Travel with Mona to Brazil

We spent two days in Rio as part of a cruise to the East coast of South America.

Rio de Janeiro is a huge seaside city in Brazil, famous for its Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, 38 meter Christ the Redeemer statue atop Mount Corcovado and for Sugarloaf Mountain, a granite peak with cable cars to its summit. The city is also known for its sprawling favelas (shanty towns). Its raucous Carnival festival, featuring parade floats, flamboyant costumes and samba dancers, is considered the world’s largest.

The landscape of Rio, is just so different, and so beautiful. Mountains and hills rise dramatically right on the shore and the contrast between these jungle covered mountains and cliffs with the sea is stunning.

Sugarloaf Mountain is a peak situated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 meters above the harbor, the peak is named for its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar. For the majority of the Great Sugarloaf walk, it’s an easy stroll along a simple, steep path. It gets quite rocky towards the summit.

Ascent is made in two stages: first to the top of Urca Hill to a height of 220 meters above sea level and then the cable car goes all the way to the top of Sugar Loaf Mountain, for a breathtaking 360 degree view of Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara Bay, and the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

For many people, Rio de Janeiro is worth visiting just to see the Christ the Redeemer statue, one of the 7 wonders of the world, standing tall and proud on Corcovado Mountain.

It’s one of the largest statues of Jesus and the tallest art deco statue in the world.  Christ the Redeemer is one of Rio’s most popular tourist attractions offering stunning views of one of the best Latin American cities! In fact, the Redeemer Statue receives almost 2 million visitors per year. 

The statue itself, called Cristo Redentor in Portuguese, is 98 feet tall (30 m) and stands on a 26 foot tall pedestal, making it 125 feet tall in total. The arm span is 92 feet wide (28 m). There is a viewing platform around and beneath the statue, where you can see the Cristo Redentor and enjoy the view over Rio.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian has a unique, unusual shape for a Cathedral. From the outside it is sort of a 4 sided cone shape with 4 sides of stained glass windows, with step looking windows/bricks/tiles up to the top of it. 

Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida: According to local tradition, three fishermen were attempting to catch a large amount of fish in the Paraíba River for a banquet honoring the visit of São Paulo Governor, Pedro de Almeida in 1717.  Despite their prayers, their attempts were fruitless until late in the day, one of the fishermen cast his net and pulled it back to find the statue of the Virgin Mary. Upon his next cast, he found the head. The group cleaned the statue, wrapped it in cloth, and returned to their task to find their fortunes had changed and they were able to obtain all the fish they needed. The statue is believed to be the work of Frei Agostino de Jesus, a monk residing in São Paulo.

Rio has some of the most famous beaches in the world! Copacabana Beach is huge and very centrally located in the city, a favorite with locals and tourists alike.

Hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and residential buildings line the promenade, which constitutes the longest continuous sidewalk in the world, stretching for 4.15 kilometers (2.58 miles), facing Avenida Atlântica. On Sundays and holidays, one side of Avenida Atlântica is closed to cars, giving residents and tourists more space for activities along the beach.

Rio de Janeiro hosts one of the biggest Carnival celebrations in the entire world. Seriously, Carnival is a huge deal there.

Carnival starts on the Friday preceding the beginning of Lent, and runs for about a week. Parades and parties happen daily throughout the neighborhoods of the city, and one massive, gigantic production of a parade is held every night in the Sambadome. These parades last for hours and include elaborate floats and literally thousands of Samba dancers in big, colorful, Samba outfits.

An average of 2 million people are celebrating every day during Carnival in Rio. It’s like a huge party or an elaborate Samba production.

While you’re traveling you need a good book to read or a box of several wonderful novels.

Irresistible Accidental Heroes

They never intended to become heroes… But actions speak louder than words.
Find true love with these accidental heroes, in the pages of EIGHT BRAND NEW, full-length steamy stories, from New York Times and USA Today Bestselling, Award-Winning Authors.

TWO HEARTS’ ACCIDENTAL HEROES by Tamara Ferguson, USA Today bestselling author: Rick O’Neill has never been able to forget Shanna Weldon, the girl he suspected was being abused and had tried to help. There was evidence that she could be alive after her disappearance ten years earlier. Was she really a trafficking victim or could she be part of the organization?
SAVING ME by Natalie Ann, USA Today bestselling author: A relaxing day of golf soon turns into a life saved and the love of a lifetime found.
BAYOU HEAT by Suzanne Jenkins, USA Today bestselling author: After a devastating loss, Maggie embarks on a new chapter in her life when she takes a boat ride at dusk and discovers a body floating in the canal.
TARGETING LUCY by Cynthia Cooke, USA Today bestselling author: When a serial rapist is after the woman he used to love, can Jared Halloway protect Lucy, and keep his heart from breaking all over again?
WE’RE ALL STARS by Mona Risk, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: She points at two children drowning. He saves them and turns their lives upside down.
BORN A HERO by Mimi Barbour, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author: Bryce’s day turns upside down when he reaches out to help an elderly lady during a raging storm. By the time he gets her to her house, the levee breaks, and they’re in deep… ahh, water.
FINDING MELINDA by Susanne Matthews, International bestselling author: If she isn’t Melinda Crites, who is she? And why is someone trying to kill her? Can she trust anyone? Especially the stranger who makes her heart sing?
COMPROMISED by Taylor Lee, USA Today bestselling author: She’s as gorgeous as she is outrageous. He’s a political superstar. What quickly becomes a face-off is complicated by their passionate love affair.

The Crystal Set

It was a beautiful set of crystal glasses, a gift from my father that we cherished and used when we had guests. Eight of each—wine glasses, bigger water glasses, smaller liquor glasses, wide bottom cognac and champagne flutes. Notice that I use the past tense.

Last night, we heard a big noise and jumped out of bed, running to the living room barefoot. It was 4:30 am. Nothing prepared us for the sight we met in the living room. The two glass shelves in the cabinet separating the kitchen from the dining area had collapsed, pushing the cabinet door open and smashing almost all the glasses. There was glass pieces all over the kitchen, dining area, and living room. It took us a few seconds to assess the damage. Dad’s crystal set was gone forever. We still don’t know why the shelves have decided to collapse after fifteen years.

Once we recovered from our stupor, the first order of the day was to wear slippers. I swiped the tile floor with a broom, collecting the pieces in paper bag—mentally thanking Trader’s Joe for still packaging groceries in paper bags instead of plastic bags. My husband put on gloves and withdrew the broken glasses one by one from the cabinet. We filled four garbage bags. I finished the cleaning job by wiping the tiles with a wet cloth.

Now the cabinet is wide-open and empty. To think, I always complained about the lack of storage space in a condo’s small kitchen. The moral of the story is not to get attached to material things! Well thank God, I have other gifts and souvenirs from my dad.

Last Chance Plans

is on sale for $0.99 during the month of May.

Emotional, Sensual, Humorous

At twenty, Rick Lambert ran away from the US to escape the accusations hurled at him. Fifteen years later, he returns to settle in Fort Lauderdale. His mother agrees to live with him and take care of his two sons who have been raised by nannies and boarding schools.
Flight attendant, Madison Howell loves nothing more than her job. During a flight from Dubai to Miami, she meets the authoritative businessman and his mother. The sweet old lady befriends her, and Rick doesn’t hide his attraction. When his children come home, Madison finds herself entangled with the Lamberts way too often. As she helps the young boys adapt to their new life, she falls in love with their gorgeous father, but she’s not sure she really knows Rick, her charming lover. A loving son and dedicated father but also a womanizer and tough businessman with a hidden past.
When people from long-ago cross his path, secrets are revealed, threatening to ruin their romance. Now mature and powerful, Rick confronts his enemies to clear his name, but will it cost him the woman he loves?

NEW YEAR, NEW RELEASE, NEW DEAL

I hope you all have something to celebrate at the beginning of this new year. I certainly do with the January 8th publication of ANIMAL ATTRACTION (Kindred Souls Book 2). To celebrate, I’ve arranged a 99c sale for Book 1, ANIMAL INSTINCTS, normally selling for $3.99 — a new deal for those of you who haven’t yet read the beginning of this thrilling new paranormal romance series.The Kindred are shapeshifting predators of various sorts with a very unusual origin story. The Lazares are the premiere family of black panther shifters. Cezar Lazare runs the clan and the casino boat where they work/live with its “by invitation only” cloaked lower decks. There, magic reigns. His three children – Luc, Nuala and Nik – try to embrace their heritage while trying not to be seduced by love. Their partners are not of their clan. They are all “something else,” which raises the stakes of the stories.

Readers ask how I got the idea for this series. It was a long process, which started with reading other paranormal romance series and then building my own world different from anything I’ve read. And then there are the animals. I’m a cat person. I’m a “big cat” person, as well.

I’ve volunteered at Lincoln Park Zoo for more than a decade. For years I was stationed across from the lion house. The big cats across from me were tigers, including a mother and her cubs. That started a love affair for me. I would walk to their outside area and watch mom teach her cubs to swim. Or keep them afloat. Walking around the house, I would reach the puma enclosure with its two sisters, who always seemed to be asleep. So I would whistle to them. Softly, of course, so that one of the mountain lions would get up and pace her enclosure before me. Of course those memories made me want to write about big cats, both shifters and the zoo kind.

If you haven’t read ANIMAL INSTINCTS, I invite you to do so while it’s on sale. And if you have read it, ANIMAL ATTRACTION is on pre-order and will be published in the next few days.


ANIMAL INSTINCTS

Half-human, half-Kindred, Luc Lazare doesn’t want more complications in his life. He’s focused on protecting his shapeshifting family and love is the last distraction he needs.

Skye Cross has the ability to talk to animals. Her most recent animal rescue mission–stopping an alleged dog fight–actually involved shifters in a primal battle. Her investigation leads her to Luc, a man whose powers both unsettle and intrigue her. Skye quickly finds herself caught in a dangerous world she never knew existed, while relying on a man she couldn’t possibly trust.

Coming from two different worlds, can Luc and Skye overcome the obstacles fated to keep them apart?

Available now for 99c

https://tinyurl.com/AnimalInstincts-Amz
https://tinyurl.com/AnimalInstincts-BN
https://tinyurl.com/AnimalInstincts-iBooks
https://tinyurl.com/AnimalInstincts-Kobo


ANIMAL ATTRACTION

Detective Ethan Grainger is horrified when a public official is found dead in the park, killed by an animal. Fearing it’s a shifter kill and heads for The Ark, where he seeks out Nuala Lazare, a Kindred pregnant by Ethan’s late partner Shade. He’d come to terms with Chicago’s supernatural underground, but because Nuala holds him responsible for Shade’s death—and because he is attracted to her—he’s avoided her until now.

Ethan is the last man Nuala wants to see, and she has enough to deal with being near term, realizing her fatherless child will be a half-breed like her brother Luc, who experienced tremendous prejudice and guilt while growing up. She plans to move from The Ark to live like a human for her daughter.

Ethan must keep Shade’s child from being corrupted by the criminal element of the Kindred Lazare clan. Which means he must get close to Nuala—not an easy task. As they get to know each other, their attraction becomes unbearable. Will Ethan keep his loyalty to his murdered partner or succumb to Nuala’s irresistible temptation?

Publication date January 8!

https://tinyurl.com/AnimalAttraction-AMZ
https://tinyurl.com/AnimalAttraction-BN
https://tinyurl.com/AnimalAttraction-iBooks
https://tinyurl.com/AnimalAttraction-Kobo

Organize and Plan by @JoanReeves #mgtab

outdoors

De-clutter, organize, and plan. That’s my mantra at the beginning of every year. Since I’ve spent most of this month doing those 3 things, I thought I’d talk about that today.

One thing I’ve discovered about myself over the years is that I love to do those 3 things. Maybe it’s because I come from a long line of disorganized people who lived in cluttered houses.

My mom–God love her–saved every scrap of everything. She had a house full of newspaper clippings, files, books, and a gazillion other things. The only problem was that she never could find anything because it was all jumbled together.

Some people are just like that. My mother-in-law was like that too. I guess my Darling Hubby and I were destined to find each other! Seriously though, some people are just made that way, and others aren’t. Since our youngest daughter was born, I tried to instill in her the principles of organization, neatness, and all those other habits.

Of course she just ignored everything I said and went her merry messy way until this past year. Suddenly, she’s reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.

For the last 6 months, she’s been cleaning out closets and cupboards, donating or selling stuff she hasn’t used in years, and quoting the book as if she never, ever, in her life heard anyone–like her mother–tell her any of the things in that darn book! Now she’s got her equally messy husband reading the book.

I haven’t read the book, but I have some simple rules to keep the house neat, organized, and always looking good enough for company.

8 Rules for a Neat House

1. Everything should have a place. Organize your stuff so it is in a logical place, i.e., tools in the garage, household cleansers under the sink, etc. If you have to store things you don’t use often but want to keep, get clear storage containers and stick labels on them that list the contents.

2. If you take something from its place, return it to the same place.

3. When you change clothes, immediately hang up the clothes if they’re okay to wear again or put them in the hamper to be washed.

4. If you have a snack between meals, rinse the dishes and put them in the dishwasher.

5. Load the dishwasher immediately after eating.

6. Empty the dishwasher last thing at night or first thing in the morning.

7. Take the trash out every night.

8. Before you go to bed, walk through the house and see if anything is out of place (ask the person who used it to put it back where it belongs), if there are glasses or cups scattered on the coffee table, etc. (ask the person who used them to take them to the kitchen and rinse them, etc.), if there are clothes laying on the floor (ask the owner to deal with them), or toys not put away (ask them to do it NOW).

Of course, things left lying about can also be gathered, concealed, and held for ransom. I did this when our kids were teens, and I was tired of tripping over stinky Nikes among other things scattered about the house. After I’d picked up the kids’ detritus a few days and wouldn’t give it back unless they did extra chores or paid a dollar, they became neater. It was almost magical!

As much as I like organizing, planning, making lists, and all of that left brain stuff, I think I’ll write a book with a heroine who loves that. Of course, the hero would have to be a slob. That’s all the conflict the poor woman could stand.

After You’ve Finished Tidying Up…

Take a break and read the Sweet and Sassy Valentine Collection by 12 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors.

This romance collection is an Amazon Exclusive. It’s only 99cents and is available for pre-order now.

The collection contains sweet romance and sexy romance. Indeed, there’s something for everyone. I think you’ll love it.

Joan Reeves is a New York Times and a USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary Romance. All her fiction have the underlying premise:  It’s never too late to live happily ever after. Joan lives her happily-ever-after with her hero, her husband, in the Lone Star State. Join Joan’s Reader Friends and be the first to know about new books and giveaways, plus you get a free ebook just for signing up!