Monday, March 28, 2016

The Author Game: 15 Random Things About Me!

I don't always talk about myself here at Writing Belle. I like to use the magazine to spotlight other authors. But today, I'm playing a little "author game," if you will. Here are 15 random things about me that you probably never cared about knowing or need to know, but here I am. 

This post is purely for the validation of the fact that we writers are slightly odd. Just a tad weird. But we have lots of fun! 

15 Things About Summer Lane 

1. I snack. A lot. I work in an office (my own office), and I spend 90% of my time sitting at the computer, coming up with new ideas, flipping out publicity, interviewing people or writing novels. As a result, I find myself with a severe case of something called THE MUNCHIES. All. The. Time. I am very sensitive when it comes to food, however, so I can't just sit down and eat cookies all day. I'm gluten-intolerant so anything with bread is automatically OUT the window. I snack on apples, nutella, or apples AND nutella, potato chips, yogurt or dark chocolate with tea. LOTS of tea. I live on tea.

2. I use SnapChat. My poor fiance will tell you that yes, I indeed use SnapChat to break up the monotony of office work. The longer I spend sitting in my office chair, the weirder my SnapChats become. I have a myriad of friends who can attest to that. Say cheese!

3. I can't go outside without sunglasses. I have extremely sensitive eyes and I have to be careful about my exposure to sunlight. Too much sunshine on my eyes can equal a very bad headache or a throbbing eye socket (ouch!). I wear sunglasses even when it's rainy outside. My favorite pair of sunglasses are my RayBans. They're just so darn comfortable!

4. I love going Coldstone Creamery. I love ice cream. I can't eat a ton of it (because of my sensitivity thing), but when I can, I will go to Coldstone Creamery and get birthday cake ice cream, mix it with chocolate, and chow down. Another treat I love to have? Chocolate cream cheese cookies (gluten free). Yum.

5. I am a shameless sunbather. Despite my sensitive eyes, with a pair of sunglasses I can be outside all I want! From February to November, I am outside in the sunshine, soaking up the golden rays. I'm not excessive about it - I just go in the sun enough to get a nice glow and enjoy the heat. Which brings me to my next point...

6. I am a creature of the sun. I love being warm. I hate snow. I do not like being cold, and living in the warmth of the Central Valley of California is perfect for me. It doesn't start to get cold here until around November, and even then our lowest temperature is about 30 degrees (for a week or two). Right now it's March, and I have been lying in the backyard in my swimsuit, enjoying high 70s. I LOVE IT.

7. No veggies - just give me all the fruit. I adore fruit - all kinds. Peaches, nectarines, plums, oranges, apricots, watermelons, get the idea. I can't get enough fruit. I realize that I SHOULD love veggies as much as I love fruit, but I'm sorry. I just can't. Fruit will always be my number one.

8. I'm secretly obsessed with Costco. I could live in Costco. I love the variety of food and the sheer bulk. It's just so cool. As soon as I get married in October, I'm getting a Costco card. I'll probably gain about a hundred pounds, too. Just saying.

9. My favorite meals are: Hawaiian pizza with white sauce, corn tamales, a tossed salad with ranch dressing, a juicy New York steak or a pork sirloin with garlic mashed potatoes. I love a good bacon-wrapped filet mignon, too.

10. I am addicted to buying bulletin boards. It won't be long until my entire wall is covered from floor to ceiling with cork. I keep track of my life by pinning it to these boards, and every year my collection continues to grow. I couldn't function without them, I tell you!

Mini me. The eternal reader.
11. I rarely watch television. Once a year (usually in the Fall), I end up trying out some new television show, courtesy of Netflix, and I get about one season into the show before I run out of time to keep watching. If I have free time, I'm either visiting with friends or reading a book. That's basically my life! 

12. My two favorite holidays are Independence Day and Thanksgiving. I love the 4th of July because it's in the dead of summer, which means pool parties, pizza and icy drinks. Thanksgiving is my other favorite holiday because I love the simplicity of families and friends getting together to eat a meal - no presents involved! 

13. When people ask me what's going on in my writing world, I always answer with something like, "I've written 11 books so far, with number 12 on the way!" And then I realize that it sounds like I'm expecting to give birth to a child. But you know what? It's really kind of accurate. Just saying. 

14. Wedding planning is terrifying to me. I mean, yes, it's really fun, but I want to confess fully and completely that when I was growing up, I never thought about getting married. I dreamed of writing books and owning publishing houses - getting married was not on my radar! I'm so thankful for the sweet guy I'm marrying this year. He walked into my life and, in that moment, changed it forever. I love him so much! Let me tell you: all of these wedding plans are intense, however. One more thing on my list and I'm thinking of eloping! 

Countdown until October 1st!

15. The fifteenth random fact about me is that I am an exceptionally good whistler. I can whistle pretty much any tune, any time. If there was an American Idol for Whistling, I'd probably audition. I mean, what talent! * wink, cough, eye roll *

So there you have it! 15 random facts about me, the author, Summer Lane. I hope your week is awesome. I've got some fun posts and giveaways coming up at the end of this week and all through April, so stay tuned! Also, just a few more weeks until Bravo: Apocalypse Mission releases! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

MOTHER: Sometimes Your Past is Worse Than You Remember (Guest Post: Building Characters!)

Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross
Glass Apple Press
Release: Spring 2016

Psychological Thriller


A Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother ...
Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.

Family is Forever. And Ever and Ever ...
No one escapes Prissy’s watchful eye. No one that is, except her son, who committed suicide many years ago, and her daughter, Claire, who left home more than a decade past and hasn’t spoken to her since. But now, Priscilla’s daughter and son-in-law have fallen on hard times. Expecting their first child, the couple is forced to move back … And Prissy is there to welcome them home with open arms … and to reclaim her broken family.

The Past Isn’t Always as Bad as You Remember.
Sometimes it’s Worse ...
Claire has terrible memories of her mother, but now it seems Priscilla has mended her ways. When a cache of vile family secrets is uncovered, Claire struggles to determine fact from fiction, and her husband, Jason, begins to wonder who the monster really is. Lives are in danger - and Claire and Jason must face a horrifying truth … a truth that may destroy them … and will forever change their definition of “Mother.”

Guest Post from Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross 

Building Characters 

When it comes to storytelling, few things are as important as characterization. Characters are what ultimately build and carry a story, and our philosophy is that if you treat them with respect - and listen to them - they’ll do right by you. When writing our latest thriller, Mother, we had a lot of fun building the cast - an entire cul-de-sac full - and it’s interesting to look back at where these characters got their beginnings. Characters always know best when it comes to plotting and we bow to their opinions even when they do things we wish they wouldn’t. That said, here’s a little bit about some of our main players, how they came into existence, and how we used them to develop Mother.

Timothy Martin is the first character readers will meet in Mother, and though his time with us is short, he’s a fascinating guy - as we see from the journals he left behind. Tim was Priscilla Martin’s son, older brother to Claire, and at the age of twenty, he decided he could no longer live with his past. For his devel0pment, we delved into the psychological effects of various types of abuse. How would a boy, stunted and controlled by an obsessive mother, grow to be a man? What would this kind of upbringing do to his self-image? How would having a mother as tyrannical as Priscilla Martin affect his relationships? These are just a few of the questions we had to ask when developing Timothy. Researching these topics proved both fascinating - and revolting.  

Well … what can we say about Priscilla Martin? She’s the self-proclaimed ruler of Morning Glory Circle. She’s also a little bit Norma Bates, a pinch of Medea, a dash of Margaret White, and a dollop of Corrine Dollanganger, all smothered in a creamy layer of Donna Reed. With faith as rigid and unwavering as her hair, we think Priscilla does what she believes is right - assuming of course, that the “right” thing is whatever best serves her purpose. Despite her ever-helpful appearance, Priscilla has control issues that range from executing perfect bake sales and block parties to keeping her invalid husband, her friends, and her daughter, Claire, in strict subjugation. We developed her with one objective in mind: To bring terror to the reader’s very doorstep. There are so many stories about the dangers of the unknown. The fear that the word “stranger” strikes into our collective hearts is more evidence of our illusion that the “real” dangers are “out there” somewhere. But that’s not often the case: Where do you hide if home is where the horror is?

Expecting their first child and facing a set of life-changing circumstances, our protagonists, Claire and Jason Holbrook, are forced to move back into Claire’s mother’s house. When creating this couple, we first had to establish the reasons that Claire has vowed never to see her mother, Prissy Martin, again. Then we needed to pit them  against such overwhelming odds that Claire would buckle, admit defeat, and return home, albeit temporarily. We intentionally gave Claire a sprinkling of her mother’s less-than-favorable characteristics because we are all affected, for better or worse, by our parents. But Claire fights against her upbringing at all turns. As for Jason, we made him honorable and trusting - and a little naive. Coming from a stable, loving, and very normal upbringing, it was important that he be wholly unprepared for what awaits him at Mother’s house.

Father Andrew Pike became head of Holy Sacramental Church a few years ago when Father Dave took early retirement. Andy is still young, a little naive, and wants nothing but good for his parishioners. In developing him, we wanted to show a Catholic priest who is intelligent and kind. Father Dave Flannigan treats him like a son and counsels him as best he can, but Dave is tormented by his own dark secrets - secrets, we must confess, that have nothing to do with altar boys. When Mother began, Father Andy was a very minor character who grew to be so important to the plot that he asked us to create Dave so he’d have someone to consult. We love it when that happens.

Paul Schuyler, Timothy Martin’s former best friend, and Stephanie Banks, Tim’s former girlfriend, came from two very different places. Paul was one of those surprise characters who sneaked up on us to help tie things together and ended up telling a story of his own. Stephanie goes way back to an old notebook of characters we’d developed before we even knew exactly what novel she belonged in. Paul and Stephanie have a few things in common: First, their connection to Timothy Martin, which goes back to elementary school days. Second, they share knowledge that sheds light on the shadows Claire and Jason face. Paul, a pilot, and Stephanie, being in the mental health field, not only gave us fascinating topics for research, but also helped us explore the pasts of Timothy Martin and his mother, Priscilla, adding some nice (well, not nice, exactly) layers to the novel.

In writing Mother, we knew that her cul-de-sac, Morning Glory Circle, would be a character in itself - and a portrait of a typical neighborhood. What street doesn’t have the mean old guy who yells at kids to stay off his lawn, the neighborhood gossip, the beauty queen, and the person who calls the cops at one minute after ten to complain about loud music?

The residents of the cul-de-sac are a conglomeration of all the neighbors we ever met or heard about. First, there’s Phyllis and Clyde Stine. Phyllis’ style is stuck in the past - her platinum hair is teased and her mold-blue eyeshadow goes all the way up to her eyebrows (a considerable distance since the woman has obviously undergone so much plastic surgery.) We enjoyed writing Phyllis so much (detestable as she is) that we felt it appropriate to make her a relation to another of our detestable characters: Constance Welling, from our novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting. Naturally, we turned to Constance when it came to developing Phyllis … which isn’t to say Phyllis isn’t a character in her own right; they’re quite different. In fact, we doubt very much that the two of them ever got along.

Stan and Aida Portendorfer are well-liked grandparent sorts. Stan likes to take walks around Morning Glory Circle in order to see what’s up on the Sac and shoot the breeze with his neighbors. Aida prefers her ever-present field glasses. She’s the neighborhood gossip and the best cook on the street, so she’s very popular at Morning Glory’s frequent block parties. The Portendorfers served us well, lending this book a helping of humor as well as giving us another point of view from which to view the world we’ve created in Mother.

Earl and Earlene Dean are the neighbors who refuse to participate in any street parties. Why, they won’t even erect the street’s giant candy canes on their lawn at Christmas.  And those two girls of theirs - the neighbors call them “The Shining Twins.” Odd little things. In a way, the Deans mirror Priscilla’s hidden nature - which even she refuses to look at with honesty.

Roddy Crocker is an officer with the Snapdragon Police Department but his real claim to fame is an unusual personal talent which serves to bring our story full-circle. He’s become great friends with the Lowells - relative newcomers who only moved in six years ago. Prissy Martin intensely dislikes Hank and Crystal Lowell. Crystal’s lipstick-red hair and tattoos and Hank’s beard and cycle shop make them white trash as far as she’s concerned. Most of the other neighbors, Roddy included, look past their eccentricities.

Milton and Candy Sachs live in a cotton-candy colored house next door to Prissy Martin. Prissy loathes Candy because of the pink paint - and because she is a statuesque blonde that every man - and woman - on Morning Glory can’t help but stare at. Candy is as sweet as the color of her house. Their son, Billy, is beloved by all for his lawn mowing and car waxing prowess. The Sachs are perhaps one the best tributes we made to our theory that everyone has secrets … that even the most beautiful people aren’t exactly what they seem.

And then there’s Duane Pruitt and Jerry Park. They keep their yard up so Prissy doesn’t mind them despite the fact that she considers their marriage an abomination against the Lord. She still can’t believe Duane is gay - he’s a contractor and drives a pick-up truck for heaven’s sake. But there’s far more to Duane and Jerry than meets the eye ... and theirs is a secret that helped us take Morning Glory Circle into full, uninhibited bloom.

Geneva-Marie Collins and her family live next door to Duane and Jerry. They recently rebuilt their Colonial home into a huge hacienda-style house that doesn’t fit in with the traditional homes on the street. Prissy Martin finds it appalling, though others don’t complain. Geneva-Marie is a pillar of the neighborhood and almost as important in the Ladies Auxiliary as Prissy - and in Prissy’s eyes, that makes her a rival. Through Geneva-Marie, we got to see what mettle Priscilla was really made of … and even we were alarmed.

Ace Etheridge and his daughter, Iris, live in that house just over there. Ace is owner and editor of the Snapdragon Daily and Iris teaches fourth grade at the elementary school. If you’re a regular reader of our work, we think you’ll take great delight in discovering Ace’s other “identity” in Mother.

Nellie and Bertie Dunworth. We’re not sure exactly where these sisters came from. We only know we enjoyed giving them the kind of jobs that would have Priscilla frothing at the mouth with fury and disgust. As minor antagonists to Prissy, it was also important that the Dunworth’s yard not have nearly enough landscaping for her tastes.

Babs and Carl Vandercooth live in a beautiful pale gray Colonial. Babs is a sweet, kind woman whom everyone loves. She has always been Prissy’s right hand, but more importantly, she is “Aunt Babs” to Claire - they’re very close. In developing Babs, we often thought of Betty White circa 1985, which may or may not become apparent when readers discover the names of Babs’ two sisters.

And that’s how we went about building the characters for Mother. Each must further the story, or add a needed layer, especially when dealing with such a large cast. Characters should never be static; they should grow and adapt and change according their circumstances. We’re firm believers in breaking stereotypes, which is part of the reason we created Morning Glory Circle. It is, in itself, a stereotypical neighborhood … but, as it is in real life, when you dig beneath the surface, the truth emerges, and few things are what they seem.

About the Authors

Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross was born in the western United States and began penning his own stories by the age of eight. First published in 2012, Alistair has since written several more books. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller which earned praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestselling author, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write, among other things, the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. Learn more about Alistair at:

Tamara Thorne
Tamara Thorne’s first novel was published in 1991. Since then she has written many more, including international bestsellers Haunted, Bad Things, Moonfall, and The Sorority. Tamara’s interest in writing is lifelong, as is her fascination with the paranormal, occult, mythology and folklore. She’s been an avid ghost story collector and writer all her life. Tamara’s novels range from straight-out ghost stories to tales of witchcraft, conspiracies, UFOs, elemental forces, and vampires. No matter what topic she chooses, chances are you’ll find a ghost or two lurking in the background. Today, she and her frequent collaborator, Alistair Cross, share their worlds and continue to write about ghosts and other mysterious forces. Whether collaborating or writing solo, there is no shortage of humor, sex, blood, and spookiness. Learn more about her at:

Thorne & Cross
In collaboration, Thorne & Cross have written The Cliffhouse Haunting, The Ghosts of Ravencrest, and Mother, as well as the ongoing Ravencrest Saga, a serialization with new installments appearing every four to six weeks. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project, and whether writing individually or as a team, neither has any intention of slowing down anytime soon.
In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the internet radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which premiered to great acclaim and has featured such guests as Chelsea Quinn Yarbro of the Saint-Germain vampire series, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels, Peter Atkins, author and screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston and Child, Christopher Rice, Jonathan Maberry, and Christopher Moore.
Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Check it out HERE! 
Connect with the Authors Online!

Twitter: @crossalistair


Monday, March 21, 2016

Vamps, Villains and Vaudeville Tour: Cozy Mystery Series and GIVEAWAY

Title: Vamps, Villains and Vaudeville 
Author: Ellen Mansoor Collier 
Series: Jazz Age Mystery #4 
In 1920s Galveston, society reporter Jazz Cross is in for a surprise when she attends a traveling vaudeville show with her beau, Prohibition Agent James Burton, and discovers that an old flame acts in the production. That night, they find a stabbing victim behind the Oasis — her half-brother Sammy’s speakeasy — who’s identified as an actor in the troupe. When the victim disappears and later turns up dead, Jazz must help prove that Sammy wasn’t the killer.
Meanwhile, a ring of jewel thieves is turning up all over town, robbing rich tourists of their precious gems. After a second vaudeville actor is found dead, Jazz discovers that the events behind the scenes are much more interesting than the outdated acts onstage.
To make matters worse, Sammy’s old nemesis demands that he settles a score and forces him into yet another illegal scheme. Can Jazz help solve the murders and prove her brother’s innocence—so he can escape the Downtown Gang for good?
A historical Jazz Age mystery inspired by real-life Galveston gangs and local landmarks.

Exclusive Excerpt from the Book!
“Please take your seats. The Villains, Vixens and Varmints Vaudeville Show is about to begin.” The master of ceremonies’ mellifluous voice boomed across Martini Theatre, and lights dimmed as a uniformed usher escorted me and Agent Burton to our front-row seats.
The society editor—my boss, Mrs. Harper—snagged two front-and-center seats to Friday night’s opening performance. No doubt the traveling troupe expected the Galveston Gazette (rather, me) to give them a rave review.
Well, we’d see if this dog-and-pony show lived up to its billing, literally. The MC gave a short introduction and a chubby clown paraded onstage with a spotted pony, a small terrier-mix perched atop its back. When the clown tried to coax the pup to stand on its hind legs, the spunky mutt refused to cooperate, while the audience laughed with glee....
I’d tried to beg off this assignment, but my boss always found a way to make me work until the last minute. “Vaudeville is so old hat,” I protested.  “Wouldn’t you rather attend? It’s right up your alley.”
“What do you mean by that, young lady?” Mrs. Harper eyed me under her wide-brimmed floral Edwardian bonnet. “Are you implying that I’m an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy, not as modern as you young flappers?”
Yes, that’s exactly what I meant. “Not at all. I thought you’d enjoy the show more since I prefer moving pictures. I can’t wait to see The Jazz Singer!”
“Take your young man and have a good time. Besides, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
My young man? She made Agent Burton sound like a pet Scottie.
Sure, I was sweet on him, despite my mixed feelings: Did I really want to date a Federal officer with such a dangerous occupation? As the lone Prohibition agent in the “Free State of Galveston”—where mobsters mingled with police and politicians—I worried his days might be numbered. The Treasury Department could ship Burton off to a new town on an even riskier assignment. Worse, Galveston gangsters could gun him down any moment, just for doing his job.
During intermission, the MC announced a last-minute replacement for Dan Dastardly in the closing act. After the break, “Milo the Magician” took the stage, elegant in a tux, top hat and white gloves, and performed his requisite card tricks and rabbit in the hat....
The final act highlighted a short scene from The Perils of Pauline, featuring a dastardly villain wearing a black mask and cape trying to kidnap helpless, hapless Pauline. Twirling his handlebar moustache, the evil masked man tied poor Pauline to a tree while the Tom Mix character managed to chase off the villain, and rescue his beloved damsel-in-distress. Yes, the act was so corny and hammy that it was comical, but I enjoyed the melodrama of it all.
After the show, the performers gathered on stage, and as each act stepped forward to take their separate bows, the applause grew louder. When thePerils of Pauline actors appeared, the audience stood up, clapping wildly and cheering as the performers grinned and waved. Seems I was wrong about vaudeville: The appreciative audience gave all the actors a standing ovation.
Strange, I noticed the villain smiling at me from his vantage point onstage—or was he? Surely I imagined it...until he took off his hat and held it out to me like a rose, or a bribe. Then he gave me a bold wink—right in front of  Agent Burton. Blushing, I did a double-take: Was the villain flirting with me? Or did he know I worked for the Gazette?
“Looks like the mystery man has his eye on you,” Burton teased. “Should I be jealous?”
“Dan Dastardly?” I laughed it off. “He must want a mention in the Gazette.  You know actors and their egos.”....
As we left, I glanced at the stage and saw the villain staring after us, his arms crossed, looking puzzled.  What did he expect—an interview? A bouquet of flowers? My phone number?

Enter the giveaway below! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author 
Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer and editor whose articles and essays have been published in a variety of national magazines. Several of her short stories have appeared in Woman’s World. During college summers, she worked as a reporter for a Houston community newspaper and as a cocktail waitress, both jobs providing background experience for her Jazz Age mysteries.
A flapper at heart, she’s worked as a magazine editor/writer, and in advertising and public relations (plus endured a hectic semester as a substitute teacher). She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism and served on UTmost, the college magazine and as president of WICI (Women in Communications).
FLAPPERS, FLASKS AND FOUL PLAY is her first novel, published in 2012, followed by the sequel, BATHING BEAUTIES, BOOZE AND BULLETS, released in May 2013. She lives in Houston with her husband and Chow mutts, and visits Galveston whenever possible.
“When you grow up in Houston, Galveston becomes like a second home. I had no idea this sleepy beach town had such a wild and colorful past until I began doing research, and became fascinated by the legends and stories of the 1920s. Finally I had to stop researching and start writing, trying to imagine a flapper’s life in Galveston during Prohibition.” 

Author and Buy Links 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Book Reviews: Dogs of War and Battle Dress

A couple of months ago, I did a feature on all of the books that I was currently reading. Well, guess what? Some of those books have finally been read, and I've got the reviews to prove it. Here are my takes on a couple of sweet reads. 

Battle Dress, by Amy Efaw 
Andi Davis is looking for an escape from her disorganized, dysfunctional home life, and West Point seems the only logical way out. Andi figures that given everything she has had to put up with at home, West Point will be a breeze. But nothing could have prepared her for the first six weeks of cadet training, better known as Beast. Andi is screamed at, belittled, and worn down during the long, grueling training that is designed to break cadets and then rebuild them into soldiers. The upper class cadets bark orders so fast that her head spins, and the fact that she is one of only two girls in her platoon makes things even more difficult. But Andi decides that anything is better than going home, anything.

My Review: 
An interesting read! I love learning more about the military, and West Point is particularly fascinating to me. I liked that the main character was a 17 year-old girl, rather than a boy. It's really interesting because the odds a female is up against is almost more intense than the males just because females carry around an inaccurate stereotype of being the "weaker" sex - which is touched on multiple times in the book. But instead of making it an all-out battle of the genders here, author Amy Effaw instead chooses to highlight the strengths of BOTH men and women, and shows us that in the Army, they can work TOGETHER and help kick some serious butt. It's a great message, and the main character makes an excellent role model for young women.

This was a good, clean read thats's safe for kids to read, too, which was an incredibly refreshing breath of fresh air in a YA market that seems saturated with lots of profanity.

The only thing I didn't like was a particularly long scene in the end of the book where the main characters did a LOT of talking about what they were going to do, and it took a long time to actually DO it. I skimmed a few pages there. But that's nitpicking. I definitely recommend this one!

Dogs of War by Lisa Rogak 
Military working dogs gained widespread attention after Cairo participated in the SEAL Team 6 mission that led to Osama bin Laden's death. Before that, few civilians realized that dogs served in combat, let alone that they could parachute from thirty thousand feet up.

The Dogs of War reveals the amazing range of jobs that our four-legged soldiers now perform, examines the dogs' training and equipment, and sets the record straight on those rumors of titanium teeth. You'll find heartwarming stories of the deep bond that dogs and their handlers share with each other, and learn how soldiers and civilians can help the cause by fostering puppies or adopting retirees.

My Review: 
For me, I never get tired of learning more about working dogs. While I admit that there are definitely some things about the biology of canines that I don't understand, I am filled to the brim with training techniques and K9 lifestyle information. Lisa's book is very easy to read, and full of basic information that the average person wouldn't know about military working dogs.

I loved the book - it was broken into short, easy sections and interspersed with the true stories of real military working dog heroes who have served their countries. I highly recommend it if you're looking for an interesting non-fiction read.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Relevance by Sonya Loveday (Cover Reveal)

Sonya Loveday
(The Six #2.5)
Publication date: March 21st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

The noun form of the adjective “relevant”.
Meaning “important to the matter at hand”.
Secretly located in the tunnels under Chicago’s city streets, Cole Enterprise is home to a group of trained soldiers. Jake Aceton is their newest acquisition. Recruited from boot camp before graduation after being handpicked by Grant Jackson, Jake is plunged into the mysterious underground world, forever changing his life.
Regardless of his relevance to Cole Enterprise, Jake has a hard time looking past all he has to give up. Can he learn to live in his own shadow in order to protect those he loves?
Other books in the series:
22969226 23876046 25473522

About the Author 
Sonya Loveday, first and foremost is a reader, an avid one. It is of that love that brought her to purchasing her first laptop in 2009, and publishing her first novel, Casted, in 2013.
In early 2014, Sonya expanded Casted and then went on to publish Spelled, the sequel to Casted in March, wrapping up the series, and her stint with Paranormal Romance. For now.
Not long after the completion to the Casted Series, Sonya tried her hand at New Adult/Coming of Age, a sub-genre of Contemporary Romance. Thusly, the Six were born with The Summer I Fell, which released at the end of July 2014. The demand from readers was instantanious, which brought about End Note, the second book of the series in December 2014.

To date, Sonya lives in Central Florida with her husband, and two kids, and is currently working on her fifth book set to release later this spring 2015.

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