Tuesday, September 30, 2014

First Force Series Debuts with a Bang with Into the Crossfire by Cindy McDonald!

I don't know about you, but reading Cindy McDonald's First Force Series, in my mind, blasted her into the thriller genre with such power that the series will be of interest to all individuals who love action and adventure at such a high pace that you're forced to turn the pages... 

Adding a well-known athletic type, such as British rugby star, Stuart Reardon, on the cover was not needed but does confirm that the men in the First Force are ready and able to tackle...anything... 

Well, almost anything...

When somebody comes after your family and murders your wife... that makes for an entirely different reaction to the situation!

Jack had spent most of the night in alert mode. He needed sleep before he left on his assignment but he was most accustomed to staying awake for long periods of time, sometimes days while he was a SEAL, and nowadays while on assignment. So keeping vigil over his family didn't take that much effort.
His ears were tuned in to the sounds on the street. He heard the police cruiser pass every hour on the hour. Good--as long as 
Gunner didn't decide to try anything on the quarter or half hour.
He turned over to watch Laura sleep. His gut twisted. He didn't want to leave his family. He needed to stand by to keep guard over them. Gently, he pulled the blanket over Laura's shoulder then he slid from the bed, grabbed his gun from the floor, and crept from the room.
This would be the third sweep of the house he had performed for the night. Stealthily, he padded down the hallway. Dim slices of moonlight seeped through open doorways to light his way toward Lil's bedroom. Ever so carefully he twisted the door knob to open the door to peek in. Lil was asleep in the middle of her bed with her arms wrapped around her purple unicorn pillow pet. She had kicked off her blanket.
Jack made his way to the bed to ease the blankets over her. Lil sighed, snuggling into the warmth of the blanket. Smiling Jack checked the time on Lil's Sesame Street clock radio next to her bed: 4:00 AM.

Into the Crossfire:
First Force Series
By Cindy McDonald

It's not uncommon for a criminal to plan revenge when they get out of jail... and Gunner was no different... Except, he was one mean, nasty, biker gang leader that was already back to doing all the things he had done to get sent to jail! Now here's the thing, while Jack's boss told him that Gunner was out, he also told him he was scheduled for another assignment! Only promising that the police would make extra pass-bys at their home while he was gone. What?! Gimme a break! Well, Jack felt the same way as I and most other people would, he couldn't leave his family alone and in potential danger! He walked into his boss' office and declared he was taking all the vacation leave that was due him...

A great idea...but, unfortunately, Gunner already had his plan set and scheduled! And it was fast, vicious and unpreventable...

Smitty eddied out of his backpack to rummage
through it. "We've gotta hurry. Everything's
on fire." He nodded toward the living room.
The couch was aflame. The carpeting and the
cabinetry in the kitchen was hissing with tiny
flames devouring them...Smitty rolled Jack
over. His shirt was saturated in blood as was
his face. Quickly, he ripped Jack's shirt open
to find a gaping hole in his side that was
pumping a steady stream of blood. "He's
bleeding out," Smitty said. He retrieved a
packet of Quick Clot from the backpack,
ripped it open with his teeth and dumped it
over the wound. "We've got to get him
outta here. Quick, find something to carry
him in, a tablecloth maybe." He pressed
a gauze bandage over the wound.
Having the leader of the First Force Security group living next door may seem a little contrived, but that thought is only a blip as you get into the story. The secretive neighbor had become a friend of the family and even little Lil called him "uncle..." BTW, when I saw curly hair and the rest of the description for Lil, I could not think beyond one little star, even though she's not of this generation! LOL
Walt appeared at the doorway of the kitchen...
"Did you find the child?"
"No," Grant called back. The woman is dead.
The man isn't good."
At that moment, they heard a scream.
"Daddy!" Lil shrieked from upstairs.
"Daddy, I'm scared!"

Too bad, many individuals may never know the pleasure Shirley Temple  brought to so many people in her movies. In any event, the presence of Lil is a major character, in my opinion, as she serves to soften the hearts and bring a breath of light-hearted humor and love to this strong, silent, team who fight for good and justice...

They decided to let everybody think that all three were killed in the fire that Gunner and his team had started at Jack's home. Fortunately, several of Walt's team were staying there at the moment, but even they couldn't get over and into their house until it was too late. They patched up Jack as best could be done on site, verified that his wife was dead, and found Lil upstairs
"Uncle Walt!" she cried out through a cough. She reached her arm out to him, but Walt shot his hands out in front of him.  
"No, Lil! Stay there! I'm coming for you!" He ripped the sleeves off his shirt. He covered his nnose and mouth with one sleeve. He could barely see through the smoky room, and his watering burning eyes. Stomping out the flames as he went, he inched his way toward her.
In a panic, Lil, still clinging to her toy, reached out to him. Walt could feel the floor giving away. It creaked and moaned as the fire fed on the beams underneath. He had to move fast. It wouldn't be long before the floor collapsed. Finally he stood next to the bed. He took Lil into his arms and whispered in her ear, "It's going to be all right. Put your face into your stuff toy, and hold onto me, baby girl."
Hiding her face into the pillowpet, Lil wrapped her legs around him. When Walt turned back toward the doorway, it was engulfed in flames. They had to get through it--it was the only way out. With his free hand, he held the fabric from his shirt over his face, dipped his head low, and proceeded toward the door. He could hear sirens in the distance --no time to wait. He ran down the hallway to the stairs. The flames crept across the staircase, the railing was completely gone. Jumping over flames he made his way to the bottom. The smoke was thick and suffocating. The flames licked up his sides and he could feel a strong burning on his forearm...


This book is full of exciting scenes of rescue. Mainly because a rogue police officer began to feed information to Gunner...

When the team left Jack's house, still burning, they drove to the secret central location for the First Force team. Walt had built a secure location when he first decided to start this work. Only one person, a doctor, was permanently in residence there. She happens to be Walt's niece, who has a background of loss as well. There are poignant scenes as she faces a little girl, who is just the age of her daughter, who was killed, along with her husband... She is a great strong character who adds much to the overall story, in support of First Force... Of course, I'm hoping for more...after all, Lil needs a woman in her life, right?

Which comes to Jack and a potential future relationship. Jack loved his wife greatly, but his personality comes through no matter with whom he interacts. He likes to joke and tease, even if he's feeling like he's near death... I think you'll enjoy watching him being bossed around by a female doctor and beautiful Lil who just wants to see her Daddy get better and demands to help, as she carries in his meals and watches to make sure he's eating!

From then on, you've got nothing but more and more action as the team works to deal with a biker gang who has inside information and keeps the team moving fast to try to keep up with what is happening, including the kidnapping of one of the individuals now staying at the supposed safe house! And the additional activities in human trafficking which have been started in conjunction with another biker gang! 

Can a small force of brave, well-trained men go up against unbelievable numbers of bikers, free young kidnapped teenagers, and rescue who was kidnapped! Get ready for chase scenes, violent acts and a great deal of bravery from those young women who were to be sold! As well as one female who earned the position of sniper on the First Force team! 

Second in series coming next! You have got to check out this book further! Congrats to McDonald for an excellent genre switch and I'm looking forward to keeping track of this series...and the touch of eye candy provided...LOL!


About the Author

For twenty-six years Cindy’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer/choreographer for most of her adult life and never gave much thought to a writing career until 2005. She often notes: Don’t ask me what happened, but suddenly I felt drawn to my computer to write about things that I have experienced with my husband’s Thoroughbreds and happenings at the racetrack—greatly exaggerated upon of course—I’ve never been murdered. Viola! Cindy’s first book series, Unbridled, was born—there are four books to that series thus far. Cindy is a huge fan of romantic suspense series’, and although she isn’t one to make New Year’s resolutions, on New Year’s Day 2013 she made a commitment to write one, Into the Crossfire is the first book for her new series, First Force. People are always asking Cindy: Do you miss dance? With a bitter sweet smile on her lips she tells them: Sometimes I do. I miss my students. I miss choreographing musicals, but I love my books, and I love sharing them with you. Cindy resides on her forty-five acre Thoroughbred farm with her husband near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For more information, book trailers, and excerpts for all of Cindy’s books please visit her website: www.cindymcwriter.com

Monday, September 29, 2014

OMG! The Sun Has Disappeared! Check out Children's Book by Geena Bean! Outstanding Message!

It was a quiet young morning,
Gloomy, with a sky that clearly missed the sun.
My little sister still dreaming.
And our father returning from his run.

"Daddy!" I yelled as I ran down the stairs.
"Mattie is asleep, and I am still scared.
It's been too long since we have seen the sun,
And I grow tired of waiting for her to come...

"Don't worry, Kaylee, she will appear.
I can feel it; I'm sure she will be here.
But for now,  let's allow the moon his time
While we wait for the sun to come back and shine

I quickly ran up the stairs to wake up Mattie.
I knew she would understand my pain.
My sister was just as tired as I
Of all of this newfound darkness and rain

Come Back Dear Sun:
Your Friends, Kaylee, Mattie, Lilly, and Fran

By Geena Bean
Illustrated by Cheri Webber

This may be the best, most impressive children's book I've ever read. I believe it is an important book that should be read by children...and adults alike! The latter even more so! Bean has taken an important topic that I, too, am concerned about and has created, with the help of Cheri Webber, a beautifully told contemporary fairy tale of what could happen in today's world...  As with most fairy tales, the moral of the story is so very, very important!

Here's a related video about the importance of playing outside...

Have you ever considered what it would be like to not have the sun providing us light and all its loving benefits? Well, one day the sun was talking to the moon and told him how unhappy she was. You see, nobody was ever coming out to play and work in the sun anymore. She was lonely and feeling unappreciated! So she had decided to move somewhere else to see if the people would come out to be with her wherever she wound up...

Fortunately she had at least told the moon about her feelings...

Because there was one little girl that was missing the sun so much! Sure she loved the moon just as much as the sun, but she had always loved to be outside during the day, having the sun help her enjoy the day. Many of her friends were always staying inside...playing stupid games or watching television. She not only had more fun outside, but knew from her parents that it was very important for them to run around playing games, keeping their growing bodies active. Kids today were becoming what they even called "couch potatoes."
"Mattie," I whispered. "Are you asleep?
I have a plan that may seem a bit steep.
We need rope, a bow and arrow, and two cups,
So we can talk to the moon; are you up?"

But Kaylie wasn't the type to continue to wait for the sun, even though she believed her Dad when he said the sun would be back. She had an idea, though, that just might work and help bring the beautiful sun back! 

Children will love finding out what happens, especially when the moon gets involved! You see, he admitted that he was getting very tired having to be available 24/7! Wouldn't you?! Now there was another issue covered in the book besides the need to be out in the sun for exercise...

Do you know any children who have become too involved with all electronic gadgets so that they must have the latest phones so that they can text all day, even in school? Do they love electronic games and would spend all day playing the latest if they could? Well, obviously, the Sun would never see these children, would they?  If children spend all their time texting to friends or playing games inside, well, can you blame the sun for leaving?!

Especially this time of year when dark comes much earlier, I begin to feel the loss of the sun... I do miss her beautiful bright warmth and already am wishing for Spring to come again...  Now you all know that I spend a lot of time on the computer in order to write my blog...and I also sit and read a lot... Well, I was trying to read so many books, that I forgot to take care of myself... Now I'm walking, working a little outside doing this and that and making sure my day is once again balanced for my physical and mental health...
Don't let your children lose their joy and energy to play...We all must learn this on our own and this book makes so much sense without being judgmental or critical.  Help children understand that the Sun is their friend and wants to spend time with them... If not, you'll never see her smile and be there for you everyday! Even the Sun loves this gentle reminder, I imagine, and promises to stay as long as there are children everywhere who love to see her each day!

This story is totally poetic verse with full-page colored scenes supporting the story. In a different area, having the main little girl think up how to solve the problem is an excellent way to show how to be creative without saying a word! 

Do check this book out...Help your children live a healthy, well-nourished life. My Mom was a working mother, as many women are these days...I know that my weight came during those formative years...It's a constant battle. But the Sun is so bright, shiny, and helpful in enjoying outdoor sports... This just might be a must-read for some of your children... And an entertaining story as well!


In 2003, I graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in English. While attending Rutgers, my favorite lectures concentrated on Creative Writing, Poetry and English Literature. Some of my most memorable moments of inspiration and creativity came not only from my professors, but also from the character and beauty of the campus itself.

Since graduation, I have been busy writing stories and working in the nanny industry. That’s right everyone! I am your very own, modern day Mary Poppins! Well, not quite. I don’t have magical powers, nor can I pull furniture out of my suitcase. But I can make my stories become real through the use of…you got it! My imagination! Over the past 10 years, I have used my experiences with children to create wonderous stories and tales of discovery. When we are not too busy fighting off pirates on old, rusty ships, or escaping from the doom of some deserted island where those wicked pirates have hidden us away from our parents, we are saving the world; one imagination at a time!

Since publishing my first children’s book, I have worked alongside with organizations such as United Way, Leap on Bullying and groups like the Boys and Girls Club in Newark, New Jersey. I’ve visited many schools throughout New Jersey and have done author events at both smaller and larger venues. I love volunteering and working with kids across the tri-state area while helping to sculpt and inspire their goals, creativity, unique talents, and most importantly, kindness and appreciation toward each other and the world around them.

I have been waiting for the right moment to put everything together into published works, and Come Back Dear Sun is the first book made available to each and every child and adult around the world. When I’m not busy writing, I am creating colossal deserts and meals in the kitchen for my wonderful family and friends. They each have an equally weak spot for my cooking as well as my restless thoughts and envisioning. When my niece, Kayle, is on vacation from school, she usually comes to visit me here in the mountains of northern New Jersey. If we are not too busy making up silly stories or baking even sillier deserts, you can find us down by the beach or catching up on our movie classics, popcorn and pajama parties. I also love to do a lot of traveling, reading and anything adventurous such as scuba diving and zip-lining through rain forests and mountains.

As an author, one of the most important things that I have learned is that we should never let go of our dreams. No dream is ever too big, and if you work hard and always stay true to yourself and what makes you stand out among others, then anything is possible. We are all different and unique, and each one of us is capable of achieving anything we put our mind, dedication, heart, and imagination to. You can, and you will become the person that you set out to be. Don’t forget to read and write along the way. Books are bursting with colors; illuminating the endless thoughts, curiosity and craving that the mind seeks!

As you dream big and set out to reach for those stars, always remember to be compassionate and courteous toward one another. We must remember and never forget that it is our duty as human beings to always show acts of kindness toward one another. Work together and share your talents, thoughts and creativity with each other. Not only am I here to give you the best possible stories that I can, but I’m also here as a mentor and guide. Please feel free to ask me any questions, and I will try and give you advice to the best of my ability. I’m always happy to help!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fan Alert for Talanov - Russian Character in Novels by James Houston Turner...and a request...

Ok, I'm a fan...and I know I don't do this often...but, hey, not everybody has Glenda Bixler in a major role in one of his books! LOL So...'nuf said...

Following is a request from the author for prayers that he's able to get his movie to completion... See what he has to say about his work:

G'day again friends and family,

We're at the business end of the stick with our Talanov Film Project. It has been moving forward in some amazing ways and we're at the point of needing a support team who will pray regularly for us. So I'm asking any of you who truly believe in prayer and feel drawn to what we are doing to join our "5x" team. I coined the term, "5x," because when we fold our hands in prayer, our fingers make five "Xs."

There have been some fascinating studies on the efficacy of prayer. One of these studies dates from 1988, when cardiologist Dr. Randolph Byrd conducted a scientifically rigorous, double-blind study on the effects of intercessory prayer by Protestant and Catholic born-again Christians on behalf of 393 heart patients in a coronary care unit of a San Francisco hospital. After being rejected by nearly every medical journal on earth, the study was finally published in the Southern Medical Journal, where Dr. Byrd's results showed "prayer patients" has less congestive heart failure, fewer cardiac arrests, fewer episodes of pneumonia, were less often intubated and ventilated, and needed less diuretic and antibiotic therapy.

In short: prayer works. And this is not the only scientific study that has demonstrated it. Trouble is, for prayer to be powerful, we need to turn off the phone. Or the TV. Or get up earlier, or stay up later. Prayer is more than a quick recitation of a few memorized words before diving into the mashed potatoes. It is more than a plea for our team to kick the butts of the other team. More than a desperate cry for God to suddenly intervene when all along we've demanded He mind His own business. It is more than wishing someone good luck.

I say all of this because I am seeking people who truly believe in prayer and feel drawn to what we are doing, which is to produce a feature film that contains at its heart a message about the high cost of loyalty, faith, and family. It will be populated with gritty heroism, emotional depth, and plenty of Talanov action. It will also be a stepping stone to helping other writers and those in need. It is a film -- yes -- but it will result in much more than that. I know I am being fairly generic right now and that's because we need to keep some details under wraps to all but our 5x team, who will keep these details confidential while praying for them.

SOOOOO, if you want to support us with your prayers, I would like to hear from you. If you're not interested, there is no need to reply. Simply hit the Delete button. But if you are, please let me know and I will be in touch. The 5x team will get special updates on prayer requests as well as how God is answering them.

As always, should I have you on this newsletter list by mistake, or if you wish to no longer receive them, simply write "unsubscribe" in the subject line, hit Return, and I will remove you from our mailing list. Easy peasy.

In closing, I appreciate all of you. THANK YOU for supporting me with your friendship. You make this journey worthwhile.

Blessings for a wonderful weekend, Write to-- Talanov Insider talanovinsider@gmail.com


Friday, September 26, 2014

WELCOME ... to Jan Christensen for her Blog Tour on Buried Under Clutter!

"How well off was your aunt, financially? Do you know?
Jenny gave that hollow laugh again. "She had millions.
I have no idea how many, but a lot." She look down at
her lap while everyone stared at her.
Looking back at the niece, Tina saw no reaction. Something about how Jenny's aunt had looked must have made her realize she'd been murdered. Tina took a deep breath to steady herself. It hadn't been so long ago when she had found a murdered person in a clutter house. She'd moved back to Newport for this?
An unmarked car drew up to the curb, and Tina saw the two officers who'd been in charge of the other homicide climb out. Lisbeth Dotson looked as trim and in charge as ever. John Smith, with his weak chin and belligerent stance, seemed the same, too. Tina sighed. She so did not want to deal with the police again...

Lisbeth looked skeptical. "Did you notice anything missing?
"In that mess? No."
"How often did you come to Newport to see your aunt?"
"About every six months. Frankly, that was all I could stand. It had to be a nice day so we could sit outside, out back. I haven't been inside for a long time until today...
Jenny shuddered. "I couldn't imagine it worse, but it was. Things were piled higher. How did she pile them so high? And the spaces to walk through-- not so many as before. And, oh, the smell. It was always bad, but this time was just awful.

Buried under Clutter:
A Lighter-Side Mystery
By Jan Christensen

Jan Christensen's Buried Under Clutter is here today at BRH on her blog tour! Welcome!!! Although reading the novel is a somewhat light mystery, the importance of the topic of hoarding is not. Kudos to Christensen for including the topic in her Tina Tales, Professional Organizer Series... The book certainly makes it clear that hoarding is, most times, a result of some type of medical change in the individual...
Me, I used to be somewhat of a hoarder of books, refusing to consider ever throwing them away... Now various charitable organizations receive the bounty of my "cluttered" bookshelves! 

But a hoarder is not normally one who "collects" although it may be a form of it...but Mrs. Blackwell's big, once beautiful Victorian home was filled from basement to attic with not only the original furniture and other inherited objects, but was filled with boxes of anything and everything, stacked from floor to ceiling!

And now she was dead, found murdered, surrounded in death...by clutter... Sad...

The shock is wearing off. I'm afraid there was a lot of
affection between me and my aunt the last few years.
I'll be fine. For me, it was a duty to be sure she was
okay. Not much more than that. My mother will take
it hard, though." She put her hand in her mouth. "I
didn't think. I need to call her. Or maybe I should wait
until I get home and tell her in person. I wonder if the
police will notify her. I don't know what to do."
Time pulled her cell phone out of her pocket. I'll call
Lisbeth and ask her about it."
..."We have enough to do here for a few hours. As long
as she gets there within the next three, that will be all
right. We can wait that long..."
An uneasy silence filled the room. Finally, Jenny turned
to Tina. "I understand you're a professional organizer.
You know about the mess in my aunt's house. I can't
imagine cleaning it out myself, or cleaning up, you know,
everything where she died."
"Was it bad?" Laura [Tina's mother] asked gently.
Jenny shuddered. "Horrible. Blood everywhere, and
it looked as if someone had taken a baseball bat to
some of the boxes and stuff in Aunt Olivia's bedroom.
The smell of blood along with rotting garbage almost
made me pass out. It never smelled that bad before.
Although I hadn't been inside for years, I knew what
it smelled like by standing in the doorway." Jenny
shuddered again and took a long swallow of her
martini. "This is good." She settled back against the
couch pillows and closed her eyes...
Tina Shaw is now living back home in her parents house. She is a trained psychologist but found she was unable to deal with a tragedy that occurred involving a client...

While her mother is not happy that she has changed her career and become a Professional Organizer, Tina is quite happy. Well, maybe not so much when she was slowly pulled into the murder of one of her neighbors, living across the street, who had become a hoarder. In fact, she was there the day that her niece came running out of the house screaming. Jenny was hysterical from seeing her aunt, clearly murdered. Tina quickly offered to help and slowly Jenny pulled her in for much more...

The really strange thing was that her aunt had already included Tina in her will with the proviso that she take full responsibility of her house, clearing the house and ensuring all was handled properly. Mrs. Blackwell undoubtedly knew what Tina was now doing for a career... I think, though, that she chose Tina because she remembered when Tina was very young and would come to visit and eat cookies that she kept in a favorite tuxedo cat jar that she was later given when the family learned of her early visits...

Even stranger was her messages and then clues that were placed around her home, including items that could clearly implicate family members! All directed to Tina, related to her potential death! Obviously, she had become afraid for her life--or decided that nobody was going to win out over her final decisions and choices for her money... The latter is my opinion of her reason!
Tina turned and saw the label on top of the box--FOR TINA TO OPEN
"Interesting," Lisbeth [police] gave Tina a dubious look.
Does she suspect me now? Damn Olivia Blackwell and her little games.
Lisbeth raised an eyebrow. "You may open it."
Tina wasn't sure she wanted to. She used her box cutter to slice through the tape and...carefully, she pulled out an object wrapped in newspaper...Red Riding Hood with the wolf standing next to her...
Then she noticed a tiny tag hanging...one word written on it, "Jenny."
...Next came a bisque Sleeping Beauty doll on her bed, tagged "Rebecca..."

On and on it went as various items were lifted out to represent others, seemingly who might be...the one...
Only one, a gingerbread man, was not named...

Got to say, I admired Olivia, being played by Angela Lansbury, even more when this was found--You have to admit that she had decided to live her life on her own, having loved, lived and traveled with a criminal as a husband... and in whatever way she wanted... 
Apparently, she was not as crazy as some people said her to be...

So the strangest find of all, which didn't enter into the murder mystery so I can tell you about it, was that they found a large box of jewels shoved back into the pantry! Apparently stolen by her former husband and stored there ever since!

No wonder that people started roaming through the house trying to stall the work that Tina and the police had started to not only clear the house but find something that would help find who had killed her!

And then a neighbor reported that she had seen a man talking to Olivia while sitting on her back porch... which put Tina and her mother on alert because Uncle Bob, who was now living with them after Laura's husband had died, had once dated the murder victim! Then they discovered that he had been awarded a million dollars in her will! But so had Laura! And Tina had inherited five million--more than anybody else other than her sister who would receive a multi-million dollar major inheritance--what was left of the approximate $50 million dollar estate...

So, of course, practically everybody was a "person of interest" in the murder. This was the first time, however, that the police became involved in de-cluttering a house, however. Not only did they need to do the usual search for clues, but Tina, who had been named to be responsible for the clean-up, necessarily was under investigation!

I must admit that the thrill of finding "treasures" within a house owned by a hoarder would be exciting, don't you think? Tina was, at first, until she found that she would have a police officer working along side her through every step of the way! 

Other members of the family came under suspicion when they found a large bedroom maintained in the attic, but, like every other room, enclosed and concealed by all sort of boxes and other items stuffed everywhere...

But they found fingerprints for two of family members there...

Then they learned that a couple of strangers were also named in the will! Laura recognized the woman's name since she had been a cleaning supply saleswoman who had also visited her home recently and tried to sell her products...What had happened that would cause Olivia to give them money?! Surely it was a scam...  But instead, Laura was the one to be arrested and charged with the murder! What?!!!

Soon Tina was finding out the secrets of all of Olivia's family, including a shoplifter, one who was having a secret affair with a high-ranking official...and, worse, a woman who was supposed to be agoraphobic but was seen outside! Geesh, this book has so many potential suspects, you may never guess who the killer is...I know because I didn't..."almost" doesn't count, right?

I must admit that, at first, I assumed this would be more humorous... A lighter-side mystery, I found however that doesn't necessarily mean light on complexity in solving the murder! This is a good, solid mystery that will keep you exploring the many potential suspects until the very end when the climax occurs and Tina herself is face-to-face, trying to use her counseling skills--but to save her own life! 

The book does have an underlying humor throughout especially between Tina and her "hunk." I'll leave out any comments on him since even Tina didn't know what he did for a living until he was forced to reveal it! And as I watched the new TV show with Debra Messing this week, I knew she'd make a perfect Tina--how about this duo for the movie?

Enjoy! High recommended!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Julie Bettendorf Entices BRH Back to France This Month Along With Anthony Ant! Whoopee!

One day Lulu LadyBug was out enjoying the glorious sun, thinking of moving on to the French Reveria, but had stopped to read a little and rest... In fact, she was right under the Eiffel Tower and once in a while would look up to see all the movement surrounding her in this beautiful city... But remember Lulu and Anthony have a different perspective of the city than we do...LOL

Anthony Ant Goes to France
By Julie Bettendorf

At the same time, a visitor had arrived and was thrilled to find himself in France! Let's see why he is a little puzzled right at first.

Hi, my name is Anthony Ant, and I love to go places. When I travel, I can fit into some pretty small spaces. Once I curled up in a suitcase, as snug as could be. When I came out, I was in Beautiful France. Whoopee!

Now if you didn't pick it up right away, you'll find that Antony normally speaks in rhyme! And his words are even created with a beautiful script that enhances the overall impact of the book... And, I loved meeting him! It really didn't take long for him to realize that he loved to visit France and had certainly picked the right suitcase to crawl into this time! He had traveled to Paris!

I traveled to Paris, the capital of France:

The home of fashion, poetry and ballet dance.

Paris is also France's largest city.

At night, it glitters and is bright and pretty.


Let me mention that the art work for this book is simply beautiful and illustrated by Egle Bartolini. The full-color pages are a wonderful contribution to the book and even includes a small corner design on the corner of the pages with written narrative that includes a sampling of all things "French" that adds a touch of continuity and delight so that all pages are bound to attract the attention of children of all ages! ...and adults like me, LOL...                                                               The author's background certainly excitingly supports her books--she travels the world, and has a background in history and archaeology...                                                     Too bad we don't live closer, I've loved to have traveled to that location, below, where she rode on the back of a camel! This, truly adorable storybook is just meant to attract children's attention when the humor is added by having the characters be in cute little any and a lovely and friendly ladybug... Their names are easy to learn and remember and are sure to be special characters, especially for the very young who will be able to find the characters while having the book read...
Lulu was happy to see a visitor to Paris and felt it was her duty to introduce herself and make him feel welcome. He was certain enjoying the view of the city and must have been brave to crawl clear up there to see all the lights of the city?

After my long trip, I wanted some warm bread to eat. 
So I sat down at a cafe, and who should I meet 
But a cute little red thing named Lulu Ladybug;
 So kind and so sweet, I gave her a great big hug. 

They soon began touring with Lulu in the lead and she took him to see many sights that you'll enjoy as you read... I enjoyed especially what Anthony said upon seeing Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa...at The Louvre, of course, when I learned that the picture was over 500 years old!

The Louvre has a painting that is over 500 years old

Called the Mona Lisa; it is very famous, I am told.

Painted by a man named Da Vinci, it took years to complete.

The smile of Mona Lisa is so shy and petite.

Lulu took Anthony to a place I'd not even heard of--but it would be a wonderful natural habitat for them to visit but guess what? The Jardin des Tuileries is one of the most fun places for kids and adults alike! It was so much enjoyment traveling with Anthony and, especially Lulu, who was able to show Anthony around Paris. Because, of course, we learned so very much more and saw such beautiful places and things when we had a friend to know what to go see!

There was a huge garden full of flowers and birds. 
So colorful, it is hard to describe with words.
Roses grew here and there in red, yellow and pink.
Lulu and I stayed there for a while, I think.


I don't know about you, but I think it is wonderful to travel to places and learn all about them. And Anthony Ant and Lulu Ladybug were such nice and great friends to travel with. Your children will love them, even while they learn about customs, traditions, and the cultures of the country. I believe this may be the debut of a series.  The back cover says:

These are the tales of Anthony Ant, a child's travel companion and all-around great adventurer. Anthony travels in style, comfortably lodged in a suitcase, and he never knows what strange, new country he will find himself in.

Keep the bag packed...so we can do it again! I'm ready, are you?!

In case you kids are checking this out right now, I invited a few friends to visit and share some vids of their activities and learning...Cool, right? 


Well, Anthony Ant and I certainly enjoyed the trip to France and children will also! Do check this book out and with the quality of the artwork, poetry and overall look, you might want to consider it for your children's library--you do have one, right? Nothing is more important than helping your children learn to read!

Highly Recommended! And...Enjoy!


Julie Bettendorf is a world traveler, with a background in history and a degree in archaeology. Through her books, she shares the wonderful world of travel with children and their parents as Anthony Ant teaches kids about other cultures, customs, and traditions. When Julie is not traveling with her children, she lives in Central Oregon.