remarkable parenting book, Tracy demystifies the magic she has performed with some five thousand babies. She teaches parents how to work out what kind of baby they have, what kind of mother and father they are, and what kind of parenting plan will work best for them.

Believing that babies need to become part of the family – rather than dominate it – she has developed a practical programme that works with infants as young as a day old. Her methods are also applauded by scientists: ‘Tracy’s is a voice that should be heard. She appears very knowledgeable about modern infant research and has incorporated this to a level parents can understand. In spite of all the baby how-tos on the market, this one will stand out.’

In case you’re wondering The Baby Whisperer method is often described as being in between crying it out methods and no tears methods. I liked it because Tracy does not advocate letting babies cry it out (unlike Gina Ford).

BUT she does not advocate “accidental parenting” which is where parents accidentally use props to get baby to sleep – like giving them a bottle, or rocking them, for example.

Several methods are given in the book to help parents teach their baby the all important sleep basics which includes a strictly structured routine (E.A.S.Y.) and the pick up put down (pu/pd) method for putting baby to bed.

E.A.S.Y. stands for Eating, Activity, Sleep and You and Tracy suggests timings for each activity according to the age of the baby.  The Pick Up, Put Down Method looks at how you put your baby to sleep in her cot and focuses on getting her to sleep alone.  Tracy suggests a “Four S” wind down ritual to set the scene (swaddling perhaps, sitting quietly, and shush-patting to help quieten your little one down). Even if you don’t adopt her ideas wholesale,  there are enough ideas in the book to help you work out what works for you and your baby.

The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems

The follow-on book to “Secrets Of The Baby Whisperer”, this one answers a whole host of questions from parents of babies at differing stages of development.

 

It focuses on the “Big Three” – sleep, feeding and behaviour from infancy to the age of 3 and explains Tracy’s philosophy and methods in much greater detail.  I think you really need both of these books to get the best out of the system.

Annabel Karmel’s The Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner

Once Caitlin started her weaning around 4 months and had got past the baby rice and simple apple puree stage, I became completely stuck on what to feed her.  Annabel Karmel’s books were fantastic at giving a range of ideas for simple purees and combinations to educate your child’s palette and to introduce a wide range of foods.

I think it’s no coincidence that Caitlin will now eat anything and is quite adventurous in her tastes (olives, for example).   By the time Ieuan came along, he had less of a range of purees and mini-meals and is far fussier with food than his sister.

You will need a good blender and a range of freezer-proof pots in varying sizes.

Annabel Karmel is undoubtedly the UK’s No.1 author on feeding babies and children and this particular book is the one I turned to time and time again.

It contains: “the best first foods to try, tasty recipes and ideas for introducing more complex flavours and textures; meal planners and time-saving menu charts allowing you to highlight and record which recipes your children liked and disliked. The original version of this book has sold over 4 million copies worldwide, with Annabel becoming a leading resource for parents who want to give their growing family tasty, wholesome meals that even the fussiest eaters will love”.

So there you have it – my bibles, the pregnancy and baby books now handed on to other expectant and new mums so that they can feel as comforted by them as I did.  I’d love to hear about the books that you turned to during your pregnancy or that you are finding helpful whilst you await the arrival of your little one.

Book Review: Public Speaking Super Powers! By Carma Spence


If public speakers were superheroes, what would their superpowers be?

AND, COULD YOU DEVELOP THOSE SUPERPOWERS YOURSELF?

Author Carma Spence asked these questions of dozens and dozens of speakers and discovered the answer was, “Yes!”

Three out of every four people suffer from speech anxiety, and research suggests that people who don’t confront and overcome that fear are less successful in their careers and lives. However, people often look at successful speakers as superheroes with superpowers they, as mere mortals, could never possess.

Drawing from extensive research and interviews with business and professional speakers, Public Speaking Super Powers will show you how to:

↪ How to overcome the fear of speaking
↪ Develop the skills needed to be a success on the stage, such as storytelling and humour
↪ Master techniques like a superhero speaker, such as audience engagement, and using your voice, body language and eye contact effectively

and much more… There is even a bonus chapter on the business of speaking.

Unleash your inner Public Speaking Superhero and communicate your message with confidence starting today!

Available to buy from…
Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Kobo Barnes and Noble Paperback Hardback

“It’s not every day that someone puts in the amount of research, time, and care on a topic that is so misunderstood and so poorly taught by perceived influencers in the public speaking space. Carma’s unique approach to unlocking your superpowers and unleashing your speaking skills is a fresh, practical, and accessible manual for anyone who wants to break into the speaking world.”
~ Davide Di Giorgio Speaker, Coach and Author of Being Unapologetic DavideDiGiorgio.com

“Carma Spence shows readers how to unleash their inner public speaking superhero with clear, actionable steps. Packed with useful information for beginners and intermediate level speakers alike, Public Speaking Super Powers is an engaging and valuable read.”
~ Cynthia Kersey Bestselling author, Unstoppable CEO & Founder, Unstoppable Foundation CynthiaKersey.com

“Carma Spence is the real deal. She is truly devoted to helping and empowering people in their lives, and on their speaker’s journey. Public Speaking Super Powers is a comprehensive, yet easy read. Carma’s superpower metaphor gives you the information and tools you need to help unleash your inner superhero speaker!”
~ Bridget Brady Owner, Founder, Biz Amplifier AmpUpMyBiz.com

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I BELIEVE IN YOU. YOU CAN TOTALLY DO THIS.
GET READY TO UNLEASH YOUR INNER SPEAKING SUPERHERO
AND COMMUNICATE YOUR MESSAGE AND KNOWLEDGE WITH CONFIDENCE!

Have you ever struggled with speaking in public?
Are you introverted, shy or, at times, socially awkward?
Do you find it challenging to communicate your value with confidence?

I’m Carma Spence, and I can say I’ve struggled with all these things myself at one time. I’ve lacked self-confidence. I’ve avoided speaking before groups. I’ve even kept silent about the value I have to offer the world.

No longer. From personal experience, I know for a fact that you can be a decent speaker even if you are introverted, shy and socially awkward. And, this is one of the reasons that I’ve written Public Speaking Super PowersTM.

Public speaking is an important, possibly essential, skill to learn.

↪ It increases self-confidence and courage.
↪ It is good for business and your career.
↪ It can improve your listening skills.
↪ And, it can help you in your relationships.

Public Speaking Super PowersTM was written for beginner and intermediate speakers: Those who’ve never felt comfortable speaking in front of a group, as well as those who have just gotten their feet wet but know they still have a lot to learn.

It covers all the foundational skills and techniques needed to be a decent public speaker and provides a path for improving communication and speaking skills over time.

In this book, you will learn

how to unleash your inner public speaking superpowers
the five key speech writing skills
the six foundational delivery tools and techniques
and more!

At the end of this book, you will be able to identify your speaking strengths, as well as areas for improvement, and create a plan of action to take you from where you are now to where you want to be.

So, are you ready to unleash your inner speaking superhero and communicate your message with confidence?

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My review

Having spent many years in a corporate environment, I had quite a few run-ins with the ghastliness of public speaking.  Talking to many of my colleagues, fear of public speaking seems to be often second only to a fear of death and yet it is probably the skill the separates the lower tier workers from the high fliers.

The husband travels the world in his role as solutions architect for a global IT company and a large part of that work involves addressing audiences of varying sizes whilst explaining how to configure a network and answer any and all questions off the bat.

My own last attempt was decidedly less glorious.  Whilst addressing the latest intake of legal trainees to explain to them that involvement with marketing was not optional but a key part of their role, I managed to knock over a heavy wooden lectern with a resounding crash.  Even worse, the man responsible for the trainees’ recruitment was my ex-boyfriend and he was sat in the audience.  Talk about wishing the ground would swallow you up.

So, if I had had Carma Spence’s gutsy and encouraging book, Public Speaking Super Powers, I might have been better prepared, more confident and better able to engage with the group of blankly staring faces (and the smirking ex-boyfriend).

Spence’s book is a real call to arms for those of us who would rather hide in the stationery cupboard to get out and share our message via public speaking.  Everyone, she says, has a message and, who knows, yours could have the potential to change someone’s life.  On that basis, not sharing it would be rather selfish.

Her various superheroes illustrate that there are many different types of public speakers and that there is not one right way to do it.  In fact, different presentations often require different styles.

What is important is the authenticity of the message and being able to connect with the audience to convince them that you are speaking from the heart.

Public speaking skills are broken down into components such as authenticity and engagement in separate chapters, each of which is chock-full of helpful and motivating words for expert speakers in their field and contains lots of exercises to get you thinking.

Actually, I thought lots of Spence’s advice reaches further than public speaking and her exercises could equally be used for personal or career-related goal setting because they are designed to help you learn about yourself – so that you can get clear on the message you want to share.

If you have to give a speech, whether at a wedding, the local council or in work, I recommend you pick up Carma’s book and take heed of her ‘feel the fear because it could make you a better speaker” ethos.  It even made me feel like I could get back on stage – but this time no heavy wooden lecterns please.

About the author

Carma Spence, author Public Speaking Super Powers, is a self-confessed “geek who speaks.” She is fiercely committed to supporting people who are introverted, shy, possibly even socially awkward as they unleash their inner speaking superhero and boldly communicate their message with confidence. Her superpower is to help her clients see what is possible for them and guiding them on the journey from where they are to where they want to be, Vanquishing the Mind Goblins of self-doubt, self-sabotage and second-guessing that keep them stuck.

Carma is an award-winning editor and speaker, as well as International Best-Selling Author, with more than 20 years experience in marketing, public relations, and science communication. She lettered in Speech in high school and earned a Degree of Honor with the National Speech & Debate Association. She has been a member of Toastmasters (off and of) since 1989 and has earned her Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award, an award earned by completing a variety of speaking and leadership assignments in the Toastmasters program.

Public Speaking Super Powers is her fifth book and is published under the Author Academy Elite imprint.

Find the author on the following sites…
Book Website Author Website Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest  Instagram Goodreads Amazon author page

 

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Book Review: Psycho In Paradise by Deborah Brown

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Book front cover of Psycho In Paradise by Deborah Brown

Psych0 In Paradise …

In the Florida Keys, you have to take the shady with the sunny. And Tarpon Cove has more than fifty shades of shady going on.

Shady No. 1: When Brad is caught with the dead body of his crazy ex-girlfriend—a body he swears was planted—the Westin family gathers to plan a strategy. That family now including Fab, Didier, and Creole by default.

Shady No. 2: Fab is having a hard time keeping her promise to go legit. It’s not her fault she tends to attract clients who want their problems solved without getting the cops involved. Trying to keep her reined in is a full-time job, and a thankless one, since Madison keeps getting roped in on “easy” jobs that wind up getting the kind of messy that require specialized cleanup.

Shady No. 3: Ferreting out the info needed to save Brad means using sources so deep in the friend-of-a-friend network they’re anonymous.

The only thing not shady is Creole’s love. Madison’s kept her promise never to lie to him. Mostly. But when the killer wafts like smoke through the cracks in the investigation, it reminds her she should’ve eaten dessert first more often.

The Paradise series, are Florida Keys mysteries, “great as stand-alone reads, but they’re like chips…you won’t be able to devour just one!”

Available to buy from…..

Amazon.com Amazon UK 

South Florida author Deborah Brown books are infectious.

“My love for these quirky characters grows with every book! Hope they never end!”

“Deborah Brown has done it again. I don’t think I could ever get tired of Madison, Fab, and the rest of the gang. These books are always laugh outloud funny and this one is no different. Psycho in Paradise has plenty of twists and turns that kept me turning pages. It’s filled with adventure, suspense, thrills, and fun characters. It’s impossible to put down.”

My review

It’s been a while since I have reviewed a ‘Paradise’ book but returning to the series with this one, Psycho in Paradise is like putting on a comfy pair of slippers and meeting up with a gang of old friends.

This time Madison’s brother Brad is in the frame for the murder of his ex, Patty.  Is he innocent or has he been framed?  In amongst Fab and Madison’s madcap adventures, hunky Creole and Didier try to exert some sort of order with the two feisty female detectives – not always succeeding.  Could there be a marriage on the cards?

Mother and Spoon are still in charge of the Westin clan but there’s the appearance of the enigmatic Caspian, Fab’s biological father.  Handsome, very wealthy but does he have an agenda.

As usual, Brown takes us on a breathless whirl around the Keys with one adventure after another and the inhabitants of The Cottages are as wacky and unusual as ever – and Miss January is in love.  Again.

I won’t spoil the plot any more other to say you’ll really enjoy Psycho In Paradise and there’s plenty of sunshine yet to be extracted from the Paradise series.

About the Author

I’ve been writing, in one way or another for as long as I can remember; poetry, sappy short stories (my best friend made me swear that I’d never show anyone until I changed the names), and a romance novel shoved under my bed.

I wanted to create books with a wide range of unforgettable characters, with heat and romance, and lots of guns. It wouldn’t be complete without a slice of humour and charm.

I live with my family and demon children aka rescue cats in South Florida.

Find the author at Amazon


I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

See more of my Deborah Brown Reviews:

Lottery In Paradise

Hurricane In Paradise

Executed In Paradise

Review: Antarctic Tears By Polar Explorer Aaron Linsdau

Antarctic Tears: Determination, adversity, and the pursuit of a dream at the bottom of the world

Antarctic Tears: Determination, adversity, and the pursuit of a dream at the bottom of the world by [Linsdau, Aaron]

Emotions run high in this true polar adventure. It’s a story of triumph, harrowing danger, and outright adventure. In 2012, Aaron Linsdau left his entire life behind.

Gone was the engineering career. He told his family and girlfriend that he wanted to pursue a dream to do something no other American had ever accomplished. He wanted to be the first to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back without aid or support. Alone.

The journey to the South Pole covers over 700 miles through the most forbidding frozen terrain on the planet. The temperature is always below zero and gale force winds routinely roar across the ice. The polar plateau is devoid of life. There are no plants, animals, or insects. Antarctica provides no shelter, no protection, and is unforgiving of any mistake.

But before the expedition was to start, there was much to do. Linsdau trekked 100 miles across the Greenland tundra. He skied across Yellowstone in the winter, camping in -45 degree temperatures. Towing tires up mountains and eating 4000 calories a day was preparation for Antarctica.

Previous expeditions have lost tents, helplessly watching them blow over the horizon. Many explorers have quit or been rescued. What began as a brave adventure into the unknown turned into a battle for survival.

Linsdau takes the reader to Antarctica. They experience incredible storms, skiing blind through whiteouts, crossing invisible crevasses, and skirting disaster. The book shows what happened every day of the expedition.

The air is cold enough to freeze water in seconds and cause frostbite in minutes. Only outer space is less hospitable. Driven by passion, he sacrifices nearly everything to make his dream come true. This is a story about personal discovery, testing the limits of human endurance, total dedication to achieving a goal, and never giving up even when both body and equipment fail.

There were many surprises during Aaron Linsdau’s expedition to the South Pole… 

Antarctic Tears is also available as an audiobook in a 9CD box set or as MP3 files on a USB thumb drive. 

My Review

Antarctic Tears is the memorable account of Aaron Linsdau’s solo trek to the South Pole and in it, the reader learns exactly what it takes to survive in one of the planet’s most inhospitable environments.  From dragging a tyre around the streets for months to build up his strength, to lugging large quantities of butter, the book is full of “I did not know that” moments which educate and entertain.

Linsdau’s modest relating of his achievements has the reader rooting for him all the way. There are some hair-raising moments, not least when Aaron starts to cough up blood and the description of the sheer whiteness of the Antartic is both amazing and frightening.

Most days Linsdau’s progress is incredibly slow, just one or two miles a day as he fights against humidity, blizzards and hurricane force winds.  Despite this, he never gives in and battles on with a determination we could all do with our progress towards our goals.

The book also contains a fascinating summary of previous polar attempts which I found fascinating. Why did Scott’s attempt fail whilst Shackleton’s succeeded?  I’m now a convert to tales from great explorers.

Highly recommended.

Available to buy from …

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble   Audible   Paperback

“Your book changed my life. Thank you.” – Gerry Spence, American Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame

“I can’t believe you did this. What a great read.” – The Navy SEALS in the audience were seriously impressed.” – Jason M., Navy Special Forces

“I finished your book and it was a great read. I still cannot fathom someone subjecting himself to that kind of environment. -Pulling all of your own supplies, and doing it solo for several months is incredible. I’ve read a lot of human endurance books, but your trip ranks right up there in difficulty.”   – Ed Lavino, Jackson, WY, author of Prevailing Westerlies

Lost at Windy Corner: Lessons From Denali On Goals and Risks

Lost at Windy Corner: Lessons From Denali On Goals and Risks by [Linsdau, Aaron]
Lost near lethal crevasses and cliffs in a blinding whiteout blizzard is the last place anyone would want to be…

Windy Corner on Denali has claimed lives, fingers, and toes. What would make someone brave lethal weather, crevasses, and slick ice to attempt to summit North America’s highest mountain? Denali has claimed over one hundred lives. It seems like the place for risky adrenaline seekers.

In “Lost at Windy Corner”, the author shares the lessons Denali teaches on managing goals and risks. Everyone takes chances at some time in their lives, even if it’s driving down the highway. Becoming a risk manager rather than a risk taker is what will keep you alive during difficult times.

Experience the cold, solitude, and uncertainty of life on high mountains. Apply the message, build resilience, and overcome adversities in your life.

Available to buy from…… 

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble    Kobo     Paperback

Amazing read. Simply stunning detail of reaching for an almost unattainable goal and achieving success against the odds – Amazon Reviewer

Looking down from 9,000 ft on the Kahiltna glacier on Denali.

About the author

International speaker Aaron Linsdau is the second American to have skied solo from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, setting the world record for surviving the longest solo expedition to the pole. He is an Eagle Scout, is a National Eagle Scout Association Outstanding Eagle Scout, holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in computational science. Aaron wrote Antarctic Tears and the Total Eclipse Guide series. This set of books focuses on the August 21, 2017 total eclipse across America. Each book is specific to a state or location.

Aaron is an international motivational speaker, polar explorer, the author of Antarctic Tears and an award-winning photographer. Book Aaron for your next speaking engagement or keynote address HERE.  He speaks about grit, courage, attitude, perseverance, and resilience.

Find the author on the following sites…

Website   Facebook   Twitter    Google+   Goodreads   Instagram   Amazon Author Page

Turning Goals Into Reality with motivational speaker Aaron Linsdau!

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Book Review: Lost At Windy Corner By Polar Explorer Aaron Linsdau

Lost at Windy Corner: Lessons From Denali On Goals and Risks


Lost at Windy Corner: Lessons From Denali On Goals and Risks by [Linsdau, Aaron]Lost near lethal crevasses and cliffs in a blinding whiteout blizzard is the last place anyone would want to be…

Windy Corner on Denali has claimed lives, fingers, and toes. What would make someone brave lethal weather, crevasses, and slick ice to attempt to summit North America’s highest mountain? Denali has claimed over one hundred lives. It seems like the place for risky adrenaline seekers.

In “Lost at Windy Corner”, the author shares the lessons Denali teaches on managing goals and risks. Everyone takes chances at some time in their lives, even if it’s driving down the highway. Becoming a risk manager rather than a risk-taker is what will keep you alive during difficult times.

Experience the cold, solitude, and uncertainty of life on high mountains. Apply the message, build resilience, and overcome adversities in your life.

My Review

I am probably the least likely person to become an explorer or to brave extreme climatic conditions so I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy Aaron Linsdau’s fascinating account of man against mountain.  I actually found it difficult to put “Lost at Windy Corner” down.

For a start, I had no idea what was involved in climbing a mountain, particularly one upon which you could be either baked or frozen during 24 hours and on which one wrong foot could see you plunge into the abyss.

Linsdau shares all the details of his solo attempt to scale Denali from a physical, emotional and psychological standpoint and at the end of each chapter leaves the reader with a lesson on managing risk, and most importantly, maintaining a positive attitude.

During his ascent, he meets a number of fascinating characters, some of whom are unforgettable, for example, the Romanian father with his 12-year-old daughter or Felix who has comrades further up the mountain he hasn’t seen for days.

The non-adventurous among us may spend most of the book wondering what drives an explorer like Linsdau to take such risks but there is no room for adrenalin junkies on Denali.  Linsdau seems to be the master of the inspired, but calculated risk.

I really enjoyed this one and tomorrow you can read my review of Linsdau’s adventure in one of the bleakest places on earth, Antarctica.

Available to buy from…… 

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble    

Amazing read. Simply stunning detail of reaching for an almost unattainable goal and achieving success against the odds – Amazon Reviewer

Looking down from 9,000 ft on the Kahiltna glacier on Denali.

Antarctic Tears: Determination, adversity, and the pursuit of a dream at the bottom of the world

Antarctic Tears: Determination, adversity, and the pursuit of a dream at the bottom of the world by [Linsdau, Aaron]

Emotions run high in this true polar adventure. It’s a story of triumph, harrowing danger, and outright adventure. In 2012, Aaron Linsdau left his entire life behind.

Gone was the engineering career. He told his family and girlfriend that he wanted to pursue a dream to do something no other American had ever accomplished. He wanted to be the first to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back without aid or support. Alone.

The journey to the South Pole covers over 700 miles through the most forbidding frozen terrain on the planet. The temperature is always below zero and gale force winds routinely roar across the ice. The polar plateau is devoid of life. There are no plants, animals, or insects. Antarctica provides no shelter, no protection, and is unforgiving of any mistake.

But before the expedition was to start, there was much to do. Linsdau trekked 100 miles across the Greenland tundra. He skied across Yellowstone in the winter, camping in -45 degree temperatures. Towing tires up mountains and eating 4000 calories a day was preparation for Antarctica.

Previous expeditions have lost tents, helplessly watching them blow over the horizon. Many explorers have quit or been rescued. What began as a brave adventure into the unknown turned into a battle for survival.

Linsdau takes the reader to Antarctica. They experience incredible storms, skiing blind through whiteouts, crossing invisible crevasses, and skirting disaster. The book shows what happened every day of the expedition.

The air is cold enough to freeze water in seconds and cause frostbite in minutes. Only outer space is less hospitable. Driven by passion, he sacrifices nearly everything to make his dream come true. This is a story about personal discovery, testing the limits of human endurance, total dedication to achieving a goal, and never giving up even when both body and equipment fail.

There were many surprises during Aaron Linsdau’s expedition to the South Pole… 

Antarctic Tears is also available as an audiobook in a 9CD box-set or as MP3 files on a USB thumb drive. 

Available to buy from …

Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble   

“Your book changed my life. Thank you.” – Gerry Spence, American Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame

“I can’t believe you did this. What a great read.” – The Navy SEALS in the audience were seriously impressed.” – Jason M., Navy Special Forces

“I finished your book and it was a great read. I still cannot fathom someone subjecting himself to that kind of environment. -Pulling all of your own supplies, and doing it solo for several months is incredible. I’ve read a lot of human endurance books, but your trip ranks right up there in difficulty.”   – Ed Lavino, Jackson, WY, author of Prevailing Westerlies

About the author

International speaker Aaron Linsdau is the second American to have skied solo from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, setting the world record for surviving the longest solo expedition to the pole. He is an Eagle Scout, is a National Eagle Scout Association Outstanding Eagle Scout, holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in computational science. Aaron wrote Antarctic Tears and the Total Eclipse Guide series. This set of books focuses on the August 21, 2017 total eclipse across America. Each book is specific to a state or location.

Aaron is an international motivational speaker, polar explorer, the author of Antarctic Tears and an award-winning photographer.

Find the author on the following sites…

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Turning Goals Into Reality with motivational speaker Aaron Linsdau!

I was give a free copy of both books by publishers Beck Valley Books.

Book Review: The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh By Carolyn Arnold

The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh (Matthew Connor Adventure series Book 2) by [Arnold, Carolyn]

Mystery lovers will need to hold on to their hats for this follow-up to City of Gold, which reviewers described as “a fast-paced action adventure” that is “akin to an Indiana Jones story set in modern times.” Now, the second in the series promises to bring much of the same excitement! Join archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor and his friends as they go after the Emerald Tablets to save the world in The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh.

In Egypt’s Western Desert lies the tomb of an unnamed pharaoh that hides a secret so powerful, it could destroy the world as we know it.

Archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor has made a career of finding legends the world has all but forgotten. Though there’s one in particular that has fascinated him for years—the Emerald Tablets. Myth says that they possess the knowledge of the universe, allowing humankind to traverse Heaven and Earth, and have the power to bestow wealth and wisdom upon whoever possesses them. But if they fall into evil hands, it could cause a global disaster.

So when a former colleague stumbles across an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic map that promises to lead to a pharaoh’s tomb and the Emerald Tablets, there’s no way he’s turning down her invitation to join the dig. He only has one stipulation: his best friends Robyn Garcia and Cal Myers come with him.

The road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one, and their shared dream of recovering the Emerald Tablets is being crushed at every turn. And just when they think it’s all over, they learn there are a few clues they have overlooked. But they’re no longer the only ones searching for the Tablets. Now, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and soon they’ll find out that when it comes to hunting legends, they can’t trust anyone.

Available to buy from the following sites…

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Barnes & Noble  



Action-adventure books for the mystery lover.
Does treasure hunting excite you?
What about the thought of travelling the globe and exploring remote regions to uncover legends that the world has all but forgotten? If so, strap yourself in for an adventure with modern-day archaeologist Matthew Connor and his two closest friends. Indiana Jones meets the twenty-first century.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, National Treasure, and The Relic Hunter.

Book Excerpt

Also available in Matthew Connor Adventure Series

Each book may be read as a stand-alone novel, or as part of the series.

City of Gold, Matthew Connor Adventure Series Book 1

Finding the Inca’s lost City of Gold would be the discovery of a lifetime. But failing could mean her death…

Archaeologist Matthew Connor and his friends Cal and Robyn are finally home after a dangerous retrieval expedition in India. While they succeeded in obtaining the priceless Pandu artefact they sought, it almost cost them their lives. Still, Matthew is ready for the next adventure. Yet when new intel surfaces indicating the possible location of the legendary City of Gold, Matthew is hesitant to embark on the quest.

Not only is the evidence questionable but it means looking for the lost city of Paititi far away from where other explorers have concentrated their efforts. As appealing as making the discovery would be, it’s just too risky. But when Cal’s girlfriend, Sophie, is abducted by Matthew’s old nemesis who is dead-set on acquiring the Pandu statue, Matthew may be forced into action. Saving Sophie’s life means either breaking into the Royal Ontario Museum to steal the relic or offering up something no one in his or her right mind can refuse–the City of Gold.

Now Matthew and his two closest friends have to find a city and a treasure that have been lost for centuries. And they only have seven days to do it. As they race against the clock, they quickly discover that the streets they seek aren’t actually paved with gold, but with blood.

Available to buy from …

Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk Barnes & Noble 

My Review

As a huge fan of Indiana Jones, I found The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh a real treat to read.  Carolyn Arnold’s hero, Matthew Connor is as dashing, intelligent and romantically confused as Indiana Jones always seems to be.

This is the second in the Matthew Connor series and I hadn’t read the first book City of Gold, but it didn’t matter.  The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh works perfectly well as a stand-alone story.

The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh combines adventure, Egyptology, suspense and romance in a very satisfying way.  Matthew dashes off to Egypt at the call of a previous colleague, Alex, who claims to have found the tomb of a pharaoh in which there is a reference to the legendary Emerald Tablets which Connor has been chasing for years.

He takes his friends, Cal (a photographer) and Robyn (who works in antiquities in a museum) with him.  All of Arnold’s characters are well fleshed out and you really feel as if you know them by the end of the story – which I won’t reveal.

Their adventures see them trapped deep below ground with snakes and when tragedy strikes one of their number, things begin to unravel.

Arnold throws you into the adventure at breakneck speed but cleverly allows the psychological tension to build between the characters as the pressure of their discovery starts to weigh heavily on them all.  Could it be a pharaoh’s curse?

There’s plenty of detail, too, about Ancient Egypt to fascinate the reader and a romantic love triangle which sees Matthew having to choose between the beautiful Robyn, who adores him but with whom things have never worked out, or the equally beautiful Alex, whose reasons for inviting Connor on the expedition may not be as innocent as they seem.

Highly recommended.

About the author

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international best-selling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre offers her readers everything from cosy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

Find the author on the following sites…
 Facebook Twitter  Goodreads Amazon Author Page

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers Beck Valley Books.

Read more of my book reviews here.

15 Brilliant Bedtime Books To Dip Into

Every night before I go to bed, I like to read a few pages of the latest tome I have been persuaded to buy reading the book reviews on Amazon. Bedtime reading is something I actively encourage the kids to do too – far better for you than messing up your sleep patterns with the dastardly blue light of your iPad, phone or PC.

These books, I must confess, are usually of the self help variety – an unfortunate addiction I have been unable to kick for many years. Ah, the hours I have spent lurking in the “Mind, Body, Spirit” section of Waterstones, lovingly inhaling the aroma of proper printed books, tinged occasionally with a waft of Costa Coffee.

I have never had the brass-faced cheek, mind you, to plop myself down on the chairs provided and start reading a book cover to cover. Some people obviously don’t know their bookshop from their library. And who’d want to buy a book that someone has already thumbed, scuffed or otherwise defaced, however, infinitesimally?

Anyway, the bedtime reading pile has grown to a structurally unsafe mound and I must confess that not all of these books have not actually been read cover to cover.

To give you a rough idea of my various current passions, I’ve listed some of them below so you can join me in my odyssey of weirdness, should you so choose.

The Magic by Rhonda Byrne

bedtime reading - The Magic By Rhonda Byrne

I know I should probably employ a large dollop of scepticism when reading any of Byrne’s work (Author of “The Secret) but, whatever your views on the Law of Attraction, passing your day in a positive frame of mind is usually more productive than being a miserable git.

The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle

Basically, keep the peace by letting your husband do whatever he wants. (that’s Doyle’s version). My version is keep the peace by letting your husband do whatever he thinks he wants – after several weeks of subliminal programming (also known in this house as nagging).

Essential Help for your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes

I like Weekes’ approach to stress management. She explains very well that many of the physical conditions we put up with are created by our own worries and thus simply do not exist. Dr Weekes was a doctor in Australia (she passed away in 1990) but this guide stands the test of time with its advice to deal with your anxiety in a gentle way.

The Joy of Gardening by Eileen Campbell

A lovely gift from a friend who was instrumental in helping me to get my garden into vegetable and flower bearing shape this year. It’s a collection of inspirational quotes and thoughts about gardening to chivvy you along when you realise you can’t lift a bag of compost on your own and you don’t know your perennials from your elbow.

5:2 Cookbook Recipes For Fasting by Angela Dowden

I did toy with this diet this year but the idea of spending two days a week eating just 500 calories was too much for my delicate, ahem, constitution. Research suggests that this pattern of eating helps conditions such as diabetes and is implicated in longevity so I may yet give it a go but certainly not when it’s this dark and cold.

The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice

A country girl is whisked off to London in the Sixties to become a pop star. I haven’t read this as I have an allergy to “chick lit”- if indeed that’s the genre it belongs to. I have tried to like “chick lit” but I normally find the plots so sugary and contrived, I need to go and clean my teeth after a couple of chapters.

Confidence And Success with CBT by Avy Joseph and Maggie Chapman

Confidence & Success with CBT by Avy Joseph & Maggie Chapman front cover

This is one I bought at another ‘temptation location’. It’s very glamorous. Brace yourselves – yep, WH Smiths at University Hospital Wales, Cardiff. Damn them with their “Buy One Get One Half Price” offers. Still it’s better than a kilo of chocolate for £1 isn’t it? CBT, just in case you don’t know, is cognitive behavioural therapy. It’s a kind of therapy which gets you to talk about and express your issues. Ask yourself probing questions – e.g. why do I always succumb to “Buy One get One Half Price” offers in WH Smiths?

Taking Control of TMJ by Robert O. Uppgaard

This is a very helpful manual for those who suffer from jaw joint problems. You’d be amazed how much jaw pain can blight your life – from headaches, to problems opening your mouth and related dental problems such as tooth clenching and grinding. I’ll be posting more about TMJ later this year but if you do suffer, you have my sympathy. I am lucky because the University Hospital of Wales is home to the dental school which has a clinic for TMJ sufferers. Now you know one of the reasons why I lurk in WH Smiths!

Tarot Made Easy by Nancy Garen

Tarot Made Easy by Nancy Garen front cover

Now this one is one of the most thumbed and loved. I brought this original version in 1991 and have kept it ever since. For Tarot buffs, I still like the Rider Waite pack for its clarity and tradition and I find that, as long as you don’t overuse them, you can generally get quite an insightful answer to your most pressing questions.

Poirot & Me by David Suchet

I am a complete Agatha Christie buff and my box set of Poirot is constantly played. Suchet is the definitive Poirot as far as I am concerned and I was delighted to get my mitts on a signed copy of this courtesy of the lovely folk at the Chepstow Bookshop. I am hoping The Husband will take me to Greenway, Christie’s lovely Devon home this year to see if it will inspire me to finally start writing my own crime fiction.

How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body by Dr David R. Hamilton PhD

More along the general theme of “we are what we think we are”. I am fascinated by the body’s miraculous ability to heal even the most serious of illnesses and think there’s a lot to the Eastern approach to medicine – i.e. treating the body holistically, rather than the Western approach of diagnosing ad hoc and prescribing drugs which usually address only the symptoms and not the cause of the disease.

This book contains a list of specific visualizations you might like to try. It certainly makes the point that responsibility for our own health is in our own hands, rather than those of our physician.

The Promise by Graham W. Price

The subtitle to this one is “Never Have Another Negative Thought Again” and while I haven’t managed that state of cognitive nirvana, Price does offer a useful view that blaming ourselves for past actions is pretty useless because we can only do what we are able to do with our current level of awareness.

In other words, generally we act the way we do because we don’t ‘know’ any better. ‘Knowing’ here though is deeper than a basic understanding of right and wrong – it refers to how spiritually advanced we are. I obviously know that eating the contents of my children’s selection pack is wrong. Sadly, I am not yet spiritually developed enough to put the Curly Wurly back in the fridge. Make of that what you will CBT fans.

Diana Vreeland, Empress of Fashion by Amanda Hamilton

This is a fascinating biography of the late, great Diana Vreeland who worked for Harpers Bazaar and Vogue and made the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1964 (the year I was born). An undeniable style icon, she fascinates me because she seems to have been one of those women who knew what she stood for and radiated power. It’s a quality that few women have but one that you definitely know when a woman does not. It’s something that, say Helen Mirren, has in buckets but Jennifer Aniston is a thousand haircuts away from.

E2 by Pam Grout

E2 by Pam Grout front cover

This is my current favourite. Its subtitle is “Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality”. Each experiment takes about 48 hours and in it you challenge the universe to prove theories such as the Universe is a benevolent, friendly place which just wants to give you what you want. The catch of course is that you’ll (to quote Dr Wayne Dyer), see it when you believe it. I’m having great fun trying to manifest a whole variety of things and if I do, I promise to report back!

I’d love to hear what is lurking in your bed book pile and what bedtime reading you are planning this year.

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Book Review: Writing For Bliss By Diana Raab PhD

A Seven-Step Plan For Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life

Writing for Bliss is most fundamentally about reflection, truth, and freedom. With techniques and prompts for both the seasoned and novice writer, it will lead you to tap into your creativity through storytelling and poetry, examine how life-changing experiences can inspire writing, pursue self-examination and self-discovery through the written word, and, understand how published writers have been transformed by writing.

Poet and memoirist Raab (Lust) credits her lifelong love of writing and its therapeutic effects with inspiring her to write this thoughtful and detailed primer that targets pretty much anyone interested in writing a memoir. Most compelling here is Raab’s willingness to share her intimate stories (e.g., the loss of a relative, ongoing struggles with cancer, a difficult relationship with her mother). Her revelations are encouraging to writers who feel they need “permission to take… a voyage of self-discovery.” The book’s seven-step plan includes plenty of guidance, including on learning to “read like a writer,” and on addressing readers as if “seated across the table .” Raab covers big topics such as the “art and power of storytelling” and small details such as choosing pens and notebooks that you enjoy using. She also helps readers with the important step of “finding your form.”
–PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY

Available to buy from
Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk    Barnes and Noble 

From Loving Healing Press: “Writing for Bliss is about the profound ways in which we may be transformed in and through the act of writing. I am grateful to Diana Raab for sharing it, and I trust that you will feel the same as you read on. May you savour the journey.”
–from the foreword by MARK FREEMAN, PhD 

“By listening to ourselves and being aware of what we are saying and feeling, the true story of our life’s past experience is revealed. Diana Raab’s book gives us the insights by which we can achieve this through her life-coaching wisdom and our writing.”
–BERNIE SIEGEL, MD, author of The Art of Healing 

“Only a talented writer who has fought hard to overcome life’s many obstacles could take her readers by the hand and lead them through
the writing process with such enormous compassion, amazing insight, and kindness. Diana Raab is a powerful, wise, intelligent guide well worth our following.”

–JAMES BROWN, author of The Los Angeles Diaries and The River 

“Writing for Bliss is far more than a ‘how-to manual’; it enlightens the creative process with wisdom and a delightful sense of adventure. Bravo to Bliss!”
–LINDA GRAY SEXTON, author of Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton 

“Uniquely blending inspiring insights with practical advice, Diana guides you on a path to discover the story that is truly inside you and yearning to be told.”
–PATRICK SWEENEY, coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Succeed on Your Own Terms

MY MISSION

“Through my writing, mentoring and workshops, I guide others to discover and tell their own unique stories and abiding truths. The craft and practice of writing can be transformative and empowering—a cornerstone for emotional and psychological well-being, and a way to tap into one’s true inner voice and passions.” — Diana Raab

My Review

Writing for Bliss is a beautiful book which gently pushes the recalcitrant writer towards actually putting pen to paper.  Raab peels away all possible objections and excuses by helping the reader examine their innermost fears and feelings through a series of writing prompts which are all quite challenging to complete whilst offering an insight into your own psyche.  It may take courage, she suggests, to deal with what you find there.

This is, on the one hand, a book about writing to find yourself and, on the other, a collection of Raab’s own memories, observations and insights she has gleaned over the years from other writers.  Her own writing career began as a reaction to the suicide of her beloved grandmother – it was a kind of therapy for her, as it was again when she suffered from breast cancer.

If you are a writer, and, as a blogger, I certainly consider myself to be one, you will find yourself excited at the prospect of putting pen to paper and wondering what might appears when the words start to flow. I can only hope that the results are as cathartic as Raab suggests they may be.

Whilst actual therapy may be challenging for the more introverted among us, I suspect writing as therapy may just as effective as any time spent on the therapist’s couch.

Highly recommended.

About the author
Diana Raab, PhD is an award-winning memoirist, poet, blogger, workshop leader and speaker. Her passion is writing for healing and transformation.

She’s the author of eight books and over 500 articles and poems, and editor of two anthologies, WRITERS ON THE EDGE: 22 WRITERS SPEAK ABOUT ADDICTION AND DEPENDENCY and WRITERS AND THEIR NOTEBOOKS. Raab’s two memoirs are REGINA’S CLOSET: FINDING MY GRANDMOTHER’S SECRET JOURNAL and HEALING WITH WORDS: A WRITER’S CANCER JOURNEY. Her fourth and most recent poetry collection is called LUST.

Raab has been writing since the age of 10 when her mother gave her a Khalil Gibran journal to help her cope with her grandmother suicide. Since then, she has been using writing as a way of healing and transformation and inspiring others to do the same.

She is the mother of 3 adult children and grandmother to two. She lives in Southern California.<

She blogs for Psychology Today, PsychAlive, and Boomer Cafe.

Find the author on the following sites…
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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

Beck Valley Book Tour: In Control – An Ivy Nash Thriller by John W. Mefford

NEW RELEASE….

A child is kidnapped, sending a mother into a panicked frenzy. It’s one of a dozen such crimes across central Texas, targeting those who live behind the pristine brick walls of master planned communities.

Ivy Nash hunts the kidnappers, but she quickly sees this case morph into something else entirely different…more dangerous, more twisted than anyone could imagine.

At the same time, the father of Ivy’s long-time friend pleads with her to do what no friend would ever want. But what she learns could shatter their worlds. An international drug trafficking ring. A professional hit. And one cover-up after another.

Secrets from the past are exposed, but how can Ivy separate reality from a smokescreen of falsehoods? With lives on the line, she can’t fail. The clock is ticking…

Available to buy from….
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk    Paperback

“Rife with deceit and deception and characters that leap off the page, this story is told with confidence through a sure hand, engaging both the mind and the heart. A compelling treat.” — Steve Berry, New York Times Bestselling Author

“An intense and heart wrenching story that keeps you engaged from beginning to end.” — Simon Wood, USA TODAY Bestselling Author of DECEPTIVE PRACTICES.

“I love the way that Mefford writes, seamlessly jumping between characters and time frames with no confusion, and he is extremely descriptive of the setting . You almost feel like you are watching a movie instead of reading a book!” — Hilary Mahoney, Elusive Red Tiger

Above reviews from An Ivy Nash Thriller, Book 1, IN Defiance

My Review

Every new book by John W. Mefford is a treat – and this one is no exception with a plot that is as complex and satisfying as the previous books in the Redemption Series of Thrillers featuring his other detectives such as Alex Troutt.

Mefford is starting to pull the strands of his thrillers together and you can sense that they are building up to a climactic finish involving all the crime solving characters we have come to love.

Ivy is back and this time her case is uncomfortably close to home.  Could the fiance of her best friend be all that he says he is?  Or has he links to a nefarious underworld where a psychopathic drug lord rules the roost and doesn’t care who he hurts?

Supported by her chopsy but lovable side-kick, Cristina, Ivy also takes on the case of the kidnappers who fake child abductions to get their hands on the money – but where exactly are they getting their information from and how do they know who to target?

There is even an appearance from Alex Troutt’s partner Nick and Alex herself makes her presence felt.

Ivy is potentially Alex’s equally ballsy and intelligent younger partner and putting the two of them together is going to make a very enjoyable read.

Like all the previous thrillers, In Control can be read as a stand alone novel, but if you don’t read the back catalogue and immerse yourself in Mefford’s world of crime, you really are missing out.

Books in the Alex Troutt Thriller Series:
AT Bay AT Large
AT Once
AT Dawn
AT Dusk
AT Last

Books in the Ivy Nash Thriller Series:
IN Defiance
IN Pursuit
IN Doubt
Break IN
IN Control
Coming soon….
IN The End

Q&A with author John W. Mefford: 

Q: What do the Ivy Nash Thrillers have to do with the Redemption Thriller Series?

JWM: The Ivy Nash Thrillers comprise the second sub-series in the Redemption Thriller Series. The Alex Troutt Thrillers are the first sub-series. While I’ll eventually write a series that connects the major characters and plots from all the sub-series, you don’t have to read the AT books prior to the IN books. But I have to say, the AT thrillers are darn good.

Q: So you’re saying you don’t have to read the Alex Troutt Thrillers before the Ivy Nash Thrillers?

JWM: Nope. While a few of the characters might occasionally overlap between the series, they can be read as stand-alone. And then I’ll wrap everything up in a final set of six novels that connects all of the main characters and stories from each sub-series. If you haven’t read any of the Alex Troutt thrillers yet, you can try out the first three at a pretty nice discount. Just search for Alex Troutt Box Set.

Q: Can you give some insight into how Ivy Nash might connect to Alex Troutt down the line?

JWM: Sure…and then I’ll send over a hit squad. Seriously, I’ll be sprinkling in a few clues along the way for those who pay close attention to the details, but it will all come together in that final six novels of the Redemption Thriller Series. And it will be explosive and gut-wrenching at the same time.

Q: How many different sub-series are you planning to have in the Redemption Thriller Series?

JWM: Right now, I see four sub-series in the Redemption Thriller Series, with six novels in each. It’s the most challenging and fulfilling creative endeavor I’ve undertaken. I hope you enjoy the journey.

About the Author
Amazon #1 Bestselling Author, #2 bestselling author on Barnes and Noble, and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal winner.

A veteran of the corporate wars, former journalist, and an astute observer of human and social behavior, John W. Mefford has been writing his debut novel since he first entered the work force almost thirty years ago, although he never put words on paper until 2009. Once he started writing, however, he couldn’t stop.

A member of International Thriller Writers, John writes novels full of electrifying suspense — the same types of books he has loved to read since before he could shave.

When he’s not writing, he chases his youth on bike or a basketball court, all while making mental notes of people and societies across the land.

“Pop on over to my WebsiteFacebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and Amazon Author Page

Join John’s Readers’ Group and receive the first novels in both the Greed and Booker Series 

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

NOW FOR THE AUTHOR’S GIVEAWAY

Win IN Control by John W Mefford ebook
3 Winners!!
Ending on Sunday 8th October at 11.59pm CST

Open Worldwide 

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Book Review: Lottery In Paradise By Deborah Brown

Meet the crime-solving duo of the Florida Keys: Madison who has all the charm of the girl next door, not to mention a deadly aim and Fab, her best friend, a femme fatale private investigator with a taste for danger and stilettos.

When their neighbour is found dead, the headlines read, “It doesn’t pay to be a lottery winner.” It gets you nothing but an endless line of crazies at your door, greedy relatives and acquaintances. Sleuths Madison and Fab don’t have time to be concerned about the latest murder; they have problems of their own trying to figure out why their house has suddenly become the focus of several attempted break-ins. The duo are off on more adventures — what could go wrong chauffeuring a limousine full of college girls? Or chasing after a custom Ferrari? Along the way, there’s a break-up, a wedding, and the usual run-ins with the law.

If you like sassy, exciting crime novels, then you’ll love Lottery in Paradise, the eleventh book in the scorching Paradise series about two seductive ladies who use unconventional and highly entertaining measures to maintain the peace in the steamy and twisted paradise of Tarpon Cove.

The Paradise series, are Florida Keys mysteries, “great as stand-alone reads, but they’re like chips…you won’t be able to devour just one!”

Available to buy from…
Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk   Amazon Paperback 

“Another FABULOUS book by one of my favourite authors. I love how there are always several different stories going on. I loved the ending…” 

“Another great story in the Paradise series! My love for these quirky characters grows with every book! Hope they never end!”

“An excellent story that is jammed packed with fun, happiness, anger, & a few stupid decisions. She captures the reader’s attention & keeps it from beginning to end. This is another winner in the Paradise series!”

Above reviews from Amazon

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Book Excerpt

Fab hit the steering wheel with a closed fist. “I’m going to run that jerk off the road.”

“No. You. Are. Not. And you’re not going to shoot out his tires either.” Though there was a zero chance of that happening. As talented as the hot, sexy woman was, she couldn’t steer and shoot at the same time. “We’ll act like normal people and call the police.” Normal, I laughed to myself. I hadn’t heard myself described that way in a long time. Mostly, I heard “weird” bandied about. An over-exaggeration – I’m familiar with weird, and that’s not me.

“You better come up with something better than that.” Fab pulled up alongside the truck on the driver’s side.

I powered the window down and hung my head out, my hand in mid-air, ready to flag the man down, even though I knew that chances were slim that he’d pull over. Pulling my head back in the window, I said, “Change of plans.” I pushed my red hair back into place, smoothing it down, certain it was a wind-whipped mess. “The fancy tow truck is one of Brick’s.”

Brick and I had a tenuous relationship; it was hard to trust him when I knew he never put Fab’s safety first, or mine either. He opposed our relationship, knowing that several times I had convinced my daring friend to calm down and rethink her plan. As a backup to Super PI Fab, there were few jobs that didn’t include flying bullets and running for our lives. I was happy for the respite. So were our boyfriends, who’d had a face-to-face with Brick, laying down the rules: no more withholding details, and if it came out after the fact that he knew there was a high chance of danger, it would be the last mistake he would make. My boyfriend followed that up with a right cross to Brick’s eye.
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Fab made an outraged sound. “I don’t believe you.”

~~~~~~~

My Review

As usual Deborah Brown doesn’t disappoint – all the characters we have come to know and love are back and this time there are odd goings on in a neighbouring house with a corpse a little too close to home. Could the death be related to a recent lottery win?  There are strange goings on a plenty with dubious individuals appearing in Madison’s house and skulking around her property.

Crime tends to take a backseat, though, to the relationship between the dynamic duo, Madison and Fab and their hunky boyfriends.  This time, things are a little dodgy between the hot French couple, Fab and Didier, who has finally got fed up with her antics and propensity to hospitalise herself and put her life at risk.  Will they work things out?

The hilarious Crum is still causing chaos at The Cottages, Kevin is still on Fab and Madison’s case and the boys at the Tropical Slumber Funeral Parlour have gone into the wedding business. There’s never a dull moment and this is a great book to take your mind of the chilly, rainy autumn weather.

About the Author


I’ve been writing, in one way or another for as long as I can remember; poetry, sappy short stories (my best friend made me swear that I’d never show anyone until I changed the names), and a romance novel shoved under my bed.

I wanted to create books with a wide range of unforgettable characters, with heat and romance, and lots of guns. It wouldn’t be complete without a slice of humour and charm.

I live with my family and demon children aka rescue cats in South Florida.

Find the author on the following sites…


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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

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Break In By John W Mefford – Book Review

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NEW RELEASE: Break In by John W Mefford

Even when someone is cloaked by a charming smile and friendly nature, Ivy Nash knows the scent of a predator. Half of her life has been filled with one horrific event after another. Which is why she started ECHO, dedicating her life to rid the world of those who prey on children.

But despite all of her life experiences, nothing can prepare her for the “fun house.” A terror unlike any other. And that’s when she must decide if clinging to life is worth the hell that she will pay.

Available to buy from…
Amazon.com   Amazon.co.uk   Barnes and Noble  Kobo   Paperback

“Rife with deceit and deception and characters that leap off the page, this story is told with confidence through a sure hand, engaging both the mind and the heart. A compelling treat.” — Steve Berry, New York Times Bestselling Author

“An intense and heart-wrenching story that keeps you engaged from beginning to end.” — Simon Wood, USA TODAY Bestselling Author of DECEPTIVE PRACTICES.

“I love the way that Mefford writes, seamlessly jumping between characters and time frames with no confusion, and he is extremely descriptive of the setting. You almost feel like you are watching a movie instead of reading a book!” — Hilary Mahoney, Elusive Red Tiger

Above reviews from An Ivy Nash Thriller, Book 1, IN Defiance

Books in the Alex Troutt Thriller Series:

AT Bay, AT Large, AT Once, AT Dawn, AT Dusk, At Last

Books in the Ivy Nash Thriller Series:

IN Defiance, IN Pursuit, IN Doubt, Break IN

Coming soon…

IN Control, IN The End

Q&A with author John W. Mefford: 

Q: What do the Ivy Nash Thrillers have to do with the Redemption Thriller Series?

JWM: The Ivy Nash Thrillers comprise the second sub-series in the Redemption Thriller Series. The Alex Troutt Thrillers are the first sub-series. While I’ll eventually write a series that connects the major characters and plots from all the sub-series, you don’t have to read the AT books prior to the IN books. But I have to say, the AT thrillers are darn good.

Q: So you’re saying you don’t have to read the Alex Troutt Thrillers before the Ivy Nash Thrillers?

JWM: Nope. While a few of the characters might occasionally overlap between the series, they can be read as stand-alone. And then I’ll wrap everything up in a final set of six novels that connects all of the main characters and stories from each sub-series. If you haven’t read any of the Alex Troutt thrillers yet, you can try out the first three at a pretty nice discount. Just search for Alex Troutt Box Set.

Q: Can you give some insight into how Ivy Nash might connect to Alex Troutt down the line?

JWM: Sure…and then I’ll send over a hit squad. Seriously, I’ll be sprinkling in a few clues along the way for those who pay close attention to the details, but it will all come together in that final six novels of the Redemption Thriller Series. And it will be explosive and gut-wrenching at the same time.

Q: How many different sub-series are you planning to have in the Redemption Thriller Series?

JWM: Right now, I see four sub-series in the Redemption Thriller Series, with six novels in each. It’s the most challenging and fulfilling creative endeavour I’ve undertaken. I hope you enjoy the journey.

My Review of Break In by John W Mefford

Each new Mefford thriller is a roller-coaster ride through crime scene after crime scene as he weaves multi-stranded plots together at breakneck speed.

Ivy’s back and this time her latest case involves the systematic dismantling of a family of young boys and their grandpa by kidnapping.  At the same time, Cristina is acting solo and has even gone back to school to pursue her own case, but manages to end up in danger herself.

There’s a great cast of nefarious characters, mostly all in disguise so that you never really know who is who or what their motives are.  One of these is a particularly nasty blogger who is gunning to bring Ivy and her friends down.  She seems to have an inside scoop on exactly what’s happening but how is she getting so close to Ivy?

And, whilst trying to find office space for her business ECHO, Ivy ends up in the greatest danger of all, finding herself in the clutches of a master criminal – but is Ivy herself actually a killer?

Mefford’s writing is bubbling with energy as usual and the reader finds themselves racing to discover the truth – whilst hoping it won’t be too late for Ivy Nash.

About the Author

Amazon Top 50 Author, #2 bestselling author on Barnes and Noble, and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal winner.

A veteran of the corporate wars, former journalist, and true studier of human and social behaviour, John W. Mefford has been writing his debut novel since he first entered the workforce twenty-five years ago, although he never put words on paper until 2009.

A member of International Thriller Writers, John writes novels full of intrigue, suspense, and titillating thrills. They also evoke an emotional connection to the characters.

When he’s not writing, he chases three kids around, slaves away in the yard, reads, takes in as many sports as time allows, watches all sorts of movies, and continues to make mental notes of people and societies across the land.

“Pop on over to my WebsiteFacebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and Amazon Author Page

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I received a copy of Break In by John W Mefford through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.  You can read more of my book reviews here.

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Beck Valley Book Tour: A Flair For Drama – A Sadie Kramer Flair Mystery By Deborah Garner

NEW RELEASE….

When a former schoolmate invites flamboyant senior sleuth Sadie Kramer to a theatre production, she jumps at the excuse to visit the Monterey Bay area for a weekend. With quaint Carmel shops a short drive away and luxurious linens in her hotel accommodations, the excursion promises to be both entertaining and relaxing.

Plenty of action is expected on stage, but when the show’s leading lady turns up dead, Sadie finds herself faced with more than one drama to follow. With both cast members and production crew as potential suspects, will Sadie and her sidekick Yorkie, Coco, be able to solve the case?



Available on the following sites….
Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk 

“Deborah Garner is gifted at bringing each character to life. She adds details seamlessly, making it seem like you know these people. She presents scenarios that have you thinking you know who did it, and then in the next sentence you are second guessing yourself. And that is to say, this is a great “who done it” … it gets 2 thumbs up from me :)” – reviews Tracy Helps You

“I love the way Deborah Garner describes everything in this book, and I can’t wait to read more in this series! This book literally kept me guessing until the very end.” – reviews Sanity is for those without children


“Deborah Garner has created a unique and very flamboyant main character who seems to find trouble all by herself and turns into an amateur sleuth!” – reviews Miki’s Hope

Above reviews from A Flair for Chardonnay (A Sadie Kramer Flair Mystery Book 1)


A Flair for Chardonnay (A Sadie Kramer Flair Mystery Book 1)


When flamboyant senior sleuth Sadie Kramer learns the owner of Cioccolato, her favorite chocolate shop, is in trouble, she heads for the California wine country with a tote-bagged Yorkie and a slew of questions. The fourth generation Tremiato Winery promises answers, but not before a dead body turns up at the vintners’ scheduled Harvest Festival.

All four Tremiato siblings have possible motives, as well as a few peripheral acquaintances, but only one could be the guilty party. As Sadie juggles truffles, tips and turmoil, she’ll need to sort the grapes from the wrath in order to find the identity of the killer.



Available to buy from….
Amazon.com    Amazon.co.uk 



My Review

If you love Miss Marple and Murder She Wrote, I’m pretty sure you’ll love Deborah Garner’s slightly eccentric senior sleuth, Sadie Kramer. A Flair For Drama sees chocolate loving boutique owner Sadie, visiting an old school friend, Roxy who is working back stage at a theatre production.

Sadie is a really likeable character whose boutique, Flair in San Francisco is full of unusual and wonderfully colourful and sparkly items. She’s a widow but has a constant companion who travels everywhere with her, Coco, the Yorkshire Terrier.

Coco is usually out of sight, however, spending a lot of time secluded in a large tote bag and when she does appear, it really adds to the comedy of the story – particularly when she makes an unexpected theatrical debut.

Sadie ends up solving crime in the middle of the show’s run with her faithful doggy companion who seems to be more human than dog.  

Despite the fact that the show’s leading lady meets an unfortunate end, this is not a blood and guts murder mystery and the book has a gentle charm which makes it easy to read.

There is much ‘earwigging’, reading of body language and blending in to observe, in the way only older ladies can.  There’s not much Sadie’s misses, even while munching numerous chocolate croissants and chocolate lava cake – the recipe for which you’ll find at the back of the book.

An easy, breezy read ideal for a lazy summer day on the beach.

About the author




Deborah Garner is an accomplished travel writer with a passion for back roads and secret hideaways. Born and raised in California, she studied in France before returning to the U.S. to attend UCLA. After stints in graduate school and teaching, she attempted to clone herself for decades by founding and running a dance and performing arts center, designing and manufacturing clothing and accessories, and tackling both spreadsheets and display racks for corporate retail management. Her passions include photography, hiking and animal rescue. She speaks five languages, some substantially better than others. She now divides her time between California and Wyoming, dragging one human and two canines along whenever possible.

Find the author on the following sites…

Website   Facebook   Twitter   Google+   Goodreads   Amazon Author Page

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.

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Are you a book reviewer or book blogger? Join our book tours reviewers team – Apply Here x

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