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. 


May 4, 2018

A Slave of the Shadows by Naomi Finley - Review and Giveaway


Book details
A Slave of the Shadows by Naomi Finley
Publication Date: March 5, 2018
Huntson Press Inc.
eBook & Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book description
In 1850 Charleston, South Carolina, brutality and cruelty simmer just under the genteel surface of Southern society. In an era where ladies are considered mere property, beautiful and headstrong Willow Hendricks’ father has filled her life with turmoil, secrets, and lies. Her father rules her life until she finds a kindred spirit in spunky, outspoken Whitney Barry, a northerner from Boston. Together these Charleston belles are driven to take control of their own lives—and they are plunged into fear and chaos in their quest to fight for the rights of slaves. Against all odds, these feisty women fight to secure freedom and equality for those made powerless and persecuted by a supposedly superior race. Only when they’ve lost it all do they find a new beginning. Book 1 presents Willow and Whitney—and the reader—with the hardships the slaves endure at the hands of their white masters. 


About the Author
Naomi lives in Northern Alberta. Her love for travel means her suitcase is always on standby while she awaits her next plane ticket and adventure. Her love for history and the Deep South is driven by the several years she spent as a child living in a Tennessee plantation house. She comes from a family of six sisters. She married her high school sweetheart and has two teenage children and two dogs named Ginger and Snaps. Creativity and passion are the focus of her life. Apart from writing fiction, her interests include interior design, cooking new recipes, throwing lavish dinner parties, movies, health, and fitness. A Slave of the Shadows is her first novel. For more information, please visit Naomi Finley's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

My thoughts
I thought this was a good historical fiction book that did very well with getting the historical details correct. It felt like the author did her research well when writing this book due to the accuracy of some things. I liked the bond that the main women characters had in this book. The author did such a good job with their development that I could almost hear there voices as they were talking. The setting was well written about and you could see the places the author was talking about in each scene. This story deals with a sensitive issue of that time period but she does a good job of helping the reader to understand each characters emotions. I felt the book moved at a good pace and was a great start to a new series. 

  

Giveaway
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a Kindle Fire HD 8" 32GB & signed copy of A Slave of the Shadows! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below. Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter. – Giveaway is open to residents in the US/UK/Canada only. – Only one entry per household. – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. A Slave of the Shadows

Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, April 23 Interview at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, April 24 Excerpt at Donna's Book Blog
Wednesday, April 25 Feature at Creating Herstory
Friday, April 27 Interview at Maiden of the Pages
Monday, April 30 Review at Books and Glamour
Tuesday, May 1 Excerpt at Teaser Addicts Book Blog
Thursday, May 3 Feature at Button Eyed Reader
Friday, May 4 Feature at A Holland Reads
Monday, May 7 Review at Pursuing Stacie
Tuesday, May 8 Feature at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, May 10 Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Friday, May 11 Feature at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Saturday, May 12 Review at Cup of Sensibility
Monday, May 14 Review at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, May 16 Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Interview at Clarissa Reads it All
Friday, May 18 Review at Nicole Evelina's Blog
Tuesday, May 22 Review at Reviewing Nerds


Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt - Review and Giveaway

I received this book free from the publisher


Book details:
Suspense/Thriller
2nd in Series
Release Date – August 1, 2017
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425281789
Kindle ASIN: B01MXHV6CL

Book description:
The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree…

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage…

Meet the author - Gerry Schmitt:
Gerry Schmitt is the author of the Afton Tangler Thrillers, and, writing under the pseudonym Laura Childs, the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-five novels, the Tea ShopScrapbooking, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. She is the former CEO of her own marketing firm, has won TV and radio awards, and produced two reality TV shows. She and her professor husband enjoy collecting art, travel, and their two Shar-Pei dogs.

Author Links –

Webpage – Facebook

Purchase Links
Amazon B&N BAM

My thoughts:
This is the first book I have read in this series but I will be going back to read the first one. I am a fan of Gerry's books she writes as Laura Childs so I was looking forward to trying out this series. Although this is more main stream mystery to me than cozy I still enjoyed reading it and liked the author's writing style. The story is fast past and read quickly for me. Afton was a likable character for me. She seemed in tune with some of the other characters. She is good at her job. I always like that this author likes to include an animal or two in her books. Bonaparte was a good addition. I liked trying to figure things out with the clues given to me. I am just not good at figuring things out so the ending was fun for me to finally put it all together. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.
BOOK BLAST PARTICIPANTS

May 1 
Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
Rosepoint Publishing – SPOTLIGHT
Varietats - SPOTLIGHT 

May 2 
Readsalot – SPOTLIGHT 
Community Bookstop – REVIEW 
Valerie's Musings – REVIEW REPOST 
FUONLYKNEW - SPOTLIGHT

May 3 
Cozy Up With Kathy – SPOTLIGHT 
Laura's Interests – SPOTLIGHT 
Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW REPOST 
Brooke Blogs - SPOTLIGHT

May 4 
The Montana Bookaholic – SPOTLIGHT 
The Book Diva's Reads – SPOTLIGHT
A Holland Reads – REVIEW REPOST
StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
Reading Authors – SPOTLIGHT (Review at later date)