Thursday, September 21, 2017

G922 Alycat and the Monday Blues by Alysson Foti Bourque, Illustrations by Chiara Civati

Title of the book: Alycat and the Monday Blues

Author: Alysson Foti Bourque, Illustrations by Chiara Civati

Publisher: Mascot Books

Publishing Date: 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68401-245-9


Alycat wakes up on Monday with the dreaded Monday Bluescertain that nothing will go right. But when a mishap sends her astray, she discovers that helping a friend will help her discover her own hidden talent and cure her Monday Blues!

Author Info:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Mascot Books
Book Depository ~ Powells Books
Add to Goodreads
Meet the Author:

Alysson Foti Bourque is the author of the Rhyme or ReasonTravel series, and the multi-award winning Alycat series. Alysson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a law degree from Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge. She believes that there is an Alycat in all of us, encouraging our imaginations to guide us through new opportunities and adventures. ​

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook
Personal Opinion:

To be honest, I kind of hoped that the book would be another story for a certain 17 month old boy who enjoys turning into a tornado, but its written more towards grownup children rather than little tornado boys, which might explain my disappointment. (There is a picture my tornado boy likes to look at though :) ) I do love the illustrations in the book and the colors that went into them. The story is good for my mommy eyes, but my son is not ready to chime in with his opinion.

This is for iRead Book Tours

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, September 18, 2017

G904 Book Review of the luster of lost things by Sophie Chen Keller

Name of Book: The Luster of Lost Things

Author: Sophie Chen Keller

ISBN: 978-0-7352-1078-3

Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons

Type of book: Bakery, good deeds, connections, New York, journey of one day, subway, denizens of underworld, speech impediment, dogs, Golden retrievers, relationships, kindness, small deeds, friendships

Year it was published: 2017


In this story for readers of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and A Man Called Ove, when all seems lost, he finds what matters most.

Walter Lavender Jr. is a master of finding. A wearer of high-tops. A maker of croissants. A son keeping vigil, twelve years counting.

But he wouldn’t be able to tell you. Silenced by his motor speech disorder, Walter’s life gets lonely. Fortunately, he has The Lavenders—his mother’s enchanted dessert shop, where marzipan dragons breathe actual fire. He also has a knack for tracking down any missing thing—except for his lost father.

So when the Book at the root of the bakery’s magic vanishes, Walter, accompanied by his overweight golden retriever, journeys through New York City to find it—along the way encountering an unforgettable cast of lost souls.

Steeped in nostalgic wonder, The Luster of Lost Things explores the depths of our capacity for kindness and our ability to heal. A lyrical meditation on why we become lost and how we are found, from the bright, broken heart of a boy who knows where to look for everyone but himself.


Walter is an intelligent young boy who is suffering from a speech impediment and who is thoughtful, observant and extremely determined.Walter is also joined by Milton, an overweight golden retriever who is Walter's loyal companion and seems to know more than he lets on. Other companions join in such as Ruby, a girl about Walter's age who is also helpful, sweet although a bit domineering and often comes in second especially when compared to her special needs sister Debbie. There is also Junker, a man who creates things out of junk, Karl is a man who misses his wife, Nico has lost his motivation, and Lan is an immigrant struggling with English.


We are more connected than divided


The story is told in first person narrative from Walter Lavender Jr.'s point of view. On the surface the story is simple; that of a boy searching for a magical book to help his mother's beloved bakery, but underneath an untold layer of complexity exists of finding one's voice as well as doing good deeds for others and loving yourself for whom you are. For me the story has elements of Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford which also has character searching for answers, but then the story also has elements of my favorite foodie novels by Erica Bauermeister in that it shows human connections through book pages and how we are far more united rather than divided, an important message to remember in this day and age.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Sophie Chen Keller was born in Beijing, China, and was raised in Ohio and California. Her fiction has won several awards and has appeared in publications such as Glimmer Train (where her first short story was published when she was fifteen) and Pedestal. After graduating from Harvard, she worked in the fashion industry and in brand consulting before leaving to pursue her dream of writing. She currently resides in New York with her husband and a not-so-secret cabinet of sweets.


I am happy to report that my expectations for the novel were met and in some cases even exceeded what I expected. From the summary I expected for the story to have similarities to Monday Night Cooking School/ The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister, which it does in that it shows connections Walter has to people he meets, and it also shows how simple and small things can mean a whole lot for a person, much more than grand gestures. What I didn't expect is to compare the book to Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford in that both novels share a young man's journey with different messages at the end. For a warm and sweet novel to help restore one's faith in humanity, this is the right one to turn to.

This was given to me for consideration and honest review

5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

G901 Book Review of Raven's feast by Eric Schumacher

Name of Book: Raven's Feast

Author: Eric Schumacher

ISBN: 9781545516843

Publisher: Creativia

Type of book: Vikings, Danes, powers, Hakon, 935-936, North, Uplands, Norway, Swedes, christianity, priests, Eric the Bloodaxe, battles, brotherhood, two sides to the story

Year it was published: 2017


It is 935 A.D. and Hakon Haraldsson has just wrested the High Seat of the North from his ruthless brother, Erik Bloodaxe. Now, he must fight to keep it.

The land-hungry Danes are pressing from the south to test Hakon before he can solidify his rule. In the east, the Uplanders are making their own plans to seize the throne. It does not help that Hakon is committed to his dream of Christianizing his people - a dream his countrymen do not share and will fight to resist.

As his enemies move in and his realm begins to crumble, Hakon and his band of oath-sworn warriors must make a stand in Raven’s Feast, the riveting sequel to God’s Hammer.


Main character includes Hakon who has recently destroyed his brother Eric the Bloodaxe and is now seeking men to help him consolidate power as the rightful king. Hakon is best described as an extremely controversial king because first of all he happens to be a christian in a land before christianity took over, and he refuses to compromise his beliefs which leads to a lot of troubles for him. He also happens to be charismatic as well as impulsive and he is young. Hakon also some advisers and helpers in helping him such as Sigurd who has a wife and a daughter and is seen as a big influence on other nobles. The antagonists included Thorgill who has a personal vendetta against Hakon and is willing to do whatever he can to pursue it as well as Ragnvald who seems to care more for his own skin than for honor.


Its difficult to introduce new beliefs to old beliefs


The story is in third person narrative from Hakon's point of view. I didn't read the previous novel to be honest, and yes, it seems that the story requires the first book because the story seemed to continue from when it was left off and the reader will only pick up bits and pieces about what happened to Hakon previously. The strength of the novel also lies in the vivid descriptions of the world Hakon has inhabited as well as vikings' beliefs which are gruesome.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author

Eric Schumacher was born in Los Angeles in 1968 and currently resides in Santa Barbara, CA with his wife, two children and dog. He is the author of two historical fiction novels, God’s Hammer and its sequel, Raven’s Feast. Both tell the story of the first Christian king of Viking Norway, Hakon Haraldsson, and his struggles to gain and hold the High Seat of his realm.
More information on Eric and his Hakon Sagas can be found on his website. You can also connect with Eric on TwitterFacebookGoodreads, and AuthorsDB.


If the reader is looking for a fast paced action novel that takes place in 900s about Vikings and their beliefs prior to christianity taking over, then its a good story to get lost in and to enjoy. The story is of brotherhood, battles, and of survival in a distant and cold land where everyone is out for themselves, or so it seems. A few things did disappoint me in the story; one is the treatment of a female character that the author describes as pockmarked and someone without manners. ( I honestly felt kind of bad for her.) and another is that the story seemed to lack character growth or so. For example, in my eyes, Hakon seemed to have stayed the same in the novel and didn't seem to grow as a person.

This is for HFVBT

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Friday, September 15, 2017

G908 overwhelmed writer to the rescue; Boost Productivity, Improve Time Management, and Replenish the Creator Within

Title of the book:  overwhelmed writer to the rescue; Boost Productivity, Improve Time Management, and Replenish the Creator Within

Author: Colleen M. Story

Publisher: MidChannel Press

Publishing Date: 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9990991-0-0


Find the time, energy, and confidence you need to make your creative dreams come true!

Do you feel like you're always behind? Do less important tasks frequently flood your schedule and sink your creative motivation? Are you frustrated and out of touch with your inner artist?

After 20 years experience in the writing industry, author Colleen M. Story extends a lifeline to pull you out of the sinking swamp of "busyness" and back into the flourishing creative life you deserve.

Today's demands on writers and other creative artists are overwhelming. Not only must you produce the work you love, but build and maintain a platform and market your finished products to the world--all while holding down a day job and/or caring for a family.

You teeter on the edge. What waits on the other side are burnout, exhaustion, and a complete loss of creative motivation.

Overwhelmed Writer Rescue provides practical, personalized solutions to help beginning and experienced writers and other creative artists escape the tyranny of the to-do list to nurture the genius within. You'll find ways to boost productivity, improve time management, and restore your sanity while gaining insight into your unique creative nature and what it needs to thrive.

Ultimately, you'll discover what may be holding you back from experiencing the true joy that a creative life can bring.

In this motivational and inspiring book, you'll learn:

–Why you feel so rushed and how you can regain control of your time.
–Your unique "time personality" and how to use it to get more writing done.
–Practical steps to overcome distractions and focus faster.
–The 7 "productivity saboteurs" that plague creative artists and how to outsmart them.
–Your personal motivation style and how to use it to increase productivity.
–How to tap into your unconscious mind to find "writer solutions" when you need them.
–Why affirmations don't work and how to instill true belief in yourself.
–Why it's critical to your overall health and well being to nurture the creator within.

There's no reason to feel overwhelmed one moment longer. No matter how crazy your life is, you can find more time for your creative work, and start feeling more like yourself again.

Author Info:
Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads 

About the Author:

Colleen M. Story has worked in the creative writing industry for over twenty years. Her novels include "Loreena’s Gift," an Idaho Author Awards first place winner, New Apple Solo Medalist winner, Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner, Reader Views award finalist, and Best Book Awards finalist; and "Rise of the Sidenah," a North American Book Awards winner and New Apple Book Awards Official Selection.

As a health writer, she’s authored thousands of articles for publications like "Healthline" and "Women’s Health;" worked with high-profile clients like Gerber Baby Products and Kellogg’s; and ghostwritten books on back pain, nutrition, and cancer recovery. She finds most rewarding her work as a motivational speaker and workshop leader, where she helps writers remove mental and emotional blocks and tap into their unique creative powers.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness (, a motivational site helping writers and other creative artists maintain their physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being throughout their careers. Sign up for your free weekly email containing tips for living your best creative life at: www.writingandwellness/newsletter.

To find more information on Colleen and her work, please see her website or follow her on Twitter. She loves to hear from readers—feel free to use the “contact” form on either her website or Writing and Wellness to get in touch with her.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter  

Personal Opinion:

For a book that's only 200 pages, the claims sound outrageous,  and perhaps I think I was expecting it to be a run-of-the-mill self help book. Instead I got a wonderful read on my hands that lives up to the promises and refuses to accept excuses about why and how people are not following their creative calling. The author uses scientific studies along with personal experiences to create a fascinating cocktail blend of a self help book that gets you thinking on the why and how and that should help you do the purported claims. There is also exploration from different angles about what might possibly be sabotaging the reader's creativity, and like the author claims, the book is not designed merely for writers but can be used by any creative person, so don't let the title fool you in other words.

This is for iRead Book Tours

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

G706 The Fever of 1721; The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics

Title of the book: The Fever of 1721; The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics

Author:Stephen Coss

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publishing Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-8308-6


More than fifty years before the American Revolution, Boston was in revolt against the tyrannies of the Crown, Puritan Authority, and Superstition. This is the story of a fateful year that prefigured the events of 1776.

In The Fever of 1721, Stephen Coss brings to life an amazing cast of characters in a year that changed the course of medical history, American journalism, and colonial revolution, including Cotton Mather, the great Puritan preacher, son of the president of Harvard College; Zabdiel Boylston, a doctor whose name is on one of Boston's grand avenues; James and his younger brother Benjamin Franklin; and Elisha Cooke and his protegee; Samuel Adams.

During the worst smallpox epidemic in Boston history Mather convinced Doctor Boylston to try a procedure that he believed would prevent death--by making an incision in the arm of a healthy person and implanting it with smallpox. Inoculation led to vaccination, one of the most profound medical discoveries in history. Public outrage forced Boylston into hiding, and Mather's house was firebombed.

A political fever also raged. Elisha Cooke was challenging the Crown for control of the colony and finally forced Royal Governor Samuel Shute to flee Massachusetts. Samuel Adams and the Patriots would build on this to resist the British in the run-up to the American Revolution. And a bold young printer James Franklin (who was on the wrong side of the controversy on inoculation), launched America's first independent newspaper and landed in jail. His teenage brother and apprentice, Benjamin Franklin, however, learned his trade in James' shop and became a father of the Independence movement.

One by one, the atmosphere in Boston in 1721 simmered and ultimately boiled over, leading to the full drama of the American Revolution.

Author Info:
(From the book)

Stephen Coss lives in Madison, Wisconsin. This is his first book

Personal Opinion:

To be honest, the book deserves more like 1.5 stars if I did ratings in half, but since I don't, I rounded it up to two stars. While well researched, what the book promised it didn't deliver and I ended up being more frustrated than educated. This is what I thought I would get from the book; a story of how newspaper, politics and smallpox connected. Most of the book focused on newspaper wars and smallpox and left the politics out. In this case the author would have been better off writing two non-fiction books rather than trying to cram everything into one book, and he should've left politics out of the story. I didn't understand what lesson, if anything, I should have learned from those stories; that there is always competition, that great men get their fame from troubled times, that smallpox is an opportunity instead of a scourge? I also am being honest in feeling disconnected from people and feel that perhaps a dash of fiction would have worked in his favor. I didn't understand the political maneuverings aside from the fact that England was always in charge. Newspaper wars and smallpox were a bit more entertaining and more well told rather than politics.

I won this from Goodreads Firstreads program

2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Book Blast for the Soldier's Return by Laura Libricz

The Soldier's Return by Laura Libricz

Publication Date: September 15, 2017
eBook & Paperback

Series: Heaven's Pond Trilogy, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction

The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies in his fond memories of the maid Katarina and her master, the humanist patrician Herr Tucher. But ten years is a long time and the farm has changed. Franconia is not only torn by war but falling victim to a church-driven witch hunt. The Jesuit priest, Ralf, has his sights set on Sichardtshof as well. Ralf believes that ridding the area of evil will be his saving grace. Can Pieter, Katarina and Herr Tucher unite to fight against a senseless war out of control?
The Soldier’s Return is the second book in the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy and will be released on September 15, 2017.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.

She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.

Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven's Pond Trilogy. The Soldier’s Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.

For more information, please visit Laura Libricz's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 4
A Book Geek
Mello & June, It's a Book Thang!

Tuesday, September 5
100 Pages a Day
The Reading Queen

Wednesday, September 6
Must Read Faster
Just One More Chapter

Thursday, September 7
The Writing Desk
The Maiden's Court
To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, September 8
Book Nerd
CelticLady's Reviews

Saturday, September 9
Passages to the Past
Books, Dreams, Life

Sunday, September 10
I Heart Reading

Monday, September 11
A Literary Vacation
Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, September 12
Jo's Book Blog
WS Momma Readers Nook

Wednesday, September 13
Laura's Interests
Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Thursday, September 14
A Holland Reads
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Friday, September 15
T's Stuff
Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

SPOTLIGHT TOUR: Journey's End: Death, Dying and the End of Life by Victoria Brewster & Julie Saeger Nierenberg

Book Details:

Book Title: Journey's End: Death, Dying and the End of Life

Authors: Victoria Brewster & Julie Saeger Nierenberg

​Category: Adult Non-Fiction; 558 pages

​Genre: Resource/Educational

Publisher: Xlibris

Release date: July 20, 2017

Tour dates: Sept 4 to 22, 2017

Content Rating: PG-13 + M

Book Description:

In Journey's End, we write about death, dying, and end of life issues. We attempt to define and describe these real-life circumstances, and we discuss ways to proactively deal with them. Multiple personal and professional perspectives provide valuable insights.

What is dying like for dying persons, for loved ones, and for those who lend support in the process? Each experience will have unique qualities. Everyone dies in his own way, on his own schedule. While we explore the dying process, we make no assumptions about how any particular death will unfold.

Grief and bereavement support, training tools, and educational resources are included.

Meet the Authors:

Victoria has a master of social work degree. She has worked as a case manager with older adults for the past seventeen years and as a group facilitator. Her past work experience was as a therapist with children and families, and as a case manager for adults with mental health issues. She just launched a consulting business, NorthernMSW to focus on end of life issues, planning, training, and advocacy, along with memoir writing and life legacy writing.

Julie was inspired equally by her professional backgrounds as a biomedical researcher and long time educator. Julie values open and lively discussions based on interview and research findings, trends in health and wellness, and exciting new modalities of treatment and professional education. She believes it will be through such discussions that we will create new and more satisfying cultural paradigms within which we may live all the days of our lives with dignity and quality of care.

Connect with the authors: Website ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends Sept 30

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

G914 Book Review of The Chesapeake Bride by Mariah Stewart

Name of Book: The Chesapeake Bride

Author: Mariah Stewart

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5435-5

Publisher: Pocket Books Romance

Part of a Series: Chesapeake Diaries

Type of book: Maryland, St Dennis residents, Cannonball island, charm, restoration of houses and the way of life, slow sweet romance, summertime, divorce, secrets, being burned, slow seduction, history, architecture, plans

Year it was published: 2017


From New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart comes a new chapter in her celebrated Chesapeake Diaries series.

Architect Cassidy Logan has sworn off good-looking adventurers. Newly divorced, she’s focused on building ecologically friendly, historically accurate homes on the Chesapeake Bay for her father’s construction company. Traveling to Cannonball Island—where there has been no new construction in nearly one hundred years—Cass is sensitive to the heritage of the island, and has come up with plans so perfect she’s determined to buy a home for herself. Even the fact that Owen Parker—a local who she dismisses as a lightweight and a player—seems to be everywhere isn’t enough to deter her from building her dream house.

Owen Parker is and always has been sinfully handsome and wickedly clever, a magnet for mischief as well as girls. He’s a rolling stone, going and doing whatever appeals to him, from flying a mail plane in Alaska, to working on a cattle ranch in Australia, a shrimp boat in Louisiana, and surfing and diving in Costa Rica. When an old friend offers him a job salvaging a sunken ship on the Chesapeake Bay, Owen gladly accepts. Something’s been telling him it was time to head home to Cannonball Island, and a job is as good an excuse as any. And he’s totally smitten by the pretty architect on the scene, but it seems he’s finally met a woman who’s immune to his charms. Sooner or later, Owen will have to face the reason why he always runs, because this time, leaving just might be harder than staying.


Main characters in the story are Cassie, Owen, Ruby and Owen's family. Cassie is a divorced and passionate young woman who wants to do right and breathe life into Cannonball Island by designing ways to sculpt out the beauty and culture out of the remains. Owen is best known as a rolling stone who is unable to settle into one place for a long time. In previous book I recall that Owen striked me as happy-go-lucky, or someone who didn't let his father get to him as much as Liz. In this book the scars from his past are revealed and with Cassie I feel that he can let himself heal. Ruby, the oldest woman and matriarch of the island also plays a pivotal role in the story in that she reveals fascinating tidbits about Cannonball Island and also helps out the couple. Owen's family, namely his sister Liz, is an artist from the previous book also plays a role in the story in encouraging Cassie and helping out with various details.


Slowness has beauty


The story is written in third person narrative from Cassie's and Owen's points of view and the author does find the good balance between character growth and slow seduction as well as revealing fascinating tidbits about the Cannonball Island and its way of life. The story itself is not an insta-love between the two, but instead its long, sweet and heartwarming. Characters from previous books do make cameo appearances although cameo appearances are not as much as in previous books, perhaps because its a new location and the author wanted to show more of Cannonball Island life.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Mariah Stewart is the award-winning New York Times annd USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels as well as several novellas and short stories. A native of Hihstown, New Jersey, she lives with her husband and two rambunctious rescue dogs amid the rolling hills of Chester County, Pennsylvania, where she savors country life and tends her gardens while she works on her next novel. Visit her website at, like her on Facebook at, and follow her on Instagram @Mariah_Stewart_Books.


How does the author do it? Eleven books in and the beauty and charm of St.Dennis aren't lost in the series. Just like in previous years with her other Chesapeake diary books, I loved reading and savoring every page of Chesapeake Bride and for those who are newcomers to the book, previous books aren't required but can be stand-alone on their own. I also am suspecting that Chesapeake diaries are slowly leaving St. Dennis and instead the focus will be on Cannonball Island where in 1812 the residents loyal to the king were driven to, and there will be a lot of focus on restoration which means more Chesapeake Diaries and more sweet romance tales from my favorite author. I loved the slowness of the romance between Cassie and Owen, loved the balance between getting to know the Chesapeake and seeing Owen slowly woo Cassie over. I also loved how the author peels away layers from Cannonball Island just enough but not too much to spoil the possible future books. I also will look forward to seeing Cannonball Island being rebuilt and discovering more about it. One minor complaint I will have is the waiting time until next year, and I do feel that an issue that's revealed towards the end of the book shouldn't have been wrapped up so quickly, but I would guess that the author didn't want to ruin the ambiance nor alienate her audience.

This was given to me by the publisher for an honest review

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Book Spotlight Sarah's Forgiveness by Beverly Scott

Sarah's Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness by Beverly Scott

Publication Date: January 31, 2017
eBook & Paperback; 306 Pages
Word Project Press

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Western

Follow the paths of Sarah and Will (or Sam) as they tell their stories of trust, secrets, and betrayal on the frontier in the old West. Their pioneer spirit helped to fuel the expansion into the Western territories of the United States. The two are historically on their separate journeys, yet they remain intimately connected. Through the fictionalized Western frontier tale of Sam and Sarah, the author, Beverly Scott, was inspired to reveal rumored secrets from her family history.

In 1878, Will is on the run after killing a man in a barroom gunfight. He escapes the Texas Rangers by joining a cattle drive as a cook headed to Dodge City. He struggles with the dilemma of saving his life or attempting to return to his pregnant wife and five children. Just when he thinks he might be able to return home, he is confronted by a bounty hunter who captures him and plans to return him to Fort Worth, Texas to be hanged.

Although Will changes his name to Sam, he remains an irresponsible, lonely and untrustworthy man on the dodge from the law who abandons the women he loves. He ultimately seeks redemption and marries Sarah.

In 1911, Sarah, a pioneer woman and widow with five children struggles to find the inner strength to overcome betrayal, loneliness, fears, and self-doubt. Her husband, Sam, thirty years her senior, died with a mysterious and defiant declaration, “I won’t answer!”. Despite poverty and a crippling illness, she draws on her pioneer spirit to hold her family together and return to Nebraska to be near her parents and siblings.

When Sarah returns to Nebraska she receives staggering news which complicates her efforts to support her children. She is shocked, angry and emotionally devastated. Since she is attempting to establish herself in the community as a teacher, she believes she must keep her secret even from her own family. Will Sarah find forgiveness in her heart and the resolve to accept her new life alone?

Praise for Sarah's Secret

“In the flash of one moment, the trajectory of a man’s life and of those who loved and depended on him changes forever. The developing plot draws the reader in as we wait to see how this one action reaches into and impacts the lives of future generations. Set against the backdrop of a post-Civil War nation, when thousands headed west to escape their past, disappear into the horizon, and remake themselves, this biography is a rich study of pioneer ethos and the risks faced every day. The women touched by this man, who kept his secrets close, are heroines of courage, steadfastness and goodness. Beverly Scott is an author who has a way of painting word pictures that make you feel like you are a part of the story as it unfolds towards the discovery of his devastating secrets.” -Patricia and Craig Neal, co-founders, Heartland Inc.

“Using the plain spoken language of the women and men who scratched out life on the hard scrabble plains in the early days of this young country Bev Scott crafts a sharp picture of the violence and the love that shaped the middle of this nation. Every river crossing, each spring planting reveals the conflicts inside the characters and their struggle to survive in contested territories.” -Jewell Gomez, Author, The Gilda Stories

Amazon | IndieBound

About the Author

Bev specialized in serving executives and managers as a leadership coach and organizational consultant for over thirty-five years. She taught organization psychology and founded The 3rd Act, a program whose mission supports positive aging. As she grew into her own third act, she started a genealogical journey to uncover the details of her grandparents’ lives. She concluded that the story needed to be told as fiction using the known facts as her framework.

“Sarah’s Secret: A Western Tale of Betrayal and Forgiveness,” Bev’s debut novel, is the culmination of her long-held desire tell the family story and confirm the whispered story about her grandfather.

Bev previously focused on publishing non-fiction work, including the second edition of “Consulting on the Inside,” which she co-authored with Kim Barnes, published in 2011. She has written numerous professional articles and contributed to “70 Things to Do When You Turn 70,” edited by Ronnie Sellers and Mark Chimsky. Bev blogs on several sites, including her own, “The Writing Life” on

Bev enjoys traveling, visiting with friends, reading and spending time with her grandsons. She lives with her spouse in San Francisco.

You can connect with Bev on Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 14
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, August 15
Guest Post at History From a Woman's Perspective
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, August 16
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Thursday, August 17
Review at WS Momma Readers Nook

Friday, August 18
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Monday, August 21
Feature at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, August 22
Review at A Holland Reads

Thursday, August 24
Review & Interview at T's Stuff
Review & Interview at Books and Benches

Monday, August 28
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Tuesday, August 29
Review at Book Nerd
Feature at Mello & June, It's a Book Thang!

Wednesday, August 30
Review at Linda's Book Obsession

Friday, September 1
Feature at Creating Herstory

Monday, September 4
Feature at Svetlana's Reads and Views


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of Sarah's Secret! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 4th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents 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.

Sarah's Secret by Beverly Scott

G902 Book Review of Path of Lucas the journey he endured by Susanne Bellefeuille

Name of Book: Path of Lucas; the Journey He Endured

Author: Susan Bellefeuille

ISBN: 978-1-5043-4290-2

Publisher: Balboa Press

Type of book: Canada, 1950s-1990s, 2000s, death, family, friendship, loyalty, tough times, work, goals, marriage, dreams

Year it was published: 2017


Lucas Clarkson is a simple man, a family man, and a hard working farmer's son. From a small town in Eastern Ontario, the author, Susanne Bellefeuille, brings us on Lucas's journey through the trials and tribulations of his life. Lucas's path is not as simple as the man he's portrayed to be. From the days spent working on his dad's farm to becoming a successful mechanic, with a genuine heart and his incredible strength, Lucas faces many difficult decisions. The choices he makes may be the difference between realizing his dreams and keeping his family together. Based on true events, this is Susanne Bellefeuille's first novel


The main characters include Lucas and Isabelle, although there are secondary characters like Lucas' and Isabelle's families as well as some friends and children. Lucas is best described as someone any girl would love to get married to because he remains and continues to remain loyal to Isabelle through thick and thin times and he continues to worry and love her as well as support her. He is also very close to his family and is respectful of people's beliefs even if he may not agree with them. Isabelle is also loyal to Lucas but has her own complicated history in terms of family and she is also loyal to her family. Originally she is from France but then begins to speak English. The other family members are painted in a more positive role than negative.


Friendship and family are the most important things in life


The story is written in third person narrative from Lucas's point of view as well as other characters. For me personally the characters seemed to remain static, although in some instances they did grow as people, and I also feel that while we do get to know them, the reader doesn't see as many sides in different situations as one hopes. For example, while I admire Lucas' strength through tough times as well as his devotion to his wife, I rarely if ever see the parts that tick Lucas off. Isabelle seems to be drawn with more complexity in that we see her in good and bad times.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Susanne Bellefeuille is a sister, mother, grandmother, and an inspirational mentor to many people. Graduating from the Social Service Worker program at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall, Ontario, Susanne spends countless hours offering her professional aid, guidance, and most importantly, her friendship to people with intellectual disabilities.

Susanne's life changed remarkably after the realization that her her desires would require her to complete college and set a better example for her children and grandchildren. From being a high school dropout and a mother at the young age of seventeen, Susanne has journeed a considerable distance to become the successful person she is today.

Her journey is not only to write books but also to help people reach their full potential, as she truly believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to shine in life.

Buy the Book: ~ Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Add to Goodreads

Connect with the author:  Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

There's a lot of potential in the story, it just needs to be worked on. The story is a slice of life of the man named Lucas and things he endures, but at the same time friendship and family strongly dominate and help Lucas and his family pull through. The story is not focused on history but is focused on what is going on with Lucas. What I felt could be worked on is repetition and constant remainders of the love Lucas and Isabelle had for one another, (more in told rather than shown) while I would have preferred more shown than told. Going along with that vein the story also reads a whole lot like summary rather than a fleshed out novel. Aside from those minor things, I enjoyed the book far more. I loved the themes of family and friendship, I loved Lucas as a character, especially his loyalty to Isabelle and to his family, and I also loved how their love kept going and didn't seem to diminish. Its a very sweet novel of times that were and while there are perfect moments in the book, things like death and illness also linger and make appearances.

This is for iRead Book Tours

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

G898 Book Review of Blood Moon by RUTH HULL CHATLIEN

Name of Book: Blood Moon

Author: Ruth Hull Chatlien

ISBN: 078-1-937484-46-0

Publisher: Amika Press

Type of book: 1862, Minnesota, Native American captivity, family, marriage, loyalty, determination, deprivation, capture, wars, possessions, mindset

Year it was published: 2017


Southern Minnesota, August 1862. Smoke fills the horizon and blood soaks the prairie as the Sioux fight to drive white settlers from their ancestral homeland. Sarah Wakefield and her young son and baby daughter are fleeing for their lives when two warriors capture them. One is Hapa, who intends to murder them. The other is Chaska, an old acquaintance who promises to protect the family. Chaska shelters them in his mother’s tepee, but with emotions running so high among both Indians and whites, the danger only intensifies. As she struggles to protect herself and those she loves, Sarah is forced to choose between doing what others expect of her and following her own deep beliefs.


Main characters include Sarah Wakefield and Chaske. Sarah Wakefield is a woman who is not welcomed in churches due to her mother's gossip and she has two young children, Nellie and Jimmy. Sarah also tries her best to be open minded and sees that its better to live as people who captured her rather than fighting them every step of the way like other fellow captives think. Just like other people of her time, she has prejudices towards Native Americans and understands the reasons why some people are far more bitter than she. For me also she is ahead of her time in thinking which causes her to be alienated from her peers. She is hardworking, loyal and very determined. Chaske is best described also as determined, helpful, loyal and will do whatever he can for Sarah and her young children. Ina is Chaske's mother who teaches Sarah how to do certain tasks and becomes very close to Sarah. Ina depends a lot on her son and will do with whatever he decides. No race in this particular book is painted as black and white, but they are painted as human beings with complex situations and therefore its hard to choose, if at all, which side is right.


There are no right or wrong choices, just grayness all around


The story is written in first person narrative from Sarah Wakefield's point of view. While a very compelling story of where the line between right and wrong is thin and ambiguous it hooks the reader and doesn't let him go. I also liked that Sarah is not a "white savior" and that the time is portrayed accurately and she is but a human being and a woman at a time when being a womany  is not good. Sarah, just like anyone, makes mistakes while living with Native Americans. She also tends to suffer for being ahead of her time in thinking and deeds.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Ruth Hall Chatlien has been a writer and editor of educational matrials for nearly thirty years, specializing in US and world history. She is the author of Modern American Indian Leaders for middle grade readers. Her award winning first novel The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte, portrays the tumultuous life of Elizabeth "Betsy" Patterson Bonaparte.

She lives in northeastern Illinois with her husband, Michael, and a very pampered dog named Smokey. When she's not writing, she can usually be found gardening, knitting, drawing painting or watching movies.


I at first thought of starting this section with a joke, but realize that when it comes to this complex and morally ambiguous tale its not the right way to handle it. For me, this is an exhaustive journey that has no right answers or paths, and its not easy or possible to choose the "right" side. What is also sad is that a lot of things from the book are not immune from time; in fact it carries on to today in terms of mass hysteria and witch hunt that will be targeting another group of people.  (This is why its important to study history, why its important to change the way we teach history to our children.) One of the other things that stood out to me is the relationship pairings, or how its much more scandalous and deadly if a non-white man takes a white wife, while if a white man takes a non-white woman as a wife, very little sensation is caused, which caused me to recall some of Ronald Takaki's book titled A Different Mirror. (And in that book its mentioned why.)

This is for HFVBT

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Friday, September 1, 2017

Coming Attractions of September 2017

August and September are months of endings for me, but in a way, they are also of beginning a new life for better or worse. I do hope that in this case the endings will be for the better and that I can start anew. In honor of what I hope will be new events for me, I will begin what I will call "Coming Attractions" post once a month which will showcase some possible upcoming reviews and reads for the future. (Also Diverse Reads Post will be once a month instead of once a week, thus #12 will be in December...)

Expect Reviews For...(Can change)

Traitor's Knot by Cryssa Bazos

The Chesapeake Bride by Mariah Stewart (September 5th, 2017)

Path of Lucas-Susanne Bellefeuille (September 4th, 2017)

Blood Moon-Ruth Hull Chatlien (September 4th, 2017)

Overwhelmed Writer Rescue-Colleen M Story (September 15th, 2017)

Raven's Feast-Eric Schumacher (September 17th, 2017)

A Year in the Company of Freaks-Teresa Neumann (September 27th, 2017)

Possible Reviews For...

To Be a Queen-Annie Whitehead

The Luster of Lost Things-Sophie Chen Keller

Dandelions on the Wind-Mona Hodgson (Hopefully my first and last christian book review and I won the book on goodreads...)

Bending Toward the Sun-Mona Hodgson (hopefully my first and last christian book review, and I won the book on goodreads..)

Ripples Along the Shore-Mona Hodgson (hopefully my first and last christian book review, and I won the book on goodreads...)

The Roses Underneath-C.F. Yetmen 

Which of the reads look exciting to you?

G896 Book Review of true east by Raymond Ahrens

Name of Book: True East

Author: Raymond Ahrens

ISBN: 978-1-934690-86-4

Publisher: Tasora

Type of book: Brazil, anthropology, mysticism, Alice in wonderland, present time, America, swimming, savior, missing spouse, politics

Year it was published: 2017


Katy Givens, thirty and brilliant, learns in a static-filled phone call that her husband Andrew is missing in the Amazon and possibly dead. Although still mourning the death of their infant son, Katy flies to Brazil in search of Andrew, discovering that the man she married has secrets. As the mysteries surrounding Andrew's disappearance mount, so does the list of shadowy forces benefitting from the recent discovery of oil in the Amazon.

Katy's field of genetic anthropology proves useful when accounts of the Unnamed Ones, a primitive and possibly pre-human tribe, are rumored to exist in the same valley as the oil reserves. Katy tracks Andrew through the jungle, deciphering riddles he left before disappearing. Along the way, she barters with a Jewish coin merchant, challenges chance with a fortune teller, and argues the merits of prayer with a Jesuit priest, before placing her faith with the indigenous Tadi.


The main characters aren't as rounded as I hoped, although the author does try to make them memorable. First is Katy Givens who seems to be read as too good to be true. Her child has recently passed away and although at the start it does affect her a great deal, I feel that she brushed off the event way too soon. She is knowledgeable in what seems to be almost all the world's tongues, and in beginning was addicted to pills although through sheer will alone she can defeat that demon. Her husband Andrew has talent in photography and also keeps quite a lot of secrets from her. There are also workaholic twin brothers who have questionable relationship, then the editor of Terrestrial, then numerous people in Brazil.


My apologies, although I read the story from cover to cover, I have no idea what I should have learned from it.


The story is from third person narrative, from Katy's perspective. At first I thought the story would make sense in that Katy is told her husband is dead thus she decides to fly out to Brazil to investigate the truth and learn as to why her husband is in Brazil when he has been forbidden from traveling there. Along the journey, somehow, the reader learns about Katy's hotter and younger other persona, the Brazilian politics which make little sense and about the people Katy meets be they old or new friends. (Perhaps that could have been used as a summary) The given summary for the book is not exactly accurate because I was expecting for the story to be more philosophical and deep thinking, and I didn't get that. Upon thinking, it also strikes me that the story is an attempt at mixing at all genres, but unfortunately the experiment is unsuccessful in this case. Also quite a number of things are left untied; one as to who called and told Katy about her husband, and if the Others look different, they will be treated differently.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Raymond Ahrens is curious. Aa a scientist, father, and novelist, he peers under the surface to discover what contradictions lie beneath. His genre of "mythic-realism" synthesizes both the rational and the mythic to arrive at a different way of seeing. His first novel, Drive, explores an old man's perspective in both a reral and imagined world filled with mysteries, myths and memories. He lives in Newton, MA and Naples, FL..


Few years back I read Alice books by Lewis Carroll, perhaps seeing how I felt about them since many years have passed; and I recall finding them illogical, frustrating and realizing something about myself; I want my stories to make sense, to have laws of logic apply to them. In other words, order and rules. Unfortunately, reading this book is akin to reading Alice books by Lewis Carroll because the story has left me frustrated in all the places, and the main character, Katy, seems a tad bit unbelievable. I enjoyed the beginning of the story, the details of Katy's life as well as her struggles, but when she got to Brazil to look for her husband,. I stopped enjoying the story, unfortunately because that's when it got a little too out there, and I couldn't make sense or understand what I should focus because it seemed that everything was given national importance; from the corruption of oil fields to Brazilian politics to just politics in general, and then there are mysteries of rain forest and how much is undiscovered as well as numerous possibilities of humanities. Personally if the author stuck to one topic and removed the rest, I would probably have enjoyed the story a whole lot more.

This is for Poetic Book Tours

2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

September 2017

Path of Lucas-Susan Bellefeuille
SR: August 27th, 2017
FR: September 2nd, 2017
A House Divided-Pearl S Buck
SR: March 11th, 2016
Blood moon- Ruth Hull Chatlien
SR: August 14th, 2017
FR: September 3rd 2017
The matrimonial flirtations of Emma kaulfield- Anna Fishbeyn
SR: September 17th, 2017
The Republic of uzupis- halJi
SR: January 4th 2017
Dandelions on the Wind-Mona Hodgson
SR: September 9th, 2017
FR: September 10th, 2017
Bending toward the sun-Mona Hodgson
SR: September 10th, 2017
FR: September 11th, 2017
Ripples along the shore-Mona Hodgson
SR: September 11th, 2017
FR: September 11th, 2017
Twilight empress- Faith L Justice
SR: September 16th, 2017
The luster of lost things- Sophie Chen Keller
SR: August 28th, 2017
FR: September 8th, 2017
A year in the company of freaks- Teresa Neumann
SR: September 2nd, 2017
All we shall kmow- Donal Ryan
SR: September 14th, 2017
FR: September 17th, 2017
Raven's feast- Eric Schumacher
SR: September 3rd 2017
FR: September 16th, 2017
The Comet Seekers Helen Sedgwick
SR: January 17th 2017
A gentleman in Moscow- amor Towles
SR: June 8th, 2017
The Roses underneath-C.F Yetmen
SR: September 11th, 2017
FR: September 20th, 2017

Tree of Souls-Howard Schwartz
SR: February 10th, 2014
Overwhelmed writer rescue- Colleen m story
SR: August 31st, 2017
FR: September 14th, 2017
One sip at a time- Keith Van Sickle
SR: September 20th, 2017
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