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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Nancy Cramer Reviews "Ashes in the Ocean" by Sebastian Slovin

Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing for the opportunity to participate in the book blog tour for Sebastian Slovin's Ashes in the Ocean.

Review by Nancy Cramer:

Reading Ashes in the Ocean by Sebastian Slovin brings
suicide into the forefront. Being a nature lover, an athlete
and a Yoga teacher extraordinaire, helps Sebastian confront and delve into his father’s suicide.

A recollection of a childhood that could’ve been different. A realization of how a person lives their life and how it can form another person’s life. An awakening that what you have lived, what you think you know and what you find out can change who you become.

Reading Ashes in the Ocean is enlightening! Suicide is usually not a high priority topic. Suicide is embarrassing, depressing, hard to talk about and permanent. Realizing what the person has been going through before the act of suicide is important to understand. Sebastian spent a lot of time traveling and talking to his father’s family and friends to get an understanding of how his father came to his decision. Sebastian also found his father’s decision did not dictate his own life.

An excellent, quick read. I’d recommend this book to not only those that have had to experience suicide close up, but to all readers. Understanding, through Sebastian’s eyes, could be pivoting in understanding the “why.”

About Sebastian Slovin:

Since he can remember, nature has been a central part of Sebastian’s life. He was fortunate to grow up in the beach community of La Jolla, California, and spent his childhood mixing it up in the ocean. As a young boy, he lost his father to suicide, which would later deeply inspire his path in life. As a young adult, he had the opportunity to travel extensively and experience many of the world’s great surf spots as a professional bodyboarder. Through his travel, Sebastian developed a deep love and appreciation for our natural world, and at the same time was drawn to the practice of yoga.

His love for yoga led him to study at Prana Yoga Center in La Jolla, California, and his passion for nature eventually led him to pursue a BA in Environment and Natural Resource Conservation at San Diego State University. He also holds an MA in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego.

He lives with his wife Sonya in Encinitas, California. He and Sonya have a business called Nature Unplugged, which focuses on cultivating wellness through healthier relationships with technology and a deeper connection to nature. When he is not writing or working on Nature Unplugged, Sebastian enjoys swimming, bodysurfing, surfing, and stand-up paddling (pretty much all things) in the wild Pacific Ocean.

Find Sebastian Online:





More About the Book:

A son's story of living through and learning from his father's suicide.

Vernon Slovin was a legend. He was one of the best swimmers in his home country of South Africa, and for a time in the world. He prided himself on being the best. The best in sports, business, and life. He had it all, a big home, athletic prestige, fancy clothes and cars, and a beautiful wife and family. Everything was going his way until it all came tumbling down. He lost everything, including his own life. In the wake of his suicide he left his wife and two young children.

In this riveting memoir, Vernon’s son, Sebastian Slovin chronicles his experience of living in the shadow of a suicide, and his journey out of the darkness and into the light. Slovin shares his quest to uncover why his father took his own life. A pilgrimage that led him around the world and eventually back to himself.

Ashes in the Ocean is a powerful story about facing one’s fears and choosing a different path.

Paperback: 222 pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Nature Unplugged (March 2018)
ISBN-10: 978-0-692-05119-1
ISBN-13: 978-0692051191

Ashes in the Ocean: Book Trailer from Nature Unplugged on Vimeo.

Ashes in the Ocean: A Son's Story of Living Through and Learning From His Father's Suicide is available in print and as an ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

About Today's Reviewer, Nancy Cramer: 

Since I was young I could travel, hide and grow “in” my book world. When young I read series: Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, etc. From that young world I grew into books that were a bit different. I usually bypass the mainstream authors. I find the quirky books, the ones that are a bit of fantasy with reality thrown in. If it starts out holding my
interest I have been known to stay up late into the night to find out what happens next!

I’m retired from the greatest career I could have ever stumbled upon. I taught 31 years, 26 in Kingergarten - a highlight of my life! Want quirkiness, fun, drama and great rewards - try being with 5 to 8 year olds everyday for 31 years! It was a hoot everyday and the kiddos wrote more books than I can remember. Books for every unit we
covered In K through 3rd. grade! Art work was an added bonus for many of the children while writing and “publishing” their books.

I like to think I passed my love of reading onto my own 2 children
as well. Their interests are varied and different stages of life have
brought different genres to the forefront. All 3 of us devoured the
Harry Potter series! A great way to connect with your children,
discussing the excitement of books.

Being an avid traveler, through my teaching years and in retirement,
I have also gravitated to books about the areas I’ve visited or lived in.
I walked a short distance on the Appalachian Trail at one point in my life.
That set me off researching and reading all the books I could find about
people that have walked the multitude of trails in the world. Their stories
are amazing!

I will continue to curl up with a book, be it in the dead of winter in
front of the fire or in a hammock by the lake with fish jumping in
the background. With a book in your hands, the world is yours!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Crystal Otto Reviews "The Summer of New Beginnings" by Bette Lee Crosby

About the Book

One family learns that love is the greatest miracle of all—from USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby.

Aspiring journalist Meghan Briggs has always been the responsible one in the family. So when her father passes away unexpectedly, leaving behind his at-risk business, she steps up to save his legacy—even if that means putting her own dreams on hold.

Tracy couldn’t be more different from her sister. She’s always been the rebellious type, without much direction in life. But in the wake of her latest romantic disaster, she finds herself moving back home as a single mother.

As Tracy experiences the difficulties of new motherhood, Meghan faces her own struggle: trying not to fall for the stray puppy she rescued. This is no time for attachments—not to the adorable “Sox,” whose owner is bound to turn up any day, and certainly not to the handsome new vet in town. But as the summer unfolds, she discovers that, like Sox, she may need rescuing, too.

As both sisters navigate unexpected challenges and exciting new relationships, they’ll find that putting the past to rest can make way for beautiful new beginnings.

Paperback: 284 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (March 27, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1503901246
ISBN-13: 978-1503901247

About the Author 
Bette Lee Crosby is the USA Today bestselling author of eighteen novels, including Spare Change and the Wyattsville series. She has been the recipient of the Royal Palm Literary Award, Reviewer’s Choice Award, FPA President’s Book Award, International Book Award, and Next Generation Indie Award, among many others. Her 2016 novel, Baby Girl, was named Best Chick Lit of the Year by Huffington Post. She laughingly admits to being a night owl and a workaholic, claiming that her guilty pleasure is late-night chats with fans and friends on Facebook and Goodreads. To learn more about Bette Lee Crosby's work, stop by her website at or visit her Amazon Author Page.

Review by Crystal J. Casvaant-Otto

I absolutely enjoyed each page of The Summer of New Beginnings by Bette Lee Crosby. The main characters were well-developed and the story moved at a quick pace. I had an inkling of what might be coming next, but still delighted in watching the story come to life. I especially appreciated the tension created between the characters. This is a heartwarming and light read that could be enjoyed by any reader. I'm happy to say my daughter and mother will be reading this book next - and in today's world of cuss words, sex, and scandal, it's nice to have a book I can comfortably share with others without worrying about offending.

A beautiful story told in the most lovely way!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

April 30th WOW! Blog Tour - Joanell Serra's "The Vines We Planted"

Joanell Serra's



The Vines We Planted

Tour Begins April 30th !

I'd like to schedule a fair amount of reviews to help lay the groundwork for a successful book launch and book tour.

Can I count on your participation?

Please email or and let me know the following:

1) what date works best for you (dates between 4/30-5/30)?
2) what email address can I send your e-copy to?
3) what is the URL for the blog you'll be posting your review on?

Here's some additional information to help you make your decision about participation.


In the heart of the California wine country, secrets seem to grow on the vines with the grapes that Uriel Macon’s family has carefully tended for generations. Uriel Macon, the winery’s young widower, steers clear of complicated relationships other than the one he’s developed with the horse he rides daily. He plans to stick to the lonely comfort of wine and horses forever, but for a chance encounter with the wealthy local, Jim Scanlon. Uriel is reminded of his love affair with Jim’s daughter Amanda years ago, that ended abruptly, and mysteriously. Amanda Scanlon is simultaneously pulled back to Sonoma after years of traveling, due to a family crisis. In the Scanlon’s Spanish villa high above the valley, Amanda faces the broken relationships she left behind. An anthropologist by training, Amanda’s instinct is to demand the truth concerning her parents’ complicated history and her own parentage. But Amanda’s unveiling of the past has devastating consequences, and the Scanlon’s lives are changed forever. In contrast to the setting of California’s beautiful Sonoma Valley, the Scanlons struggle to face harsh challenges with dignity and grace, over the course of one year. Their fate is surprisingly intertwined with the Macons. Both Amanda and Uriel stretch to take care of their families as they face immigration, divorce, loss, and illness. As they navigate these challenges, they must decide whether they trust themselves to love again, or to finally let each other go. A Sonoma local, Joanell Serra offers a debut novel that is a captivating, poignant, and uplifting story, demonstrating that the seeds planted long ago continue to grow. Sometimes into a strangling weed, sometimes offering a bountiful harvest.


Joanell Serra, MFT lives with her growing children, husband and dogs in the lovely Sonoma Valley. After years of publishing short stories, essays and plays, The Vines We Planted is her debut novel. She can be found polishing her second novel at a coffee shop, sipping a perfect Cabernet in a Sonoma winery or at her website:


@Joanell (twitter)

May 7th WOW! Blog Tour - "The Pinochet Plot" by David Myles Robinson

David Myles Robinson's



The Pinochet Plot

Tour Begins May 7th !

I'd like to schedule a fair amount of reviews to help lay the groundwork for a successful book launch and book tour.

Can I count on your participation?

Please email or and let me know the following:

1) what date works best for you (dates between 5/7-6/7)?
2) what email address can I send your e-copy to?
3) what is the URL for the blog you'll be posting your review on?

Here's some additional information to help you make your decision about participation.


The brutal CIA-backed Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, was known to have political opponents assassinated, but when a young Will Muñoz found his father murdered in the study of their Santa Fe home, he had no idea it might have been the work of a Pinochet assassin. Thirty years later, when reading his mother’s suicide letter, Will learns of his mother’s suspicions that Pinochet had ordered the assassination of his father, a famous Chilean writer. But her suspicions don’t stop there, and Will finds himself in a quest to discover the truth about his father’s murder—and about his mother’s mental state. His journey takes him down thoroughly unexpected paths involving his step-father, the CIA, drug experimentation programs, and a conspiracy of domestic terrorism. THE PINOCHET PLOT is not just a story of a man seeking inner peace, it is a story of dark history doomed to repeat itself.



David Myles Robinson was born in Los Angeles, California in 1950. He went to Blair High in Pasadena and then attended San Francisco State College, Cal State Los Angeles, University of Hawaii, and San Francisco State University respectively. He obtained a J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1975. It was there that Robinson met his wife, Marcia Waldorf.
The two moved to Hawaii to practice law in 1975. Waldorf retired as a Honolulu Circuit Court Judge in 2006 and Robinson retired from his private practice of law in 2010. They have traveled extensively around the world, having been to all seven continents and sub-Saharan Africa nine times. Robinson’s non-writing passions are golfing and skiing and the two reside in Taos, New Mexico.

Robinson has always wanted to write. He was editor of the school paper in high school and while in college he worked as a staff journalist for the Pasadena Eagle, a weekly minority newspaper. He completed his first novel about twenty years ago, but he shelved it after deciding that the writing was too stilted by too many years of writing legalese.

In addition to his published works, UNPLAYABLE LIE, TROPICAL LIES, and TROPICAL JUDMENTS, his latest novel, THE PINOCHET PLOT, is scheduled to be published in early 2018. Robinson has two more completed novels currently with his agent, one of which is another Pancho McMartin legal thriller.

Robinson also has a book of travel stories entitled MAGGOTS IN MY SCROTUM, AND OTHER TALES OF TRAVEL. Two of his stories from MAGGOTS were recently awarded a Gold and Bronze medal from Solas Awards For Best Travel Writing. MAGGOTS is also currently with Robinson's agent.


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