Book Review: The Gryphon & His Thief

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Some Treasures are Priceless…

A long time ago, a Gryphon shifter’s duty was to guard and protect the people of the tribes, but Darrien Andros failed to keep his human wife safe from harm. Cursed for the crime, he must guard everything in the Museum of Cursed Antiquities forever, never to truly live and never to die. Centuries have passed, but when he encounters a thief, who uncannily resembles his dead wife, he is convinced he has a second chance.

Calli Angelis is hired to steal Hecate’s Stone from the Museum, believing she would be returning it to its rightful owner. She never really trusted the person who hired her and now Darrien makes her doubt her motives, too. He also has her questioning the possibility of reincarnation when the attraction between them ignites into something she can no longer ignore.

As the two work together to unravel the mysteries behind the stone, it becomes apparent an old and dangerous enemy from Darrien’s past is determined to have history repeat itself.

MY REVIEW

I enjoyed reading this book. The author is very talented with descriptions that really put me in the scene. Her work flowed smoothly and logically. I also thought she got the pacing right.

Her characters are interesting as well. One is a thief who specializes in returning stolen objects, and the other is a gryphon. I really disliked the bad guy in the book, which of course I was meant to. Great characterization there.

The chemistry between the hero/heroine was well-done and obvious, but the book wasn’t graphic. The author let us use our imagination. As well, she let the characters get to know one another (There’s something here I’d love to tell you, but I won’t.) in their own good time.

If you enjoy paranormal romance, you should put it on your list. It was a nice read.

 

Posted in book review, Elaine Cantrell, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Tangled Tinsel

When I found out that Wendy Knight had written a Christmas book and that it would be releasing this year instead of next year as she had originally planned I got excited. Then she asked if anyone wanted to read an advance copy. My hand shot up, waved frantically in the air, while in a high pitched voice I called out, “me, me, oh pick me!” or I just sent her a message telling her that I would love to read it. Either way I got an advance copy of Tangled Tinsel and just finished reading it.

Before I give you my thoughts on this book let me share the blurb and cover with you.

Of all the trains in all the world…
Greyson Luca just wanted to go home for Christmas. He did not want to run into the ex he’d never gotten over, and he did not want to see the giant engagement ring on her finger.
He also did not want to get stranded at an adorable bed and breakfast.
Stranded at an adorable bed and breakfast with her.
But Grey isn’t getting everything he thinks he wants this Christmas.
He’s getting everything he needs.
And that is so much better.

tangled tinsel

Isn’t that cover pretty?

 This book was such a fun and lovely read. I haven’t finished a book in a long time but this one, I didn’t want to put down, I did in order to make dinner for the family, and then once again to make some hot chocolate but then I went right back to reading. I had to find out how it was all going to unfold. I love that none of Wendy’s characters are ever perfect. Grey has his flaws, Red (Charlotte) has her flaws as well but it works. When reading this book, reading about these characters you can picture them as real people. These could be your neighbors, your cousins, or coworkers which makes the story that more enjoyable. I adored the setting of the story. While Grey, Charlotte, and Noah are all heading home for Christmas their train has to make an unscheduled stop due to the blizzard. They end up staying at the Huckleberry Falls Bed and Breakfast. It would be a perfect place to spend Christmas if you weren’t in a hurry to get home, or stuck with your ex but even then it just might be the perfect place.

I can see this as a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. I hope someday it catches the attention of someone over there and that becomes a reality. Meanwhile though, you can all get your copy tomorrow Wednesday December 11!

You can find Wendy Knight on Amazon and grab your copy of Tangled Tinsel tomorrow. Unfortunately it isn’t up for preorder.

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Guest Author: Judy Ann Davis and A Musical Christmas Series

For most of my life, this time of year has always been full of music. I participated in my school’s band and orchestra and sang in the choir, as well as the choir and handbell group at church. I directed countless Christmas programs as a music instructor and as a church choir director. And now, I’m back to performing as an oboist. So when Judy Ann Davis, a member of one of my author support groups, announced her Musical Christmas Series, I knew I had to read them, and I asked her to visit us to share her inspiration for the three novellas in the holiday series. Here she is!

Judy Ann Davis HeadshotHello to all from the mountains of Central Pennsylvania where this time of year, we look forward to the chance of snow to make the holidays white and bright. I’m a big fan of the Christmas season with its colorful sparkling lights, mouthwatering holiday foods, the colors of red and green, and holiday stories with a happily-ever-after (HEA). But most of all I enjoy the music—the carols, hymns, and the old and new songs of the season. My enthusiasm for the music was the spark that launched my idea for a “Musical Christmas Series.” The series consists of three novellas with three female characters who play different instruments and find their true love at last.

My first two novellas have been released this year: JUNE ~ The Pianist was released in October, followed by ADELENE ~ The Violinist, released in November. How did I choose the instruments? To be honest, I briefly played the piano, like my main character, June, but I also played the violin for nine years so I can relate very well to Adelene. Although both books are available, I’m featuring JUNE ~ The Pianist today. And what will be the third novella? Well, the main character is LUCY, but it’s a secret what she plays until next fall.

Do you—or did you—play a musical instrument? Give a shout out in the comment section below. Or tell me what your favorite holiday song might be.

51ec4ks-z7lBlurb for June – The Pianist
When concert pianist June Westberry inherits her late grandfather’s music shop, she returns to her small hometown in New York to renovate and run it. But she never expects to clash with the town’s ornery old music teacher, Nettie Jones who demands she find a lost, fifty-year-old holiday musical score.

Single parent and contractor, Leo Ciaffonni, enjoys restoring old buildings, and the A# Music Shop with its pretty new owner is no exception. When he’s injured, June finds herself caring for Leo and helping his little daughter bake cookies for her class.

As the holidays close in and the shop’s renovations continue, the problems June tries hard to solve only seem to become more chaotic. A# Sharp Music Shop is broken into. A harvest recital for her new students requires multifaceted planning. And the perpetrator and the lost musical score have not been found.

Will she be able to find peace and order in her new life this Christmas—and the love she’s always dreamed of?

Posted in author interview, author's life, Books, Christmas, Christmas books, Guest author, Guest author post, inspiration, romance | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Pessin’? Yessin’? Guessin’.

Do I consider myself a pessimist or an optimist?

Oh, wow.

I have been both.

I am a worrier, I admit. I will imagine worst-case scenarios.
The biggest problem I have is that in my life what can go wrong usually does go wrong, and I try to be prepared, even though sometimes, I am pleasantly surprised.

Or more often, pleasantly SHOCKED, when anything works out to be great.

I always like to be prepared and it has paid off in so many ways, either by avoiding catastrophes, by making things easier when they happen anyway, or to alleviate the damage when it’s been out of my hands completely.

I’d rather not be UNpleasantly shocked, and, actually after all these years, that almost never happens anymore. Oh, the bad things keep happening, I’m just very seldom blind-sided.

I was raised in a defeatist mentality; which I have endeavored to rise above, but being prepared has kept me reasonably sane.

So, although I imagine and prepare for the worst, I HOPE for the best.

I get up every morning.
I encourage others.

I plaster a smile on my face when I go shopping and love to see others respond.

I freeze a smile on my lips as soon as I get to the doors of my brother’s nursing home, more for the staff’s sake than for the other ‘inmates’ (as my brother calls himself and fellow patients).

I have plans. I plan for good things.
I start many good things and often, finish them.

I go to sleep expecting to see the next day,  so much so that I have undergone general anesthesia eleven times (and not been surprised to wake up each time).
I also always plan to do better than I did the day before.

I pray.

I know there is more to the world than what we see.

I also know that there is more to life than what we experience physically .

So, am I more of an optimist than the pessimist that people think me to be?

I think that I am.

Posted in blessings, Daily life, decisions, experiences | 9 Comments

Pessimist or Optimist

Kinda Depends on the Situation

By Jeff Salter

I can’t say that I’m all that “upbeat” typically… so people wouldn’t likely view me as an optimist. But I think it’s easy for someone who’s a practical realist to be confused as a pessimist… simply because they’re aware of limitations and/or dangers (and take steps to ameliorate them). And that’s what I consider myself: a practical realist. I want to be prepared for the situations I’m about to enter, so I think about what I might need.

Could it be too cold in that theater? I’ll bring a jacket.

Will the prices for candy be triple (or more) what they cost at the grocery? I’ll bring my own candy.

Might my indigestion act up again? I’ll bring a few anti-acid tablets in my pocket.

Is there rain in the forecast for after the movie? I’ll bring an umbrella.

Some people categorize all of those practical considerations as signs of a pessimist. I disagree. The fact that I bring the jacket and carry the umbrella does not mean I expect it to be cold inside and rainy outside… but merely because I don’t wish to be uncomfortably cold and wet in case the conditions DO turn out as they have a 50-50 chance of developing.

I remember many years ago when our children were young and we were heading out of state for a big reunion with my dad, step-mother, both my siblings and their families. It was early autumn, so I told each of our two kids to bring a jacket. Both protested, “It’s not cold.” Well, they were correct that it wasn’t cold at that moment, during the daytime, in the state where we lived. But what would the weather be like in the place we were going, at whatever time of day or evening we might be moving about outside? So, despite them ignoring my admonition, I secretly packed a jacket for each of them anyway. Sure enough, the very first evening at the destination, it turned quite chilly and they were both “freezing.”

“Go to the car and get your jackets,” I said.

“But we didn’t bring our jackets,” they replied.

“I know, but I brought them FOR you.”

They were optimists… but was I a pessimist? I don’t think so. I believe I was a practical realist.

Or take this example: If you already know a certain stretch of road has lots of potholes, and you therefore travel that stretch slowly, carefully, and make adjustments as you proceed… are you a pessimist? Conversely, would an optimist simply barrel down that highway, regardless of the danger to his/her car and its suspension? Do optimists lose their optimist card if they slow down and assess potential hazards? Do pessimists deserve their “Eeyore” label simply because they point out things (like potholes) which should be avoided?

tigger-eeyore

And speaking of Eeyore… yeah, it’d be a bummer being around someone so constantly gloomy. But wouldn’t it be equally uncomfortable and exhausting to be constantly badgered by the unrelenting boisterousness of someone like Tigger?

Let’s examine the world of un-famous authors — and, yeah, there are plenty of us. A severely pessimistic writer would not submit a manuscript to a contest, agent, editor, publisher… simply with the belief that “they wouldn’t want it anyway.” And I’ve know some writers who think that way.

On the other hand, an egotistical optimist might submit early, unpolished drafts to any and all with the attitude that “they have to love it, because I wrote it.”

In between those extremes are the people who hover on the scale somewhere between Plus-10 percent and Minus-10 percent … where the PLUS side reaches to positive 100% and the MINUS side reaches to negative 100%. Zero would be dead center. The practical realist’s “needle” would typically be on the zero mark. Depending upon circumstances, recent experiences, prevailing market conditions, etc., that individual’s needle could flicker anywhere between those two points on the meter.

Test

To get a somewhat objective measure of where I am on that scale, I took a very short “personality” test. I didn’t think much of the test questions, but here’s how I scored:

42 on the optimism line

50 on the pessimism line

And here is the summary the thoughtful test-makers composed on my behalf:

You sometimes believe that the future holds positive opportunities with successful outcomes. Holding on to this will help you to cope with stressful situations and help with your motivation and persistence. You do sometimes view the world as a place of bad experiences and events, at these times you are unlikely to invest much trust or faith in the belief that things will turn out ok.

https://www.seemypersonality.com/personality.asp?p=Optimism-Test#q1

Quotes

I could ramble on and on about my take on practical realism versus the extremes of optimism and pessimism, but let me share a few summary quotes by writer Jeremy Dean: 

There are some advantages to optimism like it seems to make people feel better about life. But there are also advantages for pessimism in that thinking the worst helps some pessimists cope better with the world.

But we should be less concerned with which is ‘better’ or which camp is larger and more interested in why people see the world in such different ways in the first place.

 #  #  #

To cope with this unpredictability some of us choose to think optimistically because it helps motivate us to try, try again. For others a pessimistic mindset performs the same function. By thinking about what might go wrong it helps protect us against when things do go wrong.

 #  #  #

Being optimistic allows people to pursue their goals in a positive way: to dream a bigger and better dream, which they can work their way towards. Optimists also seem to respond better to positive feedback, and part of being optimistic may be generating this feedback for themselves, i.e. thinking positive thoughts.

On the other hand being pessimistic may help people reduce their natural anxiety and to perform better. Also, pessimists seem to respond better to negative feedback. They like to hear what the problems were, so they can correct them. Again, part of why pessimists generate these sorts of negative thoughts is that it helps them perform better.

 #  #  #

Here is a link to the entire excellent article by Jeremy Dean:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/pessimism-vs-optimism/

 

QUESTION:

What about YOU? Is your glass half full or half empty? Or do you think that image sort of misses the point in the discussion of optimism vs. pessimism?

[JLS # 465]

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That Glass is Half Full

Am I an optimist or a pessimist?

I’d have to say that I’m mostly an optimist. Naturally I have my down moments and hard times, everyone does, but overall for me the glass is usually half full instead of half empty. I suppose that’s because I’ve had a very blessed life beginning with my parents.

They provided a home full of safety, warmth, laughter, and love. We certainly weren’t wealthy, in fact just the opposite, but they always made sure that my sister and I had everything we needed both materially and emotionally. Oh, the memories I have! I miss them all the time, but it seems worse at Christmas than at any other time. My sister and I used to wake up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve and run into their bedroom to get them up so we could see what gifts we’d received. I doubt they’d been in bed very long so I wonder how they faked their enthusiasm over each and every present from Santa.

I had a lovely time during my school years too. I liked school. I thought it was fun to learn new stuff, and like most kids I did enjoy socializing with my friends. I was never bullied or picked on so this too probably is a reason I’m an optimist.

My married life has been good too. My husband sometimes acts like a guy, but I’d have to say he’s considerate, loving, and kind. He gave me two wonderful sons that I’m so proud of. One of them does something with computers. He’s tried to tell me what, but I don’t get it. My other son has his own small business.

I even got to fulfill one of my lifelong dreams and become an author, and not everyone’s dream comes true.

I’ve faced some hard things as well, but somehow, I always expect that everything will work out for the best in the end so, yeah, I’m an optimist. What about you? Are you an optimist or pessimist?

Posted in blessings, Elaine Cantrell, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

To Be or Not to Be….an optimist.

When asked if I am an optimist or a pessimist, I would probably say that I try lean more toward optimism however I have pessimistic moments, as I think most anyone does. There are times when I automatically assume the worse. My mind wanders over to the dark side of “what if” and then anxiety takes hold. I must redirect myself to think of something more positive. Focus on the good that is happening.

However, when it comes to the philosophy of it all. I absolutely am an optimist. I know there is a lot of bad going on this world however I believe that good will win over evil. How can evil win in the end when there are still good people in this world? Good people will not stand idly by and allow such evil to happen without standing up and doing what they can to put a stop to it.

There will always be people like Maximillian Kolbe, a Catholic priest who saved more than 2,000 Jewish people during the Holocaust. When the Nazi’s discovered that Kolbe had been harboring 2,000 refuges in his monastery, they sent him to Auschwitz. He didn’t let that stop him though. He ended up sacrificing himself to save another. Ten prisoners were to be selected to be tortured as punishment because someone had escaped. When the Nazis went to select the men to be sent to Block 13 Father Kolbe heard one man begging for his life and Father Kolbe offered himself up in the man’s place. At the end of three weeks of torture Kolbe was the only one of those ten men left alive, so an executioner injected him with carbolic acid, killing him. Francis Gajowniczek is the man whom Father Kolbe saved by volunteering to go to Block 13. Francis survived Auschwitz and lived until 1995.

Pastor Lee Jong-rak has saved over 600 unwanted or mentally handicapped babies in South Korea. He created a baby box; a heated and padded box and built it into the side of his house. Parents who can’t or won’t care for their babies can drop them off in this box, when they do there is a sensor that lets him know there is a baby inside. Now unwanted babies are ending up on his doorstep instead of being abandoned on the side of the road.

How about the person who paid for a stranger’s lunch? Or the people who volunteer to help at the homeless shelter. The family that purchases extra gifts at Christmas to help give a better Christmas to a family in need. The teenager who holds the door open for you at the store. What about the teacher who gives up their time to help a struggling student? The people who volunteer their time to teach kids at groups like Awanas. The crossing guard at the school who stands outside in the rain, wind, freezing temperatures, and snow in order to ensure kids can safely cross the street. There are so many ordinary people in this world who brighten the darkness of this world. These people are simply going about their lives, they probably don’t even realize that they’re making such a significant difference in the lives of others. It is because of people like this that I am an optimist, I believe that good will win. How about you?

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