Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Review of Your Daily Brain by Marbles: The Brain Store and Garth Sundem

I generally think of my brain as a blobby organ that causes me to spout random nonsense on a regular basis, and chugs steadily along on doses of caffeine, but according to the authors of Your Daily Brain, there’s more to it than that.  During the course of twenty-four hours, your brain will be called upon to prioritize, decide, categorize, and evaluate—sometimes all at once. That’s a lot of stress for a couple of pounds of gray cells. Your Daily Brain attempts to explain the why and where of the decision making process and how best to maximize your brain’s potential.  

The book is organized into sections according to ten or fifteen minute periods throughout the typical day. Each time period has snippets on what a brain may be doing, and advice on how to help it function better. It starts with waking up at 6:00 am (don’t use the snooze alarm) and ends at 9:00 pm (forgive yourself for a good night’s sleep). Want to jump-start your brain power at 7:15 in the morning? Leave the Sugar Frosted Flakes in the pantry and eat a breakfast with a low glycemic index like steel cut oatmeal. Shopping for groceries in the afternoon? Favor your amygdala over the prefrontal cortex. The amygdala wants the Snickers, the cortex screams you’re a lard butt and makes you put it back. The book deals with such far-flung topics as how best to use your brain to search the internet to why you should fine an exercise routine (the chemicals secreted are the same ones oozed out when you’re in love.) My favorite was the 6:15 pm, love in the evening, section. Apparently, the following three questions are all you need to determine a mate’s compatibility. Do you like horror movies? Have you ever traveled around the country alone? Wouldn’t it be fun to chuck it all and live on a sailboat? 

I'd recommend this book for anyone who likes odd facts and interesting science tidbits. All the articles are short and easy to read for the non-sciency type. Since they are keyed to a particular time, you can finish this book in a day in short bursts, or skip from one article to another. The latter is actually a better idea. According to Your Daily Brain, creativity comes from shaking things up.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Journey to 'The Other Side' with author Starr Smith

The Other Side: Melinda's Story

by Starr Smith

Melinda's family is dead, killed for information that is hidden deep within her mind. Her father tries to warn her from the 'Other Side' that she is in danger from the killers who want what only she can give them.

Committed to Skyview Haven, she must determine if the 'Other Side' truly exists or if it is a trick of her heart and mind. With time running out Melinda must determine who she can trust. Is it the ghosts of her family, a boy who may not be who he appears to be, or the doctor who is determined to cure her? Can she figure out the truth before it is too late?

It was all I could do not to shake her from her insanity. Melinda is a nice girl, one who can possibly have a future. However, she’s stuck in the past no matter how much she thinks she’s living in the future.

And it’s the past I’m interested in. She talks constantly about this paranormal subject. Her father’s dead. Then he isn’t. Then Beth is. I shake my head in confusion. It’s all so strange and not what I expected to run into when I took this assignment. But there’s no way I can stop now. Not yet.

Melinda also said she told her aunt and uncle everything and they insisted she needed help. Just what did she tell them? If it’s the same from the police report, it’s nothing that’s going to aid in getting Melinda to recall everything. But maybe they know more than everyone thinks.

When speaking to Dr. Allcott about her aunt and uncle, he indicated they won’t come back to California to see Melinda until she’s completely healed.

And healing begins with remembering everything.

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About the Author:
As a paralegal by day and author by night, Starr is an award winning author for her short story “Cut,” and made her mark on the literary world with the Ivanovich series and now her Other Side series. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing, she’s known for her distinctive voice, and making every character stand out.

Starr is the founder and owner of Editing by Starr and the former executive editor for Suspense Magazine. She’s a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW) and of Sisters in Crime, and has won three Best Speaker awards as well as Best Evaluator at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. As co-chair and main coordinator for the West Coast Author Premiere, she arranged weekend-long events to help authors from all over network, learn, and share their work with the public.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Release: Asylum Harbor by Isla Grey

“Still Waters Run Deep”

Trouble is the last thing Devon Brown needs when she leaves the painful memories of her past behind and heads to Shell Island.  As the Salty Dog’s new bartender, she finds herself drawn to Kerr, the Shell Island harbormaster.  But finding her happily-ever-after is difficult when dealing with an obnoxious bootlegger who supplies the bar with illegal liquor and a jealous coworker.

A standoffish loner with damaged emotions, Kerr avoids relationships like the plague.  Things change when Devon catches his eye.  As a simple flirtation grows serious, the coworker and bootlegger quickly become obstacles to any future Kerr and Devon may have together.  As the situation worsens, Devon realizes that even the still waters of Asylum Harbor are no refuge during a storm.

Asylum Harbor. The Salty Dog Series, Book One
Contemporary, Suspense
Spicy (PG-13)

“You already got dibs on this one Kerr?”

Porter shot an evil glare at the opposite end of the bar and looked back toward her.  “I’ll see you tonight.”  He flicked his tongue.  “After work.”  He raised his glass in a mock toast and chugged it in one gulp.

The lights dimmed for Victoria’s dance of the night.  Devon watched Kerr, who was usually headed for the exit by now, and breathed a sigh of relief when he remained glued to his seat with his back to the stage.  He wasn’t staying for Victoria’s peep show.  There must have been something about this Porter character that got under his skin in a bad way.

Devon was eager for the quick break.  She hustled to the back as the chords to “Simply Irresistible” began to pelt over the speakers and ran some cold water over her forearm.  A red welt was beginning to show where Porter had held onto it.  She hoped he would be gone by the time she got back.
 Making it out before mid-song, Devon rounded the bar when someone snagged her wrist and thrust her hard against the bar, knocking the wind out of her.  She could smell Porter’s alcohol-laced breath as his weight pinned her under him.  One of his grubby hands shot under her shirt while the other wrestled with the button on her pants.  “Let’s give them a real show.”

She struggled to reach the Equalizer, but it remained hidden, out of her grasp.  Devon hoisted her knee toward his crotch, but Porter lost his balance and fell backward before she could make contact.

Kerr towered over him. “Get your hands off her.”

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Author Bio
Isla Grey is from Central Virginia and still lives in the same small town she grew up in. She developed a love of writing at an early age and over the years has tried her hand at penning poetry (some good, some not so good), screenwriting, newspaper articles and historical stories. She’s “old school” when it comes to writing and is a hoarder of more pens, post-it notes and writing journals than she’ll ever need. Isla likes to write different types of stories from romance to mystery and anything in between and loves a “happy for now but there could be some bad things coming” feel.

When Isla’s not writing, she spends her time being called “Mom, Mama, Mommy” (well, you get the picture) by her daughter who is forever active, even in her sleep. She considers herself an unofficial “cat whisperer” and is a pet human to a plethora of cats that have taken up residence at her home over the years. Isla also enjoys reading a good biography or ghost story, traveling even though “there’s no place like home”, good music played loud and walking.

Isla loves movies and is the movie mistakes editor at where she talks about…well…movies.  Her novella, “A Voice in the Dark”, is available now and her book, “Asylum Harbor”, will be released September 16th, 2015 through Wild Rose Press.

You can connect with Isla at: