Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013 Audiobook Blog Hop

Best of 2013 Audiobook Blog Hop

Here are my 3 favorites:

2 are from the same Series - Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson (started reading this series - because my nephews did and we love Disneyland -although these books take place at Disneyworld)

When Disney Imagineers installed hologram guides for the Magic Kingdom, using teenage models they had no idea the technology might backfire. But backfire it did: some nights when the kids go to sleep, they wake up in one of the Disney parks as a hologram.

With the adventures set forth in the first books now behind them, Kingdom Keepers 3: Disney In Shadow follows the five teens, Finn, Philby, Willa, Charlene, and Maybeck as they search to find Wayne, their mentor and head Imagineer who has mysteriously gone missing. Concerned Wayne has been abducted by the Overtakers—Disney villains, who along with other Disney characters, take over the parks when the turnstiles stop spinning, and want desperately to steer the parks to a far darker place—the five kids pick up a major clue from a close friend, Jez, whose dreams (nightmares, really) often accurately predict the future.

The very few clues from Jez’s dream lead the kids into Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot--through imaginary worlds that become real, by imaginary kids who are real. Each clue seems tied to the last, and with the stakes growing ever higher, what starts out as a puzzle ends up as a fight for their lives. Through a transparent paper box, a quest for a sword, rides on Soarin' and Maelstrom, life-and-death encounters with giant snakes, and a devious Maleficent, the Kingdom Keepers not only begin to decipher deeper meanings to the clues, but discover new truths about themselves and their ever-growing friendships

Just when life for the five Kingdom Keepers is beginning to settle down, an intriguing video suddenly appears on Philby's computer at school. It's a call to action: it seems that the Overtakers, a group of Disney villains, are plotting to rescue their two captured leaders, who were hidden away by Disney Imagineers after a recent violent encounter at Disney's Hollywood Studios. A staged attack by some mysterious new Overtakers at DisneyQuest confirms the Keepers? fears. One of their own, Charlene, has been behaving oddly. Has she tired of her role as a Keeper, or is there something more sinister at play? When she's caught sneaking into Epcot as a hologram ? which is strictly against the group's rules ? Finn and Philby know the Keepers must act. The Keepers have so many puzzles to solve: has the impossible occurred? Have the Overtakers created their own holograms? Have they found a way to ?jump? from the Virtual Maintenance Network onto the Internet, and if so, what does that mean for the safety of the Parks, and the spread and reach of the Overtakers? Are they recruiting an army of kids for their evil purposes? Trouble looms as the Kingdom Keepers struggle to differentiate friend from foe and battle new and increasingly dangerous enemies, all the while knowing they may be nearing a point of no escape.

My last one is a favorite series also - Debbie Macomber's Angels

In this joyous and whimsical holiday novel, Debbie Macomber rings in the season with the return of Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy, delivering laughs, love, and a charming dose of angelic intervention.

Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy know that an angel’s work is never done, especially during a time as wondrous as New Year’s Eve. With an apprentice angel, Will, under their wings, they descend upon Times Square in New York City eager to join in the festivities. And when Will spies two lonely strangers in the crowd, he decides midnight is the perfect time to lend a heavenly helping hand.

Lucie Farrara and Aren Fairchild meet after bumping into each other—seemingly by accident—in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. They immediately hit it off and find they have a lot in common: Lucie is a burgeoning chef and Aren is a respected food critic. But just as quickly as they’re brought together, another twist of fate tears them apart, leaving Lucie and Aren with no way to reconnect.

A year later, Lucie is the chef of an acclaimed new restaurant and Aren is a successful columnist for a major New York newspaper. For all the time that’s passed, the two have not forgotten their one serendipitous evening—and neither have Shirley, Goodness, Mercy, and Will. To reunite the young couple, the angels cook up a brilliant plan: mix true love, a second chance, and a generous sprinkle of mischief to create an unforgettable Christmas miracle.

Audible Giveaway:

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The Year-Long Memoir Reading Challenge

January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013

What is a "year-long memoir" anyway?

My definition of a year-long memoir is a memoir in which the author has undertaken some task or goal or virtue to pursue for an entire year, then written a book about his or her experience.

Why a reading challenge?

Why not? I like a good challenge.

What are the "rules" of the challenge?

1. Choose memoirs to read.
2. Read them.
3. Write a short review or your own reflective piece on what you read.

Who can join in?

Anyone! Just let me know if you're interested, email me or leave a comment, and I can add you to this blog. It's a group effort.

Do I have to have my own blog for this challenge?

Nope. Just a Google or Blogger account for me to add you.

How many books are allowed? Is there a minimum?

No. You can set a goal to read from 1 to 500...

Can I join this group blog?

Yes you can! Do you have to? Not if you don't want to.

What if I want to read a memoir that isn't a "year-long" memoir?

I don't mind, as long as it's a memoir or autobiography.

For more information and to sign-up, please see this post.

1 William L Finley: Photographer and Conservationist by Denise & Daniel Ankele (ebook)
2 Carrie and Me by Carol Burnett

The Baby-Sitters Club 2013 Reading Challenge

January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013

I recently reorganized my (huge) collection of Ann M. Martin's books. This took longer than it should have as I kept stopping to flip through some of my favorite titles. This got me desperately wanting to sit down and just read them all over again. And so that is exactly what I'm going to do. In addition to my regular reading, I plan to read The Baby-Sitters Club series from Kristy's Great Idea to The Fire at Mary Anne's House. If time permits I will also read the Mysteries, Super Special, Super Mysteries, and any of the the other supplemental books. My plan is to stick with the books pertaining to the main members of the club and only shoot for the spin-off series if I'm incredibly crazy. I also plan to do this all over the course of 2013. I will mark the titles I've completed in red. I won't necessarily be reviewing the books (since every review will consist of "read this book") but will try to post updates about my progress. Want to join in the fun? I would love to discuss this series with you! Feel free to set your own BSC reading goal and read as many of the books that you can!

The Baby-Sitters Club

Kristy’s Great Idea
Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls
The Truth About Stacey
Mary Anne Saves the Day
Dawn and the Impossible Three
Kristy’s Big Day
Claudia and Mean Janine
Boy Crazy Stacey
The Ghost at Dawn’s House
Logan Likes Mary Anne
Kristy and the Snobs
Claudia and the New Girl
Goodbye Stacey, Goodbye
Hello, Mallory
Little Miss Stoneybrook…and Dawn
Jessi’s Secret Language
Mary Anne’s Bad-Luck Mystery
Stacey’s Mistake
Claudia and the Bad Joke
Kristy and the Walking Disaster
Mallory and the Trouble With Twins
Jessi Ramsey, Pet-sitter
Dawn on the Coast
Kristy and the Mother’s Day Surprise
Mary Anne and the Search for Tigger
Claudia and the Sad Goodbye
Jessi and the Superbrat
Welcome Back, Stacey!
Mallory and the Mystery Diary
Mary Anne and the Great Romance
Dawn’s Wicked Stepsister
Kristy and the Secret of Susan
Claudia and the Great Search
Mary Anne and Too Many Boys
Stacy and the Mystery of Stoneybrook
Jessi’s Babysitter
Dawn and the Older Boy
Kristy’s Mystery Admirer
Poor Mallory!
Claudia and the Middle School Mystery
Mary Anne vs Logan
Jessi and the Dance School Phantom
Stacy’s Emergency
Dawn and the Big Sleepover
Kristy and the Baby Parade
Mary Anne Misses Logan
Mallory on Strike
Jessi’s Wish
Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street
Dawn’s Big Date
Stacey’s Ex-Best Friend
Mary Anne + 2 Many Babies
Kristy For President
Mallory and the Dream House
Jessi’s Gold Medal
Keep Out , Claudia!
Dawn Saves the Planet
Stacey’s Choice
Mallory Hates Boys (and Gym )
Mary Anne’s Makeover
Jessi and the Awful Secret
Kristy and the Worst Kid ever
Claudia’s Friend
Dawn’s Family Feud
Stacey’s Big Crush
Maid Mary Anne
Dawn’s Big Move - Jan 2013
Jessi and the Bad Babysitter
Get Well Soon Mallory!
Stacey and the Cheerleaders
Claudia and the Perfect Boy
Dawn and the We Love Kids Club
Mary Anne and Miss Priss
Kristy and the Copycat
Jessi’s Horrible Prank
Stacey’s Lie
Dawn and Whitney, Friends Forever
Claudia and Crazy Peaches
Mary Anne Breaks the Rules
Mallory Pike # Fan
Kristy and Mr. Mom
Jessi and the Troublemaker
Stacey vs. the BSC
Dawn and the School Spirit War
Claudia Kishi , Live from WSTO!
Mary Anne and Camp BSC
Stacey and the Bad Girls
Farewell , Dawn
Kristy and the Dirty Diapers
Welcome to the BSC , Abby
Claudia and the First Thanksgiving
Mallory’s Christmas Wish
Mary Anne and the Memory Garden
Stacey McGill , Super Sitter
Kristy + Bart =?
Abby’s Lucky Thirteen
Claudia and the Worlds Cutest Baby
Dawn and Two Many Sitters
Stacey’s Broken Heart
Kristy's Worst Idea
Claudia Kishi, Middle School Dropout
Mary Anne and the Little Princess
Happy Holidays, Jessi
Abby's Twin
Stacey the Math Whiz
Claudia, Queen of The Seventh Grade
Mind Your Own Business, Kristy!
Don't Give Up, Mallory
Mary Anne to the Rescue
Abby the Bad Spor
Stacey's Secret Friend
Kristy and the Sister War
Claudia Makes Up Her Mind
The Secret Life of Mary Anne Spier
Jessi's Big Break
Abby and the Best Kid Ever (
Claudia and the Terrible Truth
Kristy Thomas, Dog Trainer
Stacey's Ex-Boyfriend
Mary Anne and the Playground Fight
Abby in Wonderland
Kristy in Charge
Claudia's Big Party
Stacey McGill…Matchmaker
Mary Anne in the Middle
The All-New Mallory Pike
Abby's Un-Valentine
Claudia and the Little Liar
Kristy at Bat
Stacey's Movie
The Fire at Mary Anne's House

The Baby-Sitters Club: Super Specials

Babysitters on Board
Babysitters’ Summer Vacation
Babysitters’ Winter Vacation
Babysitters’ Island Adventure
California Girls
New York, New York
Babysitters at Shadow Lake
Starring the Babysitters Club
Sea City, Here We Come
The Babysitters Remember
Here Come the Bridesmaids
Aloha , Babysitters
BSC in the USA
The Babysitters European Vacation

The Baby-Sitters Club: Mysteries

Stacey and the Missing Ring
Beware, Dawn
Mallory and the Ghost Cat
Kristy and the Missing Child
Mary Anne and the Secret in the Attic
The Mystery at Claudia’s House
Dawn and the Disappearing Dogs
Jessi and the Jewel Thieves
Kristy and the Haunted Mansion
Stacey and the Mystery Money
Claudia and the Mystery at the Museum
Dawn and the Surfer Ghost
Mary Anne and the Library Mystery
Stacey and the Mystery at the Mall
Kristy and the Vampires
Claudia and the Clue in the Photograph
Dawn and the Halloween Mystery
Stacey and the Mystery at the Empty House
Kristy and the Missing Fortune
Mary Anne and the Zoo Mystery
Claudia and the Recipe for Danger
Stacey and the Haunted Masquerade
Abby and the Secret Society
Mary Anne and the Silent Witness
Kristy and the Middle School Vandal
Dawn Schafer, Undercover Babysitter
Claudia and the Lighthouse Ghost
Abby and the Mystery Baby
Stacey and the Fashion Victim
Kristy and the Mystery Train
Mary Anne and the Music Box Secret
Claudia and the Mystery in the Painting
Stacey and the Stolen Hearts
Mary Anne and the Haunted Bookstore
Abby and the Notorious Neighbor
Kristy and the Cat Burglar
The Baby-Sitters Club: Super Mysteries

Babysitter’s Haunted House
Babysitters’ Beware
Babysitters’ Fright Night
Babysitters’ Christmas Chiller

The Baby-Sitters Club Friends Forever
BSC Friends Forever Super Special : Everything Changes
Kristy's Big News
Claudia vs Stacey
Mary Anne's Big Breakup
Claudia and the Friendship Feud
Kristy Power
Stacey and the Boyfriend Trap
Claudia Gets Her Guy
Mary Anne's Revenge
Kristy and the Kidnapper
Stacey's Problem
Welcome Home, Mary Anne
Claudia and the Disaster Date
BSC Friends Forever Super Special : Graduation Day

Other Titles

Logan's Story
Logan Bruno, Boy Baby-Sitter
Shannon's Story
Kristy's Book
Claudia's Book
Mary Anne's Book
Stacey's Book
Abby's Book
Dawn's Book

Happy Reading!


Want to join the fun! Read as many BSC books as you can in 2013. There are no real rules. You can read your favorites or join me in a journey to complete the entire series! Have fun!
This reading challenge is hosted by Beauty and the Armageddon. For more information and to sign-up, please see this post.

Sounds like a fun one to me to see how many I can read.

2013 What's in a Name Reading Challenge

January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013

Welcome to the sixth What's in a Name challenge This challenge was originated by a young blogger named Annie, who hosted it for two years. When she decided to give up on being the host, I took over the challenge.

I credit this challenge with being one of the prime reasons for my becoming a blogger, so I am thrilled to be its new host.

Here's How It Works

Between January 1 and December 31, 2013, read one book in each of the following categories:

1) A book with up or down (or equivalent) in the title: Deep down True, The Girl Below, The Diva Digs up the Dirt
2) A book with something you'd find in your kitchen in the title: Loose Lips Sink Ships, The Knife of Never Letting Go, Breadcrumbs
3) A book with a party or celebration in the title: A Feast for Crows, A Wedding in Haiti, Cocktail Hour under the Tree of Forgetfulness
4) A book with fire (or equivalent) in the title: Burning for Revenge, Fireworks over Toccoa, Catching Fire
5) A book with an emotion in the title: Baltimore Blues, Say You're Sorry, Dreams of Joy
6) A book with lost or found (or equivalent) in the title: The Book of Lost Fragrances, The World We Found, A Discovery of Witches
The book titles are just suggestions, you can read whatever book you want to fit the category.

Other Things to Know

Books may be any form (audio, print, e-book).
Books may overlap other challenges.
Books may not overlap categories; you need a different book for each category.
Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed but encouraged.
You do not have to make a list of books before hand.
You do not have to read through the categories in any particular order.
On January 1, I'll publish 7 posts, each with a Mr. Linky (one for each category and one for your wrap-up post), on this blog so you'll have a place post links to your reviews (bloggers) or leave comments (non-bloggers) as you finish up each category. You'll be able to find these posts during the year by clicking on the button in the sidebar. (I'll create those links on January 1.)

Tip: If you're ever struggling to find a title to match a category, check out what other people have read so you can get ideas or be inspired. And remember to be creative.

To join in, sign up with Mr. Linky below. If you aren't a blogger, just add a comment. If Mr. Linky ever disappears, either try again later or click on the Email Icon in the side bar and send me your information, and I'll add the link myself.

To use Mr. Linky: put your name or your blog's name in the top box and the URL (web address) of your blog in the bottom box. If you don't have a blog, use your tumblr account, your Facebook page or simply mention your intent to join the challenge in the comments.

Thanks to @Uniflame and @SuziQoregon for suggestions for, inspiration for, and confirmation of this year's categories. Feel free to suggest ideas for 2014 in the comments.

It's never too late to join!

I hope you like the categories! Have fun and good luck.

This reading challenge is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. For more information and to sign-up, please see this post.

2 A Spoonful of Poison (Agatha Raisin, #19) by M C Beaton (Audio)
3 Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M C Beaton
5 Love, Lies and Liquor by M C Beaton(Agatha Raisin #17 ) (audio)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Author Guest Post : Devil’s Play by Kenya Carlton

The second installment of my Sweet as Sin series picks up five years later between Captain Drake Devilin and his magical wife, Sienna Caldwell. No one imagined that the black witch and genetically altered beast would still be together, least of all Drake and Sienna.
Devil’s Play is an interlude between the first book, Sweet as Sin, where the two characters meet and fall into instalust. I wouldn’t say they exactly loved each other, but they wanted to screw in the worst way possible and so they did. In the kitchen, library, you name it they did it. The physically chemistry carried over to the second book, where the two protagonists were still basking in the shade of their newlywed bliss. However, something wicked tries to encroach upon the couples tropical retreat on Parrott Island.
Lured from the island, Sienna is ordered to play three games to save her husband from death and their marriage from destruction. For the beauty to win, Drake must say her name in at least one of these magical games or recognize her to ensure the sanctity of their union. The man who puts them through these tests has already judged their relationship and deemed it worthless. Different worlds and scenarios are created by this sorcerer to show the couple that their love for one another was unreal and their lust wouldn’t last.
Devil’s Play is a short read that fits neatly between the first book and the last installment of this series. The thought that Drake and Sienna would have to continually defend their love for one another never occurred to the couple. The daunting task almost seems like a bigger job than their actual marriage. If they can make it through the magical adventure that the sorcerer puts them through, then their marriage may be considered solid … or so it may seem. The test of these games is to give the couple a clear look at what they would face if they didn’t have money or power. Each scenario is rigged for the couple to fail.
To be honest, much like the sorcerer, I didn’t think this relationship could last once they were off of that pretty island. I wanted to see what would happen if the layers got pulled back. The reality of what Drake and Sienna appeared to be completely raw, needed to be shown. Sure these two wanted to bone each other any and everywhere, but are they strong enough to fight for one another. And the bigger question is once they’re done fighting this battle, then what comes next? Check out Sinfully Ever After, the last installment in the series, to find out.

Devil’s Play
Sweet as Sin Series Book Two
Kenya Carlton

Genre: Paranormal Multicultural Erotic

Publisher: Parker Publishing
Date of Publication: May 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-60043-130-2

Number of pages: 169

Book Description:

Snuggled within the warm embrace of marital bliss, biologically altered army Captain Drake Devilin and his supernatural bride Sienna face their biggest challenge to date. Called back for duty in World War II, Drake must leave his amazing life behind and join his troop to fight the Nazis. Although he’s certain his new mission is merely a rouse to obtain his most precious commodity, his wife, Drake leaves, but not before giving Sienna a magical necklace in the hope it will protect her against unknown enemies.

Lured from her prosperous island by a sorcerer who is convinced she was always meant to be his bride. Sienna is challenged to play three magical games to ensure her husband’s safe return. In each game, a limited time is given to Sienna to immerse herself into a new world, situation, and persona; find Drake; and have him acknowledge her by name. And she can’t use her powers to make it happen.

Everything dear to Sienna’s heart is put in jeopardy. Willing to fight for the love of her life and her happiness, Sienna takes on the sorcerer in his own game of cat and mouse.

About the Author:

Native of Chicago Illinois, Kenya worked in the Network operation Center for PBS and TLN television stations. Executive producer of her own production company Black R.O.K Productions Kenya produced a pilot for travel series Destination Everywhere, Independent short film Dawn shown at the Chicago Latino film Festival, and wrote and directed the documentary Our Africa. Writing titles available; Jaded, Sweet as Sin, Brazil re-issue, Devil’s Play, and Remember This.


Twitter @kcbookcafe

Tour wide giveaway
5-$5 Amazon or Starbucks- winner’s choice

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Author Guest Post : Talking Dirty with the Boss by Jackie Ashenden

Six Things I'm Jealous of about a Winter Christmas.

Hi and thanks for having me on the blog. I'm still on Christmas vacation here in New Zealand and since Christmas is in summer for us, I thought I'd do a post about a few things I'm jealous of about a winter Christmas. I've only ever had two winter Christmases in my life and they were pretty special (I didn't get snow though, which was a disappointment to me).

1. No snow. Which means no snow angels, no tobogganing, no skating, no skiing.
2. It's too hot for a cosy fire, which means you don't get to curl up in front of it while you open your Christmas presents.
3. Mulled wine is nice but I suspect it would be even nicer if it was cold outside and not blazingly hot.
4. While we do have a traditional Christmas dinner - ie ham or turkey – it's still summer and hot, and being full is much more pleasant in winter. It's also not fun when you have to put on your swimming costume the day after all the Christmas cheer…
5. Because it doesn't get that cold in Auckland – even in winter – we don't often have fires in our houses. Which means no chimneys. And no mantelpieces to put your Christmas stocking on. And having Santa come in through the door or the window really isn't as exciting.
6. When it's cold and snowy you have more excuses to stay inside, curled up in front of the fire, reading your Christmas books. Unlike here, when it's sunny outside and everyone wants you to go do something and you don't have any excuses not to.

What about you? What was your most enjoyable Christmas? And did you ever have Christmas in the summer?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books | All Romance | iTunes

About the Author:

Jackie has been writing fiction since she was eleven years old. Mild mannered fantasy/SF/pseudo-literary writer by day, obsessive romance writer by night, she used to balance her writing with the more serious job of librarianship until a chance meeting with another romance writer prompted her to throw off the shackles of her day job and devote herself to the true love of her heart – writing romance. She particularly likes to write dark, emotional stories with alpha heroes who’ve just got the world to their liking only to have it blown wide apart by their kick-ass heroines.

She lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr Jax, two kids, two cats and some guppies (possibly dead guppies by the time you read this). When she’s not torturing alpha males and their stroppy heroines, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, posting random crap on her blog, or being forced to go mountain biking with her husband.

Jackie’s Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stacking The Shelves #21 & #22 & #23

What is Stacking The Shelves all about?

We are all book lovers and the need to share our enthusiasm is sometimes overwhelming. Stacking The Shelves by Tynga's Reviews is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

If you’re anything like me, you are probably hoarding books and even though you are excited about your latest book arrival, it might be a while before you get to review it and Stacking The Shelves is a good way to express your undying enthusiasm for those titles!



All Romance.com

Will start going again the first of the year - usually get my audio books there

Books For Review

Sunday Post Edition #51

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

This Last Week @ Books, Books The Magical Fruit

Week of Dec 16 – Dec 22
Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop (I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Bookhounds)
Author Guest Post (Bewitching Book Tours): Devil’s Play by Kenya Carlton
Book Spotlight/Giveaway (Pump Up Your Books Tours) : Vengeance is Mine by Elizabeth Baroody

Next Week @ Books, Books The Magical Fruit

Week of Dec 30, 2013 – Jan 5, 2014
ClearYour Shelf January Giveaway Blog Hop (I AmA Reader)
Promo (Reading Addiction Blog Tours) : Nothing Personal by Rosalind James
Author Guest Post (Buy the Book Tours) : Talking Dirty with the Boss by Jackie Ashenden
Book Blast/Giveaway (Pump Up Your Books Tours) : The Disappearance of Jessie Hunter by Richard Williams

Monday, December 23, 2013

Bout of Books Read-A-Thon 9.0 - I'm doing

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Check out the fun events and giveaways all week long. Some look to be fun

Time Devoted to Reading

I will be reading all week.

My Goals

Clear out my Kindle Cloud of children's books (Will be making a list 1/1)


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2014 Audiobook Challenge

Reading Challenge Details:
Runs January 1, 2014 – December 31, 2014. You can join at anytime.
The goal is to find a new love for audios or to outdo yourself by listening to more audios in 2014 than you did in 2013.
Books must be in audio format (CD, MP3, etc.)
ANY genres count.
Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.
You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, Shelfari, Facebook, LibraryThing, etc.
If you’re a blogger grab the button and do a quick post about the challenge to help spread the word. If you’re not a blogger you can help by posting on Facebook or Tweeting about the challenge.

Newbie (I’ll give it a try) 1-5
Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) 5-10 I'm going for this level - need to use the library card more
Stenographer (can listen while multi-tasking) 10-15
Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20
Binge Listener (Why read when someone can do it for you) 20-30
My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30+

Check out the details

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Post Edition #50

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

This Last Week @ Books, Books The Magical Fruit

Week of Dec 16 – Dec 22
Author Guest Post (Bewitching Book Tours): Time for Love by Emma Kaye
Book Blitz/Giveaway (YA Bound) : Class of 98' by A L Player
Book Blast (YA Bound) : The Holders by Julianna Scott
Spotlight/Giveaway (Bewitching Book Tours): The Longest Night by Alyxandra Harvey
Book Blast/Giveaway (Pump Up Your Books Tours) : Dear Friend by Cheri DeGroot
Book Blast (Mother/Daughter Book): Lobo's Howliday (The Adventures of Lovable Lobo) by C.L. Murphy
Cover Reveal (YA Bound): Twelve Steps by Veronica Bartles
Cover Reveal (YA Bound) : Othello by C.E. Wilson
Cover Reveal (YA Bound) : Run To You by Clara Kensie
Cover Reveal (YA Bound) : The Romeo Club by Rebekah L Purdy
Cover Reveal (YA Bound) : The Skinwalker's Apprentice by Claribel Ortega
Cover Reveal (YA Bound) : Unrequited by Emily Smith
Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop (I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Bookhounds)
Release Blitz (InkSlinger PR): EQUISITE BETRAYAL by A.M. Hargrove
Book Promo (First Wild Card Tours): Love Our Vets: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD by Welby O'Brien

Next Week @ Books, Books The Magical Fruit

Week of Dec 23 – Dec 29
Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop (I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Bookhounds)
Author Guest Post (Bewitching Book Tours): Devil’s Play by Kenya Carlton
Book Spotlight/Giveaway (Pump Up Your Books Tours) : Vengeance is Mine by Elizabeth Baroody

Friday, December 20, 2013

Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop

I will be giving away a $10 Barnes & Noble giftcard

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Book Promo : Love Our Vets: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD by Welby O'Brien

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Deep River Books (November 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Emily Woodworth for sending me a review copy.***


Welby O'Brien holds a masters degree in counseling from Portland State University and a teaching degree from Biola University. She is the author of "Formerly a Wife" (WingSpread) and "Good-Bye for Now" (WingSpread). She is also a contributing author for both "Shepherding Women in Pain" (Moody Press), and "Chicken Soup for the Soul" (Divorce and Recovery). Her most important qualification is that she is married to a 100% disabled veteran with PTSD. Welby initiated and continues to lead a family support network know as Love Our Vets. She live what she writes.

Visit the author's website.


You may not have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), but if you are living with a veteran who does, you're suffering from it as well. Love Our Vets is dedicated to addressing the needs of the loved ones. It answers over 60 heartfelt questions, and provides tips for taking care of yourself. Sharing as a counselor and from her personal experience of living with a 100% disabled veteran with PTSD, Welby O'Brien gives hope, encouragement, and advice for the caregivers and families effected by this disorder. This is not a just book about PTSD, but a resource for those who struggling with the challenges it presents.

Product Details:
List Price: $15.99
Paperback: 216 pages
Publisher: Deep River Books (November 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937756645
ISBN-13: 978-1937756642



Our Questions
     What is your dream? We all want something. We long for it. Always have.
     What do you want―really want? What makes your heart ache, and what drives you to keep going? I have always longed for an enduring and fulfilling marriage. I want what I see in the movies. I want the hon¬eymoon to last forever.
     Well, now that I am all grown up and have experienced a failed marriage, as well as several years of a happy one, my dream is now subject to the confines of reality. We all know that no matter how wonderful the marriage, the honeymoon does not last forever. That is just a fact of human nature. But we do know that really great, successful, and fulfilling marriages are possible. But is that true for those with PTSD? All of us who are married to, or in a relationship with, a vet with PTSD are asking, “Is it possible for us to have a happy and fulfilling relationship?”
     What about those who are related in other ways to their veteran? Parents, siblings, children, friends, partners, and even coworkers. We all desire positive relationships with those we care about. Is there hope in all the craziness?
     After many years of wrestling with that question and seeking the perfect key, I finally realize it does not exist. There is no easy way. No magic formula. But what I have found in my own life and the lives of those around me is a principle that seems to be consistent. For all relationships.
     The most successful marriages and healthiest individuals seem to have more of this than those who don’t. Amazingly simple. But also a continuous goal. It is in the day¬to¬day living that we have the opportunities to experience the blessings of these two treasures: faith and love―shown by actions, and not dependent on feelings.
Faith is connection with God; love is connection with others. It is in connecting that healing and growth triumph. The comfort and closeness heals and nourishes. Ultimately, it is faith and love that provide the life-line we so desperately need. The pain and struggles do not go away. But where there is comfort there is hope. Truly we can find hope and practical help for ourselves personally and for our relationships.
     For the remainder of this book, I’ve chosen to use male pronouns in the interest of consistency. Please know that when I refer to “he” or “him,” these same strategies and words of encouragement apply if your brave loved one happens to be female. Men or women―this devastating disorder doesn’t play favorites.
The following pages contain a gold mine of practical help and hope for all who care for a veteran with PTSD. Although my own experience is in the context of marriage to a Vietnam veteran, the wisdom shared applies to all from all conflicts. Your loved one may even still be serving in the military. My hope is that this book will support and encourage all of you who struggle to love the vet in your life who has PTSD. You are the wives, the husbands, the parents, the children, and the dear friends who have made a courageous commitment to love your vet as well as humanly possible. He or she is your hero, but you are a hero too.
1. What is PTSD?
     Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs as a result of a severe trauma. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is a “mental health condition that’s trig¬gered by a terrifying event.” Wikipedia defines it as a “severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one’s own or someone else’s physical, sexual, or psychological integrity, overwhelming the individual’s ability to cope.” It may be an automobile accident, an assault, the tragic loss of a loved one, witnessing a horrific event, or anything that is horrible and shocking.
From the beginning of civilization as early as the first wars, PTSD has haunted its victims and their loved ones. Throughout history it has had other names, such as battle fatigue or shell shock. Up until the last few decades, PTSD went relatively undiagnosed and unacknowledged by our government. Now we know better. It is a serious problem affecting many of our men and women, particularly those who have experienced combat.
     The atrocities our veterans experienced are often too horrendous to even talk about―and in many cases, are locked away “safely” in the deepest parts of their memory. For the rest of their lives, they will live as if the impending crisis could reoccur at any moment. And what com¬passion it stirs in us to realize that most of them were just young men, boys at the time.
     There are many ways to describe PTSD and the effect it has. It can be likened to a reserve tank of coping skills for stress. Most people have a ready supply on hand for emergencies. With PTSD, however, the tank is about ninety¬five percent full, due to the brain operating in impending crisis mode at all times. The remaining five percent is all they have to handle real stress. Therefore, when something triggers them, they have no reserve with which to handle it in a healthy way as others might. Some terms used are that they get “triggered,” “activated,” or “hijacked.”
     Some of the typical symptoms include flashbacks, avoidance, numbing, withdrawing, hyper¬vigilance, irritability, being easily startled, memory blocks, sudden bursts of anger or other emotions, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, fear, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other addictive behaviors, difficulty holding a job, and relationship problems.
     I encourage everyone to take advantage of every opportunity to learn more about PTSD and its effects. It is also related to Traumatic Brain Injury. Include TBI in your research also. We are fortunate to have an abundance of resources, including classes, the VA, books, support groups, the internet, and those who live it firsthand.

2. Can his PTSD affect me?
     Hard as we try to not let it, it does. It is inevitable for two reasons. First, ever notice that when two people live together and are close on any level, they can’t help but rub off on each other? Conscious and subconsciously we affect each other. This goes for both positive and negative (sorry…I was hoping to just give out good news today).
The other reason we are affected by their PTSD is the nature of the disorder. Having lived with it ourselves, we do not need to be psychologists to know that those around are indeed impacted. The effects vary because each situation and each person is unique. However, the following may be considered typical when living with a PTSD vet: anxiety, fear, anger, mood¬matching, taking on their obsessive¬compulsive behaviors, trying too hard to fix them, being diligent to avoid anything that triggers them, sleep disturbances and deprivation, depression, isolation, avoidance, mood swings, hyper¬vigilance (sound like someone you know?), negativity, wanting to run away, wanting to throw in the towel, wondering if you made a mistake, feeling trapped, entertaining thoughts of suicide, filling your life with busy activities to distract, finding yourself trying to try harder, wishing someone understood, dreading going to sleep at night and dreading getting up in the morning, feeling terribly alone, feeling unloved, experiencing road rage, getting triggered yourself, trying really hard to figure things out, seeing things with a distorted perspective, poor self¬esteem, feeling irritable, struggling with food or other comfort addictions, feeling callused with walls up, wondering when you stopped living, feeling hopeless, questioning your faith, feeling drained and exhausted―and the list goes on.
     It has been said that there is such a thing as secondary PTSD. Similar to getting cancer from second¬hand smoke. It has also been labeled “vicarious trauma.” As loving, caring individuals, we have over time been exposed indirectly to their trauma. It will affect us on every level: emotionally, physically, spiritually, and psychologically.
     Camille’s vet came home from a lunch meeting with his fellow vet¬erans. At the restaurant, a lady had come up to them and started bragging about what she did to help the other side during the war. The enemy! He got so enraged (understandably so!) he stormed out and sped home. All the rest of that day he spilled his anger on her. Trying to be a good wife and to be supportive, she listened. That night she could not sleep. It was an awful night.
     The following day, she was perplexed (and exhausted), trying to figure out why she was such a wreck. At her next visit to her counselor, he explained what is called “limbic contagion.” Like vicarious trauma, the limbic system (part of the brain) gets activated under acute stress. In severe cases, this leads to PTSD. For those of us who live with it, we can indeed be affected by it. Camille was experiencing her husband’s PTSD. His encounter at the restaurant put him back in the war. To him and his brain he was literally there. Again. In battle. Fighting to survive against the enemy. What she had not realized was that she was there as well.
     It will affect me when he is triggered. The question is not how to keep it from affecting me, but how is it affecting me? My key lies in tuning in to what is going on inside of me―learning to be more attentive to my needs and internal signals, and not just working hard to try to make it all go away. Here is some of the wisdom from Camille’s journal that she gleaned from her counselor:
     “When I feel something is wrong, tune in to it. Name it. Feel it and experience it. Feel the sensation (stomach, neck, heart, short breaths, etc.). Ask myself: What part of my body is not right at this moment? For me, it usually is that I stop breathing or breathe shallowly and am stooped over forward. Hunched. Tight neck. I feel like crying inside. Stay with it. Don’t rush or try to fix it. Breathe!!!!!!!!! It may move. Do a body¬scan mentally. Slowly go from top of my head to the bottom of my toes and feel every sensation. No analyzing. Just notice the sensations. Then, still relaxing, ‘go’ to a place where I love to be. A happy place where I can feel good, and find comfort.
     “My goal is not to not have it affect me but to be aware of the effect. Tune in! Feel it and release it. Not being aware of it creates the tension that is destructive. Differentiate and acknowledge. His pain. His trauma. My pain. My trauma. Talk about it. As I take care of me and feel and communicate, it helps him. Do not do it only in order to help him, but know that it will benefit him.”
     As loved ones, our challenge, along with Camille, is how do we get ourselves back to where we are not hijacked emotionally? Learn to calm ourselves. We need to learn how to regulate our emotions by identifying them and getting ourselves back to a place where we can think. Clearly. Soundly. Our safety skills are to regulate us, not to stop others from affecting us. Our theme should be “feel; don’t fix.” I like to think of it in three steps:
1. Feel my body: Where do I feel it physically?
2. Feel my emotion: Name it. “I feel ticked off.”

Pause here as long as you want. Take time. Don’t rush to figure or fix.

3. Feel my need: What do I need right now that would nurture and comfort me in a healthy way?
     Whatever labels one may select, the bottom line is that we are indeed affected. No question about it. But there is hope. Don’t stop here. Just know you are not alone. You are going in the right direction with people who care and understand.

3. Is there a cure or can it improve?
Sort of, and possibly. (I could have said, “Of course. Take this green pill and in six days everything will be super duper.” Wouldn’t that be nice?} But seriously, there is hope. When I went into this, I thought we were stuck. Forever. Just deal with it. (And unfortunately that is what some professionals are saying.) But now that I have personally experienced growth and healing and have seen it in others, I am excited to say, “Yes!” There are all sorts of possibilities.
     Our vets we love will never totally get over it. PTSD will always be present in them. Even in the best cases, it does not ever totally go away. But, they and we can learn how to handle it better and how to have a healthy relationship in spite of it. There are many professionals working on it every day, and new information continues to surface. New insights and therapies are proving to be very hopeful.
     As far as what we can do at home, Debbie shares some hope with us: “When we first learned about PTSD, all I spent my energy on was analyzing and trying to understand it all. Just daily functioning in our marriage was overshadowed constantly by the awareness of the influence of the PTSD. For many years I worked at making it work. I journaled, got counseling, read everything I could get my hands on, joined the support group, took classes, etc. And it helped. It was intense and hard work. I am glad that he got help too and was willing to talk with me about stuff.
     “But recently I have noticed that things are going better without all the conscious effort. All the work we put into understanding it and each other, and doing the things that were good for us and the relationship, are finally paying off. The intensity is lifted. The good things we put into place are starting to take hold without so much focused effort. I did not know it would get better.
     “We are laughing more and discovering silly moments (we could have our own comedy show if rating was not an issue)! We are enjoying passion and sex (when things work) more than ever. We pray together, which is huge. It is so wonderful to be able to enjoy each other rather than analyzing all the time. I know the PTSD will always be there. And I keep on guard for triggers. But what a nice place to finally be in, where we can experience joy and love and peace for the first time in our lives.
     “At our group support meetings, I notice those who have fulfilling (not perfect) marriages and relationships with their vets are those who have been at it for years. And are doing the right things. Those who struggle are mostly those who are new to PTSD. So be encouraged that the hard work will pay off. It does get better as long as we make good choices and he is willing to do his part too. Even if he is not, our good choices will pay off.”
     Both our vets as well as those of us who love them wake up each day with new opportunities for growth. Faith and love seem to be central in the successful process of growing with PTSD. Connection with God and connection with others who care are the common threads woven into the lives of those who are finding fulfillment while living with PTSD.

4. Can I help him?
    Simply put, you can help him, but you cannot fix him. Curious how it seems that those of us who are drawn to vets are also very caring people. It would be an interesting study to follow the lives of those who fell in love with vets either with or without knowledge of their PTSD. I often wonder if there is something at the subconscious level that identifies the disorder and resonates with it. Maybe we are more of a match than we realize. Most of the people I have met who love their vets are by nature very loving and caring people, the type I would want around if I had a problem.
     The drawback to being of that nature is that we are wired to care, as well as to fix the problem. It is in our nature to find the problem and solve it. How simple. But alas, here we are with a lifelong problem that does not have a fix. The good news is that it is not a black and white issue with only two extreme options. There is plenty of middle ground where we can indeed be of help. The key is to hold on to ourselves as we reach out. Do not kill yourself in trying to fix him. As we take care of ourselves and remain mindful of our own needs, we have more strength from which to draw. It is a balance. We have to stay nourished and nurtured ourselves on a continuous basis if we are to be able to give and encourage and help them.
     It is very meaningful to our vets when they see us wanting to understand them. Anything we can do to learn more about PTSD and about them will help. Be willing to talk with them about it whenever they’re open. It is also helpful to refer to the PTSD as “The PTSD,” rather than just “PTSD.” Somehow that label keeps it separate and objective rather than infused with him.
     One of the things we can do is to love him physically. For wives, this is not just making love (which is really good too!), but it can be lots of hugs, and pats, and foot rubs, and hand squeezes, and kisses on the cheek, etc. You might run up to him (be careful not to alarm him) and say, “Oh, this came for you in the mail today.” And then give him a big hug and slurpy kiss. Or, as you pass in the hallway, just grab him and squeeze him and say, “Have I told you today how much I love you?” Spontaneity and randomness are really fun! You will find a wellspring of love that you never knew you had. Funny how it is that when we give we also get a blessing ourselves!
     Another way we can be helpful is in relation to anniversaries. Have you ever asked him about his anniversaries? These are the dates that were significant in his time of serving and very likely significant in his trauma. Ask him to share those times with you and anything about them that he feels comfortable sharing. Make notes of them for yourself. Then throughout the year, keep these in mind. It may be helpful to draw his attention to them when the time comes if you see him starting to have more severe problems; or it may just be helpful for you, as you remember these times are harder for him whether he is conscious of it or not. I have found that sometimes our vets are very keenly aware of these anniversaries; other times they are relieved to be reminded since that offers an explanation for their unusually acute difficulty. And a bit of hope that things will ease up a little after the date has passed.
     Words of affection and affirmation are huge to them also. One of the drawbacks of PTSD is how it erodes one’s self¬esteem. Anything you can do to build him up is really important. Tell him how much you appreciate how he keeps the family safe. Or thank him for doing chores, or for hugging you when you need it, or paying bills, etc. Let him know how much you admire his tender heart or the kind words he said to someone. For some it may be a stretch, but getting into the habit will eventually begin to help him as well as you. We tend to get nitpicky and negative. That is just being human. If we can keep our sense of humor a little better and let go of the things that really don’t matter, we’ll feel much better.
     Anna was feeling irritable around her husband’s sixtieth birthday (maybe hormones, or lack of sleep, or not feeling loved, lack of chocolate, etc.). Whatever the reason, she was not really in the mood for a happy birthday. So she decided to try to come up with a homemade card, listing all the things she loves about him.
     She thought it would be a good exercise but was kind of doubtful that she could do it. She sat down to write, hoping to come up with sixty things in a week’s time. Twenty minutes later she had sixty and could not stop. Do you know how much she fell in love with him all over again that week? And when she gave him the card, his eyes welled up with tears. “No one has ever given me a card like that before. Thank you.” They both were deeply touched. And he has that card to look at when he feels discouraged or depressed or unloved.
     Be creative. Whether you’re a parent, friend, spouse, or other loved one, the sky’s the limit to your expression of affection for your vet. For instance, if you don’t mind a little cleanup afterward, you might try what Bethany did. She noticed her vet was really down one morning, so she took advantage of the steamed¬up bathroom mirror to do some artwork. She wrote something affectionately cute and drew something naughty. He loved it! Good thing the kids were gone.
     Most vets feel unsafe. They long for someone they can trust. Any¬thing you can do to help him feel safe is a huge help to him. One way I have seen is through listening. Really hear him. Encourage him to talk when he feels like it. To share his dreams or nightmares. To share his memories, whether pleasant or horrific. Do not interrupt. Do not judge. Any criticism will shut him down. One wife I knew was constantly put¬ting down her man. He was really shut down. No way would he ever feel safe enough to open up to her. Another wife I knew was a non¬stop talker. She, apparently, was incapable of listening. Words went just one way. Don’t tell, but once when I was on the phone with her, she was just babbling on and on. I couldn’t get a word in, or if I did, she just changed the subject back to herself. So I set the phone down, went and did something, then came back and picked it up. She was still talking. If I were her husband, I would want to live in my cave too.
     Another way you can help him is to encourage him to get the help he needs. This can be tricky because you do not want to nag, just encourage. It may be going to a counselor, a VA support group, a Pointman group, AA, taking a walk, or reading something beneficial, etc. You cannot do this alone, and the more help he can surround himself with, the better for both of you. Ultimately it is his choice.         Unless, please take note, unless he is abusing substances detrimentally and/or people are in danger. If he is in any way harming you or anyone else, then it is essential to have an intervention of some kind. The family and other loved ones need to rally around him in love, tough love, to ensure he receives the treatment he needs.
It may seem like an uphill battle, but be encouraged that your love and support can go further than you realize.

5. What about his constant negativity? It really gets to me.
     Understanding goes a long way toward helping one tolerate another’s negative behavior. Why are our vets plagued with such negativity? Why are they prone to being skeptical and fearful and angry and irritable? Sometimes it helps to brush up a bit on our PTSD information. Then allow ourselves to journey back in our minds as if we were there with them in their trauma. Sit with it. Feel the terror. The aloneness. The dread. The shock! The stench of death.
     That exercise can be painful and evoke a variety of feelings in us. But that is good every now and then in order to retain our compassion. And compassion is a companion to understanding.
It is also necessary for us to remind ourselves that we cannot fix them. It is not our job–even if it were possible. But we can help. Talking with them is good. Bringing their attention to the constant negativity can be an eye¬opener to them. Often they are not even aware of their downward spiral. Asking questions is also good in that they help preempt defensiveness on their part.
     Vickie and her husband had a routine of starting the day by dis¬cussing all the things that were on the day’s agenda. Without fail, every time, he ended up reciting all the things that could possibly go wrong. His mind was encumbered with visualizing every potential disastrous scenario. In contemplating his trip to the bank, he anxiously talked about dying in a car accident, having to wait in long, horrible lines, getting a new inexperienced teller who took forever, and then getting robbed on the way out to the car. (At that moment some of us might have been inclined to grab him and shake him and scream, “Snap out of it, Eeyore!”)
     Fortunately, Vickie’s approach was much more effective. Calmly, without getting riled herself, she gently called it to his attention. “Are you aware that your thoughts are spiraling downward? Can we think about the good things in store today? And we have so much to be thankful for.” She wrapped her arms around him and told him how much she loved him. “I know you have a hard time with anxiety, but sometimes I feel pulled down when you talk like that.” She was able to draw his attention to it and at the same time express her feelings in the form of an “I” message.
     Staying aware of our feelings is crucial to keeping ourselves from being consumed by negativity. We have the choice to be thankful and do things that are going to uplift us physically and emotionally.
     Rachelle took a different approach. There were times when she felt like she was the recipient of a dump truck load of garbage. Ken would rant and spew out all sorts of anger and frustration. Pure negativity. It was not always aimed at her, but she happened to be the nice person with a good heart who cared enough to listen. And take it. And take it some more. Over and over.
     One day she realized it was not healthy for either of them. She did not like the way she herself was becoming negative. She felt the downward drag. And she often felt obligated to try to cheer him up at those times. If only she could say the right thing, perhaps she could fix him. Neither was a healthy response.
     One thing they both enjoyed was a good sense of humor (which, by the way, often goes a long way in resolving conflict). So she shared with him that when he spouted off his garbage she felt like he was a dump truck. And she did not want him to do it anymore. Her tone of voice and caring heart were well received. He admitted that he did not like doing it. As a result, they agreed that when he started dumping, she would make the noise of a truck backing up: “Beep! Beep! Beep!” It worked. Now they can smile when he starts to dump. By the way, he got her a toy dump truck for Christmas.
     Our vets will always struggle with the downward pull of impending doom. We cannot eradicate that. But we can come alongside them and love them in it. And we can provide so much encouragement to them by our positive outlook and our reminders of the many blessings we do have.

6. Why am I sometimes overcome with this awful fear? How do I handle it?
     All of us are fearful of something. Usually it is what we dread losing the most. For some it may be losing a child, our marriage, losing love, or losing the man we so deeply love. For others it may be loss of independence, health, freedom. And for all of us losing our life―or anything else that is precious to us.
     Like pain, fear is our body trying to warn us. To inform us. To alert us of danger. And as difficult as it may be, we need to listen to it. Stop. Feel it. Tune in and try to understand what our inner self is needing.
Our vets are often plagued or consumed with fear themselves. As trauma survivors, they are still in survival mode. Much of that wears off on us, even if we do not realize it. So not only do we carry their fear, we compound it by adding our own.
     The first step in handling our fear is to own it. Name it. Recognize it. And accept it. There is nothing inherently bad about being afraid. The danger comes either by ignoring and stuffing it, or by feeding it.
After we acknowledge our fear, then we need to think about it. Why am I afraid? Is it rational? Can I reason myself through this? Some have benefited from journaling and others by talking. Just like all our unwelcome feelings, we have the choice to process it in a healthy way―to find healthy outlets for it.
     If there is something worthy of our attention, such as an abusive situation, then we need to immediately do something about that. If it is just a nebulous feeling hanging over us like a heavy fog, then we can explore it further. Good counselors are very helpful in aiding us as we dig down to the deeper layers and get to the stuff we can work with.
Talking with other vet wives and loved ones is truly a lifesaver. Brandi was in a new relationship with her vet. Although a bit uneasy, she went to meet with some other ladies who were also involved with PTSD vets. What a relief for her to hear that her fear was common.
     “I just am overwhelmed at times with this awful fear. My stomach gets to churning and sometimes I just want to bail.” The discussion centered around the fact that we never can be quite sure when our vets will react. And when they do, what the fallout will be. That is just something we learn to accept. As loved ones living with them, we are the first to get it. So it is understandable that we carry some level of fear. Our bodies are helping us stay alert and on guard.
     But sometimes that is not good for us. So it is crucial that we learn to be aware of when our fear is consuming us and putting a barrier between us and our vet. “Perfect love casts out fear.” On the flipside, fear casts out love. When I am fearful, I am focused on me. When I am loving, I am focused on someone else. Reaching out and caring will mysteriously dispel the fear.
    In a nutshell, the best thing we can do with our fear is to protect ourselves from real danger, feel the feelings, process them in a healthy way, and love our vets.

7. How can I get friends and family to understand?
You can’t. Even with as much information as is available about PTSD, one really cannot know what it is like to live with it until they do it. One evening a new lady who had been a vet wife for more than thirty years came to our Love Our Vets support group for the first time. She just sat quietly observing as we all talked. No expression. Just listened. When it was her turn to share, she just burst out in tears. “You all know! You understand!” She sobbed with relief. “You really know what I’ve been going through!”
     Our hearts went out to her as she tearfully told her story and how hard she had tried to get her grown children and her friends to understand. It was like she was dying alone in the desert, shriveled up from thirst. Along we came in our desert¬ready tour bus with gallons and gallons of water and tons of love.
     It does help to educate those around us who are significant in our lives. There are some good classes available through the VA and veterans’ assistance centers. Some counseling facilities also offer classes and support groups. There are new resources popping up every day online. Books, groups, websites. Any information you can pass on is helpful.
     But it is probably not possible or necessary that they totally get it. In one sense, it is a relief that maybe you can stop trying so hard. Also perhaps it will lighten your already overbearing load to have one less task to worry about. Ask yourself, Why do I want them to understand? Do I need sympathy? Do I need help? Do I need an excuse for some¬thing? Do I feel I have to defend him?
     After thinking about it more, I have come to realize it is easiest to more or less just let it go where others are concerned. You and I can find the support and understanding we need from those who also live in our shoes. We find comfort and hope when we connect with others who know and feel and care. And we can offer mutual encouragement and practical help as we connect together.
    When I do decide to offer some sort of “explanation” to others, the best way I have found to communicate it is with a nice short statement. And then leave it there. Something that will offer enough of an explanation to relieve myself and to help them. Then let it go. A few things you might consider using are as follows:
“Yeah, he really has a hard time being around people.”
“It has not been a good day around here.”
“The PTSD makes it hard for him to _____.”
“His stress tank is full and there is no room for anything more. Any¬thing stressful will put him over the top.”
“It is a baffling and frustrating disorder.”
“We have good days and bad days.”
“He can’t handle loud noises.”
“He does better with______”
“Thanks for caring.”
In your mind and heart, bless them for caring and trying to under¬stand, but give them grace that they will never experientially know what you are going through. And that is okay. It hurts. It feels lonely and scary. But it is okay.

Cover Reveal : Othello by C.E. Wilson

(Shakespeare for Everyone Else, #2)
Release Date:

Summary from

Shakespeare’s work features some of the
most memorable stories and characters ever created, yet for too many curious
readers the combination of ultra-dense dialogue and unfamiliar historical
settings make tackling the Bard’s work something between a tedious chore and a
confusing mess of bird-bolts and quondam carpet-mongers.

While it’s nearly impossible to replicate or improve on these works, it is
(thanks to their timeless nature) possible to make them more accessible to a
wider audience.

In this Young Adult retelling of one of William Shakespeare’s most memorable
plays, join C.E. Wilson as she breathes new life into Othello, the second book
in her series Shakespeare for Everyone Else.

About the
C.E. Wilson
is currently living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and her two
dogs and two cats. They are all the loves of her life. When she’s not writing
young adult fantasy novels, she enjoys writing short stories on her Deviant Art
page. She loves to write stories involving giants and little people (also known
as GT) and nothing helps her to write more than Coca-Cola and glazed doughnut

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Cover Reveal : The Skinwalker's Apprentice by Claribel Ortega

Skinwalker's Apprentice
Release Date:

Summary from

New York City 1984: It’s Emerald Kipp’s
sixteenth birthday, and nothing has changed. She’s still the biggest loser in
school, she’s still trying to find a place for herself and yeah, she’s still a
witch. Her last year of high school is turning out to be the worst yet, and
Emerald thinks it can’t possibly get any worse. Unfortunately for her, she’s
dead wrong.

East Hampton, NY 1658: The Pennyfeathers are the black sheep of their small
English settlement. As hard as they try to keep the family secrets just that,
the magical bunch just can’t seem to fit in. But when a High Priestess witch
chooses 16-year-old Margo Pennyfeather as an apprentice, Margo’s luck finally
begins to change. What she doesn’t know, is there’s a lot more to her
apprenticeship, and to being a witch, than she could ever imagine

Discover the mysterious beginnings of The Empire Witch Series in "The
Skinwalker's Apprentice: An Emerald Kipp Novella."

About the
Ortega is a graduate of the SUNY Purchase journalism program, and got her start
writing for the school’s Independent Newspaper. There, she quickly rose the
ranks from editing the student’s often times hilarious ads and ramblings on the
back page of the paper to staff and feature writer.
graduation, Claribel worked as a reporter for The Rivertowns Enterprise, a
local paper in lower Westchester County, New York. As a reporter, she enjoyed
going to board of education meetings and texting the town mayors about the line
at Starbucks.
Claribel works for The Combined Book Exhibit, a book marketing company in
Westchester NY.
She lives in
New York with her really awesome boyfriend, her suspiciously intelligent yorkie
Pancho Villa and is surrounded by an impenetrable fort of books she gets from
her job.

Skinwalker’s Apprentice” is her first book, and cheese is her favorite food.

Author Links:
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