Archive for March, 2018

“Baby Brother’s Blues” by Pearl Cleage

Baby Brother's Blues cover

Baby Brother’s Blues: A Novel

by Pearl Cleage

Genre: Literature & Fiction/Women’s Fiction/African-American

1.99 at time of posting!

When Regina Burns married Blue Hamilton, she knew he was no ordinary man. A charismatic R&B singer who gave up his career to assume responsibility for the safety of Atlanta’s West End community, Blue had created an African American urban oasis where crime and violence were virtually nonexistent. In the beginning, Regina enjoyed a circle of engaging friends and her own work as a freelance communications consultant. Most of all, she relished the company of her husband, who never ceased to be a source of passion and delight.

Then everything changed. More and more frightened women were showing up in West End, seeking Blue’s protection from lovers who had suddenly become violent. When the worst offenders begin to disappear without a trace, the signs–all of them grim–seem to point toward Blue and his longtime associate, Joseph “General” Richardson. Now that Regina is pregnant, her fear for Blue’s safety has become an obsession that threatens the very heart of their relationship.

At the same time, Regina’s friend Aretha Hargrove is desperately trying to redefine her own marriage. Aretha’s husband, Kwame, is lobbying for them to leave West End and move to midtown. Aretha resists at first, but finally agrees in an effort to rekindle the flame that first brought them together.

Regina and Aretha have no way of knowing that what they regard as their private struggles will soon become very public. When Baby Brother, a charming con man, insinuates himself into the community, it becomes clear that there is more to his handsome façade than meets the eye. He carries the seeds of change that will affect both women in profound and startling ways.

Returning to the vividly rendered Atlanta district of her last two novels, New York Times bestselling author Pearl Cleage brilliantly weaves the threads of her characters’ intersecting lives into a story of family, friendship and, of course, love. Baby Brother’s Blues is full of wit and warmth, illumination the core of every woman’s hopes and dreams.

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Fibromyalgia and Metabolic Syndrome

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One of the worst things about fibromyalgia is that it often makes it hard to exercise. The physical pain and fatigue mean that too often, people who suffer from the condition find themselves stuck in bed. As a result, people with fibromyalgia often struggle with controlling their weight. And not only can that increase the amount of pain you experience, it can leave you at risk of something called metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome can also increase your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular problems. Therefore, there’s obviously a slippery slope that leads from fibromyalgia to metabolic syndrome to conditions like heart attacks and strokes. So, let’s talk about what metabolic syndrome is, how it’s related to fibromyalgia, and what you can do to treat it.

What Is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a set of different symptoms that occur together. Those symptoms include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and abdominal fat. Each of these symptoms increases your risk of serious health problems by themselves like increased risk of diabetes, strokes, and heart attacks.

So, when you have all of the symptoms together in the form of metabolic syndrome, it can be life-threatening.

Metabolic syndrome is also extremely common. It’s estimated that one in four American adults have the condition. The most obvious symptom of the condition is having a high amount of body fat. That’s especially true if the fat is concentrated around the waistline.

In addition, someone who suffers from the condition might notice symptoms that are similar to diabetes due to increased blood sugar levels like feeling thirsty, fatigue, and blurred vision.

The other problems from the condition, like having elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure usually don’t cause noticeable symptoms, which can make them especially dangerous.

Metabolic syndrome tends to run in families. And there also seems to be a significant relationship between metabolic syndrome and chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia.

How Is It Related To Fibromyalgia?

We aren’t sure what causes metabolic syndrome. Hormonal changes may play a role in the condition. People with the condition often show signs of insulin resistance. Obesity may lead to insulin resistance, which causes the other symptoms of the condition. Or it could be that the insulin resistance leads to obesity. At the moment, the exact relationship isn’t well understood.

But there are also a few things that definitely seem to make someone more likely to develop metabolic syndrome. Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, sleep disturbances, and stress all seem to significantly increase your risk.

And of course, many of those risk factors are common in people with fibromyalgia. The chronic pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia make it difficult to get exercise or maintain a healthy diet. As a result, many people with fibromyalgia struggle with being overweight. In addition, living with chronic pain is obviously extremely stressful. And over time, all of those risk factors make someone with fibromyalgia more likely to develop metabolic syndrome.

Luckily there are ways to help manage the condition.

What Can You Do To Treat It?

The most important thing when it comes to managing metabolic syndrome is to make lifestyle changes to reduce your body fat. Losing just a few pounds can make a big difference when it comes to the severity of your symptoms.

Obviously, it’s hard to manage losing weight on top of struggling with fibromyalgia. Start with small amounts of exercise during the day. Just 45 minutes of light exercise five times a week can be enough to help lose weight. And it’s also been proven that moderate weight loss and exercise can help prevent the insulin resistance that’s common in cases of metabolic syndrome from progressing to diabetes.

In a broader sense, losing weight isn’t enough. You have to also have to make a long-term commitment to keeping the weight off. That might require serious changes to your lifestyle. The good news is that the longer you keep up these changes, the easier they will be to sustain into the future.

Otherwise, treatment for the condition is largely focused on managing the symptoms. The high blood pressure is especially important to control since it can lead to heart attacks or strokes. There are a number of medications that doctors can prescribe to treat high blood pressure.

And by losing enough weight and keeping it off, you can actually reverse many of the complications of metabolic syndrome. So if you’re struggling with metabolic syndrome, consult your doctor for help with losing weight, it’s vital to treating the condition.

 

The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your physician.

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#Review “Times and Places” by Keith Anthony

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4/5 Stars!

Bittersweet and beautifully written, Times and Places is an emotional journey for the reader as swell as its protagonist, Fergus Fredricks.

Fergus and wife, Sylvie, live every parent’s worst nightmare, losing a child. Twenty-four-year-old Justine Fredricks dies as a result of a freak accident. For the next ten years, her parents merely exist.

For Fergus, the anguish is immeasurable, and no amount of mourning seems to help him heal.

Taking their first major holiday since Justine’s death—an exotic three-week cruise—will be frustrating, annoying, and emotional for Fergus. It will also be life-changing.

Time and Places was an excellent read that drew me right in.

The change of time as well as characters in the alternating POVs was seamless and showed each character’s place in the story without unnecessary ‘info dumps.’ It also allows Justine to be a living, breathing character in the story, instead of simply the sad memory of those who loved her.

The characters are well developed, and while I felt sorry for Fergus, Sylvie, and Jones, my heart broke for Hannah! The agony she lived through so soon after losing her husband… I can’t imagine. Boyfriend, Jones, as well as the parade of characters aboard ship are all well developed and heartfelt. Mrs. Huffington, Richard and Cressida, Gentle Henry and Tabitha, Nicole and Holly… and even the horrid arachnid woman, are all memorable characters who will stay with the reader long after story’s end.

While the Fredricks’ tale is a sad one, there are several bright and humorous moments in the story, thanks to British humor. And my laugh-out-loud moment came when I found out who the orange-robed monks were!

Although I didn’t care for Fergus much in the beginning, he became lovable as his story unfolded and I began to understand him. His emotions ran the gamut during the story. From a simple grieving father to a search to hear God (and a genius scene!), Fergus Fredricks skirts life’s fringes…emotionally and mentally.

Enter his anchor, Sylvie Fredricks—my favorite character!

No less traumatized at losing her only child, Sylvie appears to be the strong one in the Fredricks’ marriage… just based on her character here.

Her musings and internal thoughts aren’t as frequent or in-depth as her husband’s, but Sylvie always seems to be the one trying to ease Fergus’ apprehension… calm him down. The loss of a child can devastate a marriage—especially in fiction—when parents lose themselves to grief. It was refreshing to see the opposite portrayed in Times and Places.

This read is a journey. Set aside some time… and go to some new places with the Fredricks. You’ll be glad you did.

Enjoy!

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mockupTen years after his daughter Justine’s death, an anxious Fergus embarks on a cruise with his wife.  On board, he meets a myriad of characters and is entranced by some, irritated by others and disgusted by one.  These turbulent feelings, combined with a sequence of bizarre events, only lead to his increased anxiety.

In a series of flashbacks, Justine enjoys an ultimately short romance, a woman concludes she killed her and an investigating police officer is drawn into her idyllic world.  Fergus, haunted by poignant memories, withdraws in search of answers.

Back on the cruise, Fergus reaches breaking point, fearing he has done something terrible.  By the time the ship returns, his world has changed forever.

Times and Places spans Atlantic islands, the Chiltern countryside, Cornish coasts and rural Slovenia, all of which provide spectacular backdrops to a humorous and moving tale of quiet spirituality.

Purchase from Amazon

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G I V E A W A Y

Giveaway – Win 3 x Signed copies of Times and Places (Open Internationally)

E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

 

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#BlogTour “Times and Places” by Keith Anthony

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coverTen years after his daughter Justine’s death, an anxious Fergus embarks on a cruise with his wife.  On board, he meets a myriad of characters and is entranced by some, irritated by others and disgusted by one.  These turbulent feelings, combined with a sequence of bizarre events, only lead to his increased anxiety.

In a series of flashbacks, Justine enjoys an ultimately short romance, a woman concludes she killed her and an investigating police officer is drawn into her idyllic world.  Fergus, haunted by poignant memories, withdraws in search of answers.

Back on the cruise, Fergus reaches breaking point, fearing he has done something terrible.  By the time the ship returns, his world has changed forever.

Times and Places spans Atlantic islands, the Chiltern countryside, Cornish coasts and rural Slovenia, all of which provide spectacular backdrops to a humorous and moving tale of quiet spirituality.

 Amazon          |      Book Guild        |     WH Smith       |        Waterstones  

~ Author Bio   ~

Keith was born and brought up in the Chilterns, to where he returned after studying French at university in Aberystwyth and aKeith Anthony subsequent spell living in west London.  He has a love of nature, both in his native Buckinghamshire countryside, but also in Cornwall and wherever there is a wild sea.

Keith has been lucky enough to spend time living in France, Spain, Belgium, Serbia and Croatia, as well as being a regular visitor to Germany, and languages were the only thing he was ever half good at in school.  Since graduating he has worked in government departments, but between 2005 and 2008 he was seconded to the European Commission in Brussels and, thanks to a friend from Ljubljana he met there, has travelled regularly to Slovenia, getting to know that country well.

Keith’s other great love is music and he plays classical and finger picking blues guitar, though with persistently limited success.  He has always enjoyed writing, including attempts at children’s fiction, and in 2016 he began work on his first full book with Times and Places the end result: an accessible, observational story, mixing quiet spirituality with humour, pathos and gothic horror, and setting it against a rich backdrop of the natural world.

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~ G I V E A W A Y ~

Giveaway – Win 3 x Signed copies of Times and Places (Open Internationally)

E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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“Winter Valley Wolves: Complete Edition (Box Set)” by V. Vaughn

Winter Valley Wolves cover

Winter Valley Wolves: Complete Edition (Box Set)

by V. Vaughn

Genre: Paranormal Romance

99¢ at time of posting!

This is a box set of 9 stand-alone stories of werewolf true mate love in Winter Valley. Read about the human women who fall in love with the wolves of Silver Lake and find happiness forever.
This set includes:
Brindle
Bosun
Berch
Ergan
Ekton
Esher
Chosen
Destined
Fated

 

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“Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure” by James Dean, Kimberly Dean

Pete the Cat cover

Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure

by Kimberly Dean (Author), James Dean (Author, Illustrator)

Genre: Children’s Books/Holidays/Animals/Easter

1.99 at time of posting!

#1 New York Times bestseller!

Author and artist James Dean brings us along for a hippity-hoppity Easter adventure with the coolest cat around—Pete!

Pete jumps in to help the Easter Bunny in Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure. When Pete wakes up Easter morning, ready to check out his basket of goodies, he discovers the Easter Bunny needs a little extra help. Our favorite groovy blue cat puts on his bunny ears and finds a way to collect, paint, and hide the eggs, all in time for Easter!

Fans of Pete the Cat: I Love My White ShoesPete the Cat and His Four Groovy ButtonsPete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, and Pete the Cat Saves Christmaswill love this Easter-themed Pete storybook.

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How to Balance Quality with Quantity to Write More, Better

 

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by Meg Dowell

Writing a lot and writing well at the same time? It’s not easy, but it’s possible.

I know of writers and overall content creators who publish a new piece of content every day — and their work is usually good. But not always great.

I also know of creators who publish new content less frequently — and it’s always phenomenal.

And then there are those people who can crank out new stuff every day and CRUSH IT (meaning dominate, succeed, do a really good job) every time.

How do those superhumans do it?

Turns out they aren’t superhuman at all (disappointment). They’re just really good at taking a really big mess of a thing, trimming it down to something more compact, polishing it quickly, and getting it out there with just enough time left over to do it all again.

via How to Balance Quality with Quantity to Write More, Better

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