Thursday, February 22, 2018

Up All Night by Rhonda Shear


Author: Rhonda Shear
Publisher: Mascot Books
Pages: 275

Genre: Memoir/Women’s Self-Help


Up All Night combines memoir and self-help to follow Rhonda Shear’s incredible journey from modest New Orleans girl to bold, brassy, beautiful entrepreneur and owner of a $100 million Florida lingerie company. Along the way, Rhonda has been a beauty queen, a groundbreaking candidate for office, a Playboy model, a working actress, a late-night TV star and sex symbol, a headlining standup comedian, an award-winning “bimbopreneur” and a philanthropist who uses her success to help women of all ages be their best and appreciate their true beauty.
Up All Night is also a love story. Rhonda reconnected with her first love, Van Fagan, after 25 years apart, and after a whirlwind romance in The Big Easy, they married in 2001. Now they share a fantasy life of luxury—but it hasn't come easily. In this book,
Rhonda shares the lessons she’s learned along the way: never let anyone else define you
or tell you what you can’t do, make your own luck, and do what you love.

About the Author

Rhonda Shear
Actress. Comedian. Award-winning entrepreneur. Builder of a $100 million
apparel brand. Television star. Former Miss Louisiana. Candidate for elected
office. Philanthropist. And now, author. There aren’t many hats that Rhonda
Shear hasn’t tried on, and she’s worn them all with style, moxie, southern charm,
and a persistent will to be the best.
A New Orleans native, Rhonda started her journey to the spotlight by dominating
local, state, and national beauty pageants from the time she was sixteen—including three turns as Miss Louisiana. In 1976, in the wake of a Playboy modeling scandal that cost her a coveted crown, she became the youngest person ever to run for office in Louisiana, losing her fight for a New Orleans post by only 135 votes.
After that, Hollywood called, and she quickly moved from Bob Hope specials to guest appearances on hundreds of television shows, from Happy
Days and Married With Children to appearing on classic Chuck Barris camp-fests
like The Gong Show and the $1.98 Beauty Show. Rhonda’s big break came in
1991 when she became the sultry-smart hostess of late-night movie show USA:
Up All Night, a gig that lasted until 1999 and made her nationally famous.
After Up All Night ended, Rhonda pursued her love of comedy and quickly
became a headliner in Las Vegas and at top comedy clubs like The Laugh Factory
and the Improv. At the same time, she reconnected with her childhood sweetheart,
Van Fagan, who she hadn’t seen in twenty-five years. After a whirlwind,
storybook courtship, they married in 2001.
Rhonda’s latest chapter began when she appeared on the Home Shopping
Network to sell women’s intimates. Her appearance was a sensation, and she and
Van quickly started a company, Shear Enterprises, LLC, to design, manufacture
and sell Rhonda’s own line of women’s intimate wear. Today, that company has
grown to more than $100 million in annual sales, and Rhonda has won numerous
entrepreneurship awards—though she still refers to herself as a “bimbopreneur.”
Today, Rhonda and Van live in a magnificent house in St. Petersburg, Florida,
where she engages in many philanthropic projects, supports numerous charities
for women, and works on new books.

My Review
Up All Night by Rhonda Shear was a well written book that I found myself enjoying. A friend told me that I would likely find Rhonda Shear to be an interesting person to read about when I asked about who she was. I may have never heard of Rhonda Shear before reading this book, but I still found it an interesting read. I also enjoyed learning about who Rhonda Shear was in her own words instead of just through the lens provided by the media.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dead Serious

Inside the Book

Author: Jane Mersky Leder
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 237
Genre: YA Self-Help
Thirty plus years after publishing the first edition of Dead Serious, this second completely revised and updated edition covers new ground: bullying, social media, LGBTQ teens, suicide prevention programs, and more. Scores of teens share their stories that are often filled with hurt, disappointment, shame–yet often hope. Written for teens, adults and educators, Dead Serious: Breaking the Cycle of Teen Suicide explores the current cultural and social landscape and how the pressure-filled lives of teens today can lead to anxiety, depression–suicide. Leder’s own journey of discovery after her brother’s suicide informs her goal of helping to prevent teen suicide by empowering teens who are suffering and teens who can serve as peer leaders and connectors to trusted adults. The skyrocketing number of teens who take their own lives makes Dead Serious: Breaking the Cycle of Teen Suicide more relevant and important than ever.

“Talking about suicide does not make matters worse. What makes matters worse is not talking.”


Jane Mersky Leder was born in Detroit, Michigan. The “Motor City” and original home of Motown have driven her writing from the start. A “Baby Boomer” who came of age in the Sixties, Leder is fascinated by the complexities of relationships between generations, between genders, and between our personal and public personas.
Dead Serious, a book about teen suicide, was named a YASD Best Book for Young Adults.
The second edition of Dead Serious (with a new subtitle): Breaking the Cycle of Teen Suicide, will be published on January 23, 2018, and will be available as both an ebook and paperback on major online book sites, at libraries, and at select bookstores.
The Sibling Connection: How Siblings Shape Our Lives, and Thanks For The Memories: Love, Sex, and World War II are among Leder’s other books.
Leder’s feature articles have appeared in numerous publications, including American Heritage, Psychology Today, and Woman’s Day.
She currently spends her time in Evanston, Illinois, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.



My Review
As a psychology graduate I found this book to be very interesting on both a professional and personal level. The author does a wonderful job of tackling such a depressing issue in a straight forward manner that is easy to understand and comprehend. I found the book depressing as well, but there is really no way to make a book about suicide anything, but depressing as it is about teens ending their own lives.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Zen Camera Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography by David Ulrich

Zen Camera is an unprecedented photography practice that guides you to the creativity at your fingertips, calling for nothing more than your vision and any camera, even the one embedded in your phone. 

David Ulrich draws on the principles of Zen practice as well as forty years of teaching photography to offer six profound lessons for developing your self-expression. Doing for photography what The Artist’s Way and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain did for their respective crafts, Zen Camera encourages you to build a visual journaling practice called your Daily Record in which photography can become a path of self-discovery. Beautifully illustrated with 83 photographs, its insights into the nature of seeing, art, and personal growth allow you to create photographs that are beautiful, meaningful, and uniquely your own.

You’ll ultimately learn to change the way you interact with technology—transforming it into a way to uncover your innate power of attention and mindfulness, to see creatively, and to live authentically.

My Review
Zen Camera Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography by David Ulrich was a very informative book that really taught me about how photography can be used for self-discover instead of as only a hobby. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Imperfect Justice By Cara Putman

Book Description

The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can't be talking about her client . . . but she can't prove it.
To the world it seems obvious: Kaylene Turner snapped and killed her daughter and then was shot by police. However, attorney Emilie Wesley knows a different story. Kaylene was a nurturer at heart looking for a way out of a controlling, abusive marriage. Kaylene's death shakes Emilie's world and her belief that she can make a difference for these women. Self-doubt plagues her, and she finds herself struggling to continue her work in the wake of tragedy.
Austen Billings thought he knew his sister—right up until he learned of the manner of her death. He receives a letter from Kaylene begging him to fight for custody of her daughters if anything should happen to her. No attorney in her right mind would take on his case, but Kaylene's letter claims Emilie Wesley will help him.
Thrown together in the race to save Kinley Turner from a father who isn't all that he seems, Emily and Austen pursue the constantly evasive truth. But if they can hang on to hope together, maybe they can save Kinley—and find a future for themselves in the process.

My Review

Imperfect Justice By Cara Putman was a well written book that I personally found to be an enjoyable and entertaining read. It was not one of those books that I had to finish all at once, but it was hard to put the book down. Emilie Wesley was easily my favorite character with how she was unwilling to stop at finding the easy answer, but was ready and willing to dig deeper!

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Necessities by Donnie Ray Cuinn

Book Title:  Necessities by Boyd Taylor (Book #4 in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series)
Category:  Adult Fiction,  225 pages
Genre:   Suspense Crime Fiction
Publisher:  Katherine Brown Press
Release date:  December 5, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There is a murder and elusions to sex. Some mild cursing.)

Book Description:

Donnie Ray Cuinn returns to Austin to defend a war hero accused of murder. David Lewis lost both legs in Iraq, but he has overcome his nightmares and his disabilities by sheer willpower. He has learned to run and to box and is a successful newspaperman with a beautiful wife and son. Now the nightmares have returned and he must stand trial for murder. With twists that never seem to end, this gripping legal thriller is filled with suspense and indelibly drawn characters dealing with love and betrayal.
Buy the Books:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads

​Watch the book trailer:​

Hero (Book #1 in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series) by Boyd Taylor
The Antelope Play (Book #2 in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series) by Boyd Taylor
The Monkey House (Book #3 in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series) by Boyd Taylor

Boyd Taylor
Meet the Author:

BOYD TAYLOR lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and their Havanese dog Toby. Necessities is the fourth novel in the Donnie Ray Cuinn series. In a former life, Boyd was a lawyer and a corporate officer. A native of Temple, Texas, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in government and an LL.B. from the law school.

​Boyd's first novel "Hero" was prescient in its story about fake news. His second novel, "The Antelope Play," dealt with drug trafficking in the Texas Panhandle, an unfortunately accurate forecast. The third, "The Monkey House", involved commercial development of a large green space in the center of Austin, all too familiar to Austin residents. Whether his upcoming novel "Necessities" predicts future events with the accuracy of the earlier books remains to be seen.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook
My Review
First off I want to let everyone know that I am reviewing this entire series so feel free to check out my other/upcoming reviews on the other books in this series. I loved books One and Three and I enjoyed book two. This left me very excited for the ending of this series as I figured it was going to be an explosive one!

In this book Donnie is back in Austin again and this time he is defending a man accused of murder. David Lewis lost his legs in Iraq, and he managed to overcome his lack of legs and not let it stop him. But his life is forever altered when he finds his nightmares back and himself accused of murder and having to stand trial. I liked the interaction between Donnie and David as they worked to get David cleared. I especially liked the way that Donnie's character shined in this book as he went against the law to defend a hero. I have to say that this book was my favorite of the series with how I could never quite predict what would happen next!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Book Details:

Book Title:  SNAP! Change Your Personality in 30 Days
Gary Small, MD, Director UCLA Longevity Center and Gigi Vorgan
Category:  Adult Nonfiction, 224 pages
GenreSelf-Help / Personality / Health, Mind & Body
Publisher:  Humanix Books
Release date:  January 9, 2018
Content Rating:   G

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Small’s breakthrough plan to improve your personality for a better life!

Experts in psychiatry and psychology have long believed that our personalities are essentially set from early childhood and remain consistent throughout life. However, the latest scientific research contradicts this long-held assumption. New compelling evidence indicates that we can change our personalities – either on our own, with the help of a therapist, or a combination of the two – and meaningful personality change can be achieved in a snap! – as quickly as 30 days. These groundbreaking findings have shattered the false belief that we are locked into our negative personality traits – no matter how much they hinder our potential happiness and success.

As you read SNAP! you will gain a better understanding of who you are now, how others see you, and which aspects of yourself you’d like to change. You will acquire the tools you need to change your personality in just one month – it won’t take years of psychotherapy, self-exploration or re-hashing every single bad thing that’s ever happened to you. If you are committed to change, this book will provide a roadmap to achieving your goals and becoming a better you.

From New York Times bestselling author, head of the UCLA Longevity Center, and expert in neuroscience and human behavior, Dr. Gary Small, a practical look at the key components of personality development and tools and techniques for bringing the positive aspects of your personality to the forefront so you can become more successful, attractive, happier, and psychologically healthier.
Gary Small and Gigi Vorgan
Meet the authors:​

Gary Small:
Dr. Gary Small, (Los Angeles, CA) is a professor of psychiatry and director of the UCLA Longevity Center* at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior. His research, supported by the NIH, has made headlines in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Scientific American magazine named him one of the world’s leading innovators in science and technology. Dr. Small lectures internationally and frequently appears on the Today show, Good Morning America, PBS, and CNN. He has written six books, including the New York Times best seller, The Memory Bible.

Gigi Vorgan:
Gigi Vorgan (Los Angeles, CA) has written, produced, and appeared in numerous feature films and television projects before teaming up with her husband, Dr. Gary Small, to co-write The Memory Bible, The Memory Prescription,The Longevity Bible, iBrain, The Other Side of the Couch, and The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program. She lives in Los Angeles with Dr. Small and their two children.

Connect with the authors: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Youtube 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Inside the Book

Author: D.E. Haggerty
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 250
Genre: Historical Romance
 BOOK BLURB: While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices, but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey. Rudolf, desperate to follow Gertrude, takes a position as a consulate worker in Istanbul with the very government which caused her exile. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love. Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago. How far would you go to find the woman you love?



Meet the Author

Dena (aka D.E.) grew-up reading everything she could get her grubby hands on from her mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When she wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, she was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories, which she is very thankful have been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along and robbed her of any free time to write or read, although on the odd occasion she did manage to sneak a book into her rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, she went back to school and got her law degree. She jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into her legal career, she was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. She quit her job and sat down to write a manuscript, which she promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t her thing, so she quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t her thing either. She polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where she decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from her adopted home. She packed up again and moved back to the Netherlands (The Hague to be exact) where she’s currently working on her next book. She hopes she’ll always be working on another book.



My Review

I really loved Rudolf and Rosalyn as characters. They both felt so real and I felt myself despairing for which woman Rudolf would end up choosing as he grew closer and closer to Rosalyn. This romance felt so real that I felt myself wondering if it was truly 100% fiction.