Sunday, October 14, 2018

Summer Plans and other Disasters by Karin Beery



About the book

Elementary school music teacher Callie Stevens thinks she’s finally figured out God’s plan for her life—she even made a list to keep her on track.
Moving in with her brother and reconnecting with her ex-boyfriend are at the top of the list. What’s not on the list is running into her childhood crush, Ryan. God wanted her to connect with Kyle, right?
Trying to figure out God’s plan is hard enough. But a dating-averse older brother, the young blonde who adores him, a pregnant best friend, and Callie’s continual mishaps make her wonder whether her best laid plans were truly God-inspired. 
Now available from Elk Lake Publishing!
 

About the author

Karin wrote her first novel in 2007 to cope with her husband’s cancer diagnosis (no worries – he’s cancer free now!). With the support and encouragement of her family, she submitted that manuscript. That particular manuscript has not been published yet, but Summer Plans and Other Disasters, her first published book, releases in September 2018.

Karin writes contemporary and speculative fiction stories with a healthy dose of romance, but she’s also expanded her repertoire: she writes feature stories for the local paper, copy material for businesses, and blog posts for herself and others. She even edits (offering copy editing, fiction editing, and critiques through Write Now Editing Services) and teaches (she’s the Substantive Fiction Editing instructor for the PEN Institute and can be found around the country teaching writing and editing courses at conferences and at her local college).

When Karin’s not reading, writing, or editing, she enjoys cooking and baking. She plays the piano and sings (the key of E, please). She kayaks with her husband in the summer, watches football in the fall (Go Blue!), and enjoys Christmas lights all winter long. Shy but extroverted, Karin adores her nieces and nephew and loves spending time with her family.  Learn more about Karin at: karinbeery.com.
You can also follow her on:

Elk Lake Publishing (for tagging)
My Take;  I found this book to be very entertaining with a lesson that we all can relate to Callie Stevens has made plans for the summer but she didn't bother to ask God what he wanted her to do.  When her plans don't go as planned she feels like God has abandoned her but she didn't give Him a chance to let her know what she should do.  I find myself very often making plans but not praying to God to find out what he wants me to do.  Callie is a bit clumsy and has a tendency to continue on with her plans without waiting on God.  
I received a review copy of this book from Read with Audra and was not required to post a positive review.  

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Super Ladies by Susan Petrone

The Super Ladies

by Susan Petrone

August 13 - October 13, 2018 Tour

  The Super Ladies by Susan Petrone

Synopsis:

For three middle-aged women in the suburbs of Cleveland, the issues seemed compelling but relatively conventional: sending a child off to college, dealing with a marriage gone stale, feeling "invisible." But changes were coming . . . and not the predictable ones. Because Margie, Katherine, and Abra are feeling a new kind of power inside of them – literally. Of all the things they thought they might have to contend with as they got older, not one of them considered they'd be exploding a few gender roles by becoming superheroes.

At once a delightful and surprising adventure and a thoughtful examination of a woman's changing role through life's passages, THE SUPER LADIES is larger-than-life fiction at its very best.

PRAISE FOR SUSAN PETRONE'S THROW LIKE A WOMAN:

"While, on the surface, this is a novel about a woman battling to make her way in the man's world of professional baseball, debut author Petrone presents a stirring and humorous story of a woman doing considerably more than that--trying to rediscover herself, provide for her family, and perhaps find a little love along the way." - Booklist
"Throw Like a Woman is that rare baseball novel, both a paean to the game and a deeper exploration of character. Susan Petrone has a fan's heart and a scout's eye. Read it now. Don't wait for the movie." - Stewart O'Nan, co-author of Faithful and A Face in the Crowd
"For baseball fans who yearn for a female Jackie Robinson, reading Susan Petrone's fun and absorbing novel Throw Like a Woman becomes a kind of prayer. 'Please, Lord! Give talent a chance. Let this dream come true!'" - Mary Doria Russell, author of The Sparrow
"Someday there will be a woman who plays Major League Baseball. And when it happens, I suspect it will be an awful lot like Susan Petrone's fun Throw Like a Woman. Susan knows baseball and so the novel - and her hero Brenda Haversham - crackles with authenticity. You can hear the pop of the ball hitting the catcher's mitt." - Joe Posnanski, author of The Soul of Baseball, NBC Sports National Columnist
"Petrone's storytelling is first-rate, and she weaves a credible baseball tale with well-defined characters throughout." - The Wave
 

Book Details

Genre: Women's Fiction
Published by: The Story Plant
Publication Date: August 14th 2018 by Story Plant
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 1611882583 (ISBN13: 9781611882582)
Purchase Links: The Super Ladies on Amazon The Super Ladies on Barnes & Noble The Super Ladies on Goodreads

My Take:  I really enjoyed this book.  I particularly liked the except that is down below because this is when they realize that something is different.  I liked the way the friends stood beside each other and even showed up for the kids when they had kid things like school programs etc.  It is very rare in life to be able to find a friend like that for yourself but to have your kids' back too is just awesome.  This is a feel good kinda book that you will enjoy long after you finish reading. 

I received a review copy of this book from Providence Book Promotions in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Read an excerpt:

On the way home, Katherine called shotgun, so Abra had to sit in the back of Margie’s minivan amid soccer shin guards, baseballs, stray sneakers, swim goggles, granola bar wrappers, a rubber-banded stack of Pokemon cards, and a book on playing Minecraft. “How was this shoe not on the seat when we left?” Abra asked.
“I really couldn’t tell you,” Margie replied over her shoulder. “Things back there just seem to migrate around on their own. Hold it up.” Abra did so, and Margie took a quick look at it in the rearview mirror as they pulled out of the parking lot and onto Superior Avenue. “I don’t even think that belongs to one of mine.”
“Now you know why I called shotgun. The backseat scares me,” Katherine said. “I sometimes get overwhelmed with one kid. How do you manage three?”
“I have no life. Duh,” Margie replied.
Margie cut south onto East 12th Street and then turned east onto Chester Avenue, which would take them through Midtown, up Cedar Hill, and back home. As they drove by Cleveland State University, she asked Katherine, “Do we still have to flip the bird to CSU for denying Hal tenure?”
“Nah, the statute of limitations has expired on that one, I think.”
“I like the new housing they’re building down here,” Abra said. “If I ever move downtown, would you two come and visit me?”
“Hell yes,” said Katherine.
“Sure,” Margie added. “Are you seriously thinking of moving or just toying with it?”
“Toying. If I can unload the house to the bank, I’ll have to rent somewhere. And I’d be closer to work.”
“If you move, who will I run with every morning?” “I don’t know. Get another dog?”
Chester was a wide, three-lanes-in-each-direction boulevard that took them past the university neighborhood and through the dead zone in between downtown, where most of the office buildings and entertainment areas were, and University Circle, where most of the city’s museums and cultural gems were ensconced. Economic development hadn’t hit this middle area, and much of it was taken up by vacant buildings, empty lots, and boarded-up houses.
Nine fifteen on a Thursday night in mid-May isn’t late and isn’t scary. Still, Margie got a bad feeling when she saw a young woman on the sidewalk walking fast, hands folded across her chest, not looking at the man who walked next to her. The girl was a stranger—not her age, not her race, not her neighborhood, but still, the girl was someone, some mother’s daughter.
Margie pulled over to the curb, leaving the engine running.
“Why are you stopping?” Katherine asked.
The few other cars on the wide road passed by without slowing. No cars were parked on the street; Margie’s van was the only stopped vehicle for blocks. Katherine and Abra followed Margie’s gaze to the scene unfolding on the sidewalk. The man was yelling at the woman now. They couldn’t make out exactly what he was yelling but heard the words “bitch” and “money” a few times. And they could see his flailing arms, his face leering up against hers. She stopped walking and said something to him, and he hit her. She lost her balance and fell against the chain-link fence that ran along the sidewalk. They were in front of an empty lot, where once there might have been a house but now was only a square of crabgrass and crumbling concrete and stray garbage. For a moment, there were no other cars on the road. There was no one else on the street, no inhabited buildings for a couple blocks either way. If not for them, the woman was on her own.
“Call nine-one-one,” Abra said as the man hit the woman again. The woman tried to get away, but he grabbed her shoulders and shoved her hard against the fence.
“There’s no time,” Katherine said. In a heartbeat, she was out of the car.
“Darn it, come on…” Abra muttered as she fumbled with the sliding side door and jumped out. “Keep the engine running,” she said as she followed Katherine.
“I’ll go with you…” Margie started to say. No, Abra was right. Someone had to stay with the van, keep the engine running, stay behind the wheel in case they needed to make a quick getaway. Glancing behind her, she backed up alongside the people on the sidewalk. It felt proactive. She could hear Katherine’s strong teacher voice saying loudly but calmly, “Leave her alone” and the woman yelling, “Call the police!” It suddenly occurred to Margie that she had a phone. She could call the police. Hands trembling and heart racing, Margie frantically fumbled through her bag for her phone.
She told the 911 dispatcher where she was and what was happening, the whole time watching Katherine and Abra and the couple on the sidewalk. Suddenly, there was a glint of something shiny in the streetlight as the man rushed toward Katherine. She heard a scream, and then she couldn’t see Abra anymore.

Katherine got out of the car purely through instinct. There was someone in trouble—helping is what you were supposed to do, right? It wasn’t until she was on the sidewalk, walking toward the man and woman, saying loudly, “Leave her alone” and watching the man turn to face her that she realized she had absolutely no idea what to do next. None. It was then that her heart started pounding and a hot wave of fear tingled through her arms and legs.
Up close, she could see the guy was taller and more muscular than he appeared from the safety of the van. He was maybe white, maybe light-skinned African American with a shaved head. An indecipherable neck tattoo peeked out from under his close-fitting, long-sleeved black T-shirt. She tried to burn a police description into her brain. The woman yelled, “Call the police!” at the same time the guy said, “This is none of your damn business, lady” to Katherine. The utter disdain in his voice cleared everything out of her brain except one thought: This was such a mistake. This was such a stupid mistake. There was no way this could end well. For a split second, she imagined Hal and Anna without her, wondered if they would think her foolish for getting herself killed in this way. She heard Abra say softly, “Just let her go, man.”
Katherine could just see Abra off to her right. Margie had backed up, and the open doors of the van were only a few yards away. She could faintly hear Margie’s voice, talking to 911 maybe? Knowing they were both nearby gave her a tiny bit more courage. Katherine took a tentative step toward the woman, who was kneeling by the fence. Her face was bloodied, the sleeve of her shirt ripped. “Miss?” she asked. She looked about nineteen or twenty. Not a woman. A girl. “Why don’t you come with us? We’ll give you a ride.”
“She don’t need a ride,” the man said.
The rest of the street seemed eerily quiet. Couldn’t someone else stop and help? Someone big? Someone male maybe? Katherine wasn’t that big, but she was big enough, strong enough. She could help. Slowly she extended her left arm. If the woman wanted to take her hand, she could. Katherine held the woman’s gaze, hoping she could silently convince her that leaving with some strangers was preferable to getting beaten up by her boyfriend. Katherine was so focused that she didn’t see the knife until it was against her arm, in her arm. The man cut so fast that she hardly saw the blade, only the flash of metal against her pale white skin. It occurred to her that she needed to get out in the sun. Why am I worried about how pale I am? I just got cut. She felt the sensation of the blade slicing through flesh, felt a momentary spark of pain, and then the pain was gone. It happened faster than a flu shot—a quick prick, then nothing.
The man only made one swipe, then stopped, triumphant, staring at her arm, expecting blood, expecting her to scream, to fall. There wasn’t any blood on her arm or the knife. No blood, just Katherine staring at him wide-eyed and unharmed.
Then the man was on the ground, hit from the side by…something, something Katherine couldn’t see. The knife dropped from his hands and landed near her foot. She kicked it away at the same time she heard Abra’s voice yell, “Run!” But where the hell was Abra? She must be in the van. Katherine couldn’t see her.
Katherine said, “Come on” to the woman, who was now up and moving toward her. The woman needed no more convincing and was in the car before Katherine, even before Abra. Where had Abra been? How could she be the last one to pile into the minivan, yelling, “Go! Go!” to Margie, who was slamming on the gas before the door was even closed.
Nobody said anything for a moment. The only sound in the car was that of four women catching their breath, being glad they had breath left in their bodies. Then all of them simultaneously erupted into words of relief and fear, asking each other “Are you all right? Are you all right?”
“Oh sweet mother, I can’t believe you all just did that,” Margie said. “I thought—Katherine, I honestly thought he was going to kill you.”
“So did I,” Abra said. “How the hell did he not cut you? How did he miss you?”
“He didn’t miss me,” Katherine replied quietly. Feeling fine seemed intrinsically wrong, but there it was. Unreal sense of calm? Yes. Pain and blood? No.
Before Margie or Abra could respond, the woman exclaimed, “Oh my God, thank you! Sean would’ve done me in this time, I know it. Y’all were like superheroes or something. You saved my life.”
The three women were quiet for a heartbeat. For the moment, the hyperbole of the phrase “You saved my life” was gone. It was arguably true. This was a new sensation. Frightening and humbling. Then Margie said, “Shoot, I dropped the phone.” With one hand on the wheel, she felt around in the great vortex of tissues, empty cups, and scraps of paper in the molded plastic section in between the two front seats.
“I got it,” Katherine said, coming up with the phone. The 911 dispatcher was still on the line, wondering what was going on. “Hello?” Katherine said. “We’re okay. We got away, the woman is safe. We’re going—where are we going?”
“Anywhere away from Sean,” the woman in the back said.
“There’s a police station right down the street at one hundred and fifth,” Abra said.
“Right, I know where that is,” Margie said.
A police car with the siren off but lights flashing came roaring down Chester Avenue in the opposite direction.
“Was that for us?” Margie asked.
“I think so,” Abra said.
Katherine hardly had time to explain what had happened to the dispatcher before they were at the station. There was a long hour-plus of giving witness statements to a jaded-looking police officer who told them several times how lucky they were to have gotten out of the situation with no harm done. “What you three ladies did was very brave and very stupid,” he said in closing.
“We know,” Abra replied.
They were told they might be called as witnesses if the woman, Janelle, decided to press charges against her boyfriend. Then they were free to go. The three of them walked out of the police station and to the waiting minivan. It was nearing midnight, and the spring evening had moved from cool to downright chilly. Even so, none of them moved to get into the van. Margie unlocked it and opened the driver’s door, then just stood looking at the ground, one hand on the door, the other on the side of the van, breathing slowly. Abra paced in a slow oval near the back of the van, while Katherine leaned against it and gazed up at the few faint stars that could be seen against the city lights. She suddenly wanted to be somewhere quiet, away from the city, away from people. Margie’s voice brought her back: “I’m sorry I didn’t do anything to help.”
What are you talking about?” Katherine said. “If it weren’t for you, we never would have gotten out of there.”
Abra walked around the van to Margie. “You were the only smart one. I’m sorry I got out of the car. That was stupid.” As Abra said this, she shivered, her lips trembled, and she started to shake. “That was so stupid.” “I got out first,” Katherine said. “I’m the stupid one.” Katherine almost never saw Margie cry. Even when her eldest child was going through hell, Katherine had been amazed and admiring of her friend’s resilience. But now Margie seemed overwhelmed by heaving sobs. “I’m just so glad the two of you are okay,” Margie stammered. Crying people generally made her nervous, but Katherine joined Margie and Abra on the other side of the van.
When your friends need you, they need you.
***
Excerpt from The Super Ladies by Susan Petrone. Copyright © 2017 by Susan Petrone. Reproduced with permission from Susan Petrone. All rights reserved.
 

Author Bio:

Susan Petrone
Susan Petrone lives with one husband, one child, and two dogs in Cleveland, Ohio. Her superpower has yet to be uncovered.
Catch Up with Susan Petrone Online:

  • Website: susanpetrone.com
  • Twitter: @SusanPetrone
  • Facebook: @susan.petrone.54
  • Goodreads: @Susan Petrone
  •  
     

    Tour Host Participants:

    Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!  

    Giveaway:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for The Story Plant. There will be 5 winners of one (1) PB copy of THROW LIKE A WOMAN by Susan Petrone. The giveaway begins on August 13, 2018 and runs through October 13, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway &nbap;

    Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

    Friday, September 28, 2018

    Book Spotlight of Mirage by Somaiya Daud

    Mirage (Mirage, #1)

    In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

    But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

    As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.

    Book Spotlight of The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell

    The Forest Queen

    When sixteen-year-old Sylvie’s brother takes over management of their family’s vast estates, Sylvie feels powerless to stop his abuse of the local commoners. Her dearest friend asks her to run away to the woods with him, and soon a host of other villagers join them. Together, they form their own community and fight to right the wrongs perpetrated by the king and his noblemen.

    Thursday, September 27, 2018

    Book Spotlight of Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer

    Not Even Bones (Market of Monsters #1)

    Dexter meets This Savage Song in this dark fantasy about a girl who sells magical body parts on the black market — until she’s betrayed.

    Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” But when her mom brings home a live specimen, Nita decides she wants out — dissecting living people is a step too far.

    But when she tries to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold on the black market in his place — because Nita herself is a supernatural being. Now Nita is on the other side of the bars, and there is no line she won’t cross to escape and make sure no one can ever capture her again. 

    Nita did a good deed, and it cost her everything. Now she’s going to do a lot of bad deeds to get it all back.

    Book Spotlight of Seafire by Natalie C, Parker

    Seafire (Seafire, #1)

    After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric's armed and armored fleet.

    But when Caledonia's best friend and second-in-command just barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether or not to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all...or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?
     

    Wednesday, September 26, 2018

    Book Spotlight of Final Resting Place by Jonathan F. Putnam

    Final Resting Place (A Lincoln and Speed Mystery #3)

    Twenty-nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln has spent his entire adult life running from his past―from the poverty of the dirt-floor log cabin where he was raised, from the dominion of his uneducated father, and from a failed early courtship. But now, Lincoln’s past is racing back to haunt him.

    It is the summer of 1838, and Springfield is embroiled in a tumultuous, violent political season. All of Springfield’s elite have gathered at a grand party to celebrate the Fourth of July. Spirits are high―until a prominent local politician is assassinated in the midst of fireworks. When his political rival is arrested, young lawyer Lincoln and his best friend Joshua Speed are back on the case to investigate.

    It’s no ordinary trial, however, as Lincoln and Speed soon face unwelcome complications. Lincoln’s ne’er-do-well father and stepbrother appear in town and threaten Lincoln’s good name and political future. And before long, anonymous letters start appearing in the local newspapers, with ominous threats that make Lincoln fear for himself and his loved ones.

    As the day of reckoning arrives, the threats against Lincoln continue to escalate. Lincoln and Speed must identify the culprit and fast, before Lincoln loses the race to outrun his past in Final Resting Place, the brilliant third installment of Jonathan F. Putnam’s acclaimed Lincoln and Speed mysteries.
     

    Book Spotlight of Ernestine Catastrophe Queen by Merrill Wyatt

    Ernestine, Catastrophe Queen

    We all know and love Ramona, Matilda, and Harriet the Spy. Now meet Ernestine.
    Ernestine Montgomery is the kind of kid who gets things done. She's smart, prepared, and always knows just what to do. But there's big trouble brewing inside the walls of the rambling old mansion where she lives... and only Ernestine can decipher the clues that point in one direction-murder! 
    Can Ernestine solve the mystery before catastrophe strikes?

    Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    Book Spotlight of Rule by Ellen Goodlett

    Rule

    Three girls with three deadly secrets. Only one can wear the crown.

    The king is dying, his heir has just been murdered, and rebellion brews in the east. But the kingdom of Kolonya and the outer Reaches has one last option before it descends into leaderless chaos.

    Or rather, three unexpected options.

    Zofi has spent her entire life trekking through the outer Reaches with her band of Travelers. She would do anything to protect the band, her family. But no one can ever find out how far she's already gone.

    Akeylah was raised in the Eastern Reach, surrounded by whispers of rebellion and abused by her father. Desperate to escape, she makes a decision that threatens the whole kingdom.

    Ren grew up in Kolonya, serving as a lady's maid and scheming her way out of the servants' chambers. But one such plot could get her hung for treason if anyone ever discovers what she's done.

    When the king summons the girls, they arrive expecting arrest or even execution. Instead they learn the truth: they are his illegitimate daughters, and one must become his new heir. But someone in Kolonya knows their secrets, and that someone will stop at nothing to keep the sisters from their destiny... to rule.

    Magic, mystery, and blackmail abound in this sensational and striking fantasy debut.

    Book Spotlight of The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator Mary Shelley by Catherine Reef

    Mary Shelley: The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator

    On the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein,comes a riveting biography of its author, Mary Shelley, whose life reads like a dark gothic novel, filled with scandal, death, drama, and one of the strangest love stories in literary history. 

    The story of Frankenstein’s creator is a strange, romantic, and tragic one, as deeply compelling as the novel itself. Mary ran away to Lake Geneva with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley when she was just sixteen. It was there, during a cold and wet summer, that she first imagined her story about a mad scientist who brought a corpse back to life. Success soon followed for Mary, but also great tragedy and misfortune.
         Catherine Reef brings this passionate woman, brilliant writer, and forgotten feminist into crisp focus, detailing a life that was remarkable both before and after the publication of her iconic masterpiece. Includes index.

    Monday, September 24, 2018

    Book Spotlight of Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

    Furthermore (Furthermore, #1)

    Alice Alexis Queensmeadow 12 rates three things most important: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. Father disappeared from Ferenwood with only a ruler, almost three years ago. But she will have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is Oliver whose own magic is based in lies and deceit. Alice must first find herself—and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

    Kingdom Files : Who was David? and Who was Esther? by Matt Koceich

    Kingdom Files: Who Was David?

    What do you know about David? 

    Was he:
    . . .a shepherd boy turned king?
    . . .a faithful harp player?
    . . .a brave giant slayer?
    . . .all of the above?

    Journey along with David in a field of sheep, in the presence of a towering giant, in the very center of God’s amazing power!

    This biblically accurate story of David, created just for the kids in your life, explores the life of this shepherd boy turned king, while drawing 8- to 12-year-olds into a fascinating time and place as they learn about this faithful harp player and courageous giant slayer. Featuring three key sections—a Fact File, an Action File, and a Power File—kids will enjoying learning about the life of David while coming to understand that an ancient Bible story really does apply to their lives today. Dozens of captivating line art pieces add depth and interest to every chapter.


    Kingdom Files: Who Was Esther?

    What do you know about Esther? 

    Was she:
    . . .the beautiful Queen of Persia?
    . . .the woman who hid her Jewish heritage from the king?
    . . .the courageous one who risked her life to save her people?
    . . .all of the above?

    Journey along with Esther in a luxurious Persian palace, in the presence of a powerful king, in the very center of God’s amazing power!

    This biblically accurate story of Esther, created just for the kids in your life, explores the life of the beautiful Queen of Persia, while drawing 8- to 12-year-olds into a fascinating time and place as they learn about the woman who hid her Jewish heritage from the king and ultimately risked her life to save her people. Featuring three key sections—a Fact File, an Action File, and a Power File—kids will enjoying learning about the life of Esther while coming to understand that an ancient Bible story really does apply to their lives today. Dozens of captivating line art pieces add depth and interest to every chapter.

    My Take:  I really enjoyed these two books.  They were both packed with information about the subjects of the book.  They are for kids but they definitely do not talk down to the kids or talk to far above their heads.  I look forward to sharing these books with my grandkids and helping them to learn more about both David and Esther.  

    I received review copies of both of these books from Barbour Publishing and was not required to write a positive review.  

    Everything She Didn't Say by Jane Kirkpatrick

    Everything She Didn't Say

    In 1911, Carrie Strahorn wrote a memoir entitled Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, which shared some of the most exciting events of 25 years of traveling and shaping the American West with her husband, Robert Strahorn, a railroad promoter, investor, and writer. That is all fact. Everything She Didn't Say imagines Carrie nearly ten years later as she decides to write down what was really on her mind during those adventurous nomadic years.

    Certain that her husband will not read it, and in fact that it will only be found after her death, Carrie is finally willing to explore the lessons she learned along the way, including the danger a woman faces of losing herself within a relationship with a strong-willed man and the courage it takes to accept her own God-given worth apart from him. Carrie discovers that wealth doesn't insulate a soul from pain and disappointment, family is essential, pioneering is a challenge, and western landscapes are both demanding and nourishing. Most of all, she discovers that home can be found, even in a rootless life.

    With a deft hand, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick draws out the emotions of living--the laughter and pain, the love and loss--to give readers a window not only into the past, but into their own conflicted hearts. Based on a true story.

    My Take:  This book is well researched.  It continues on from the memoir and imagines what Carrie Strahorn would say if she could tell the truth of how she felt during all the years of moving from place to place, putting her hopes and dreams on the back burner to follower her husband.  Although this book in itself is not a memoir it reads like one and you feel as though Carrie Strahorn is talking to you directly and telling you her story.  Very enjoyable and a great look into how it felt to pioneer.  

    I received a review copy of this book from Revell and was not required to write a positive review.  

    Thursday, August 30, 2018

    The Hope Jar by Wanda Brunstetter

    The Hope Jar by Wanda E. Brunstetter

    The Hope Jar

    (The Prayer Jars #1)

    A Brand-New 3-Book Series from New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter.
    What happens when making an elderly Amish couple very happy means going along with a lie that gets bigger by the day?

    Michelle Taylor is not who her new family in Lancaster County believes her to be. The Lapps were looking for their long-lost granddaughter when they met Michelle and she assumed the identity of Sara Murray. Once homeless and hopeless, Michelle has come to love her new Amish friends and even considers the idea of romance among them.

    Finding an old blue jar in the barn that is filled with slips of paper containing thoughts, quotes, and prayers by an unknown author becomes a boost to Michelle’s budding faith— but also convicting. How can she tell the truth without hurting the ones she has truly come to love?

    My Take:  I have loved everything I have read by Wanda Brunstetter and this book is no exception. I really liked all the characters both the Amish ones and the Englishers. There is a major deception that happens and is continued throughout the whole book till the very end when the deceptor comes clean. I eagerly look forward to reading the next book in the series to see what happens with all the characters.

    I received a review copy of this book from Amazon Vine and Barbour and was not required to write a positive review. 

    PICT Tour of Selected by J. Allen Wolfrum

    Selected by J. Allen Wolfrum Banner

    Selected

    by J. Allen Wolfrum

    July 1 - August 31, 2018 Tour

    Synopsis:

    Selected by J. Allen Wolfrum
    Former Army helicopter pilot, Susan Turner is Selected as the next President of the United States. In order to avoid a nuclear war, she must overcome personal demons and learn to navigate the murky waters of international diplomacy.
    Five years ago, the Dove Revolution changed the political structure of the United States. The President, Senate, and Congress are no longer elected by the public, they are Selected at random every two years. A shadow organization known only as The Board, advances their sinister agenda by taking advantage of their anonymity and Susan's tendency to make brash decisions. Blackmail, espionage and murder are all in play as The Board manipulates geo-political events to spark a war between the Soviet Union and the United States.
    With the help of her former Squadron Commander, General LeMae, Susan Turner attempts to lead the nation through these turbulent times while battling her own internal demons. Susan is a battle-hardened war veteran but she must learn what it takes to be a world leader. Nuclear war and the future of the human race hang in the balance.

    Book Details:

    Genre: Political Thriller
    Published by: Indie
    Publication Date: December 28th 2017
    Number of Pages: 326
    ISBN: 1981498974 (ISBN13: 9781981498970)
    Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
     

    Read an excerpt:

    Susan Turner looked up through a haze of white dust and saw a group of men in black suits huddled around her body. The muffled ringing in her ears overpowered their voices. The men helped her to her feet and they ran as a group toward the entrance to the underground tunnel. Her hearing slowly returned, screams of panic in the hallway replacing the ringing. As they ran, she recognized the men surrounding her were Secret Service agents.
    Four agents surrounded Susan as they jogged through the underground tunnel together. Ten yards into the tunnel, she slowed down. In mid-stride, she took off one heel at a time and returned to the pace of the group. There were no words exchanged; they moved together in focused silence. Four hundred yards down the tunnel, the group stopped at two large steel doors. The lead agent opened the doors and light from the helicopter pad above burst into the tunnel.
    Before moving toward the helicopter, the agent stand- ing behind Susan shouted into his headset, “Checkpoint Bravo. Waiting for clearance.” He nodded as the response came through and relayed the message to the group: “Let’s move.” They ran from the tunnel into the daylight and across the tarmac to the open doors of the helicopter.
    The agent sitting across from Susan handed her a com- munications headset. “Ma’am, are you okay? Any injuries?” Susan wiped the sweat and dust from her face. “No, I’m fine. My family?”
    “They’re safe. Your children were brought to a safe location under the Pentagon, and your parents are there with them.”
    She nodded. “Is it over?”
    He pursed his lips before responding, “I don’t know. I only heard snippets of radio chatter while we were on the way to the helipad.”
    Susan leaned back in her seat, cupping her hands over her face and replaying the events in her mind. The group stayed in radio silence for the remainder of the brief flight. The helicopter landed at Andrews Air Force Base and the doors immediately opened. Susan and her security detail rushed across the tarmac and boarded the Boeing 747. She walked onto the plane in her bare feet. Jogging on con- crete caused the pinky toe on her left foot to bleed. She left a trail of blood down the center aisle of Air Force One.
    ***
    Excerpt from Selected by J. Allen Wolfrum. Copyright © 2018 by J. Allen Wolfrum. Reproduced with permission from J. Allen Wolfrum. All rights reserved.
     

    Author Bio:

    J. Allen Wolfrum
    J. Allen Wolfrum is a fiction author and former Marine. He served four years as a Marine Corps Infantryman in the most decorated Regiment in Marine Corps history. During Operation Iraqi Freedom he led an infantry squad on missions spanning from the oil fields of Southern Iraq to the streets of Baghdad.
    After the Marine Corps, he spent the next fifteen years exploring life from several perspectives: press operator in a plastics factory, warehouse stocker, confused college student, Certified Public Accountant, bearded graduate student, management consultant, and data analyst.
    J. Allen Wolfrum’s writing career began in 2017 with his debut novel, Selected. He uses the unique combination of his Marine Corps, professional and life experience to create a realistic perspective on the political thriller genre. He lives in Southern California with his beautiful wife and two cats.

    Catch Up With Our Author On: Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!


    My Take:  I really enjoyed this book.  I like books that are set in the future and imagine how things might be.  This book takes how we chose our President and turns it on its head.  Presidents are now selected every two years and the previous President becomes the Vice President.  I liked how the story dealt with false news or fake news and shows how that can sway people's opinion.  Overall this was a very entertaining read and I enjoyed it very much.  I would give it a four out of five stars.  

    I received a review copy from Partners in Crime and was not required to write a positive review.  
     

    Tour Participants:

    Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!  

    GIVEAWAY:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for J. Allen Wolfrum. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on July 1, 2018 and runs through September 1, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.
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    Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

     

    Monday, August 27, 2018

    Appointment in Prague by Michael MCMenamin and Kathleen MCMenamin





     

    Inside the Book

    Title: APPOINTMENT IN PRAGUE: A MATTIE MCGARY + WINSTON CHURCHILL WORLD WAR II ADVENTURE
    Author: Michael McMenamin & Kathleen McMenamin
    Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing
    Pages: 160
    Genre: Historical Thriller
    BOOK BLURB:
    In the novella, Appointment in Prague, one woman, a British secret agent, sets out in May 1942 to single-handedly send to hell the most evil Nazi alive—SS General Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the SD, the domestic and foreign counter-intelligence wing of the SS; second in rank only to the head of the SS himself, Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler; and the architect of  “The Final Solution” that will send millions of European Jews to their doom.
    When British Prime Minister Winston Churchill authorizes the SOE—the ‘Special Operations Executive’— in October 1941 to assassinate Heydrich, he is unaware that the entire operation has been conceived and is being run by his Scottish goddaughter, the former Pulitzer Prize-winning Hearst photojournalist Mattie McGary. The SOE is Churchill’s own creation, one he informally describes as the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare and, at his suggestion, Mattie becomes one of its Deputy Directors.
    Mattie has a history with Heydrich dating back to 1933 and a personal score to settle. In September 1941, when the man known variously as ‘The Blond Beast’ and ‘The Man With the Iron Heart’—that last coming from Adolf Hitler himself—is appointed Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, the remnants left of Czechoslovakia after the Germans had dismembered it in 1939, Mattie is determined—now that he is no longer safely within Germany’s borders—to have him killed. She recruits and trains several Czech partisans for the task and has them parachuted into Czechoslovakia in December 1941.
    An increasingly impatient Mattie waits in London for word that her agents have killed the Blond Beast. By May 1942, Heydrich still lives and Mattie is furious.  The mother of six-year-old twins, Mattie decides—without telling her godfather or her American husband, the #2 man in the London office of the OSS—to parachute into Czechoslovakia herself and  “light a fire under their timid Czech bums”. Which she does, but her agents botch the job and Heydrich is only wounded in the attempt. The doctors sent from Berlin to care for him believe he will recover.
    On the fly, Mattie conceives a new plan to kill Heydrich herself. With forged papers and other help from the highest-placed SOE asset in Nazi Germany—a former lover—Mattie determines to covertly enter Prague’s Bulovka Hospital and finish the job. After that, all she has to do is flee Prague into Germany and from there to neutral Switzerland. What Mattie doesn’t know is that Walter Schellenberg, Heydrich’s protégé and the head of Foreign Intelligence for the SD, is watching her every move.

    My take:  Don't let the old fashioned book cover fool you this book is full of twists and turns and thrills after thrills.  I found Mattie to be a very like able main character although I didn't agree how she choose to go about telling her Godfather Winston Churchill or her husband as they had made a promise to each other for the good of their children.  The way the story ended there will definitely be a continuation of this story.  I learned some things about new to me m characters from WWII,

    I received a review copy of this book from Pump Up Your book and I was not required to write a positive review. 

    Tuesday, August 21, 2018

    Book Spotlight of The Other Woman by Sandie Jones

    The Other Woman

    A deliciously disturbing, compulsively readable debut domestic suspense--prepare to meet The Other Woman: there’s nothing she won’t do to keep you away from her son ...

    Emily thinks Adam’s perfect; the man she thought she’d never meet. But lurking in the shadows is a rival; a woman who shares a deep bond with the man she loves.

    Emily chose Adam, but she didn’t choose his mother Pammie. There’s nothing a mother wouldn’t do for her son, and now Emily is about to find out just how far Pammie will go to get what she wants: Emily gone forever.

    The Other Woman is an addictive, fast-paced psychological thriller about the destructive relationship between Emily, her boyfriend Adam, and his manipulative mother Pammie.

    Book Spotlight of The Fashion Designer by Nancy Moser

    The Fashion Designer

    The American Dream thrives in 1912 New York City
     
    Annie Wood, the housemaid-turned-pattern designer in The Pattern Artist, jumps at the chance to design her own clothing line when a wealthy New York couple offer to finance her endeavor. Joining the project is Annie’s new husband, Sean Culver, her best friend at Butterick, Maude Nascato, and a mother figure, Edna Holmquist.
     
    Annie and her colleagues give up their careers, risking everything to follow a shared passion: clothes that are both fashionable and functional for modern, busy women in 1912.
     
    Personal and financial setbacks threaten to keep the business from ever selling a single dress and test old relationships and new romances. No one said it would be easy. But the promise of the American Dream holds a deep hope for those who work hard, trust God, and never give up.

    Monday, July 30, 2018

    PICT tour of The Body in the Ballroom by R. J. Koreto

    The Body In The Ballroom by R.J. Koreto The Body In The Ballroom by R.J. Koreto Banner

    The Body in the Ballroom

    by R.J. Koreto

    on Tour July 1-31, 2018

    Synopsis:

    The Body in the Ballroom by R.J. Koreto
    President Teddy Roosevelt’s daring daughter, Alice, leaps into action to exonerate a friend accused of poisoning a man just about everyone hated.
    Alice Roosevelt, the brilliant, danger-loving daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, has already risked an assassin’s bullet to solve one murder. She never expected to have to sleuth another, but she’d never pass up the opportunity, either. Anything to stave off boredom.
    And such an opportunity presents itself when Alice is invited to a lavish ball. The high-society guests are in high spirits as they imbibe the finest wines. But one man, detested by nearly all the partygoers, quaffs a decidedly deadlier cocktail. An African-American mechanic, who also happens to be a good friend of former Rough Rider-turned-Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair, is suspected of the murder-by-poison, but Alice is sure he’s innocent and is back on the scene to clear his name.
    From downtown betting parlors to uptown mansions, Alice and Agent St. Clair uncover forbidden romances and a financial deal that just might change the world. But neither Alice nor her would-be protector may survive the case at hand in The Body in the Ballroom, R. J. Koreto's gripping second Alice Roosevelt mystery.

    Book Details:

    Genre: Historical Mystery
    Published by: Crooked Lane Books
    Publication Date: June 12th 2018
    Number of Pages: 304
    ISBN: 1683315774 (ISBN13: 9781683315773)
    Series: Alice Roosevelt Mystery #2
    Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

    Read an excerpt:

    President Roosevelt and I were just finishing out talk when A moment later, the office door opened, and Mr. Wilkie, the Secret Service director, walked in. I stood to greet him.
    “St. Clair. Glad to see you’re back. Very pleased with the way it went in St. Louis.” He turned to the president. “Have you spoken to him yet, sir?”
    “Yes, and he’s agreed.” Wilkie looked relieved, too.
    “Very good then. If you’re done, sir, I’ll take St. Clair to her. My understanding is that arrangements have been made for Miss Roosevelt to leave tomorrow afternoon.”
    “Exactly. We’re all done then. St. Clair, thanks again. And I’ll be up in the near future, so I expect to see you again soon.” We shook hands, and I followed Mr. Wilkie out the door.
    “Is she smoking on the roof again, sir?” I asked. That’s what happened the first time I met Alice in the White House.
    He grimaced. “No. My understanding is that she is in the basement indulging a new hobby of hers. But you’ll see.” He led me downstairs, and that’s when I heard the unmistakable sounds of gunfire. Mr. Wilkie didn’t seem worried, however. “Miss Roosevelt somehow got hold of a pistol and has set up her own private firing range in a storage room. We launched an investigation to figure out how Miss Roosevelt obtained such a weapon but were unable to reach a formal conclusion, I’m sorry to say.”
    No wonder they wanted me back.
    And just as when Mr. Wilkie had sent me to get Alice off the roof, he once again cleaned his glasses on his handkerchief, shook my hand, wished me luck, and departed.
    I heard one more shot, and that was it. She was probably reloading. The sound came from behind a double door at the end of the hallway. I carefully opened it, and she didn’t notice at first.
    I watched her concentrating on the pistol, her tongue firmly between her teeth as she carefully focused on reloading. It was an old Smith & Wesson single-action, and she was damn lucky she hadn’t blown her own foot off. She was shooting at a mattress propped against the far wall, and from the wide scattering of holes, it was clear her marksmanship needed a lot of practice.
    “A little more patience, Miss Alice. You’re jerking the trigger; that’s why you keep shooting wild. And that gun’s too big for you.”
    It was a pleasure to see the look of shock and joy on her face. She just dropped the gun onto a box and practically skipped to me, giving me a girlish hug. “Mr. St. Clair, I have missed you.” She looked up. “And I know you have missed me. They say you’re back on duty with me. We’re heading to New York tomorrow, and we’ll have breakfast together like we used to and walk to the East Side through Central Park and visit your sister Mariah.”
    I couldn’t do anything but laugh. “We’ll do all that, Miss Alice. But I’m on probation from your aunt, so we have to behave ourselves. You have to behave yourself.”
    “I always behave.” She waved her hand to show that the discussion had ended. “Now there must be a trick to loading revolvers because it takes me forever.”
    “I’ll teach you. Someday.” I made sure the revolver was unloaded and stuck it in my belt. Then I scooped up the cartridges and dumped them in my pocket.
    “Hey, that’s my revolver,” said Alice. “It took me a lot of work to get it.”
    “You’re not bringing it to New York, that’s for sure, Miss Alice.”
    She pouted. “I thought you’d relax a little after being in St. Louis.”
    “And I thought you’d grow up a little being in Washington. You want to walk into the Caledonia like a Wild West showgirl? Anyway, don’t you have some parties to go to up there?”
    “Oh, very well. But promise me you’ll take me to a proper shooting range in New York and teach me how to load and fire your New Service revolver.”
    “We’ll see. Meanwhile, if you don’t upset your family or Mr. Wilkie between now and our departure tomorrow, I’ll buy you a beer on the train.” That made her happy.
    We walked upstairs as she filled me in on White House gossip.
    “Oh, and I heard you were in a fast draw in St. Louis and gunned down four men.” She looked up at me curiously.
    “A little exaggeration,” I said. I hadn’t killed anyone in St. Louis, hadn’t even fired my revolver, except for target practice.
    “You didn’t kill anyone?” she asked, a little disappointed.
    “No. No one.”
    But then her face lit up. “Because your reputation proceeded you, and they knew there was no chance of outdrawing you.”
    “That must be it,” I said.
    “But look on the bright side,” she said, still full of cheer. “New York is a much bigger city. Maybe you’ll get a chance to shoot someone there.”
    ***
    Excerpt from The Body in the Ballroom by R.J. Koreto. Copyright © 2018 by R.J. Koreto. Reproduced with permission from R.J. Koreto. All rights reserved.

    Author Bio:

    R.J. Koreto
    R.J. Koreto has been fascinated by turn-of-the-century New York ever since listening to his grandfather's stories as a boy.
    In his day job, he works as a business and financial journalist. Over the years, he’s been a magazine writer and editor, website manager, PR consultant, book author, and seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine. He’s a graduate of Vassar College, and like Alice Roosevelt, he was born and raised in New York.
    He is the author of the Lady Frances Ffolkes and Alice Roosevelt mysteries. He has been published in both Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. He also published a book on practice management for financial professionals.
    With his wife and daughters, he divides his time between Rockland County, N.Y., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

    Catch Up With R.J. Koreto On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


    My Take:  This book was very enjoyable.  I haven't read the first book in this series but I will be going back and getting the book to read.  This book had a great character in Alice Roosevelt.  She is a bit of a problem for her father as she is does what she pleases and doesn't think about it.  St. Clair is given the task of being her body guard and is given the task of cleaning up after her.  In this book one of the guests at a high society party dies after being poisoned after drinking some punch.  Alice tells the host of the party that St. Clair will help.  Alice and St. Clair have a playful banter between each other and leads a sense of playfulness to the mystery.  If you like cozy mysteries you will probably like this series. 

    I received a review copy from Partners in Crime tours and the opinions are my own. 
     

    Tour Participants:

    Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!  

    ENTER TO WIN:

    This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for R.J. Koreto. There will be 3 winners of three (3) Amazon.com Gift Cards. The giveaway begins on July 1, 2018 and runs through August 1, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.
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    Thursday, July 26, 2018

    The Lost Mata Hari Ring by Elyse Douglas

    Lost Mata Hari Ring: Time Travel Novel by Elyse Douglas

    Up-and-coming actress, Trace Rutland, has had nightmares about a tragic past ever since she was a little girl. She struggles with her everyday life, finally seeking help from a hypnotherapist. 

    While under hypnosis, she inadvertently experiences a past life in Paris, in 1916, during the First World War. ​ 

    Later, while visiting a wealthy man's private Mata Hari collection, Trace is drawn to a glittering ring, once worn by the convicted spy. Trace is enthralled. When she's alone, she slips the ring on and is swiftly hurled into the past. There, she must face herself as she was in the past, while struggling to change the course of her destiny. 

    When she meets the handsome Edward Kenyon Bishop, a World War I British flying ace, she falls in love. She is soon swept away into a journey of suspicion and treachery, and must fight for her life. 

    Can she survive the past? Can she return to the present? Can true love endure for all time?

    My take: This is a time travel story where Trace travels back in time and discovers more about her past life.  This book has it all mystery, romance , history.  I really enjoyed it as I didn't really know that much about Mata Hari.  I like historical fiction and this book was filled with history.  I am not a believer in past lives but I found myself being drawn into the story and holding my breath to see what would happen next.  A very well done story.  I would recommend it if you like historical fiction.  

    I received a review copy of this book from Virtual Author Book Tours and the opinions are my own.  

    Monsterland Reanimated by Michael Okon

    Monsterland Reanimated

    After Monsterland has been destroyed, the entire world is thrown into chaos. Wyatt Baldwin and his friends must go beyond the boundaries of their small town to reestablish contact with the outside world. During their journey they discover a new threat released from the bowels of the defunct theme park. The danger of werewolves, vampires and zombies pale in comparison to an army of relentless mummies, Vincent Conrad’s reanimated monster and the menace of a life-sucking ooze they call The Glob.  Wil Wyatt and his friends survive when they reenter the scariest place on earth?

    My take:  The world is in chaos after the events that happened in the first books of this series.  This is the second book in that series and it is non stop action from start to finish.  There are love stories and just like most teenage love stories once you have what you thought you wanted things change.  There are some unlikely pairings and some unlikely things that happen but like all monster movies you have to suspend your beliefs a bit. after all the monsters are what we are all here for after all.  There are some of the old monsters from the last book but there are some all new monsters in this book.  When things don't return to semi normal after Monsterland is destroyed Wyatt and his friends set out to find out what is going on.  Along the way the whole group encounter the new monsters and have to find out how to defeat them and the mastermind behind them.  
    I really enjoyed this book and I practically flew through it to find out what was going to be thrown at this group and how they were going to  conquer these monsters.

    I received a review copy of this book from Pump Up Your Book and was not required to write a positive review.