Monday, February 23, 2015

The Doctor is in: Dr. Strange Love

And taking over the blog today is Elizabeth Seckman! Her book, Defying Reason just released, and it's awesome. In light of her new book, I asked her to give us a little skinny on strange aspects of love:

Love is blind...and sometimes a little strange.

Here's a few of the oddities of that thing we humans call love and sex:

1. Married people often have similar DNA. No, they're not exactly cousins, but their DNA codes have a lot in common. 
2. Women can fake a sexy voice, but men, not so much. Like women aren't blamed for faking enough things in the bedroom! Anyhow, seems women can fool men by lowering their voice, whereas when men tried, women had a negative response. 
3. The brain in love is similar to the brain of an addict. A hit of cocaine will register the same pleasure response as someone in love. Lust, on the other hand, stimulates the hypothalamus. This area controls hunger and thirst. Now we know why love is lasting and lust lasts until, well...the next meal. 
4. Men burn more calories during sex than women. That may seem unfair, but hey- a calorie burned, is a calorie gone. 
5. STD's rates are increasing, not among the youngest among us, but in the elderly population. Seems those randy grannies and grandpa's need to ask the kiddos for some condom advice when they call about computer problems. 

The Book:

Jo Leigh Harper comes from a long line of trouble-making, white trash stock.
Tanner Coulter comes from a longer line of wealth-creating, blue blood stock.
Jo graduated college top of her class, moving toward a future full of possibilities.
Tanner dropped out of college, trading a law degree for drinking games and one night stands.

A family crisis throws the rich party boy and the poor genius girl together. The attraction is immediate, though neither one is a heart-in-the-sand-drawing believer in true love. But as the summer sun heats up along the shores of the Outer Banks, so does the connection between them. Maybe, just maybe, they can win at love by defying reason.

Author Bio:

Elizabeth is a multi-published author of books for people who are believers in happily-ever- after, true love, and stories with a bit of fun and twists with their plots. The mother of four young men, she tackles laundry daily and is the keeper of the kitchen. She lives along the shores of the Ohio River in West Virginia, but dreams daily of the beach. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Waiting, Sleeping, and other things I am not good at

This past week, I’ve been in real estate negotiations with the very unenviable position of not having nearly enough money. If you’ve been in my shoes, you know what it’s like to be a bottom feeder. This whole past week has been like the first time I queried. I always have my phone on me, and every time it buzzes, I jump, hoping that it’s the calldreading that it’s the call.

This high alert status has led my body to kick back into emergency status sleeping routines. In short: I sleep 5 and half hours, then BAM! Awake.


This is nothing new, but I had hoped that at some point in my life I would have figured out how to make the whole sleeping thing work. And most frustrating, my SO sleeps for 10 or 12 hours at a stretch. EERRRG!

On the other hand, I’m always complaining that there aren’t enough hours in the day, so I’m just starting to tack them on at 3 and 4 am. Back to work for me, I guess.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Taking Leave of My Senses

I went to the coast yesterday. It was spectacular. So spectacular, in fact, that I forgot to take a single picture.

Yeah. I know. There I was at the beach in February, getting a sun burn (thanks a lot, SPF 70--You had ONE JOB!), reveling in the glory of blue waters and sea anemones, and I didn't remember to take a single picture.


That sort of sums up my life right now. Every time I think I'm getting my head above water, or that I'm starting to do a better job of remembering things, I forget that it's the kid's Special Day at school.


And because I was already doing such a fine job staying on top of everything in my life, I decided to start a new project (because you know, I've been ignoring that last novel for a year and a half, what's another year and a half??), and had an idea for a YA trilogy.

In short: SHOOT ME NOW. Just put me out of my misery. It's not like I'm going to suddenly grow an extra pocket of time that will magically allow me to have more writing time. I'm not suddenly going to have fewer real world needs (two words: dinner, laundry), so why do I think I'll suddenly have the ability to do more with less? Magic?

Yeah, that's it: Magic?

I need a timeturner.

So what do you guys think? Ever have those days where you think the extra money for pre chopped veggies is absolutely worth the saved time?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dear Cruel world--

Take my dignity and run.

No really, today has been a day, a terrible day...

You know, maybe I'm thinking about this all wrong. Today, I paid $400 to have a not so pleasant dental procedure performed on my face. I'm swollen and cranky and for some amazingly stupid reason, I went back to work. Even with all of that, I'm very very thankful to have dental coverage, and to live in a part of the world where dental care is considered important. I'm thankful because we have dentists. I'm thankful because modern science made this possible, and I'm very thankful for bleach--cause, yeah, they used bleach on my dead tooth. And because of that, it's unlikely that I won't die of an impacted tooth, and yes, that is a common death for many people in impoverished parts of the world.

So yeah, I'm grouchy because my tooth was drilled out, and I'm sore and cranky, but I'm going to wake up tomorrow.

A+ to science and modern dentistry for today, because that was some serious nastiness, and I'm hoping it works (pretty, pretty please let that procedure work!).

(and for the record, I think I'm going to go read a book and eat some chocolate, well maybe not the chocolate because I'm not up to things like chewing. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Altar of Reality

Today I have a review of the Altar of Reality! Altar just released, and it is a fantastic read.  

On to the review!

I very much enjoyed this book. I think I can put this squarely in the 9 out of 10 category. I really enjoyed the story, and it was clever and well told. There were parts that felt thin to me, but that’s probably because I’m more used to the giant tomes of fantasy.

The premise of this book knocked me off my socks, to be frank. I loved that we got to hang out with MC who had epilepsy, and that her seizures were part of what made her powerful. It was a very refreshing take on main characters, and I very much enjoyed it.

There was a lot of angst in this book. Now, to be clear, if you are ready a YA book and you are moaning about the Angsty Teenagerness of the book, maybe you should consider reading a different age category. Part of the teenager experience involves the difficulties of being caught between childhood and adulthood. What this book did really well was give the MC the opportunity to have a very normal teenage experience coupled with the very exotic other world dystopian. I have to say, I thought that was masterfully done.

I wish we had gotten more of the dystopian world. I felt like there could have been more there, but when the book is split between two realities, it can be hard to present two fully formed worlds. That being said, I loved the idea and premise so much that I really didn’t mind at all, and would have followed this book for a long, long time.

The love interests. The problem with multiple love interests is that, for whatever reason, there are people who fall on both sides of any equation. I didn’t like one of the people in the triangle because I felt like those character’s actions came from the willful desire to manipulate another character, and that made me dislike that individual very quickly. I know that’s something real people have to deal with, but it made it hard to care for the manipulator later, even when bad things happened to that character. However, the split world made it really easy to understand why the other people involved in the triangle would forgive the manipulator, and this part was masterfully done (even though I never forgave the manipulator).

Lastly, the ending. I’m going to put this part in a different color, so if you want to read it you can, but otherwise, it’s going to contain spoilers.

SPOILERS. Highlight to read:

The ending is a complete cliffhanger. This book is not a standalone, and there is no closure in this book. As I got closer to the end, I was expecting some sort of wrap up, but nope, it cuts off at the knees. At least there is no question as to whether there is a sequel or not. 


Altar of Reality, by Mara Valderran
Genre: young-adult, dystopian, science-fiction romance
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: January 22, 2015


Sixteen year-old Madeline has struggled with epilepsy for most of her adolescent life, leaving her something of a social pariah. Things go from bad to worse when she wakes up from her first grand mal seizure in an extremely unfamiliar world but surrounded by familiar faces. Her hometown is in ruins, the aftermath of a Cold War turned hot.
Thomas, the boy that stomped on her heart a year ago, and his brother Brandon have been hiding her away since the explosion that killed her parents. The Lord Commander, now running the southern territories, believes Madeline died with them and the brothers need to keep it that way.
The biggest problem? The explosion happened when she was twelve.

Madeline isn’t sure what to believe. The brothers insist her memories must be of a dream life she created while in her coma. But when she returns to the reality she knows, they insist this war-torn world must be the dream. She doesn’t know if she’s truly caught in the middle of a brewing rebellion or teetering on the brink of insanity. As she finds herself flipping between the two lives, her heart becomes torn between two versions of the same boy and the lines between her realities begin to blur.


About Mara Valderran:

Mara Valderran is an author of young adult and new adult books, but she's more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She is an avid reader and fan of all things sci-fi and fantasy. She loves roller skating and movies, though typically not together. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or counting down the days until DragonCon.

Her debut novel, HEIRS OF WAR, has been met with great reviews and was featured on Wattpad in 2013, raking in over 600k reads. The series continues with the second book, HEIRS OF WAR, CROWN OF FLAMES, released in Summer 2014. Her short story “The Austenation” will is included in the Borderlands Anthology and she is looking forward to publishing her young adult dystopian ALTAR OF REALITY with Curiosity Quills Spring 2015.

Find Mara Valderran Online: