Never Regret

7 Oct


A Living Forest

6 Oct


Book Review: Wild Sky by Suzanne Brockmann & Melanie Brockmann

6 Oct


About the Book

Destiny has chosen Skylar.
Now it might destroy her.

Skylar is a girl with extraordinary power. A girl with a mission to use her Greater-Than gifts to stop the makers of Destiny from getting people hooked on their deadly drug. But Sky is still mastering her new abilities, and her first mission to destroy a Destiny lab leaves her best friend addicted to the drug. For a few days Cal will be able to walk again – until it kills him. Time is running out for Sky to save the world without sacrificing her friends, to become truly Greater-Than…

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann and her daughter Melanie Brockmann have written a pulse-pounding novel set in a near future both fantastic and frightening.


My Review

I received a free ecopy of this book.

Skylar lives in a dystopian world, although this book never explains what happened for it to get that way. She is special because she is a Greater-Than, which means she has a hormone in her blood that can be used to make a drug called Destiny. This drug can make old people young but it is instantly addictive and very expensive. So, even though she has special powers, she always has to be on the look out for those who want to kidnap her for her blood.

It was difficult for me to relate to these characters but I’m not sure why. I’ve read plenty of books that had teenagers that I was able to relate to, even got attached to, but it wasn’t the case in Wild Sky. I did enjoy Calvin, his chance to walk again, and how things ended for him. His attitude was great. It was really difficult for me to trust that Garrett was on board and would keep their secret.

There was a lot of action and some twists. I’m sure there will be another book and it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Lacey.

I think I may have enjoyed Wild Sky more if I’d had time to read the first book in the series. I recommend reading Night Sky first if you decide to read this series.


About the Author

(from Goodreads)

32638Suzanne Brockmann was born in 1960. Married with Ed Gaffney, a lawyer and published writer. They have two grown children: Melanie, who is a personal trainer and author, and Jason, who is an actor and tap dancer. They divide their time between Boston, Massachusetts, Sarasota, Florida and New York City.

Published since 1993, Suzanne is widely recognized as one of the leading voices in suspense romance genre. She has been on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists and has received many awards including being named Romance Writers of America’s #1 Favorite Book of the Year three times. She has also received two RITAs and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards.

When Suzanne isn’t writing, she’s busy making music. Formerly the lead singer and songwriter for an original Boston rock band, she is now vocal arranger, director, and lead alto of the eight-voice a cappella group Serious Fun. She is one of the founders and volunteer organizers of Natick’s Appalachian Benefit Coffeehouse, raising money for the Cabell/Lincoln Country Workcamp, which rebuilds housing for the poor, elderly and disabled in West Virginia. She is a proud member of PFLAG — Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. She is also a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Human Rights Campaign, and MassEquality. A firm believer in civil rights for all people, she has fought hard to bring equal marriage rights to all citizens of her home state, Massachusetts.

Book Review & Giveaway: Someone Died…Now What? by Corrie Sirota

6 Oct

Someone Died...Now What

About the Book

Someone Died… Now What? is a GPS for grieving. Corrie Sirota provides Guidance, Perspective and Support to help navigate through the grief process. Whether someone you love has died or someone you know is struggling with a loss, this book addresses many of the issues and questions that surface, providing concrete assistance on what to do immediately following a death, how to deal with feelings of sadness, anger and guilt, non-death losses and how to support grieving children. You will learn that grief is an ongoing process, and is as unique and individual as you are.


Link to Montreal Gazette:    Article


Buy the book:    Amazon    Barnes & Noble

My Review

I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

This is a great resource for those who have lost a loved one or those who know someone who has suffered a loss. It starts out explaining the process of grief and that everyone grieves in their own way. I’ve heard so many times that someone didn’t seem sad enough or, in the other extreme, that someone was a “basket case.” It’s always bothered me because I know that people grieve in their own way. This book explains all of the stages of grief as well as possible psychological and physical responses.

My favorite chapter in the book is Chapter 7 which is titled, “Comforting the Mourner, or, A Chapter for your Friends.” It’s always difficult to know what to say to someone who has lost a loved one. This chapter helps you know what to say as well as things that you can do that will help the mourner.

I definitely recommend Someone Died…Now What? for everyone. You never know when you, or someone you know, will suffer a loss. This is a good resource for when that happens.





Author’s Bio

Corrie SirotaCorrie Sirota holds a Masters degree in Social Work as well as a Graduate Certificate in Loss and Bereavement from McGill University (Montreal) where she has been teaching as a lecturer in the School of Social Work for over 20 years. Corrie is a licensed psychotherapist who currently maintains a private practice specializing in Loss and Bereavement, Parenting issues and Relationship issues. She is a well-known lecturer who regularly presents at conferences and workshops, both locally and abroad. Working in the Montreal Community for over 2 decades, Corrie has developed numerous prevention and intervention programs for families, children and professionals, students and various community agencies as well as Day and Residential Camps.

Corrie has also written numerous articles and blog posts and is regularly interviewed on local radio, news and TV programs to consult on issues relating to loss and bereavement, Child Development and Parenting.

To learn more information about Corrie Sirota visit her website


Connect with the author:    Website    Twitter    Facebook


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Who Writes These?

5 Oct


Guest Post: Unpublished Interview With SPED Kids

5 Oct

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Guest Post: Unpublished Interview With SPED Kids By Karina Martinez (Interview with Alex from Spinner)

It is a somber day as I approached the lunch table. This group of SPED students (Special Education) has experienced a tragic loss – their teacher was killed last night, run down by a truck outside her apartment. We’ve never had such a tragedy at Mark Twain High. Ms. Lorna Ashley had been teaching Special Education for four years and her class was always self-contained. That means the students were with her the whole day, for every class. Her current group consists of six male students, all gathered around the most beat-up of the lunch tables not far from their classroom. I have my faithful photographer with me – Jasmine Rodriguez – and we both try to look professional as we stop at their table. These kids have a reputation around campus for being weird and usually nobody ever goes near them. One of the boys is in a wheelchair, but the others look normal. You’d never know they were Special Ed.

I introduce Jasmine and myself. The boys stare at us like we’re from Mars or something. The white haired boy, Alex, the one in the wheelchair, has these amazing blue eyes that almost make me forget what I was there for. I explain that I write for the school paper and we’re doing a story on Ms. Ashley’s death.

“Why?” That comes from the light-skinned black kid named Java. He glowers and looks suspiciously at the camera Jasmine holds.

“Well, we’ve never had anything like this happen before,” I explain, “and it’s big news when a teacher gets killed.”

Israel, dark hair, really handsome, blurts out, “What the f**k?”

That catches me off-guard. “Well, I just mean, it’s something the school paper can’t ignore.”

Jorge, tall and thin with unkempt black hair, hands me a piece of paper with no expression on his face. It has a big red “V” scrawled on it. I exchange a nervous glance with Jasmine, who stifles a giggle, and then turn back to Jorge.

“What’s this for?”

“We’ve never had anything like this happen before,” Jorge says in a monotone voice, repeating my words to me. I confess I’m feeling creeped out.

Roy, the skinny white kid with snakebite piercings in his lower lip brushes hair from in front of his eyes. Those eyes look sad to me. “Ms. Ashley was a great teacher. She was like a mom to us. That’s all you gotta write.”

There’s a Vietnamese kid named Cuong at the table, but he just plays with a Gameboy like we’re not even there. Alex stares at me with those blue eyes and I feel like he’s looking right through me. I shiver. He’s the one our readers most want to hear from because he’s the most disabled kid we have at Mark Twain, being in a wheelchair and all. So I focus on him.

“So, um, Alex, do you have anything to say about Ms. Ashley?”

Alex’s intense look doesn’t let up at all. His white blond hair falls across his forehead and back over his collar. His serious expression doesn’t hide his good looks. If he weren’t crippled he’d be hot enough to date.

“Like Roy said, Ms. Ashley was the best teacher I ever had,” Alex answers, his voice filled with sadness. “She never got mad at us when we couldn’t do something. She just helped us find some other way. She loved us.”

I take notes as he speaks, still feeling those deep blue eyes looking through me. “So, you guys are Special Ed, right?”

“Yeah, so?” Java says. He’s big and buff and wears one of those tight shirts like football players wear. He looks scary.

“Well, our readers don’t know much about being special ed. Are you guys like, retarded?”

I ask it innocently because that’s usually what special ed means, but Java’s face turns stormy.

“We are not f***ing retarded!” Israel says loudly. Other kids milling about look over curiously. Now I feel embarrassed.

“Sorry,” I say. “It’s just, well, that’s what normal kids think about special ones.”

“We are normal,” Roy says. “For us. Right, Alex?”

Java looks ready to explode so I turn to Alex.

“Roy’s right,” Alex says, his voice tight with anger. “We don’t read or write good, but we’re the same as you.”

“Except you can’t walk?”

“The hell?” Roy blurts. He stands and towers over me. “Get outta here! You don’t know s**t!”

Alex places one hand on Roy’s arm and that calms him a little. He looks at Alex and Alex shakes his head slightly. Still angry, Roy re-seats himself.

“No, I can’t walk,” Alex replies, those eyes fixed intently on me.

I try to steer this interview into a non-threatening direction. “What’s it like, not to walk?”

“Shut up, bitch!” Israel says loudly. He can’t seem to speak in any tone other than loud. He draws more attention to me than I want. Then Jorge says, “Shut up, bitch,” and sounds eerily like Israel. I shiver again.

“It’s okay, Izzy,” Alex says. I think he’s probably been asked that question a lot because he just sighs and looks up at me from his wheelchair. “What’s it like to walk? I never have so I don’t know.”

That answer floors me and I have no response.

“See?” Alex goes on. “Normal is different for everybody. Maybe you could print that and the kids around here might stop talking s**t about us and calling me Roller Boy all the time. We got feelings same as all of you, and we’re not losers like everybody says. Roy could fix anything in this school that breaks down. And Java could kick ass on the football team ’cept people keep calling him a dummy. He’s not. None of us are. We’re just born different.”

I’m trying to write down every word because it’s all so amazing and so unlike what I thought these kids were like. I guess I thought they were dumb because that’s what I always heard. I realize that this is the first time I ever interacted with them. Alex stops talking and I stop writing. The others are staring at me and I feel like I should say something, but don’t know what.  Then it hits me.

“Could I try out your wheelchair?”

“The f**k?” Israel says even louder. The “F-word” seems to be his favorite.

Alex looks at me with open-mouthed surprise and I realize I didn’t ask the question very well. “I, uh, I just thought I could write a better story about what it’s like to be crippled if I sat in your chair and, you know, wheeled around a little.”

Roy leaps to his feet again. “Get lost. We’re not freaks and Alex ain’t crippled! He can do anything you can and more!”

Jasmine giggles beside me and I nudge her, trying to salvage this interview.

“It’s okay, Roy,” Alex says quietly. “Let her try.”

“Alex! She’s just messing with you.”

“No, I’m not, really,” I answer quickly. “I just want to feel what it would be like to sit all the time.”

Roy’s angry look makes me realize I said the wrong thing again. I’m really wishing Ms. Jacobs hadn’t given me this assignment. Alex touches Roy’s arm again in a calming way and pushes himself up and out of his wheelchair onto the bench so easily I think I gasped. His arms and upper body look pretty buff, but he moved so fast I’m shocked.

“Go ahead,” he says. “Try it out.”

I feel all of them mad-dogging me as I step forward and uncertainly sit in the chair. I try to push forward, but my feet on the ground get in my way.

“Your feet go on the footrest,” Alex says and points to it.

I look down and see where he’s pointing and place my feet there. Then I start wheeling around. It’s fun, I find myself thinking, almost like riding in a Go-Kart. Jasmine snaps some pictures of me in the chair and of the SPED kids watching me.

“How is it?” Jasmine asks.

Before I can stop myself, I say, “It’s fun.”

I spin around and head back toward her. Other kids standing nearby laugh and point.

“Let me try,” Jasmine says.

I hop out of the chair and she plops into it. Wheeling herself around in circles, she makes like she’s going to run into another kid standing off to the side. The kid lurches back and Jasmine laughs. All the students standing around laugh and point to Alex and his friends. I hear one of them say, “Hey, it’s Roller Girl.”

“This is so cool,” Jasmine gushes, and I catch Alex’s facial expression when she does. He looks like someone punched him. Those blue eyes look so hurt I almost feel like crying. I hurry to Jasmine.

“Give him back the chair.”

Reluctantly, she steps out of it and I wheel the chair back to Alex. He gives me a look that pierces my heart and I realize how hurtful what we just did is to him. He slides himself deftly into the chair and pulls his feet onto the footrest.

Roy steps up to me. He’s really mad. “Had enough fun? Get the f**k outta here and leave us alone!”

I step back as all of them stand up to mad-dog me. Even the Vietnamese kid stops playing his game to glower. I exchange a nervous glance with Jasmine, who hurriedly snaps a few pictures.

“I, uh, well, thanks for talking to me,” I say uncertainly. “I’m, well, sorry about your teacher and all.”

Jasmine grabs my arm to pull me away. I can’t help but look into Alex’s blue eyes one last time. He looks so hurt, more than he did when I first got here. I understand these kids now more than I ever did before. They feel pain and sadness just like we do, and they deserve the same respect.

“I’m sorry, Alex, about the chair thing. See ya around.”

Alex doesn’t answer, so I turn to follow Jasmine away into the crowd. The other kids are still laughing.



Karina Martinez for The Daily Cougar


Note: This is how I wrote up the article, but Ms. Jacobs decided not to run it. She felt it would embarrass Alex and his friends, and then she spent an entire period teaching us proper ways to ask difficult questions during an interview. I know I blew it, but at least I now understand that the kids we call Special Ed are just as human as I am, and I plan to treat them that way from now on.

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Today is World Teachers’ Day

5 Oct

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Book Review: Heart of the Guardian by Desiree Williams

4 Oct


Heart Song Trilogy – Book 3

25957481 (1)The time has come. The war ends now …

Syrina’s inner energy has not been the same since the Guardian Alanna saved her that day in the market. A burning need to help others drives her to seek permission to join the caravan headed to the Rebels camp. Lady Alanna and Prince Jerric have given Syrina and her mother so much, and in return, Syrina wants to spread that kindness to the Guardian’s army in any way she can.

It was supposed to be another easy plan. Until an amber-eyed stranger flipped her life around, throwing her into the strange world of Guardians and Warriors. Now, Syrina faces challenges she’s never even dreamed of as the missing piece in the War on the Lands is found.

New enemies and allies surface in this never ending war. Syrina and the Guardians lock onto the measure of goodness they’ve been given while evil threatens to rip it from their hands.

When the battle hits home, nothing will be the same.


My Review:

I received a free ecopy of this book for an honest review.

I read the first two books in this series, Heart Song and Shifter’s Heart, and was looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy. This series has gotten better with each book and I’m going to miss the characters.

Desiree Williams’ writing style flows well and is easy to read. Her descriptions put vivid pictures in my mind but she doesn’t give so much detail that I get bored and skip paragraphs.

The characters from the first two books, Laelynn & Dustan and Alanna & Jerric, are secure in their relationships as well as their roles as Guardians and their Warriors. They all have the common goal of ending the war with Varkadon so that peace will once more reign. I have enjoyed watching them all grow individually, within their bonds, and as Guardians and Warriors. 

Syrina, who was saved by Alanna from her mother’s evil landlord, wants to repay her by assisting the Rebels any way she can. When she arrives at the Rebel camp, she meets Emer and nothing is the same for either of them after that. I really liked their love story. The poor couple didn’t have much time together, though, before they were off to war.

The trilogy has a good ending and I definitely recommend Heart of the Guardian. It is a stand alone book but I would read Heart Song and Shifter’s Heart first. 


Book Links


Purchase on Amazon


Author Bio

1-21-2015-2-33-13-PM-150x150Desiree Williams is a dreamer by day and chocoholic by night. She lives in the beautiful state of Kentucky with her husband and daughter, where she juggles life as a wannabe supermom. Desiree is a lover of food and avoider of dirty dishes. She delights in making people laugh and strives to bring hope and love with her wherever she goes.

You can find out more about Desiree and her books at


Author Links

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