Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review of Dream Shade by Heather Fraser Brainerd--YA Paranormal Mystery Romance

Young Adult Paranormal Mystery Romance
Here's a summary of the story:
As if high school wasn't tough enough, sophomore Sarah Pasmore has one extra little problem: ghosts have started appearing to Sarah and they seem to want something from her. With help from her brainy best friend, as well as a few new friends (including the hottest guy in school), Sarah must solve the mystery of what the spirits want in order to put them back to rest. To complicate matters further, a more evil spirit will go to great lengths to make sure this doesn’t happen. As they investigate the past to unravel this supernatural mystery, the teens learn a lesson in the powers of friendship and love.

I don't like ghosts unless it's Casper, the friendly ghost. But because I enjoy Heather Brainerd's storytelling, I decided to try Dream Shade. I was not disappointed. Brainerd skillfully handled mixing a contemporary teen story with a Victorian era ghost story. What a brilliant juggling act to develop these characters and settings. The interaction between her family seemed so typical and contemporary and very entertaining. Sara, the main character, also had to deal with being a teen and meeting the cute guy she always dreamed of. She involved her friends to help her sort out these crazy dreams of ghosts, and what a romp we enjoy as we read the story of the kids uncovering who the ghosts are and what they want. It kept me reading to find out how this talented author could wrap up all these story lines and deliver a satisfaction ending. She did all of that and with lots of humor too!

Dream Shade is now available at MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon, and all major online booksellers.


Heather Fraser Brainerd is a renaissance woman. After earning a degree in Anthropology, she embarked on an incongruous career as a workers’ compensation insurance adjuster. 
She rapidly climbed the claims-handling ladder before surprising her colleagues by leaving the high-powered world of lumbar strains and carpal tunnel syndrome to run a child care center. Thousands of dirty diapers and gallons of strained peas later, she decided that maybe the insurance industry wasn’t quite as bad as she remembered. It was. Fortunately, a few brief years into that second stint, she was swept off her feet by the most wonderful man in the world. Now a stay-home mom to three amazing boys, she is able, at long last, to focus on her writing. In addition to her fictional explorations, she writes a foodie column for the Rochester magazine Citizen. Heather lives in New York with her family and their crazy pug/terrier.

Connect online with Heather

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Happy Valentine's Day from J.Q. Rose
Wishing you sweet hugs and kisses and lots of love!

Friday, February 7, 2014

2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Open, Olympic Gold Medalist Angela Ruggiero

Image by njaj from
The 2014 Winter Olympics open today in Sochi, Russia. Athletes from around the world will compete in thrilling sports such as snowboarding ice skating, skiing, ice hockey, and more. We will be glued to our TV to root for our respective country men and women to do their best and bring home the gold.

Olympic gold medalist Angela Ruggiero did just that in 1998 as a member of the Team USA women's ice hockey team.

Angela is an internationally known athlete for her skills in ice hockey. She's been a member of the Olympics Team USA four times, voted the #1 hockey player in the world by Hockey News, and serves as President of the Women’s Sports Foundation, dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity.    

She was a member of the 1998 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal Team, 2002 U. S. Olympic Silver Medal Team, 2006 U.S. Olympic Bronze Medal Team,  2009-2010 U. S. Women’s National Team and 2010 U. S. Olympic Silver Medal Team

In 1992, Angela learned that women’s hockey was going to be an Olympic sport in 1998. From that point on, at twelve years old, she trained hard with one goal in mind, to go to the Olympics.
When she was fifteen in 1995, Angela was invited to a training camp for women’s hockey.  At the end of the camp a team would be chosen for the 1996 U S Women’s Select Team. The 1998 Olympic team would be made up of members of the Select Team. Angela was competing against experienced high school and college players. As one of the youngest players, Angela knew she had to work hard to prove herself in order to secure a place on the team.
According to her book, Breaking the Ice, her dad taped a dollar inside of her helmet before she left for camp. “When you make the team, use this dollar to go buy yourself a soda to celebrate,” he said.  
At the end of the training camp, Angela was thrilled and excited when she was chosen for the team.  But instead of using the dollar to celebrate by buying a soda, she kept it taped to the inside of her helmet as her lucky dollar bill. Angela went on to play in the 1998 Olympics and on other championship teams. She still keeps her lucky dollar bill in her helmet every time she plays.

To learn more about Angela Ruggiero, check out Chapter 10, Showing the Boys, in the Girls Succeed e-book available at these major online booksellers.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February, Love, and Romance, MG Author Kay Lalone's Ghostly Clues

Do you love ghost stories? Then you will love this book for tweens, Kay Lalone's Ghostly Clues. Kay's post was first at the J.Q. Rose blog during the I Love Books event. I'm sharing it here today to introduce you to the book and to discuss the timely topic for this month of February, Love and Romance.  

Take it away, Kay.

            Thank you JQ Rose for hosting me on your blog today. 
            Since February is the month of love, I want to talk about love. When you think about love, what one word comes to mind? Romance. Who doesn’t love romance?
            Romance books are very popular. Personally, I don’t like reading most of them because I feel they don’t really have much of a plot. It is the typical boy meets girl. They fall in love. The end. There are romance books out there that are more than the typical boy meets girl. These books have a plot and the characters have more of a purpose than just falling in love. Love is important, but I want to read about believable characters getting into trouble, having bad things happen to them, and going on an adventure, and then seeing how these characters change because of what has happened to them.
            Paranormal romance is on the rise. Who doesn’t love a good novel about a girl falling in love with a vampire (or some other supernatural being)? One of these days I would love to write a paranormal romance, because I like the paranormal type stuff.
             My first love is mystery/ghost story type books. I love to read about a character solving a mystery or encountering ghosts or some other supernatural creatures. In most of these types of books, there is a love interest where the main character has feelings for someone else.
            Most of the stories I have written aren’t about young love, falling in love, and having crushes. But there is a thread of love flowing through them. Romance is not the only form of love.
In my first published MG novel, Ghostly Clues, Sarah Kay does have a crush on a boy at school, Tom. But he doesn’t play an important part in the story and neither does the crush. He has a big scene in one chapter where Sarah Kay has a surprise boy/girl party for her thirteenth birthday. Of course, her crush is invited. They have a nice scene where they are dancing like they were grown up. Even though Sarah Kay feels grown up, I didn’t give her the chance to have her first kiss. Tom is mentioned a few more time throughout the story, but I never really show their relationship.
            In Ghostly Clues, love doesn’t play a romantic, young love type of role. In the book there is a thread of love woven in like Sarah Kay’s love for a grandma who she has lost because of death. Sarah Kay loves Gramps and she is worried about him. Even though Sarah Kay doesn’t get along with her mother (Mom has lied to her), she still loves her mother. Of course, Sarah Kay loves her best friend, Mary Jane, like a sister. The strongest love is the love she has for a father she doesn’t remember. A father she believes died when she was three. This love drives the story forward and gives Sarah Kay the motivation to try and find her father, to know for sure if he is alive or dead.
            Love is not just romantic, but is about relationships. Relationships aren’t always perfect. But it is love that motivates and drives a character to move forward, to accomplish what they need to accomplish. To grow and change. That’s what makes a book worth reading.
Kay's Bio
I’m Kay LaLone author of Ghostly Clues. I live in Michigan with my husband and fourteen year old son (two sons live near by) and two dogs and a cat. I love to get up in the morning and write. My favorite things to write about are ghosts and other supernatural creatures. I’m an avid reader and do book reviews.   

About Ghostly Clues
The sweet scent of lilacs permeates the air around Grandma’s gravesite. Only Sarah Kay can smell Grandma’s favorite flower, and they’re not even in bloom. 
Sarah Kay and her best friend, Mary Jane, believe the lilacs are a sign from Grandma’s ghost. The girls follow one ghostly clue after another, uncovering a secret that Mom never wanted Sarah Kay to know.
Grandma makes sure Sarah Kay gets the message even from the grave. As the evidence piles up, Mom still refuses to accept the possibility Sarah Kay’s father is alive.
Sarah Kay finds Dad’s parents. A set of grandparents she didn’t realize existed. They make it clear her father is alive but days and miles separate the father and daughter reunion because Dad is a truck driver on a long haul. 
Sarah Kay waits. The news reports a fatal car accident involving a semi and Sarah Kay fears the worse. She runs away which leads to Dad and the truth, Mom wanted Dad to remain dead.
Dad had faked his death so why not just stay dead.  The ghostly clues of Grandma wouldn’t allow Dad to remain dead to Sarah Kay.

Mini excerpt  the love scene in Ghostly Clues
            “Surprise,” MJ yelled along with a group of friends, Tom, Max, Sue, Ann and two guys I didn’t know by name.
My mouth opened wide and I closed it quickly, hoping I didn’t look like a fool in front of Tom. “What’s…going on?”
            “Your mother decided to give you a boy/girl party. And I helped plan it,” MJ said, entering the house wearing a fancy pink dress. The other kids followed wearing nice clothes like they were going to some rich, fancy party. The guys wore ties and the girls were in dresses.
I felt out of place wearing my purple sweat pants, a baggy, smiley-face T-shirt, with my hair in braids. I gave Mom a ‘why didn’t you warn me’ look as I dashed up the stairs to put on my purple dress. Not the one I wore at Grandma’s funeral, but one of my party dresses, light purple with sparkles through it. Mom came upstairs and helped me put my hair up and she even let me put a little bit of make-up on.
“Thanks, Mom,” I said, giving her a hug. “This is the best birthday ever.”
“Love you, honey. Now go downstairs and enjoy it,” she said.
            My friends and I laughed and talked during pizza. Then when we had our fill, Gramps helped Mom clear a spot in the living room to dance.
            As my favorite song played on the CD, Tom wrapped his arms around my waist and I placed my hands on his shoulders and together we swayed to the music. It was so unbelievably romantic and I felt so grownup.
This night was perfect and I didn’t want it to end; then the sweet aroma of lilacs tickled my nose. I turned away from Tom and sneezed.
“Bless you,” he said.
“Thanks.” I looked around, wondering where the smell of lilacs could be coming from. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something move, a shadow. The air felt chiller.
Grandma? Please, not now. This can’t be happening.
“SK, what is it?” MJ asked.
Before I could answer, Gramps turned off the lights and Mom walked out of the kitchen carrying my birthday cake with thirteen glowing candles lighting the way into the dark room. My friends started singing Happy Birthday.
I plastered a smile on my face and blew out the candles. When the lights came back on the smell of lilacs disappeared and the air in the room grew warmer. I sighed, happy that Grandma’s ghost didn’t decide now to make an appearance.
We ate some cake and danced some more and then I unwrapped gifts from everyone. I especially liked Tom’s gift of a beautiful necklace. It was an angel charm with a purple stone on it.
Book Links

This book can be found on Amazon, Goodreads, Bookstrand, and Smashwords.