New Book!

I’m thrilled to share the beautiful cover of another exciting Botanic Hill Detectives mystery! This one is called Walnut Street: Phantom Rider and its coming late this Fall!

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Walnut Street: Phantom Rider (A Botanic Hill Detectives Mystery)

Expected Publication Date: November 9th, 2021

Genre: MG Mystery/ Middle Grade (For fans of Nancy Drew type mysteries)

Objects of value have been disappearing from the Mayfield family’s rural California horse ranch. The Botanic Hill Detectives—Moki Kalani, Rani Kumar, and twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt—are hired to come for a week to investigate.   

Legend has it somewhere on the Mayfields’ forty-acre property is a long-lost gold mine. It was supposedly staked by thirteen-year-old Ben Mayfield’s five-time great-grandfather, “Papa” Mayfield, in 1875.

Adding to the excitement, a nervous Ben reveals a frightening secret to the detectives. At the ranch, he alone has seen a threatening black-clad figure on horseback whom he calls the Phantom Rider. Who is this mysterious person? Is he responsible for the thefts? Where is the lost gold mine? And what’s going on in the nearby, snake-infested ghost town of Rainbow Flats? The four intrepid detectives aim to find out.

Coming Soon!

About the Author

Sherrill Joseph will be forever inspired by her beautiful students in the San Diego public schools where she taught for thirty-five years before retiring and becoming a published author.

The author has peopled and themed her mysteries with characters after her own responsible, role-model students, of various abilities, disabilities, races, cultures, and interests. She believes that children need to find themselves and those unlike themselves in books for developing accepting, anti-racist world citizens.

Sherrill is a native San Diegan where she lives in a 1928 Spanish-style house in a historic neighborhood with her adorable bichon frisé-poodle mix, Jimmy Lambchop, who blogs.

Her books are recipients of two Gold Awards from Mom’s Choice Book Awards, a Gold Award from Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, three awards from Story Monsters Approved, and numerous other children’s book awards. She is a member of SCBWI, the Authors Guild, and Blackbird Writers. Watch for many more adventures with the Botanic Hill Detectives!

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Book Review: A Child’s Spiritual Journey

By Ernie Liverman

Come along with Ernie and listen to his story of strength, hope and discovery in a story so painful you want to reach in and offer your support and wisdom, hoping that there is a good ending to it all. 

Ernie Liverman found strength in opening the doors of the past, reliving the pain through memories, of a horribly abusive childhood and the lonely life he had for so long. When you first start reading this story you want to scream out, “Why didn’t anyone help him?”. It is astonishing that a mother could inflict such pain on a child that she birthed but it did happen, and it was awful. Ernie’s bravery in telling the truth, telling the stories that were buried deep, has helped him lose some of the pain that had been trapped.  

Throughout Ernie’s story you will continue to ask questions about his father and the lack of involvement, or his sister and what she may have endured. You may want to scream at Ernie to take some of the help that was offered to him, to tell him to go back and take that chance just to see what would happen. Obviously, going back cannot happen but by he has taken a chance by putting it all down on paper and freeing his mind. It has been therapeutic and has its own healing power. 

I give this story five out of five stars for its honest synopsis Liverman presents without leading the reader toward a shocking halt. The horrors he speaks of are awful but the feeling of power and hope he emulates through each page of his story is full of light and ambition; a need to survive. This is a must read for anyone who has ever felt alone or mistreated, or for those who work with children that might need help reaching out, exposing the truth, and living a healthy and happy life.   

Book Tour: To Be Enlightened

Welcome to the tour for “cosmic love story”, To Be Enlightened by Alan J. Steinberg. Read on for details and a chance to win a $100 Amazon e-gift card!

To Be Enlightened

Publication Date: February 27, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Literary Fiction/ Romance

To Be Enlightened is a cosmic love story that follows Professor of Philosophy Abe Levy as he grapples with what it means to love both his wife, Sarah, and the ocean of silence within. It is also an intellectual exploration of the most intimate of subjects: our consciousness.

Abe Levy’s long tenure as a philosophy professor has motivated thousands of students to ponder age-old questions in light of New Age ideas. Though Abe is passionate about his teaching, he is obsessed with a powerful childhood dream of heaven. To return to that heaven, he must reach enlightenment in his lifetime. Day after day, Abe settles into deep meditation, reaching the very cusp of his goal but unable to cross the threshold. Desperately, he commits to doing whatever it takes, even if it means abandoning his wife for a more ascetic life-a decision that sets off a cascade of consequences for Abe, Sarah, and those he loves the most.

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Excerpt

Vedic wisdom holds that during the forty-eight minutes prior to sunrise, which is called the Brahma Muhurta, a wave of purity and balance sweeps through the world, gently waking it up, along with the birds and other animals. I sip my coffee, enjoying the silence and morning calm. About fifteen minutes before sunrise, the birds start singing praises, enlivening and infusing the atmosphere with optimism for the approaching day. The transition rarely fails to uplift me.

A high-pitched fluttering followed by a distinctive buzzing draws my attention. I look up to see a large, shiny purple hummingbird hovering about a foot above the center of the table, looking at me as if wanting to speak. It flits its beak up, down, and sideways, and—zip! It’s gone. I don’t remember ever seeing a hummingbird so close. I sit for a moment. I know that hummingbird! I’ve seen her many times before in my dream. But she was always a bee.

I do asanas and pranayama and then walk toward our bedroom for my morning meditation. The hummingbird gets me thinking about omens. If there really are omens, does it mean that God communicates with us only at specific, special times? Or is it that at certain times we become still enough to precipitate an omen? Maybe there are always omens and we aren’t aware enough to appreciate them? I bet it’s even more complex than that. I adjust my pillows for meditation. In a half lotus, my eyes close.

Mantra, mantra, maaaantra, mmmannntraaaa, maaa…mantra emerges from shimmering pool, drop of water in reverse. Mantra, mantra, mmmmaa…the place on surface of pool where mantra will emerge begins to move, vibrate…I am observing and hearing the mantra’s emergence from my consciousness. It is separate from the real Me, the observer…The school’s administrative board has asked me to head the search committee for a new chief of campus security. I don’t know anything about security. I’m not going…I observe that thought, and this thought, arise in the same way the Mantra emerges.So interesting…Mantra, mantra, mantraaaaa, maaaantra…surface of pool, no ripples, no thoughts, no feelings coming from body or mind, endless…one side, silent awareness; other side, activity. Mantra, maantraa, mmmmm…mantra barely tickles my expansive surface…Bliss surges through body, mind. Bliss is caused by awareness of subtle disturbance at junction between…Mantra, mantra, mantraaaaa, mmmmmmaaaaaaa…flowing outward, all directions; I am a boundless, luminous mirror between my self and my Self… Mmmaaaa…mmmm…maaaaa…I am the surface of the ocean, impossibly still, deafeningly silent…needing to let go…ready to let go…fearing loss…Mmmmmmmm…decision made, must go forward, will go forward…surrendering all I thought I was for what I am…individuality dissolves: raindrop, ocean…

I am.

I am—the vast, unbounded ocean of consciousness. I am—unmoving wholeness. I was never that body or that mind. I have been observing Abe Levy since the moment he was born, and much, much longer than that. I am—at peace. I am—now awake. I was sleeping before. I can see the sun and the planets clearly. They are so dear to have nurtured Mother Earth, allowing her to birth humanity. I notice distantly that my body is glowing. Time is immaterial and has lost its grip on me…

* * *

Back in my body, I look over at my bedside alarm clock. More than an hour has gone by. I lie down to rest and a deep sleep envelops my body and mind, though I am awake, aware, and witnessing.

I get up and put on my robe. Something is very, very different. It’s as if I am still meditating even though my body and I are active in the world. I am in two places at the same time—the unbounded ocean of consciousness and the bounded world of activity and senses. I have never, ever, felt so good and so focused. I walk to the kitchen, but I don’t seem to be moving.

It happened. The thought comes that I should be jumping with joy, but I’m past that. A more pressing, evolving issue appears to be whether my body can contain my joy. I close my eyes and watch as thin, sparkling beams of Bliss increasingly poke their way through the shell that is my old body, shining out from my new one in a myriad of luminous, waving threads of various lengths and hues. The brightest and most numerous ones are congregated around my solar plexus and the top of my head. The weirdest part of all is that I’m not surprised or concerned by this in the least.

I make oatmeal with whole milk, dried cherries, roasted almond slivers, cinnamon, cardamom, and a hint of nutmeg. I notice something is gone. I am not, in general, an anxious or fearful man, but I now realize I had significant anxiety and fear all my life. I know this because, for the first time, I am completely without those constant companions. Along with my anxieties and fears, my worries about leaving Sarah to go to Fairfield have evaporated. I don’t have to go anywhere now. I am where I have always wanted to be. I’m Here. The weight of responsibility that I had shouldered in guiding Sarah around her triggers has lifted. I think that I can now lovingly support her without feeling bogged down or burdened.

I shower, shave, dress for class, and it all seems to happen automatically, as if I’m uninvolved in the process. I was somewhat intellectually prepared for this, but even after over fifty years of meditation, I’m not prepared experientially. This will take some getting used to.

Walking to my office, the world is delicious. The singing birds are part of me, thrilling me thoroughly from the inside with our perfect twittering. My heart sings with them. My body hums with a hymn as my feet beat the rhythm into the sidewalk.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Alan J. Steinberg, MD is board-certified in Internal Medicine and practices with the Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Beverly Hills, California. He also serves as one of the attending physicians for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. He grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he learned Transcendental Meditation (TM) in 1975. Earning his undergraduate philosophy degree at Pomona and Pitzer Colleges in Claremont, California, he went on to attend the University of Nevada School of Medicine, receiving an MD degree in 1984. His first book was a non-fiction consumer’s guide, The Insider’s Guide to HMOs (Plume/Penguin), which garnered favorable reviews in the Los Angeles Times and other publications as well as appearances on The Today Show20/20 and C-Span. The book helped sway the direction that healthcare was heading in the late 1990s. His debut novel, To Be Enlightened(Adelaide Books, 2021), is a work of visionary fiction, inspired by some of his own experiences as a lifelong practitioner of TM. Dr. Steinberg lives with his wife of over thirty-five years in Los Angeles, California. They are the proud parents of three young adults.

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©2021 CBialczak

Book Review: The Marriage Pact

The Marriage Pact
by Michelle Richmond (Goodreads Author)

The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond will have you hooked the minute Jake and Alice sign their contracts. The question is, what did they just sign up for?
This novel has so much important information that pertains to all marriages alongside what the Pact will go through to protect the institution of marriage. Jake and Alice have always been happy so they don’t really think the Pact is what they need. Other members find ways to convince them differently. The rules and regulations compounded with penalties and punishments will have you thinking about whether tying the knot is worth the trouble! Alice is a smart woman and Jake has a background in relationship counseling and Jake begins to wonder if this is some sort of cult.
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars as I felt the ending was weak. The plot was packed with twists, turns and surprises and although I am not disappointed with how the story ends, it is not what I would have expected after reading the rest of the work, seeing the depth the author is able to achieve throughout the writing.

©2021 CBialczak Book Review

Book Tour: The Matchmaker

TheMatchmaker

Welcome to the tour for psychological thriller, The Matchmaker by Hélene Fermont! Read on for more details!

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The Matchmaker

Publication Date: April 14th, 2021

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Perfect Lives Don’t Come Cheap.

Marcia Bailey has it all: a passionate marriage to a rich and handsome man who is utterly devoted to her; fame and success as London’s premier matchmaker; a beautiful home in a posh neighbourhood, and fabulous holidays in exotic places.

But her perfect life turns into a nightmare overnight when a mysterious caller suddenly threatens to reveal secrets from her past she thought she had left behind forever. Who is he and what does he really want? He says he wants three million pounds to keep quiet, and she’s willing to pay. After all, she has already sacrificed so much, and perfect lives don’t come cheap.

But Marcia has a hunch her caller wants more than money from her. He wants to hurt and humiliate her. But why?

As police investigate a brutal murder in a wealthy London neighborhood, they untangle a web of lies, violence, sex and jealousy surrounding Marcia Bailey and the group of wealthy and powerful men who have secrets of their own to keep.

The Matchmaker is filled with unexpected twists and turns — and characters that will haunt you long after you’ve read the last page.

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The Matchmaker is Available for Purchase Here!

About the Author

Helene author photo

Hélene Fermont’s a practising psychologist with vast experience of people from all walks of life and background. Her Character Driven Psychological Thrillers are completely fictitious with much emphasis on their journey and interaction, intriguing traits and storylines.

After many years in London, Hélene divides her time between London and her home town, Malmö. Her beloved, beautiful cat, Teddy, is her writing buddy.

Hélene’s the proud author of five Psychological Thrillers; Because Of YouWe Never Said GoodbyeHis Guilty SecretOne Fatal Night, and The Matchmaker. Hélene’s the author of a collection of crime and romantic stories, Who’s Sorry Now? Currently, she’s working on her second collection, Maisie’s Secret which will be released later this year.

Hélene’s novels and stories are known for their explosive, pacy narrative and storylines.

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TheMatchmaker

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Book Review: a must read!

I am not a fan of romance novels but this is without a doubt a fantastic read!

The Search: A Dust Bowl Love Story

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The Search: A Dust Bowl Love Story by Tiffani Burnett-Velez

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Search: A Dust Bowl Love Story by Tiffani Burnett-Velez was a beautifully written and crafted love story so well put together you felt as though you were there with the characters.
Melinda is a school teacher whose main goal is to keep the children alive during the dust storm. What she didn’t expect was to also bring in a stranger, putting her and her students at further risk. As the dust storm comes to an end it is up to Melinda and Jacob, the stranger, to deliver the students to homes and families, if there are any left. After that they are heading with the rest of the migrants to California to find a better life with work and food and hope.
Melinda and Jacob must find their way through migrant camps and other obstacles which stand in their way as they travel to California on the one and only Route 66. The states they travel through don’t want anyone from Oklahoma or anyone who is a Jew, so Melinda, an “Okie”, and Jacob, a Jew, must find ways to sidestep some of the locals.
I give this story 5 out of 5 stars because it was both moving and it is written in such a fashion that there are no words that a reader would feel were insignificant. The plot moves quickly and realistically, pulling you into the troubles and the love between Melinda and the stranger who came to her school that day, to see how much true love can hurt, and how it can heal.



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©2021 CBialczak Book Review

Book Tour!: Bake Believe

Welcome to the blog tour for Bake Believe by Cori Cooper! Read on for details and don’t forget to enter the “sweetest” giveaway at the bottom!

Bake Believe Cover

Bake Believe

Publication Date: November 20th, 2020

Genre: YA/ Middle School/ Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Immortal Works

Cat Anderson doesn’t want much out of life. Give her a circle of friends to giggle with, a few boys to flirt with, a cute outfit and bouncy hair and she is good to go!
She especially could care less about food.
But food, it turns out, is a very big deal.
A scheduling mishap on her first day of 8th Grade lands Cat in a Culinary Arts class. Something happens when Cat bakes, something amazing, something impossible.
Can it be true?
Or is it Bake Believe?

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Excerpt

“Hey, Pen.” I step into the room and shut the door softly behind me. 

“Hey.” She doesn’t turn away from the mirror. Her face is all scrunched up in concentration.

“You look good, you don’t even wobble when you hold that pose anymore.”

Penny grunts instead of responding with words. I know this is not the best time to bother her, but I also know she will feel much better if she eats one of these cookies. 

“I made something for you.” 

I hold up the plate of cookies with a huge grin, but she just sniffs. “Cookies? I can’t eat those before an audition. I will barf all over the floor.” 

My smile drops. What will I do if she won’t try one? I chew my bottom lip, “Um, these are special cookies.” I wiggle the plate around while I use my best mystical, magical voice, like Robyn did. 

Penny raises her eyebrows. “Do you think I’m four?”

I slump forward in defeat, “Come on Penny, just eat one. I’ll give you a dollar.”

“What?” She steps back, away from me, “You want to pay me? Why? What did you do to them?”

“Nothing,” I say, but the word comes out too stretched and kind of uncertain.

Penny crosses her arms and stares. 

“Okay, fine, here’s the thing.” I jump off the bed, leaving the cookies behind, and proceed to tell Penny the entire story about our family legacy. She doesn’t say anything, just taps her toes like I am keeping her from her warmup.

Which, I am, actually.

“This isn’t a joke, Pen. It’s for reals.” 

After a long pause Penny unfolds her arms to move them to her hips. “Really? That’s the truth? It sounds like make believe.”

“That’s what I thought too,” I place my hand flat on my heart, “But, it’s the total, honest truth.” 

Available on Amazon and Immortal Works!

About the Author

Cori (2)

Cori Cooper lives in the magical Arizona Mountains, which she’s pretty convinced is the setting for all the fairy tales.

Besides writing stories, she adores hanging out with her family, playing board games, hiking and baking, baking, baking. Like Cat’s family, she’s positive Cinnamon Rolls fix everything.

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Book Review: Beware the Cuckoo

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Beware the Cuckoo by Julie Newman is a mystery like no other. Be prepared to be drawn in to the past and present of two young women as they try to find their way through adolescence, independence, and truths that sometimes hurt.
Karen, Yvonne, and Sandra are best friends but so different than each other in almost every way. In the 70’s they are in school and they spend most of their time together but have found lives outside of school that drive a wedge between them. Karen is the quiet and compliant one, Yvonne the partier, and Sandra, the rich girl with the perfect life. Losing Yvonne helped bring Sandra and Karen closer for a while but the truth might hurt them both and everyone they love.
Now as adults some memories have been forgotten but none of the hurt has lessened. Will 2010 be the year all the truths come out?
I gave this story 4 out of 5 stars for the believable characters and captivating plot line. The plot is dragged out a little too long so as to make the reader want to skip a few chapters and get to the end but overall it is worth sticking to as the author has a way of tying it all together in the end. 

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The Perfect Murder by Kat Martin International Giveaway: $20 Amazon e-gift card & a digital copy of The Ultimate Betrayal

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is back with her most thrilling novel yet in the Maximum Security series—The Perfect Murder.

The eldest of the three wealthy Garrett brothers, Reese Garrett is in the middle of a major purchase for his multimillion-dollar oil and gas company, Garrett Resources. The Poseidon offshore drilling platform venture will greatly enhance the company’s value.

But when Reese is on a trip out to see the rig, his helicopter crashes, leaving him hospitalized and two men dead. It’s discovered the chopper was sabotaged, and Reese is determined to find out who’s behind the crash—and whether he was the intended target. Then, when his lover, Kenzie, is accused of her ex-husband’s murder—a man with a vested interest in the Poseidon deal—clues start pointing to a connection that puts Reese, Kenzie and her young son in the sights of a killer.

From the Texas heat to the Louisiana bayous, Reese and his brothers must track down the truth before the body count gets any higher

About the Author

Kat Martin head shot (high res)

New York Times Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin.  More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries.  Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film. 

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Come Midnight: Book Blitz!

Congratulations to author Kat Martin on the release of her latest novella, Come Midnight! 

Come Midnight

Publication Date: June 1st, 2021 (Today 🎉)

Genre: Suspense/ Thriller

Length: 84 Pages

A routine flight turns into a suspenseful race through the remote jungles of Honduras
 
When strangers Breanna Winters and Derek Stiles met on a flight to Colombia, they never imagined they would need to rely on each other for survival. Taken hostage by a group of radical environmental vigilantes, Bree worries her secret identity has been discovered—and her fears are confirmed when she learns a ransom request has been sent to her father. Though she’s the daughter of a prominent tech mogul, Bree’s wealth can’t guarantee her safety, so former Navy fighter pilot Derek pretends to be her fiancé in order to accompany her on a dangerous jungle trek led by the radicals. With chemistry building between the pair, a romance isn’t hard to fake, though they can’t let their attraction distract them. If Bree and Derek ever want to see civilization again, they’ll have to work together and rely on their wits to escape their captors.

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Available on Amazon

About the Author

New York Times Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin.  More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries.  Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film. 

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