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

Friday, September 25, 2015

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.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

Book Spotlight: The Other Side by Starr Smith

Friday, September 18, 2015

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.

Buy Links:

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.

Lurking Spots:

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

Book Spotlight: Release Day Sale for Asylum Harbor by Isla Grey

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

“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.”

Buy Links

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:

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

News at The Book Cove: Yikes it's well into September!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How does time fly?? It's crazy how the days, weeks, months, can come and go. I've been so busy with work and school and work and more work and more school...oh and life...that I finally just realized it was well into September and I haven't had an update post on here in a while!

Book Review Status

I am once again on a book review hiatus now that regular class schedule has started. I'll still post reviews of my random reads and maybe accept a book or two from the request form, but since I can't make any time commitment promises and I don't like to leave people hanging, I'm letting you all know to not expect your book to be accepted for review. I will continue to send your request to other book bloggers that may best fit your needs.

Promotional Posts

I do have availability to post book blitzes/tours/spotlights/etc. Contact at least 2 weeks in advance to schedule a date for your promotional post.

Blogging Opportunities

We're always up for having guest reviewers, guest bloggers, and adding co-bloggers. If you're interested (experience not necessary as long as your writing is readable), contact us and we'll set something up. Number of posts, time frame, and topic is up to you!

Book Review of Dr. Who: The Drosten’s Curse by A. L. Kennedy

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Drosten’s Curse is one of a series of books written about the Doctor Who British television series. The Doctor has been entertaining audiences on both sides of the pond for a long time. For those who don’t know, the show revolves around the adventures of a Time Lord only referred to as The Doctor. He travels the universe in his space ship/time machine called the Tardis that looks like an old fashioned police call box. He tends to like company and picks up plucky female human platonic companions along the way to share his adventures. (No sex please, we’re British.)

Early on, to solve the problem of an actor playing Doctor Who leaving the show, the writers devised a creative solution. The Doctor became a kind of immortal. If mortally wounded, he doesn’t actually die, but instead conveniently transforms his old body into the new actor. I know, it’s dumb, but it’s science fiction, so just go with it. This book details a new adventure of one of The Doctor’s from the 1970’s played by Tom Baker. There are generally two types of Doctor’s; grumpy and slightly mad. Tom Baker was one of the best of the slightly mad.

The Drosten’s Curse attempts to recreate the feel of a Baker episode, and to a large extent it succeeds. The action takes place in the British countryside in 1978 at the Fetch Brothers Golf Resort and Spa. People are mysteriously disappearing. The owner, an old woman named Julia Fetch, has an unnatural obsession with octopi and two unusual grandchildren who may not be as human as they seem. Why, what this story needs is a plucky heroine. Fortunately, she comes along in the form of Bryony Mailer, just the sort of person to help The Doctor discover what horror hides under the links.

Books like these are really no more than elevated fan fiction. As such, they should be as well-written as the original with an engaging story and interesting characters. The author does well with that. Her recreation of the Tom Baker Doctor Who captures much of the appealing lunacy of the original and the plucky heroine is, well, suitably plucky. The story has a nice couple of twists and fits The Doctor Who mold well.

The major problem with the book is dithering. Doctor Who television episodes are about an hour long and proceed at a brisk pace. The action is naturally condensed, but is usually meant to span less than a day. The TV writing is brisk, intelligent, with a certain amount of cheek. Much of that is seen in The Drosten’s Curse, but the dithering gets in the way. Yow, it drips from every page and every character. On television, you only have an hour to get your point across. Dithering is kept to a necessary minimum. Here, paragraphs are spent in characters wondering if they should do this, or that, or the other, or maybe something entirely different. Sheesh. Just get a move on, already.  Dithering constantly interrupts the flow of the plot and is a major annoyance. The book is 361 pages long. Take out the dithering and you’d have a tightly written 200 page story more reminiscent of the fun of the TV show.

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

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

Facebook Party Today Only: Chat with Authors and Win Prizes

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday, August 25
11 am to 9 pm Eastern Time Only!

An all-day Facebook Party to celebrate twelve novels being re-released under the Amazon Encore online with the authors, learn about their books, and win loads of prizes!

Join the Party! Encore Facebook Party

Release Day Sale for Second Chance City by L. A. Kelley

Friday, August 7, 2015

Publisher's New Release Sale for Second Chance City by L. A. Kelley

Only $2.50 at Wild Rose Press on August, 7, 8, 9
Regular price $4.99 at Amazon

Comic books can be the death of you.

Officer Nate Hammond had no regrets staying in his hometown of Coldwater Bay. He had a good life and a promising future with the police department. Then a chance meeting with a girl from his past drags him into an extraordinary adventure.

Elizabeth Parish had a plan than never included a return to Coldwater Bay. Small town life held nothing but bittersweet memories of an unhappy home, yet why was she possessed by the strange obsession to return? Did it have something to do with that mysterious comic book or its equally secretive author? Or could the real reason be the boy she left many years ago?

Sucked into a deadly comic book universe Nate and Libby find themselves in Second Chance City, home of Refractor and a league of murderous adversaries. Can a knowledge of comic books, a half-hearted super-hero, misunderstood villains, science gone horribly awry, and a magical flashlight help them find a way home or will their second chance at happily-ever-after only end in in death? 

The building was silent with the exception of a faint hum now emanating from the glow in the corner. Nate moved cautiously forward, shining the flashlight. “Debolt?” No one answered. “We’ll check the rest of the store…Libby?”
Libby had stepped from his side, her attention drawn elsewhere. She stood in front of the display stand filled with comic books. Her respiration sharply increased. “What is that?” she said. The eerie glow came directly from one of the books.
            Nate’s gaze widened. “I’ve no idea.” The glow began to fluctuate, pulsing with a bright green neon light.
            Libby squinted at the glare. She leaned in as if striving to discern the cover. “It’s the latest Refractor issue. Why is it doing that?” On and off, on and off, the hypnotic beat flashed.
            The light was oddly attractive. “It’s not some marketing gimmick?” Nate said.
“No way,” insisted Libby. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The tempo of the pulses increased, so did the hum. A little voice in Nate’s head bleated a warning. This isn’t normalYou should do something…do something…do something. His thoughts muddled with the incessant flash. The hand which had been resting on the gun, dropped to his side.
 Libby clutched the pencil light to her chest. As if drawn by an irresistible impulse, the other hand reached for the Refractor comic.
            Nate’s confusion vanished, shoved aside by a powerful protective urge. “Libby, don’t! It might be dangerous.” He grabbed her arm at the same time she touched the comic. For an instant, the world turned to green light.

Then total blackness enveloped them.

Buy Links
(sale price $2.50 until August 9): Wild Rose Press
(regular price $4.99): Amazon

Book Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Zach Lightman is a dreamer. He has no plans for the future other than to get through the last few months of high school and graduate. The teenager lives a lackluster life of dull routine, hoping for an indescribable something to give his life meaning.  Then one day he sees a spaceship outside his classroom window. Next thing you know Zach is recruited by a mysterious global organization to protect Earth from an alien invasion. World governments have been secretly training soldiers by the use of video games that mimic actual battlefield technology. One of the games is called Armada, and Zach just happens to be a top player.

Armada starts out surprisingly slow, the action doesn’t ramp up until the last two thirds of the novel. Meanwhile, the story is crammed with cultural references and video-game speak. If you don’t like sci-fy or have at least a passing interest in gaming then this book will bore you to tears. For those of us who’ve frittered away too many hours watching cheesy TV or playing video games the book also has few surprises. The plot will feel eerily familiar as if different parts of sci-fy venues had been strung together. As I read, I mentally connected plot points from old favorite books, TV, and movies. Yup, this theme comes from Star Wars...this twist comes from a Stargate episode...this is Star Trek...this is The Last Starfighter. It was actually kind of fun tying all the pieces together. That’s not to say the book is completely derivative or a total waste of time. It has the same appeal as summer superhero movies. You already know what’s coming, but you buy the ticket and order extra butter on the popcorn anyway.

The weakest part of the book is the characterization. You’ve met all these types before in dozens of different books and shows. Everyone has a role to play and doesn’t deviate; the misunderstood hero, the gamer dudes, the hacker chick who is (guess what?) beautiful, tattooed, snarky and drops the f bomb at every opportunity. Wow, I’ve never seen any of them before. No, wait, that’s my inner snarky hacker chick speaking. Yeah, unfortunately I’ve met them all before and they’re not any more interesting the hundredth time around.

Anyone who is a fan of the sci-fy genre can see the ending coming for the entire final third of the book. For that point alone, I didn’t find it particularly satisfying. It’s also pretty obvious who will live and who will die. The conclusion hints at a sequel. Again, no surprise. So does every other summer blockbuster.

Is this a terrible book?  No, but it isn’t terrific, either. It falls somewhere in between. A pleasant way to waste a few hours, but not interesting enough to look forward to more of Zach Lightman’s adventures.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

99 Cent Sale for Love's Battle by Angela Hayes

Friday, July 17, 2015

If love isn't worth fighting for, what is?

Love's Battle is on sale for 99 cents July 17-July 31

Love Howard has more than a knack for matchmaking. Born from a forbidden passion and a twelve-hundred-year-old promise, she and her sisters can literally see true love. And while Love has no problem bringing other couples together, her own romantic life could use a little help.

Danton DeAngelo has always been well grounded in reality. So it throws him for no small loop when the woman he’s fallen for believes that she’s been reincarnated eleven times and can actually see true love.

Now Danton is faced with the biggest decision of his life. Accept Love for who she really is, or walk away from her forever.

Title: Love's Battle 
Genres: Time Travel, Paranormal, Fantasy 
Rating: Sensual (PG13) 
Page Count: 310

             The hand Love pressed to her brow was visibly shaking. “There’s something I need to tell you. I just need you to keep an open mind.”
            “What is it? Are you sick?” Danton asked.
            “No, I’m not sick.” Her voice trembled on a forced laugh. “It’s something else. Something I‘ve been trying to prepare you for. This would be so much easier if you believed in magic. If you could believe that what I’m about to tell you is the honest truth.”
            Turning, Love opened the iron chest, the hinges groaning with the effort as specks of rust littered the floor. From its depths she pulled out a clear plastic bag that she held tight to her chest, eyes closed, before handing it to a confused Danton.
            “This is my tartan, my plaid. Before it faded and was dinner for the moths, it was once patterned in checks of green, gray, and brown. The purple and white stripes that ran through the hem identified the wearer as part of the royal family.” Love tapped the plastic, her finger pointing out where each color should be. “It was a gift from my father. The first and only time my sister’s and I met him, he was on his deathbed, we were eighteen. A week later our mother died in the same moment he drew his last breath.” Needing the extra air Love drew a breath of her own. “That day was the thirteenth of February, eight-hundred and fifty-eight AD. My father was Cinaed mac Alpin, crowned king of the Picts and Gaels. He was Scotland’s first king.”
            “Eight- hundred and fifty-eight?” That couldn’t be right, she was only twenty-five. “Don’t you mean Nineteen-eighty-seven?”
            “No. I was born for the first time in Scotland during the middle of the ninth century.”

Buy links:

Book Trailer:   or embedded you tube link   :<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Author Bio:
A married mother of two, I split my time between bringing characters to life by computer, and yarn to life with needle and hook. You can find me at where I help connect readers and the author’s they love.

L. A. Kelley writes fantasies with adventure, romance, humor and touch of sass. You can find her at

Book Spotlight: Claire Fullerton talks writing Irish settings and her new release Dancing to an Irish Reel

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Truth in fiction?

I can’t say I didn’t see it coming. Now that my book, Dancing to an Irish Reel is out, I’m being asked the inevitable question, “How much of the story is true?” Everyone who knows me personally knows I picked up and moved to the west coast of Ireland without much of a plan, and that I stayed for a year. Add that to the fact that the book is written in the first person, that the narrator’s interior monologues in the story are unabashedly confessional to the point of unnecessary risk. I’ve been told the book reads like a memoir, and for that, I can only say I’m glad because this was my intention. I can see why readers might think the entire story is true. 

But writers make a choice in how to lay out a story, and in my case, I wrote the book based on the kind of books I like to read. I’m a one-trick pony kind of a reader. I want an intimate narrator’s voice with which I can connect. I want to know exactly whom I’m listening to so that I can align with a premise that makes the story’s swinging pendulum of cause and effect plausible. The way I see it, there are always bread crumbs along the path to the chaotic predicaments people find themselves in, and although many are blind to their own contributions, when I read a book, I want to be the one who divines how the character got there. 

What fascinates me about people are their backstories. Oh, people will tell you their highlights, alright, but they rarely reveal their churning cauldron of attendant emotions; they rarely confess to carrying acquired fears. We all want to appear bigger than our own confusion, and the key word here is “appear,” because when it comes to faces, most people like to save theirs. This is the point I wanted to make in the story, but I also wanted Dancing to an Irish Reel, to be about discovery, so I started with a narrator who is a fish out of water: a twenty-five year old American ensconced in a specific culture she uncovers like the dance of seven veils. In the midst of this there enters an Irish traditional musician named Liam Hennessey. He is from the region, of the region, and therefore it can only be said he is because of the region in a way that is emblematic. From a writer’s point of view, the supposition offers the gift of built-in conflict, most poignantly being the clash of the male-female dynamic set upon the stage of differing cultures trying to find a bridge. And I can think of no better culture clash than America and Ireland. I say this because I happen to know to the Irish, we Americans are a bit brazen, we have the annoying habit of being direct. But the Irish are a discreet lot, culled from a set of delicate social manners that seem to dance around everything, leaving an American such as I with much guesswork.

No matter how they shake it, writers write about what they know, even if it has to be extracted from varying quadrants that have no good reason for being congealed. Dancing to an Irish Reel is a good example of this: it came to me as a strategy for commenting on the complexities of human beings inherent longing to connect—the way we do and say things that are at variance with how we really feel in the interest of appearances, and how this quandary sometimes dictates how we handle opportunities in life. In my opinion, there is no better playing field on which to illustrate this point than the arena of new found attraction. I’m convinced the ambiguity of new love is a universal experience, and since the universe is a big wide place, and since ‘”Dancing to an Irish Reel” has something to say about hope and fear and the uncertainty of attraction, it occurred to me that I might as well make my point set upon the verdant fields of Ireland because everything about the land fascinated me, and I wanted to take every reader that would have me to the region I experienced as cacophonous and proud: that mysterious, constant, quirky, soul-infused island that lays in the middle of the Atlantic, covered in a blanket of green, misty velvet.

(Blurb) On sabbatical from her job in the LA record business, Hailey takes a trip to Ireland for the vacation of a lifetime. What she finds is a job offer too good to turn down. Her new job comes with one major complication—Liam Hennessey. He’s a famous Irish musician whose entire live has revolved around performing. And Hailey falls in love with him. Although Liam’s not so sure love is in the cards for him, he’s not willing to push her away completely. And so begins Hailey’s journey to a colorful land that changes her life, unites her with friends more colorful than the Irish landscape, and gives her a chance at happiness she's never found before.

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton is the author of Paranormal Mystery, "A Portal in Time," set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California (Vinspire Publishing) and "Dancing to an Irish Reel," Fiction, set in Connemara, Ireland, (Vinspire Publishing.) She is a three time award winning essayist, a former newspaper columnist, a contributor to magazines, and a four time contributor to the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series. Claire hails from Memphis,TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. Currently, Claire is writing her third novel, which is based on her award winning essay in the 2013 San Francisco Writer's Conference.

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