Hey everyone! Welcome to my first review for the Reading and Review Challenge, started by the wonderful Jessica Therrien. It’s a great opportunity for authors and reader/reviewers to connect. ReadRev

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I’ll be reviewing Woman on the Verge of Paradise, by popular and hysterically funny blogger Robyn Alana Engel.






MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4.5/5 HEARTS



She’s 4 feet, 8 inches of heartfelt ferocity, and nothing can stop this post-pubescent spitfire from claiming her fairytale–not jarring tragedy, not penile incompetence, not even the explosive demise of a new marriage. Not until Robyn finds her happily ever after…alone.


As soon as I read the beginning where Robyn states who the book is NOT intended for, I knew I was going to enjoy it. Martha Stewart? You’d have to read her blog to get it.

Ms. Engel writes about her life growing up in a popular middle class Jewish family where all the neighborhood kids loved to gather. She writes about suffering emotional abuse throughout her childhood, not understanding it for what it was at the time.

She shares with us her journey, as she stumbles along in life trying to find her place, and her prince charming. We’re treated to the kind of humor that only Robyn can dish out. Her dating escapades are truly ‘one for the books’. I found myself laughing out loud more than once trying to picture myself a fly on the wall on some of these ‘dates’.

Robyn writes openly and honestly about the good and bad events that have happened in her life. For as much as I laughed, there were also moments I was near tears. The loss of her mother from cancer had a huge impact; I know it well.

Included in the book are excerpts from diaries she’s kept over the years. This memoir is poignant, yet funny. We’re even treated to a bit of Jewish culture, tradition, and language – Okay, Bubushka? Cue: “I’m NOT your Russian Grandmother!” LOL!

If you have an aversion to profanity being used in the telling of one’s story, or are narrow-minded in your views of the world around you, this may not be the book for you. For anyone that can relate to a life of seeking love, acceptance, and to finally finding some peace – I say get it!

MY RATING: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥/♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

4.5/5 HEARTS

Check out Robyn’s book video trailer below.




EngelRThis 4 foot, 8 inch spitfire hails from California. She’s an author, a poet, and addicted to all things chocolate. Woman on the Verge of Paradise marks Robyn’s mission to shift literature away from the fairytale and towards self-love and respect –gently, humorously, and with a side of deep dark chocolate. Warning: If you don’t find the chocolate, that’s because Robyn already did.

Check out her blog: LIFE BY CHOCOLATE. If you don’t, you’ll be missing out on a good thing!



A Day With My Mommy-by Sophie

Hello everybody. I’m Sophie; Eva’s baby Sophie…or is it Lily? Lily Eva? Lilica? I get so confused. She tells people  they’re ‘pen names’. What are those, anyway? I don’t really care, so I guess it doesn’t matter. That’s not why I’m here. She can call herself twenty different names; she’s still Mommy to me.

I took her computer while she decided to do some things around the house because I needed to vent. Since Mommy does it all the time, I figure there’s some merit to it. I’ll pretend to know exactly what I’m doing because I’m a Lhasa Apso, after all, from Tibet you know. My ancestors were sentinel dogs for Buddhist monks way, way back in the day. Indoor dogs, of course. (We are the little breed, averaging 14-16 pounds by adulthood.) Our keen sense of hearing and distinct, larger-than-me bark would alert the monks of intruders. We left the real guarding of the outside of the monasteries to the big boys: the Tibetan Mastiffs. But again, I’m off my topic.

Mommy. I don’t know what I’m gonna do with her. I love her with all my heart. When she was sick in the hospital, the doctors and nurses  let me go and see her a couple of times. I’m grateful for that, and I’m sure Mommy is too, even though she doesn’t remember.  SophietoyWhen she has her bad days, I’m always there kissing her tears away, snuggling up next to her, and laying on her lap. Stuff like that. I even try being obedient. When she gives me commands, I listen. Sometimes. When she tells me to sit, I sit. Especially when she is holding treats in her hand… Sorry, I lost myself there for a minute.

On her good days though, I want her undivided attention. Is that too much to ask? What’s with the one-handed belly rubs while she’s working away on the computer? I should be getting ALL the attention. I mean, doesn’t she understand that I’m special? Ancient, even. Wikipedia says so! I used to guard Monks for cripes sakes! Not only that, but I AM the baby of the house. My sister, Mandy, is married and lives in NJ with her husband. She’s way old and human. She’s like twenty something in human years.

If she’s not typing away on her computer, she’s either reading an ebook on her Kindle or a real one. Then she goes writing stuff in her stupid notebook. I guess she likes to review what she reads. I dunno. She’s been taking classes and has been with her nose in the computer or notebook almost all the time. Even when she plays with me, it’s like she’s only half playing with me. She throws me my monkey while she’s on the computer and that’s how we play. It’s like she’s not even into it. I don’t know what I’m gonna do.

By Lilly M [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Even worse, it’s bad enough that this doctor, called a veterinarian, says that I have a sensitive stomach. Most of the time, I have to eat this stuff called Hills Science Diet for Sensitive Stomach so I don’t throw up as much. It’s good, don’t get me wrong; I do like it. She usually cheats with me on the weekend, allowing me a Cesar’s breakfast on Saturday and Sunday morning. Today I was supposed to have Steak and Eggs for breakfast; I had Sausage and Eggs instead.  What’s up with that? Focus, Mom.

Let me not get started with the groomers. My breed usually has very long hair, at least that’s what you will see in the dog shows when you see my breed. Mommy didn’t want me for show, so she keeps me in a ‘puppy cut’. I never liked going to the groomers and I hate that she still makes me go. She makes them clip my nails, my ear hairs and put stupid bows in when they’re done. The only reason I always forgive her, is because she always buys me extra treats and a toy on grooming day.

What really got me mad was Mommy’s blogger friend Karen Soutar’s cat misbehaves and then she comes and tells me “I guess I’m not the only one with a bad, bad baby.” Um, I’m sorry. What? She’s going to compare me to…CATS?!?! Personally, I don’t have anything against them since I’ve never met one personally, but I hear they’re pretty uppity, aloof, and conceited. I’m not any of those things.

I’m not trying to sound like a spoiled brat, but I need to find a better way to grab Mommy’s attention. Pee-ing outside the wee-wee pad hasn’t helped. It’s only annoyed her. Any suggestions?






How To Train Your Vampire In 10 Easy Steps

Don’t think you need to train your vampire? Well, you do. So many of my twitter followers are infatuated with vampires.  Each one writes the definitive tale of the undead, featuring lust, blood, snarling, fangs, dark heritage, love, and black mist. I’ve read far too many of them, enjoyed them all, and admittedly, have become obsessed with the undead.

Instead of completing my own work, it seems that I spend far too much time reading the paranormal writings of my tweeps. I forgot, you really don’t think your subject is about the undead.  Your writing is so realistic, that I believe that you believe your vampires are alive.

Vamp In Need to Training

So, just for you, here is the short list of dos and don’ts for your dead-yet-not-dead creations.  I’ve kept the list short and simple, helping you to ease them into a state of acceptance from the general populace.

1.  Feed your vampire before it leaves home.  No one, and I mean no one (not even you) wants to become vampire fodder.

2.  Vampires, unlike zombies, are a picky lot. As specific blood scents and flavors (sweet or savory) appeal to different vampires, beware the fidgety lamia.  This is a sure sign that it is about to bolt for lunch or dinner.

3. Teaching by example is the best way to train your vampire.  Be neat. If you are a slob, it will be sloppy with a capital S.  Do you really want a trail of carnage lying around?

4.  Most vampires are, in fact, well-to-do. The vampire is, by longevity, a master of the art of acquiring money.  You will do well to have it contain the natural propensity for opulence so as not to attract unwanted attention.  In other words, have it leave the Rolex at home.

5.  Pay no attention what-so-ever to The Vampire Diaries or The Originals.  Vampires do not like to drive, even if it is a red, 1963 Porsche 356B Karmann Coupe à la Stefan Salvatore.

6.  Name your vampire. Never, ever introduce it as “my friend”.  It is not your friend.  It is your fiend.

7.  Do not, under any circumstances, take your vampire shopping at Costco or any other warehouse club. All of those warm bodies in one place will send it into a feeding frenzy.

8.  Forgot to replenish the blood supply?  In a pinch, vampires will drink whiskey.  Although they prefer blood, a good single malt (e.g., Four Roses)  will satiate it.

9.  Because crosses and / or garlic do nothing to repel a vampire, train it not to devour the poor human thrusting either of those two objects into its face.

10. Be very, very afraid if your vampire opens a Facebook account. This is a sure sign that many, many people are about to disappear.  Twitter is the safer, wiser choice for your vampire’s social media presence. The vampire # will thank you.

If your incubus requires additional training, be sure to refer to the full guide, “How To Train Your Vampire in 25 Steps or Less,” coming soon from this writer.


This is another repost from my blog.  I think my BFF Lily liked this one, so it’s for her.

Love & Happiness

Heard a song the other day “Love and Happiness.”  The Reverend Al Green recorded it many years ago.

The song goes on about you being good to me and me being good to you.

The power of love, making one do right, at times making one do wrong.

Love, making us walk and talk together.

The power of love.  The power of happiness.


Neal Fowler @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/31878512@N06/3490869804

I wrote about love here.

I wrote about happiness here

Seems I wasn’t so far off after all according to the Reverend.

But think about what makes you happy in your social media interactions.  Does it matter if we’re happy doing whatever it is we do?

Do we have to love what we do to be happy?

What about the effects others have on us in social media?

While we’re plying a trade and making a sale, I think one should be mindful of the reaction to an action.

It’s not hard really.

No one can tell you how to feel.

No one can tell you that such and such make for happiness.

But I will tell you something that you can take to the bank:  Being kind, being thoughtful, and being trustworthy will surely solidify your place in your social media interactions.

It’s not about you, even thought we all like to think it is sometimes.

It’s about the people you’re trying to reach and the message you want to convey.

It’s about the love. It’s about the happiness.

I borrowed this post from my blog for my friend, Lily, who’s been under the weather for a while. I know you guys miss her terribly.  She’s O.K. She’ll be back soon.