May 21, 2018

The Face on the Other Side by John Carenen - Spotlight and Giveaway

 

Book details
Mystery 3rd in Series 
FPS (February 10, 2018) 
Paperback: 340 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1945338946
  

Book description
He’d promised Sheriff Payne that he wouldn’t take any more matters into his own hands. So, when on a leisurely morning drive, SEAL-trained Thomas O’Shea sees two girls attacking a boy on a sidewalk, he opts not to intervene. When the boy is later murdered in the local hospital, though, all promises are off. What seems at the start to be a simple case of gang activity turns out to be far more. Even O’Shea, who has seen more than his share of evil, could not have guessed what is about to transpire…

Meet the author - John Carenen
John Carenen, a native of Clinton, Iowa, graduated with an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from the prestigious University of Iowa Writers Workshop and has been writing ever since. His work has appeared numerous times in Reader’s Digest (including a First Person Award), McCall’s, Dynamic Years, and other periodicals. He has been a featured columnist in newspapers in Morganton, North Carolina and Clinton, South Carolina. His fiction has appeared in regional literary magazines. A novel, Son-up, Son-down, was published by the National Institute of Mental Health. He is happily married to (long-suffering) Elisabeth, and they have two grown daughters, Caitlin and Rowe. When he isn’t writing, he thinks about getting in shape, cheers for the Iowa Hawkeyes and Boston Red Sox, and takes frequent naps. He has traveled extensively, having visited 43 states and 23 countries. He is a USAF veteran, having served in the Philippines and Massachusetts. A retired an English professor at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina, he is hard at work on another novel.

Author Links
johncarenenwrites.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/CarenenJohn/
@JohnCarenen

Purchase Links Amazon 

Giveaway


TOUR PARTICIPANTS 
May 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
May 9 – Babs Book Bistro – GUEST POST 
May 10 – Fantastic Feathers - REVIEW 
May 11 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW 
May 11 – Valerie's Musings - CHARACTER GUEST POST 
May 12 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT 
May 13 – A Blue Million Books - CHARACTER INTERVIEW 
May 14 – Blogger Nicole Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
May 15 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
May 16 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT 
May 17 – Cassidy's Bookshelves – GUEST POST
May 17 – Maureen's Musings – REVIEW 
May 18 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW 
May 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT 
May 20 – StoreyBook Reviews - CHARACTER GUEST POST 
May 21 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT 

Secrets of a Wallflower by Amanda McCababe - Review

I received this book free from the author. All opinions are my own. 

Book details
Series: Debutantes in Paris (Book 1)
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Mills & Boon; ePub edition edition (May 31, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0263932907
ISBN-13: 978-0263932904

Book description
A secret shared... But can she trust him? In this Debutantes in Paris story, Diana Martin is thrilled to be a writer covering the Parisian Exposition. Her new role must be kept quiet-her parents would never allow it! When enigmatic Sir William Blakely discovers her ruse, he knows it could lead her into danger. With the sparks igniting between them, William realizes the only way to protect Diana is by staying as close to her as possible!

Meet the author - Amanda McCabe
Amanda wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen--a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject...)

She's never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers' Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in Oklahoma with a menagerie of two cats, a Pug, and a very bossy miniature Poodle, along with far too many books.

When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network--even though she doesn't cook.

My thoughts
When I saw this book I thought it would be the perfect book for me to read and review. I love all things Paris. The author did not disappoint as she allowed me to travel back in time to a city I would love to visit. Her details in the descriptions helped me to feel like I was there alone with Diane. I loved that there was a mystery and adventure along with the romance between the two main characters. This was a quick read for me that left me feeling fulfilled. I enjoyed every minute of the book. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. 

May 16, 2018

The Road to Freedom by Shawn Pollock - Spotlight


Book details
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Bonneville Books (December 12, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1462121314
ISBN-13: 978-1462121311

Book description
World War II is ending, but for Captain Meier, the fight for his life has only begun. Stranded behind enemy lines and tormented by his past, his only ally is a young private who practices a strange American religion. As they travel through treacherous Germany, the two quickly realize they will have to trust in a merciful God to have any chance of escaping a deadly fate.

From the back cover
"""We could go to Elbe River."" Kohler didn't have to say the rest. After a baleful stare, the captain did it for him. ""You want to surrender to the Americans."" Kohler gulped. In 1945, World War II is ending but not in favor of Germany. Hans Kohler is a young Mormon German who knows more about farming than being a soldier. A worn copy of the Book of Mormon is the only thing that brings him comfort. Captain Christoph Meier seems to be the perfect German soldier. His pristine Aryan features and strong family ties to the Nazi Party should have placed him at a far better post than this unit. Instead, he's leading broken veterans and inexperienced greenies. When the Russians attack their unit, it leaves Meier and Kohler trapped behind enemy lines. To get past snipers, the Nazi SS, and the Russian Army, they need to use all of their skills, including believing that God wants them to survive."

Meet the author - Shawn Pollock
Shawn Pollock grew up in Cache Valley, Utah, served a mission in Japan, and graduated from Utah State University with degrees in Professional Writing and Instructional Technology. He works as an instructional designer in the software industry. His short story, "Hats," won first place in The New Era magazine's fiction contest. Any time not devoted to work and family goes to cooking, reading about history, and participating in the League of Utah Writers. The Road to Freedom is his first novel.

May 15, 2018

Picked Off by Linda Lovely - Review and Giveaway

 

Book details
Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series 
Setting - South Carolina 
Henery Press (June 5, 2018) 
Hardcover - 270 Pages 
ISBN: 9781635113457 
Trade Paperback ISBN: 9781635113426 
Digital ASIN: B07B9K3FJ9
  

Book description
It’s been seven months since Brie Hooker, a vegan, moved to Udderly Kidding Dairy to live with her feisty Aunt Eva, a confirmed carnivore.

But tonight there’ll be no family feud over dinner entrees.

Udderly’s hosting a campaign fundraiser for Eva’s best friend, who hopes to be South Carolina’s next governor. The candidate’s son, a pro quarterback, is flying home for the wingding. And Brie’s eager to get a close-up view of the cute tush she’s admired on TV, even though she’s reluctantly sworn off even more tempting local beefcake.

The campaign fundraiser promises to be a huge success until a pitchfork attack turns the goat farm into a crime scene—again.

To protect her friends, Brie puts her sleuthing skills to work. Will she live long enough to find out who’s behind a vicious assault, a kidnapping, blackmail, and murder?

Meet the author - Linda Lovely
Linda Lovely finds writing pure fiction isn’t a huge stretch given the years she’s spent penning PR and ad copy. Linda writes a blend of mystery and humor, chuckling as she plots to “disappear” the types of characters who most annoy her. Quite satisfying, plus there’s no need to pester relatives for bail. Her newest series offers goodnatured salutes to both her vegan family doctor and her cheese-addicted kin. She’s an enthusiastic Sisters in Crime member and helps organize the popular Writers’ Police Academy. When not writing or reading, Linda takes long walks with her husband, swims, gardens, and plays tennis.

Author Links Website: www.lindalovely.com 

Purchase Links Amazon B&N 

My thoughts
This was a fun quick read for me. Also this is the second book in the series and eve though I did not read the first one I did not feel lost at all. It may be read as a stand alone. I fell in love with the goat farm, it would be such a fun place to visit. This story was full of fun, revenge, murder and a little betrayal. The author did a good job of keeping you guessing until the end. Her writing style was very flowing so that once you sit down and start reading and before you know it the day is gone. All in all a good book to me. 

Giveaway


TOUR PARTICIPANTS 
May 15 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT 
May 15 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW 
May 16 – Laura's Interests - REVIEW 
May 16 – Jane Reads – GUEST POST 
May 17 – The Power of Words – REVIEW 
May 17 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW 
May 18 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
May 18 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST 
May 19 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW 
May 20 – T's Stuff – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
May 21 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST 
May 21 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW 
May 22 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
May 23 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW, GUEST POST 
May 24 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW 
May 25 – Island Confidential – CHARACTER INTERVIEW 
May 26 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST 
May 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST 
May 28 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

The Wedding Quilt Bride by Marta Perry - Review and Giveaway


Book details
Series: Brides of Lost Creek
Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired (April 17, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1335509461
ISBN-13: 978-1335509468

Book details
The single mom’s second chance… To become one of the Brides of Lost Creek!

Widow Rebecca Mast returns to her Amish community with her son and a dream—to own a quilt shop. Carpenter Daniel King is determined to help Rebecca and revive their childhood friendship. But as he bonds with her son, Rebecca’s afraid the secret she’s been keeping will be revealed. Can Daniel convince Rebecca he’s a man she can trust—and love?

Meet the author - Marta Perry
Marta Perry realized she wanted to be a writer at age eight, when she read her first Nancy Drew novel. A lifetime spent in rural Pennsylvania and her own Pennsylvania Dutch roots led Marta to the books she writes now about the Amish. When she’s not writing, Marta is active in the life of her church and enjoys traveling and spending time with her three children and six beautiful grandchildren. Visit her online at www.martaperry.com

My thoughts
I am a fan of Marta Perry's so every time I get the chance to read a book by her I am excited. This book did not disappoint. I enjoyed following along on on Rebecca's journey of getting a new home and quilt shop all in one shot. In fact I was drawn from the first page as this was a real engaging story. It was nice to hear the story from both Rebecca's and Daniel's points of view. I honestly can't say anything bad about this book because it was just that good to me. 

Giveaway
The prize is a $100 Visa gift card

May 7, 2018

One Feta in the Grave by Tina Kashian - Cover Reveal

ONE FETA IN THE GRAVE

The 3rd Book in the Kebab Kitchen Mystery Series

As summer comes to an end in her Jersey Shore town, Lucy Berberian continues to manage her family’s Mediterranean restaurant. The Kebab Kitchen also has a food tent at this year’s beach festival. But now a local businessman is under the boardwalk—dead by the sea . . .
With a sand castle contest and live music, Ocean Crest bids a bittersweet farewell to tourist season. Summer will return next year . . . but Archie Kincaid won’t. The full-of-himself store owner has been fatally shot, soon after a screaming match with Lucy’s best friend. Katie’s far from the only suspect, though, since Archie had some bitter rivals—as well as some relationships no one knew about. It’s up to Lucy to look into some seedy characters and solve the case before the wrong person gets skewered . . .
Recipes included!
     

Ready . . .

                                   

Set . . .

                             

Reveal . . .


    

Coming in March 2019 from Kensington Books!

Sign Up For Tina Kashian's Newsletter HERE to be alerted when One Feta in the Grave is available to pre-order!

 

Book 1 - Hummus and Homicide is Available Now

Book 2 - Stabbed in the Baklava will be released August 28, 2018

Pre-Order Here

Meet the Author - Tina Kashian

Tina Kashian is an attorney and a former mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. Tina spent her childhood summers at the Jersey shore building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and riding the boardwalk Ferris wheel. She also grew up in the restaurant business, as her Armenian parents owned a restaurant for thirty years. Tina still lives in New Jersey with her supportive husband and two young daughters. Please visit her website at www.tinakashian.com to join her newsletter, receive delicious recipes, enter contests, and more!
You can also connect with Tina at Website Facebook Twitter Instagram Goodreads

May 6, 2018

Together Forever by Jody Hedlund - Review

I received this book free from the publisher. All opinions are my own

Book details
Series: Orphan Train (Book 2)
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (May 1, 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0764218050
ISBN-13: 978-0764218057

Book description
Marianne Neumann has one goal in life: to find her lost younger sister, Sophie. When Marianne takes a job as a placing agent with the Children's Aid Society in 1858 New York, she not only hopes to give children a better life but seeks to discover whether Sophie ended up leaving the city on an orphan train.

Andrew Brady, her fellow agent on her first placing trip, is a former schoolteacher who has an easy way with the children--firm but tender and funny. Underneath his handsome charm, though, seems to linger a grief that won't go away--and a secret from his past that he keeps hidden. As the two team up placing orphans amid small railroad towns in Illinois, they find themselves growing ever closer . . . until a shocking tragedy threatens to upend all their work and change one of their lives forever.

Meet the author - Jody Hedlund
Winner of 2016 Christian Book Award for fiction and Christy Award for historical romance, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Interview with Jody Hedlund
1. What is the inspiration behind your orphan train series?
I have long been fascinated by the era of the Orphan Trains and the heart-wrenching stories of the homeless and helpless young orphans that were taken from the streets of New York City and other eastern cities and shipped west by the dozens. I was familiar with stories of those scared orphans who were placed out in what was thought to be a more wholesome, healthy environment of the newly settled Mid-Western states. Some of the orphans found happy endings and were adopted into loving families. Others experienced great abuse and heartache in their new homes.

While stories of the orphans who rode the trains have been told—and rightly so—the stories of the women who were involved in the movement are not as well known. One of the things I particularly like to do when telling my stories, is focus on women who have been overlooked by the pages of history. I consider it a great privilege to be able to bring forgotten women to life for our modern generation. Thus, throughout this series, I’ll be focusing each book on a different aspect of the Orphan Train movement, particularly from the perspective of women who experienced riding the trains in one form or another.

2. What special research did you do in writing Together Forever?
In researching the roles of CAS placing agents, I came across one of the most well known placing agents, Clara B. Comstock, who traveled west with children from 1911 to 1928. During her years as a placing agent, she made seventy-four trips and wrote about her experiences.

I drew from her notes about what it was like before the trip, the clothes the orphans were given, to the detailed lists of supplies and food she packed. She also spoke of what it was like during the journey west along with what happened once they arrived at their destinations, including an incident where she was quarantined with a young five year old boy who contracted diphtheria.

At the end of her life, Clara Comstock said this about her experiences: “The work was a great adventure in Faith. We were always helped and grew to expect kindness, deep interest and assistance everywhere. A sense of responsibility was keenly felt by all the workers. My life has been greatly enriched by the varied experiences found in everything the Children’s Aid Society and the contacts made. It is an honor to have followed from afar, the founder of this work.”

3. Usually readers are more sympathetic to the orphans and less forgiving of the charity organizations who placed the orphans in the west. How do you elicit reader empathy for the placing agents? In Together Forever, I hoped to portray the struggles that placing agents felt right along with the struggles of the orphans. I have no doubt what the orphans experienced was far more emotional and painful; nevertheless, the job of the placing agent was not an easy one. It consisted of weeks of demanding traveling, difficulty in placing children, as well as the logistical challenges in revisiting each child before returning to New York City.

The agents not only faced the ups and downs of handling such a wide variety of children, but they also faced the challenges of the job itself. Since nothing had ever before been done like the placing out, the agents basically had to learn on the job and make up the rules as they went.

In the early years, record-keeping was inconsistent, placements irregular, and the screening process non-existent. While many of the agents meant well and truly cared about providing better lives for the children in their care, the lack of consistent practices provided further hardships to many orphans. Overall, I hope readers are able to gain a better appreciation for the well-meaning efforts, even if things didn’t always turn out the way everyone wanted. 

4. Do you have any writing quirks?
I don't have too many quirks, other than needing a cup of coffee on hand while I'm writing (especially in the morning!).

One of the things I like to do to help me keep on track with my writing is give myself half hour word count challenges–a specific goal of how many words I can get written in a thirty minute time span. Doing these mini-challenges keeps me from getting too distracted by other things while I'm in a writing mode. 

5. What advice do you have for anyone interested in writing and pursuing publication?
Write a couple of books first and unleash your creativity. Then start reading books that explain how to write. Study techniques, practice them, and keep writing. When you begin reaching a level in your writing where you think you’re ready for publication, get a critique partner or two to read your work and give you feedback, vamp up your online presence, and immerse yourself in the writing industry by learning all you can about traditional and self-publication. Don’t rush into either! Make sure your writing craft and story-telling skills are ready first.
 
My thoughts
I enjoyed this book even better than the first one. The author does a good job of really making the emotions of the story come across in her writing. She did a great job with her research and really bringing out the details of the Orphan Train. Your heart just breaks for the kids. I liked that there were two people who really had a passion for helping the kids find good homes and in the mean time may even grow closer together themselves. Marianne had hopes of finding her lost sister and we got to go on her emotional journey of searching for her. Even though that was her original purpose for joining up with the Children's Aid Society she was a good asset and caring for the kids. The author kept me reading as I also wanted to find out what Andrew's secret from his past that he was keeping hidden. I thought the characters were very well developed and likable. I will be looking forward to the next book in this series.