Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Story Land Review, Promo Code ($3 off admission) & Giveaway

This is a video with the kids meeting Winnie the Pooh and Piglet!

This is Cinderella, the kiddos and I. I had to get in a picture! The characters are so nice and helpful. 

This is the Humpty Dumpty that greets you to the Storybook houses.

There is such a nice feeling of happiness around the park. Mother Goose is great! I love her goose Lucy.

This is the talking tree where you can put your name on a leaf saying you visited.

This is what you see when you look inside Little Red Riding Hood's window. 

The park is so whimsical.

These are the guards outside Alice's Teacup ride

Mom and Dad had Bobo. They loved it and were spinning like crazy. It was nice to cool down with the wind.

My hubby and I had Sissy. She was looking at her brother!

These are the Three Little Pigs with live pigs! There is so much to do at this park! 

This is the new mining activity. You buy a bad of "dirt" and use the running water to mine for gems. It is at the kids level and I actually did this twice!

This is how you sift the gems from the dirt.

This is a great boat to play in!

This is Bobo and I ringing the bell for Butterfly Island!

My hubby and Sissy got to sit at the back of the boat.

This is an actual drawbridge that opens to let our boat through. and to stop the pirates.

This tour is also new. I went with my brother in law and Bobo. 

This is the first room. The builder built his house on the cheapest land possible. It was quicksand. So he hand to build everything with uneven legs! You also go through narrow hallways, creaking floors, and moving walls! 

I love that you can milk a cow and learn about animals in a fun way.

This is my brother in law. I am with Sissy, Bobo and Mommy on the Pharoah Splash Battle water ride. We never did this ride before and I definitely did not expect to get as wet as I did. We were all soaked. We could shoot water from the boat, so we got daddy wet too! I told him next time he is going in the boat.

This is the Safari! I love the beautiful animals! 

This is Sweetie driving the Antique Car all by herself for the first time! There was so much to do that we were not able to do everything. You could definitely spend a weekend at Story Land and not run out of things to do.

This is The Character Dinner. The Characters go to each table, sign autographs and talk to the kiddos. Pinocchio is my favorite, he got the kids to be silly. There was also a juggler there for entertainment before dinner started.

This is the dance party that they have at the end of the character dinner. 

I had a blast and so did the kids. They want to go back and are so excited that they  got to see their favorites. We saw a lot of characters. Rapunzel, Little Bo Peep and Mother Goose are just some of the other characters we saw. I can not wait to go back. There is also a promo code. If you use the code, SLBLOG14, on you will receive $3.00 off of the $30.99 gate admission (Expires Sept. 1).

I am giving away a size 10/12 T-Shirt to a lucky reader! Please enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The New Reality by Stephen Martino Review & Excerpt

Title: The New Reality
Author: Stephen Martino
Publisher: Light Messages
Pages: 333
Genre: Thriller
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Purchase at AMAZON

Alex Pella, an acclaimed neuroscientist and the hero of the new medical thriller, THE NEW REALITY, finds himself racing across the globe to find a cure for a rapidly spreading illness threatening to end all of humanity. To combat this worldwide pandemic, Pella and his colleagues must use modern science in an attempt to decipher a code hidden by God within the original pages of the Bible.

THE NEW REALITY is the first book in a projected trilogy starring Alex Pella, created by New Jersey-based neurologist Stephen Martino. With his mixture of medicine, politics, biblical riddles, and futuristic science, Martino joins such masters of the medical thriller genre as Dan Brown, Michael Crichton, and Robin Cook. 

Martino's villain is a deadly retrovirus accidentally unleashed on the world in the year 2080, a time when no country is financially equipped to deal with such a disaster. It's up to Pella and NIH expert Marissa Ambrosia to lead the search for a cure while fending off an elite foreign military unit sent to stop them. The scientists, guided by an ancient code concealed within the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, traverse ancient lands in an attempt to solve a biblical riddle and save humanity from total extinction.

Martino says he wrote THE NEW REALITY “more than just to entertain the reader. I really wanted to create a novel with substance, like (Brown's) THE DA VINCI CODE or (Crichton's) JURASSIC PARK. These books not only tell a fantastic story, but they also make the reader think.”

In THE NEW REALITY, Martino has included such hot-button contemporary topics as genetic manipulation, gene therapy, unprecedented economic debt, and the rise of big government, combining them with more esoteric subjects such as the Bible Code and the mysteries hidden in the Book of Revelation.

The Bible Code, Martino explains, does exist and was discovered by Dr. Eli Rips, a mathematician in quantum physics. The code has been confirmed by mathematicians at Yale, Harvard, and Hebrew University, as well as by peer-reviewed mathematical journals and the Pentagon. The code, Martino continues, is found in the original Hebrew version of the first five books of the Old Testament, called the Torah, and only in its untranslated, Hebrew form.

All of these elements, Martino maintains, separate his book from the pack. He calls THE NEW REALITY “issue-oriented fiction. There are real concerns facing society today that threaten both the sovereignty and prosperity of our future generations. Though fictional, my novel addresses some of these issues and predicts the potential consequences we face as a nation if they are not properly addressed today.”

Book Excerpt:
“Off to work again?” Suzan asked, both half-kidding and annoyed.
Her husband seemed oblivious to the question. Because he labored three weeks of double shifts and returned home from work only four hours prior, she thought he was going to at least have the rest of the this day off. Clearly that was not the case. With so many of his coworkers getting sick, it left only a handful of dedicated employees to man the local factory.
“They’re working you straight into the grave,” Suzan added. “They only care about money and not their employees. I don’t know why you let them do this to you. Look at you.” She pointed the dishtowel towards him. “You are an old man and your body can’t do this anymore.”
She was right. Berk was going to be 65 next month and his youthful vitality had been quickly dwindling over the past few years. As arthritis in his back and neck set in, he could do less physical activity, causing him to gain weight. No longer a strapping young man, he had acquired a large gut and two extra chins in the process. Berk’s jet-black hair had also grayed precipitously since putting in all these extra hours at work.
“You worry too much,” he cajoled with a cherub-like grin.
In fact, Berk had been the one doing most of the worrying. He was concerned not only for himself but also for his friends and family in this small town of Yakakoy. Located in western Turkey just off the Aegean Sea, the town’s sole means of sustenance was its local factory. With fewer healthy employees remaining, it left only a handful of people to keep the business alive.
“If I didn’t do the worrying, who would?” Suzan scoffed, while washing the pots in the sink.
Suzan was a sturdy woman, full of life. Accustomed to the hard work of living on a farm as a child, she had grown strong both physically and mentally. Though fifty years of age, she still retained her youthful glow and joked about marrying such an old man. She always responded that he was young when she married him, and now look what happened.
Berk tried to leave without his wife noticing, but she held out her cheek, expecting a kiss before his departure.
“I have to be at the factory,” he curtly responded, while attempting to open the door.
“Oh, no honey. You’re not leaving until you give your wife her proper goodbye.”
Suzan grabbed Berk’s wrist. To her surprise it felt warm and clammy, almost as if she were holding a wet snake.  She then realized how red her husband’s face appeared. It was as if he fell asleep in a tanning bed and forgot to wake up for a day.
Berk looked down, not knowing what to say to his wife. They both had witnessed at least half their town come down with the same condition. Whenever someone developed these symptoms, they were immediately whisked away, never to be seen again. Over the past six months Yakakoy had slowly dwindled down to a fraction of its original population. Berk hoped that if he continued working no one would notice his declining health. Failure was not an option for him, and the last thing he ever wanted was to be forced to leave his dear wife and town.
“They’re not going to take you away, honey!” Suzan blurted with authority. “They will have to get through me first. Now you go upstairs and get some rest. You probably just have a fever from working too hard. I’ll tell the factory that you sprained your ankle and will be there in the morning.”
Berk knew excuses would not suffice. If anyone missed work or was late, the town police would immediately come to the house. With so many people in Yakakoy becoming mysteriously sick, the Turkish government had become adamant about removing anyone from the town with signs of The Disease.
The Disease is what the people called it. Since its appearance almost a year ago, it first spread quickly through Greece and Turkey, afflicting more of its population than either government cared to divulge. Scientists could give it no other name. No pathological organism for this new scourge could be found. Neither bacteria, virus, protozoa nor other infectious agent was ever discovered. Even rare pathogens such as prions, similar to those causing mad cow disease, were investigated but without any success.
Now as new victims began cropping up all over the world, humanity lay helpless at the mercy of The Disease. Without knowing the cause of this scourge or having any idea about the mode of its dissemination, humanity stood at the precipice of mass extinction. To prevent global chaos, there remained a total media blackout on the situation. All the general population of the world knew was that The Disease had been mostly confined to Turkey and Greece. Those that understood the truth were forced to secrecy.

About the Author
Stephen Martino holds an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a neurologist in New Jersey. When he is not working, he can be found with his five children doing homework or cheering them on at a soccer field, basketball court, or dance recital. Martino is a member of the Knights of Columbus, a Cub Scout den leader and is an active public speaker, helping to educate the local community and healthcare professionals on the signs, symptoms and treatment of stroke. THE NEW REALITY is his first novel.
For More Information
My Review:
This is definitely a book that may take place in the future, but is based on present events. What I mean by that is even though this book takes place in 2080, the characters are dealing with issues that have spawned from present events. There is an interesting link to present politics and to Health Care. This novel was fast paced, interesting and plausible. I think of Anthrax and how any new "disease" can start killing off the population. I also liked that the author was able to use different locations without confusion. He seamlessly transitioned between locales, and even though I was confused a few times (due to point of view changes), it only added to the wonder of who was behind all this. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own.

More Than Passion by JoMarie DeGioia Excerpt & Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. JoMarie will be awarding winner's choice of an eBook from Lachesis Publishing to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter at the end of this post.

Please note: This book is available for FREE everywhere it's sold -- buy links are at the bottom of this post, so grab yourself a copy!

Geoffrey Kane, Earl of Kanewood refuses to feel anything more than passion. Four years ago, his fiancĂ©e betrayed him and he has no desire to experience that again so when he meets the beautiful Rebecca Kingsley, it’s passion at first sight. And only passion.

Rebecca has led a very quiet life working for her father at a small country inn. When she meets Geoffrey she falls in love with him right away. But she’s only the daughter of a baronet and men like Geoffrey never marry country girls like her. Do they?

When Rebecca’s father tries to marry her off to a wealthy old man, Geoffrey intervenes and marries her himself. He wants her very much but he couldn’t possibly love her. Love is for fools. At least that’s what he tells himself. But a sinister enemy soon threatens to destroy all that Geoffrey holds dear, forcing him to face the truth. His marriage depends on it . . . And maybe even Rebecca’s very life.

Now enjoy an excerpt:

The Raven’s Inn was surprisingly elegant. The brick structure was trimmed with dark green, its long windows sparkling in the late afternoon sun. Rebecca Kingsley was straightening the beautifully-appointed parlor of the inn. Her father, Thomas, insisted that all the rooms look fine. His father had been a baronet, but all that was left of the family fortune, as it were, was the inn. As a younger man, he’d traveled in the social circles of the ton and claimed to know what the gentry and lesser folk alike looked for in food and lodging. Many travelers stopped at the inn, and they expected service and accommodations as fine as any in London, or so Rebecca’s father insisted.

At twenty years old, Rebecca had been working at the inn all of her life. Her mother died when Rebecca was just two, leaving no real memories. Thomas refused to speak of her and Rebecca had long since given up asking. The only thing he’d say was that she took after her mother in looks. This he always said in a gruff, affectionate manner that never failed to surprise her. She supposed she inherited her fair skin from her mother, that and her thick raven-black hair. She could never see anything of herself in Thomas.

He never really gave her much notice. She worked as hard as the servants at the inn, keeping her own room as well as half of the rest abovestairs. Mary, the chambermaid, took care of the other rooms as well as seeing to the guests’ personal needs. Rebecca served the morning and evening meals in the dining room, as well, along with Emmy. Emmy was funny and kind and a shameless flirt. She never hesitated to share her experiences with Rebecca, who couldn’t help but blush. She listened, though. Closely.

Rebecca was usually free to go about her own business after finishing her chores abovestairs. But this afternoon, she polished the candlesticks and dusted the furniture in the parlor. As usual, she wore her hair plaited in one long braid coiled at the back of her head. Her simple muslin gown was a few seasons old and well-suited to her task. She paused to gaze longingly out the window toward the stables out back. Beyond them, she could see the gently rolling hills over which she so loved to ride. If she didn’t have to see to the parlor today, she’d surely be out riding her black filly.

From her vantage point, Rebecca could see two figures walking out of the stable’s wide doors. One man was slight of stature and fell in step behind the other. The man in the lead was tall with broad shoulders and dressed in a brown coat and tan breeches. He walked with a long, easy stride. Sun glinted off hair she fancied the color of honey. He had a strong profile, and Rebecca couldn’t tear her gaze away from him. What color were his eyes?

“Fool,” she chided herself. She turned back to her work, flicking her dusting cloth in frustration.

I write Historical Romances with a touch of mystery and Contemporary Romances with a touch of home. I'm also working on a Young Adult Dystopian Fantasy/Adventure series and a hot Contemporary New Adult Romance.

I'm a member of Romance Writers of America, Space Coast Authors of Romance and From the Heart Romance Writers.





a Rafflecopter giveaway



With nearly four billion souls lost to the ravages of anarchy and the dreaded disease Major Falls, Ares and Raven journey the Mortal World vainly reaching for a sliver of what was only to discover what will be. Unleashed by Apollo, Major Falls—a weaponized version of the flu and rabies-- has wiped out every person of watery Mortal Blood.

From the fiery wreckage a new world is slowly arising one where the descendants of Olympians, Celts, Dark Fae, and all manner of Magickal Being will rule. For the last millennium the Dark Kingdom has sent small legions of its Daughters in search of its Lost Queen. Among their number is Lenora, a sharp tongued Dark Fae who joins up with ARES hoping to get close to its leader, Raven. And she does.

The Wolf inside the God of War contracts Major Falls. As Ares and Athena wander the world hoping to curtail further damage by obliterating weapons of mass destruction he slowly succumbs to the sickness taking over his fevered rabid mind. Ares may not live to see the glory of Olympus restored nor fight to keep his Wife. If he does, how high will be the price for Ares' life? How long will Alena have to keep paying Apollo even once Ares is crowned King of Olympus?

EXCERPT-General Audiences

With a cautious step, sharp eyes and keen ears, Raven continued walking across the hall to the bar reaching it without incident. The wood bar was covered with dust as was the assortment of hard liquor racked up under the mirror. Kicking aside two stools aside Raven peered over its stained top to take the sight of trap door leading to the basement.  Taking one last glance toward the open door and the sign telling him to DRAIN IT HERE, Raven jumped over the bar, crouched to grab the brass handle of the trap door in a firm grip and threw it open to shout down the open hole, "Hello!"
"Hi," a voice hissed from above him as it cocked a shot gun and pressed the barrel to the side of his head.
Finding it unfathomable that someone was able to sneak up on him, Raven turned his hands and gaze upward where the sight of two glimmering orbs reminiscent of wild mint kissed by a shimmering frost stared at him with more frost than mint. From below a heavy cowl hiding her face from his view their unwavering sparkle they captured his attention and even set his heart to flutter. "Easy, sister, I don't want any trouble."  Raven tried to keep hold of his composure as he slowly rose with the shotgun close to his head following him upward," Do you know who I am?"
"I know exactly who you are," she countered from the other side of the bar as she shoved the barrel into his chest.  "Back up." 
Keeping his hands raised in an effort to show he meant no harm, Raven took two steps back until his firm butt bumped against the brass rail jostling the bottles of alcohol.  "Got a better shot now, sister?"
Keeping her weapon aimed at his head, she hissed, "I'm not your sister."
"Ok but you're a member of ARES and that makes you an underling…"
"You wish," she cracked slyly. "Keep dreaming."
"Yeah, no, I think you're the one dreaming there," Raven retorted even though he realized she was right, he did wish she was under him but now wasn't the time for such things, "Where's everyone?"
"Dead just like you're going to be."

AUTHOR BIO:Lisa lives in her hometown of New London, CT with her husband of 28 years, Roy. Together the two have raised two adult daughters and, as of this writing, are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first grandchild.

Author website:
Author blog:
Author Twitter: @lb_darling
Author Facebook:

Also available on Kobo, Diesel and many others in ebook format.
The BEST DEALS are always on

Readers I am at your disposal ALL DAY LONG! Since this is the very last novel in this series I want you to feel free to ASK ME ANYTHING! Yes, absolutely anything your heart desires. No question is too zany or personal. Ask me or our wonderful Cast of Characters anything you'd like. Go for it!

The Boy by Madhuri Blaylock Giveaway, Excerpt & Interview

The Boy (The Sanctum Trilogy, #2)
by Madhuri Blaylock


“Every now and again an excellent novel will come forth dealing with fantasy and magic that will just grab and hold my attention from beginning to end. That is exactly what THE GIRL did.” -- OOSA Online Book Club

In THE GIRL, Madhuri Blaylock introduced readers to the world of The Sanctum, one corrupted by greed and savagery and hellbent on achieving a single goal: destroying the prophesied hybrid. When one of its most celebrated warriors questioned his allegiances, age-old secrets were unveiled and violence erupted. The journey becomes more perilous and intense as the trilogy surges forward with


Can you cross the plains of death, collect every piece of your soul and make it back to the land of the living?

And if you complete the journey, will your loved ones welcome your return?

The Ramyan have been answering such questions since the creation of The Sanctum. A mysterious sect of Magicals, haunting the blank spaces of time and memory, they serve no one but themselves and their higher purpose. They exist on a plane removed from earthly matters, shifting easily between the living and the dead, moving in time to the beat of their own drummer.

At least they did. Dev and Wyatt change all of that when the prophesied hybrid lands on the steps of Rinshun Palace, seeking help for the wounded Class A Warrior. That decision alters lives and sets old agendas back on course. But at what cost to Dev and Wyatt? And does that really even matter?

“The characters in Madhuri Blaylock's novel...are well written and unique, and the story is just fantastic...I just loved every page of the story!” - Readers' Favorite




The first sense awakened was smell; the first familiar scent was jasmine. It was not overpowering, as it tended to be at times, but rather just a hint in the air, enough to arouse a memory.

Shopping in the market and the vendor giving her a string of flowers for her hair. She wanted to weave them into her braid but there was no time. They were simply wrapped around her neck, a sweet-smelling chain, but not half as pretty as they would have looked in her hair.

The green grass.

Her sight returned next and she thrilled at the vision before her, the tall grass of her home, so lush and brilliant. So soft to her touch which followed and soon she could feel her body returning to itself, feel the ground below her and hear the life around her.


The water of the channels, lazily rolling along, the birds calling to one another in an endless conversation of nonsense and the branches of trees, swaying in the wind, scratching against each other.

And finally taste.



She wiped her mouth and the back of her hand came away red.


She sat up and spit. Bright red against the brown of the dirt. She didn't care. The blood was insignificant; the boy was of much more importance.

The fact that Dev could sit up at all was amazing, a testament to her minute learning curve. Only her second time toying with portal travel and she had no broken bones, not even a scratch she realized as she studied her arms and legs. She stood up slowly, her legs feeling a bit shaky, and wobbled around like a newly-birthed colt. She stretched her arms above her head and shook them out, needing to get the blood flowing through her limbs properly. All the while, she scanned the area for his dark hair, his fair skin.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Madhuri is a Jersey City Heights girl via Snellville, Georgia, who writes paranormal fiction and is slightly infatuated with tattoos, four-inch heels, ice cream, Matt Damon, scotch, Doc Martens, Laini Taylor, photo booths and dancing like a fool.

She's currently working on The Sanctum trilogy and hopes one day soon, everyone is walking around with copies of The Girl and The Boy in their pocket or on their Kindle.

She wants to get a goat and a burro, but since she lives in the city, will settle for some chickens.

To learn more about her, you can follow her blog at, follow her on Twitter at @madhuriblaylock or like her on Facebook at

She's totally chatty so drop her a line any time.

Where are you from?
I was born in Vancouver, Canada and raised in what was at the time a small town called Snellville, Georgia. I came to New York to go to college and never left the area. I’ve lived in the NYC area longer than anywhere else, but I’ve still got a little southern in me. What’s the saying? You can take the girl out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the girl. It’s pretty much true.

Tell us your latest news?
I published Book II: THE BOY this past May and am now hard at work on the finale in the trilogy. I’m about a quarter of the way finished and still have much to cover! I feel like it’s going to be quite a lot of writing, but it’s loads of fun and I don’t mind one bit. I just wonder how much the paperback will cost - it’s going to weigh a ton.

When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always loved to write and have had a fantastic imagination since I was a kid, creating stories in my head, filling notebooks with dreams. But I think I first seriously considered fiction writing when I was in law school. My legal writing professor pulled me aside and told me that one day I would write a great novel, but not in her class, as her job was to teach me to write like a lawyer. I think her voice was in my head when I wrote my first novel during a period of post-law school unemployment.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always thought one of my personas is writer, but it wasn’t my dominant one until last year, when I started creating The Sanctum Trilogy. Now, if I don’t do some sort of writing on a daily basis, be it interviews, my blog or working on book III, I feel a little crazy. I don’t think I’ve taken off a full day since I started this project and seriously, it’s been one of the happiest, most fulfilling years of my life.

What inspired you to write your first book?
The dearth in the book shelves of my local book store. I was unemployed at the time and living in Atlanta and remember being amazed that in 1998 it was still difficult to find books for middle readers and young adults of color that were just fun to read.
I’m a firm believer that if you give a kid an interesting book, even the most stubborn reader will get lost in its pages. The Harry Potter phenomena at the time proved this. So why couldn’t something similarly fun be created with kids of color as the central protagonists? And not to make some huge point about race and literature or race and larger society, but simply to provide some books where kids of color could see themselves in the characters.
And so was born the Coco Butta Kids, examining the growing pains of a set of classmates from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Intended to provide young adults of color with characters they can relate to on a personal level, the series and its protagonists also aim to prove that no matter what you look like, where your parents are from or what clothes you wear, being a teenager is tough.
As Walter Dean Myers said, "With my writing, what I want to do is humanize the young people I write about."

What would you like my readers to know?

Just a little more about my trilogy, The Sanctum.

The Sanctum, an all-powerful governing body founded by ten families, entrusted to maintain the peace amongst Magicals and ensure the ignorance of humans, has been corrupted by greed and savagery for generations, but is all Wyatt Clayworth has ever known.
A descendant of one of the Founding Families and Class A Warrior, Wyatt has always believed in the ways of The Sanctum, having grown up in the system and thrived under their leadership. A golden boy, renowned for his prowess and skill in battle, Wyatt has never questioned a mission or kill order until the night he crosses paths with a brutally injured and mysterious girl.
Scouring Central Park with his best friend and fellow Class A Warrior, Ryker Morrison, for the hybrid demon prophesied to bring an end to The Sanctum and destroy the world for Magicals and humans alike, Wyatt instead finds Dev and his whole life turns upside down. Told he was hunting a killing machine, hellbent on wreaking havoc and destruction upon all it encounters, Wyatt instead sees nothing more than a broken girl with haunted eyes and a bit of a death wish.
All Dev wants is for Wyatt to either kill her or leave her alone. When he refuses to do either, she finds herself being pulled into his life while being hunted by warriors everywhere she turns. Drawn to one another for reasons they cannot begin to explain to themselves, much less anyone else, Wyatt is determined to protect Dev and help her realize her mission to avenge the deaths of her family at the hands of The Sanctum.
Set against the backdrop of New York City, THE GIRL is “outstanding, original, complex, deep and intoxicating”, a “well written, unique…fast-paced read” that  begins as one girl’s simple quest for revenge and evolves into a complicated tale of trust, friendship, honor and love.
And the journey only becomes more perilous and intense as the trilogy surges forward with THE BOY, “another masterpiece in The Sanctum trilogy”, certain to “keep you up all night reading.” Can you cross the plains of death, collect every piece of your soul and make it back to the land of the living? And if you complete the journey, will your loved ones welcome your return?

$25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.