Wrestling with the Devil by Lex Luger

Book Trailer:
Lex Luger, wrestling megasensation and three-time world heavyweight champion, ruled the ring for years as “The Total Package.” Whether he was making a dramatic entrance from a helicopter, defeating champ Hulk Hogan, or sculpting a near-perfect physique, Lex was on top of his game. Yet backstage, he was wrestling with addictions to sex, drugs, and alcohol—things he clung to even when his mistress died suddenly of a drug overdose and Lex went to jail. There, Lex faced the truth: he was losing the fight for his life. And still awaiting him was his most brutal opponent yet, when the wrestling champ found himself helplessly paralyzed from the neck down. In Wrestling with the Devil, Lex Luger reveals never-before-told stories from his career, his struggle with personal demons, and how, through unexpected faith, grace, and redemption, he overcame all odds to fight the only battle that really matters.
This is a sad and moving account by Lex Luger himself. His ability to turn his life around was remarkable and I was moved by how brutally honest he was with his addictions and indiscretions. And how he convinced himself of all the things that were so wrong for him were right.

In Luther's book, he describes how easy it is in the beginning to lie to yourself about what you really want out of life, and telling yourself you're the greatest thing in the world. He removed himself from those most important, his wife and children. Only when he lost everything, literally, did he find the strength to trust and love himself.

Great read for anyone looking for a good redemption story. Although he lost a lot along the way to find his fulfillment.

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Book Information:
Author Info:

Lex Luger is a former pro football player and world champion wrestler. His meteoric rise in the ring masked a self-destructive and relentless drive for fame and fortune fueled by money, possessions, and addiction. Only divine intervention saved him from himself. Since his spiritual awakening in 2006, Lex now cautions others on the dangers of wrong decisions and encourages people to make positive life choices.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

5-Ingredient One-Dish Dinners by Phyllis Pellman Good

The recipes are all simple to prepare (literally fix and forget it) which make them good choices for busy nights during the school year or game seasons. There wasn't too much variation between the recipes, and there is a tremendous amount of processed foods throughout. This book wasn't intended for nutritional purposes, strictly on time and ease of preparation. Handy book for busy parents, or young adults newly on their own and familiar with a slow cooker.

Read the full review for 5-Ingredient One-Dish Dinners, and try the recipe for the Herby French Dip Recipe, too.

The Knightmare by Deborah Valentine

Book Blurb:
France, 1209: A Knight Templar, riding through an eerie forest, is suddenly attacked by an assassin as a man and woman watch from a distant hillside. When his death seems certain, the woman takes up a sword...
Present, Formula 1 race, Magny Cours: Observed by the very same couple, Conor Westfield, a career-obsessed Scottish driver, is in a horrible racing accident. Miraculously, he survives what seemed to be certain death.
As he is recovering from his injuries in London Conor’s childhood nightmare recurs, a strange jumble of terrifying images that feel more like memories than dreams. Can it be mere coincidence that the very next morning he is informed a mysterious woman with whom he had very brief affair has died and left him as her heir? But this was no ordinary woman and no ordinary affair. Dogged by a niggling feeling of déjà vu, Conor travels to Amsterdam to identify the body. At her home he finds an illuminated book that transports him back in time, to a woman he left behind and a life lived in the shadow of a tragedy that cries out across 800 years for resolution.
Weaving history with the present, fact with fantasy with brilliant assurance, The Knightmare is an unforgettable story of angels and alchemy, betrayal and sacrifice, and a truly extraordinary love.
Conor is a Scottish race car driver who experiences a major car accident during a race. As he recovers, he becomes involved in a murder mystery involving a past lover, Mercedes. She leaves her entire estate to him, and it surprises him as it is not only is sizable, but they shared only one memorable night together. He travels to a different country to resolve the estate and makes new friends along the way.

As Conor recuperates, he hallucinates through his dreams and is caught between two worlds: the present as he knows it and the past which he believes he is reincarnated from. He then begins to believe the people around him are players in his past life.

My heart breaks for Conor in the end. His past life was filled with so much turmoil, and he loses Mercedes in the end the first time around, too. The woman he loved in a previous life was a descendant of an angel and a mortal, therefore she is immortal herself. Conor is stuck in a constant state of longing with Mercedes knowing they will never be together.

The author projects both worlds well. The dialogue and imagery felt real, and when Conor goes back in time in his dreams I felt a part of that world. The storytelling was superb, and I look forward to reading future stories by this author.

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Author Information:

Disclosure: This book was provided by the author and any opinions are my own.

The Return by Carter Vance

Book Blurb:
The Return is a story of the modern day fulfillment of the Grail prophecy. The time has come for the prophesied return of Christ. Long thought extinct, the secret Order of Knights Templar battle the Dark Forces that fear His return.
At the center of this battle of good and evil is Sarah Davidson, an expectant mother, who has a unique heritage, and Peter Christos, her shipping magnate husband. The couple, who were married in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant, is confronted with a series of surreptitious schemes and attacks causing them to flee and seek a secure birthplace for their son.
They are aided in this endeavor by the Knights Templar, a clandestine organization that has, over the centuries, amassed enormous wealth and power and the organization to deliver it in anticipation of this day.
Ultimately, they engage in a grand battle for the prophesied birth.
A man named Geoff stumbles on a secret room inside his mentor's house where he is vacationing. He reads private documents not meant for his eyes and begins an obsessive search for the Knights Templar. We are soon introduced to Sarah and are told how important she is to this quest. Her blood line dates back to the time of Christ, and if she has a son she will be the future mother of His return.

The Return had a lot of telling rather than showing for me. Also, I know this is fiction, but I had a hard time with the thought of a Roman Catholic Cardinal employing Regina, who disguised as a nun is also a dominatrix, murderer, and the Vatican's private attorney for special matters, as well as there being a secret soundproof room in the Vatican used for evil rituals, eluded sexual romps, and the worship of dark forces. For those who like to take breaks at a chapter's end, this book provides ample opportunity to do that; there are 102 chapters in all.

The author seemed to squeeze too much into the story line and the love that Sarah and David had for each other read a little forced, we are told but never really feel it. But the author finds his voice for storytelling in the action. While the beginning contained impersonal dialogue between the characters, the end action made it worthwhile to keep reading. This is the first book of a series.

Book Info:
Disclosure: This book was provided by the author and any opinions are my own.

The Letter by Sandra Owens

Book Blurb:
THE LETTER is the story of a betrayal that wasn’t. Even so, it still tore apart two lovers for eleven years.  
On the eve of their wedding, Michael Jeffres, Earl of Daventry, found his betrothed— the woman who meant as much to him as the air he breathed—in bed with his cousin, Leo. Diana remembers nothing of that night. All she knows is that she was forced to marry Leo and then spent the next eleven years in hell.  
When the two lovers are brought back together by a letter from Leo a year after his death, Michael and Diana must struggle through all the lies and secrets before they can find a love that far surpasses the one of their youth.
To start off, this was a sad but very enjoyable read. It deals with domestic violence and spousal abuse to the extreme, going so far as to disfigure a person. The book begins with a letter written just before the death of Diana's husband who sends it to her former love. It is a harrowing account of how he cheated both of them of love, companionship, and for her, safety and comfort, for the last decade.

Only after Michael tracks her down and eases information out of her does he get a clue as to the extent of the abuse she has suffered under her husband. And the abuse is devastating. Leo's sole purpose in life was to ruin Diana for any other man and he does it in gruesome detail and scars her for life. Not only does Michael need to come to terms with the details of what she has gone through, but Diana must learn to fully trust again, and let another person love her for who she is and what her physical body looks like, disfigurements and all. Added to that is Michael's guilt knowing everything that has happened to her was because of a cousin's hatred for him, a deep jealously built up over a lifetime.

An enjoyable read, even with all the dark parts. When the two lovers meet again they are noticeably guarded. Michael and Diana work their way backward to a place where they once were, when they trusted fully each other and gave to each other unreservedly. It is a long battle for both, but the best love stories are when true love reigns again.

Here's an excerpt of the book:
He glanced at Diana and raised his brow in amusement. Bless the gods, she rewarded him with the first true smile he had seen on her face since he found her again. His heart took a little bounce, something that hadn't happened in eleven years. Her hand was warm in his. On impulse, he lifted it to his lips and placed a kiss on the back of her wrist.
“Why did you do that?” She tried to pull away.
He shrugged, but refused to let go of her. “It was a whim, nothing more.”
“Well, don't do it again.”
Deviltry took control of him. “What? This?” He did it again.
“Yes, that.”
When he did it once more, she surprised him with a giggle she tried to smother. He knew this because she choked on the effort. Inspired, he repeated his little performance. “Stop it!”
“Not until you say the magic words.” He brought her hand to his lips.
“Then tell me what they are so I can say them.”
He inclined his head and peered into her eyes. “Please, Michael.” The very words she had whispered to him in the heat of passion. Did she remember?
She jerked her gaze away from his. “Please, Michael,” she whispered.
Ah, so she did, but why did it matter? It shouldn't. His future plans did not include her. He laughed away his uneasiness and began his own bragging of the size of the fish he would catch.
After spending time showing Jamie how to use the fishing rod, Michael turned him over to Obadiah's capable supervision. The old man and boy left hand-in-hand to go further downstream to a secret place where Obadiah promised the biggest trout were.
It took considerable effort, but Michael convinced Diana to give it a try. He stood behind her with his arms around her, being careful not to press against her back. With his hands covering hers, he showed her how to cast the rod. When he drew her arm up to throw, she backed against him and he grew hard, instantly responding to the feel of her soft bottom pressed against him.
The devil.
He took a quick step away and hoped he had done so before she realized what was happening. She didn't give any sign of noticing and seemed to be intent on her task of casting the line. The trout fly hit the water very close to the spot he told her to aim for.
“Well done,” he said.
She looked at him over her shoulder and gave him her second true smile of the day. Another bounce of his heart. He might be willing to walk over hot coals to keep that smile on her face.
The very devil. 

Author Bio:

Sandra lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Most days, you can find her with her fingers on a keyboard, her mind in the world of her imagination. It's a land where romance and happy endings exist, a land where anything is possible. When her husband can drag her away from her computer, she likes to travel with her very own hero in their RV, but she always brings her laptop. There are still stories to write, after all.

A few highlights of Sandra's life: she fondly recalls are jumping out of a plane, flying upside down in a stunt plane, and riding her Harley in the mountains of Southern California and along the coast of Maine. She's managed a private airport and held the position of General Manager of a Harley-Davidson dealership. Although those events in her life were great fun, nothing compares to the joy and satisfaction she gets from writing her stories.

Buy Links: Amazon

Where to find Sandra: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

This book was part of a book tour presented by ABG Reads Book Tours.

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Disclosure: This book was presented by the author and any opinions are my own.

Food and Wine Cocktails 2006: Cocktails, Mixed Drinks, and Appetizer Snacks

The Food & Wine Cocktails 2006 has both water-inspired mixed drinks, in both alcohol-based and non-alcoholic varieties, and a selection of appetizers with fish or seafood as main ingredients. Ocean and water inspired appetizer recipes include Potato Chips with Nori Salt, Grilled Citrus Shrimp, and Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs.
I reviewed this for my fish cooking blog. While it has lots of great recipes, this book seemed to be perfect for pairing with seafood dishes. I shared the recipe for the squid ink martini, too.
Food and Wine Cocktails 2006: Great Ideas for Seafood Pairings

The Sugar Detox: Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Look Years Younger

The Sugar Detox begins with the quiz "Are You a Sugar Addict?" While I scored low and like to think of myself as a healthy eater, I am surprised at the amounts of hidden sugar in products all around me and my family. This book gives readers a way to detoxify their bodies through a three-day sugar detox plan designed solely to get sugar out of their systems.

Read the full review on my cookbook blog: The Cookbook Papers. There is also a link for the authors' recipes for egg muffins and a beauty mask.

Walking Disaster (of Beautiful Disaster Series)

Having read Beautiful Disaster, I have to say I liked this one better. If only for the fact that I'm reading a story about a character the author had a preference for in the first place. That was one thing that stood out for me: the previous book was about Abby, but Travis was the main character. And Travis was the 'stable' one, even if his fighting was out of hand. Abby could never make up her mind, and Travis knew from the beginning she was the only one for him.
Read the full review of Walking Disaster on Hot Enough Books.