The Man Test by Amanda Aksel



Marin Johns is San Francisco’s Pollyanna couples therapist. She’s months away from
wedded bliss when she discovers her fiancé is having an affair. After nursing her
broken heart with Kleenex and break-up songs, she adopts a new brand of thinking
when she uncovers a tell-all book that proves all men are liars and cheaters who will
do and say anything so they’re not found out. No exceptions.
In an attempt to convince her friends of her newfound truth, she begins a fictitious
relationship with James, a do-gooder from Montana. Marin seeks any means
necessary to catch him cheating from hiring a PI to enlisting the help of a fidelity
tester. Will her new “boyfriend” beat the statistic or will Marin regret the satisfaction
of being right?


This book hit the spot. I have been reading some heavy material lately and I needed a good Chick book.

I enjoyed Marin’s attempt to prove ALL men cheat. She just chose the wrong man to prove it on. And believe me, Marin’s attempts fail—not for lack of trying. From the PI to the fidelity tester, she just cannot prove James is a cheater.

The story was a little predictable in places and needed a better editor. But, I thoroughly enjoyed all of Marin’s escapades to trap James.

This novel has a little bit of everything, friendship, romance, and especially heartbreak. It is an actual ride you don’t want to miss.

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Amanda Aksel
AMANDA (ah-MAHN-dah)- Latin- Meaning lovable or worthy of love. Fitting. I’ve
always had an affinity for love. Being born in sunny San Diego in the mid 80’s to a
young military couple gave me plenty of insight into the dynamics of a romantic
relationship. Somewhere between moving coasts every three years, I found myself
engrossed in fairytale romances and dressing up like a bride. My first real love was
writing. By my sophomore year in a new high school in Virginia, I had a slew of short
stories, songs, poems, and articles to my name. Writing was fun. It was a way to get
the emotions, dialogue, and pictures out of my head, and create a destiny for my
characters. I had no intention of making a career in writing, because it wasn’t what I
did, it was who I was. In reality, I wanted to be an actress. Ah, to be the face of
someone else’s authored story. The plan was to move in with my aunt in L.A. after
graduation, but had a change of heart. Instead, I stayed with my high school
sweetheart (now husband) and attended a film school in Norfolk, VA. It was at this
school that I discovered my love for writing screenplays and felt compelled to follow
that path. But…as the practical girl I was brought up to be, I decided to go to a real university. While working full time, I completed my BA in Psychology in four and a
half years. Becoming a couple’s therapist had always been my “backup” career and
there I was on my way to solving love’s most complicated quandaries one couple at a
time. With all my new free time after graduation, I decided to turn my full-length
screenplay into a novel in hopes it would help my screenplay sell. I think I was in the
middle of writing chapter two when I realized that everything I had ever written was
to prepare me for that moment when I knew I was a novelist. Talk about the
affirmation of my life. Now my plan is to solve love’s most complicated quandaries
one novel at a time.
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My grandparents heritage album


I am adding layouts to my heritage album. Here is one I did several years ago.
The paper is Daisy D. I just inked and added the flowers.
Thanks for stopping by!!!

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Author Spotlight!!!! ELENA DILLON

Elena Dillon Banner Elena

Elena lives and writes in a suburb North of Los Angeles. She has never lived anywhere besides California which is probably a good thing since she hates being cold and is terrified to drive in the snow. She loves being a wife and a mother to her three kids and three dogs, although really the bulldog is the fourth child
A self-proclaimed nerd, she has been writing since she was a child. She has only recently, however, come out of the closet about this to her family and friends. They now understand better, but not completely, who has never matured beyond the toddler stage. They now understand better, but not completely, why she talks about characters in stories as if they are real people.




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The Curse of Van Gogh by Paul Hoppe



In a dizzying world of glamour, danger and mystery, The Curse of Van Gogh is the story of a man drawn into an underground crime world he thought he’d left behind forever. Readers who loved the action and adventure of The Thomas Crown Affair and Ocean’s 11 films, as well as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, will be thrilled by this stunning novel, which is released on the 124th anniversary of van Gogh’s death.

Tyler Sears, art thief, just released from a federal prison, vows never again. He slides into a simple life bartending in New York City until one day an invitation arrives to the hottest art event of the season, where Tyler meets Komate Imasu, famed art collector. Suddenly Tyler’s vows of abstinence slip away as Imasu uses threats against Tyler’s family. Tyler decides to gamble and ups the ante to a breathtaking level.

Tyler quickly learns that gambling against a ruthless billionaire is never a good idea. Forgetting his own safety, Tyler plunges headfirst into a world of art forgers, hit men, Yakuza, a femme fatale named Chanel No. 5, and the hideous curse of van Gogh, in order to pull off… the greatest art heist in history.


For an unarmed art thief, this book has a lot of Uzis, bombs, and car chases. The story moves so fast…I had trouble catching my breath. I think I read it in a day.

Tyler is a likable character and you really hate for him to get into trouble. But, trouble just follows him wherever he goes. And his romantic exploits, friendships, or make his character very endearing.

I was very surprised that I enjoyed the planning stage of the heist. Usually those details bore me. But, this one moves quickly and with all the drama, is entertaining.

However, I would not compare this book to The Da Vinci Code. But, it’s a good read!!

4 out of 5 stars

I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review

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Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnson



A gripping novel with the pace of a thriller but the nuanced characterization and deep empathy of some of the literary canon’s most beloved novels, Remember Me Like This introduces Bret Anthony Johnston as one of the most gifted storytellers writing today. With his sophisticated and emotionally taut plot and his shimmering prose, Johnston reveals that only in caring for one another can we save ourselves.

Four years have passed since Justin Campbell’s disappearance, a tragedy that rocked the small town of Southport, Texas. Did he run away? Was he kidnapped? Did he drown in the bay? As the Campbells search for answers, they struggle to hold what’s left of their family together.

Then, one afternoon, the impossible happens. The police call to report that Justin has been found only miles away, in the neighboring town, and, most important, he appears to be fine. Though the reunion is a miracle, Justin’s homecoming exposes the deep rifts that have diminished his family, the wounds they all carry that may never fully heal. Trying to return to normal, his parents do their best to ease Justin back into his old life. But as thick summer heat takes hold, violent storms churn in the Gulf and in the Campbells’ hearts. When a reversal of fortune lays bare the family’s greatest fears—and offers perhaps the only hope for recovery—each of them must fight to keep the ties that bind them from permanently tearing apart.


“Imagine killing a man. The commitment. The irreversible and unspeakable isolation in its wake.”
With a line like that…you know this is a well written novel. I almost didn’t read this book. I have a hard time with books where a child is kidnapped. That is my biggest fear as a mom. I would have missed a very good read.

This story is really about the adjustment a family faces when a victim comes home. Not only do you hear from Justin, but you hear the story told through the eyes of the Mom, Dad, brother and grandad. How each of these characters react and the guilt each of them face is very heart wrenching and so real.

It is a very tragic, engrossing tale that you can’t stop reading!

5 out of 5 stars

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Little Bighorn by John Hough, Jr.



As a favor to the beautiful actress Mary Deschenes, Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer hires her eighteen-year-old son Allen Winslow as an aide for his 1876 campaign against the Sioux and Cheyenne. Traveling west against his will, Allen finds himself in the company of Addie Grace Lord, sixteen, sister of one of Custer’s regimental surgeons. The two fall in love, and it is with foreboding that Addie Grace watches Allen and her brother George ride out with Custer’s Seventh Cavalry. Weeks later in Montana, hundreds of miles to the west, the Seventh brings its quarry to bay beside the river called the Little Bighorn.
Beautifully written and filled with unforgettable characters, Little Bighorn brings to life the American West and its heartbreaking history, brilliantly portraying the flawed and tormented Custer.


I have never been a fan of westerns. When I was asked to review this novel, I said no. I don’t like westerns, just not my genre. Well, well, well, I have been proven WRONG!!

I completely fell in love with Allen. He and Addie Grace fit very well together. And their love story is added plus to the story.

I was also very impressed with how the author humanized Custer. He is very much a tortured soul in this novel. I was very surprised by my reaction to Custer. I flat out liked him when I wanted to hate him.

The story is slow in places. And it takes a good while to get to the action of the battle. But it is a very good read.

4 out of 5 stars

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I used vellum on this card. I don’t use vellum much but I love how it looks on anything.

Thanks for stopping by!!

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