Book Review & Giveaway: A Lion in the Grass by Mark Zvonkovic

Book Title:  A Lion in the Grass (The Raymond Hatcher Stories/Book One) by Mark Zvonkovic
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  333 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction 
Publisher:  Dos Perro Press 
Release date:  August 2020
Content Rating:  PG13+M: The book has mature themes associated with wartime violence and not-explicit sex scenes.

Set over the course of six decades, A Lion in the Grass documents the despair and hope of a spy who suffers the murder of friends and enjoys the success of mentoring protégés.

​The story is told through alternative viewpoints of Raymond, his protégés, and the French villain. The novel digs deeply into questions of love, self-doubt and hatred, all foisted upon Raymond during a career from which, he discovers, it is impossible to retire.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from iRead Book Tours. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

A Lion in the Grass spans 60 years of the life of a spy named Raymond. I wanted to connect with Raymond, but most of the time I was just reading summaries of what had happened, and it was difficult to feel for him. I was still able to enjoy the story, just not nearly as much as I would have liked to.

Although Raymond is the main character, the story is told through the viewpoint of several characters which did enrich the story. There are many deaths of friends, loved ones, and colleagues that Raymond has to deal with through the years, and he is determined to find revenge for those he loses.

There were times when it was a little confusing because there are a lot of characters, and they could be hard to keep up with. It would be helpful to have a cast of characters listed at the beginning of the book.

This was a pretty good read, I liked the ending, and will be reading The Narrows by Mark Zvonkovic soon.

About the Author

Mark Zvonkovic is a writer who lives in Rosarito Beach, Baja California Mexico with his wife Nancy and their two dogs. Finn and Cooper. He has written three novels, and he also writes book reviews and essays that appear in online publications. Before retiring to Mexico, Mark practiced law for thirty-five years at three multinational law firms in Houston, Texas and New York City. He attended college at Southern Methodist University and Boston University, and his law degree is from SMU School of Law. Mark grew up as an oil company brat and lived in Latin America, Texas and New York.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ bookbub goodreads

Giveaway

Win signed set of The Raymond Hatcher Stories (one winner / USA only) (ends Oct 28)

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Follow the Tour

Sep 26 – The Mystery Review Crew – book series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 26 – Novels Alive – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 26 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / guest post / giveaway
Sep 26 – My Reading Getaway – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 27 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 27 – The Obsessed Reader – book series spotlight / giveaway
Sep 28 – fundinmental – book series spotlight / giveaway
Sep 29 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 29 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Sep 29 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway

Sep 30 – Faith and Books – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Sep 30 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Sep 30 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway

Oct 3 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 4 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 4 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 5 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 5 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of THE NARROWS
Oct 6 – Cover Lover Book Review – book series spotlight / giveaway
Oct 6 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of BELINDA
Oct 7 – Novels Alive – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 7 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of BELINDA / giveaway

Oct 11 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Literary Flits – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 11 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 12 – My Reading Getaway – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 12 – Literary Flits – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 12 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 13 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 14 – Novels Alive – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 14 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 17 – Books and Zebras – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 17 – Literary Flits – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 18 – @onecreativeartist – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 18 – Books and Zebras – book review of THE NARROWS
Oct 19 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway

Oct 19 – Books and Zebras – book review of BELINDA
Oct 20 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 20 – @onecreativeartist – book review of THE NARROWS
​Oct 20 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway

Oct 21 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 21 – @onecreativeartist – book review of BELINDA
Oct 21 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 21 – My Reading Getaway – book review of BELINDA / author interview / giveaway
Oct 21 – Books for Books – book series spotlight

Book Review & Giveaway: All the Rivers Flow into the Sea & Other Stories by Khanh Ha

All the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha
All the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha

All the Rivers Flow into the Sea and Other Stories by Khanh Ha

Publisher:  Eastover Press LLC (June 7, 2022)
Category: Short Stories, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Vietnam
Tour dates: July 25-August 31, 2022
ISBN:  978-1958094020
Available in Print and ebook, 208 pages

 All the Rivers Flow into the Sea

Description

From Vietnam to America, this story collection, jewel-like, evocative, and layered, brings to readers a unique sense of love and passion alongside tragedy and darker themes of peril. The titular story features a love affair between an unlikely duo pushing against barely surmountable cultural barriers. In “The Yin-Yang Market,” magical realism and the beauty of innocence abounds in deep dark places, teeming with life and danger. “A Mute Girl’s Yarn” tells a magical coming-of-age story like sketches in a child’s fairy book.

Bringing together the damned, the unfit, the brave who succumb to the call of fate, All the Rivers Flow Into the Sea is a great journey where redemption and human goodness arise out of violence and beauty to become part of an essential mercy.

All the Rivers Flow into the Sea was selected as a winner of the 2021 EastOver Prize for Fiction and has received much advanced praise.

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Guest Review by Sal

‘All the Rivers Flow Into the Sea,’ is not just a collection of short stories, but a look into the lives of average Vietnamese people during a very turbulent time.

Vietnam is a beautiful country, filled with hardworking and generous people, and no one is better at representing that in story form than author Khanh Ha. Between the beautiful, lush landscape of the country and the wonderful people, this book show Vietnam in a different light than many Americans are used to.

In the story, ‘All the Pretty Horses,’ the narrator talks about the relationship between their father and young Vietnamese language teacher, both of them living in Washington D.C. Although the father is married to the narrator’s mother, it seems like things maybe developing romantically between the teacher and the father, that is until a devastating turn of events changes things forever.

In the title story, ‘All the Rivers Flow into the Sea,’ two young people, a Vietnamese woman and an American solider, fall in love during the war. Although circumstances persist in trying to keep them apart, the young couple faces these trials together, always certain that their love can conquer all. Though a long journey on foot back to the woman’s home and a tense boat ride where they are in danger of being found by the Viet Cong, the couple stays together. But will they be able to find happiness? You’ll have to read the story yourself to find out.

Ha’s writing is absolutely remarkable. The atmosphere of this book is pure magic and I felt myself being wrapped up in it as I read along. As a reader, I felt as though I was there with the young couple on the dark river, or in the car with the father and the teacher in Washington.

This is a five-star read that must be experienced for yourself!

About Khanh HaAll the Rivers Flow into the Sea by Khanh Ha

Multi award winning author, Khanh Ha is the author of Flesh, The Demon Who Peddled Longing, and Mrs. Rossi’s Dream. He is a seven-time Pushcart nominee, finalist for the Mary McCarthy Prize, Many Voices Project, Prairie Schooner Book Prize, and The University of New Orleans Press Lab Prize. He is the recipient of the Sand Hills Prize for Best Fiction, the Robert Watson Literary Prize in Fiction, The Orison Anthology Award for Fiction, The James Knudsen Prize for Fiction, The C&R Press Fiction Prize, and The EastOver Fiction Prize.

Mrs. Rossi’s Dream was named Best New Book by Booklist and a 2019 Foreword Reviews INDIES Silver Winner and Bronze Winner. All the Rivers Flow into the Sea & Other Stories has already won the EastOver Fiction Prize.

Website: http://www.authorkhanhha.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KhanhHa69784776
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorkhanhha

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 3 print copies and is open to the U.S. only. This giveaway ends on Aug 27, 2022 midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Praise

“These stories draw close connections between disparate cultures, Vietnam’s changing environments, and the American and Vietnamese people who engage on a different playing field than the war which brought them together in the past.”– Midwest Book Review

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Book Review & Giveaway: Inseparable by David Kruth

Inseparable: An Alcatraz Escape Adventure by David Kruh

Publisher: DX Varos Publishing (June 21, 2022)
Category: Historical Fiction, Action/Adventure
ISBN: 978-1955065504
Available in Print and ebook, 325 pages

 Inseparable

Tommy knew the right thing to do was turn them in to the cops. But that wasn’t the adventurous thing to do!

What happened to the three men who escaped from Alcatraz prison in June, 1962? Did they meet the same watery fate as dozens who preceded them into the cold San Francisco Bay? There is credible evidence two of them – brothers John and Clarence Anglin – not only survived but lived for years in South America. Inseparable is a fictional account of how a 13-year-old boy named Tommy helped them to freedom.

Tommy O’Conner was an only child whose mother, a widow of the Korean Conflict, had been left to make it on her own. She passed her independent, sometimes lonely spirit, to her son. But Tommy was also, in many ways, no different than other boys his age who dreamed of adventure. Then, one June day in 1962, his daydreams were interrupted by the real thing when he came face to face with John and Clarence Anglin – two of the Alcatraz escapees – and made the decision which would change all their lives.

Amazon
Barnes&Noble

Book Review by Sal

A brilliant historical fiction from a terrific storyteller! ‘Inseparable: An Alcatraz Escape Adventure,’ by David Kruh is based off of the real-life escape of three prisoners from Alcatraz in 1961.

In real life, no definitive traces of prisoners, Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin were ever found after their daring late-night escape, but in this novel, Kruh examines how the escape might have gone and what might have become of the men afterward.

After planning their escape for months, the three prisoners set out to cross the bay to San Francisco under cover of nightfall one fateful June night. But before long, the raft that they had fashioned out of sewed together raincoats gets a hole, and the men are cast into the freezing waters of the bay. Struggling to swim, the three men wash up in very different areas than they had intended to escape to.

The plan was to make it to Angel Island, the closest island to Alcatraz. Instead, the two Anglin brothers wash up on a beach in Sausalito, miles away from their intended destination. Waterlogged and wounded from their swim, the men are soon found by a young boy named Tommy O’Conner, who agrees to help them get to a disused local fort. However, Tommy soon faces trouble from his mother and the local police, and will have to find a way to help the men with the limited resources at his disposal.

Meanwhile, Frank Morris is on his own, making his way west through empty military bases in the effort to get to a town where he can steal a car. All three men face hunger, cold and other dangers in their quest to escape their prison and get away from San Francisco altogether without getting caught again.

This is an incredibly immersive novel by Kruh, and one well worth the read! A definite must read for historical fiction and adventure lovers!

About the Author

David is the published author of several books on Boston history and the co-author, with his father Louis, on a book about presidential homes and landmarks.

A frequent contributor to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald and History Magazine, David is also a published and produced playwright, and a popular lecturer on a variety of historical subjects. ‘Inseparable’ is his debut novel.

Website: http://https//inseparablealcatraznovel.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/david.kruh

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 1 print copy and 2 eBook copies open to the U.S. only. This giveaway ends on July 27, 2022, midnight pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus July 6 Kickoff & Interview

Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings July 8 Review

Gud Reader Goodreads July 11 Review

Amy Locks, Hooks and Books July 12 Review & Excerpt

Denise Amazon July 13 Review

Suzie My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews July 14 Review & Guest Post

Gracie Goodreads July 15 Review

Nora S. Storeybook Reviews July 18 Guest Review & Excerpt

Sal Bound 4 Escape July 19 Guest Review

Bee Book Pleasures July 21 Review & Interview

Laura Lee Celticlady’s Reviews July 25 Guest Review

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus July 26 Review

Book Review & Giveaway: Evita and Me by Erika Rummel

Evita and Me by Erika Rummel

Publisher:  DX Varos Publishing (May 24, 2022)
Category: Historical Fiction, Crime, Women’s Literature
ISBN: 978-1955065320
Available in Print and ebook, 384 pages

Evita and Me

Evita Peron’s jewels are missing. Only three people know that they are in a vault in the Swiss Alps; Evita’s corrupt and brutal brother Juan, her bodyguard Pierre, and a teenaged girl Mona, her newest protegee. What happens if two of them team up?

Like Eva herself, Mona comes from a broken family and has to make her own way. Perhaps that’s why the two women feel close. Evita is at the pinnacle of success but already in the grip of a fatal illness. We see her life through the eyes of Mona and Pierre, two people she trusts — and who betray her in the end. Or can theft and murder be justified?

A story of love, adventure, and murder.

Amazon
DX Varos Publishing

Guest Review by Sal

This intimate look into the life of Eva Peron is well worth the price of admission!

Erika Rummel’s historical fiction novel, ‘Evita and Me,’ centers around a teenage girl, Mona, who becomes a friend of the famous Argentinian political figure Eva “Evita” Peron and the tumultuous ride that their relationship takes over the course of two weeks.

Mona is a teenager living in Toronto, Canada when she is sent to Argentina for two weeks to stay with a family friend. Despairing of her situation and not too keen on the family friend, Liliana, whom Mona views as a power-hungry and careless woman, things turn around for the teenager when she is introduced to Evita Peron. Liliana works as an assistant to Evita, but she is also the woman’s friend and it is through her that Mona meets Evita.

Instantly smitten with the incomparable woman, Mona accepts lavish gifts of clothes from Evita and basks in the woman’s maternal praise. When Evita asks Mona to go to Europe with her for a political tour, Mona jumps at the opportunity, although she worries about the woman’s seemingly ill health. But soon, the European tour is cut short when a very sickly-looking Evita asks Mona to take her most precious jewels and bring them to Switzerland where they will be stowed away in a vault.

Evita wishes for Mona to be one of three people in the world who know the location of the jewels and one of three who has a key. Mona agrees to do her friend and mentor this final favor, despite her confusion with the request. A few years later, after she discovers that Evita has died, Mona realizes that she is one of only three people who know where the famous woman’s missing jewels ended up.

This is a well-researched historical novel that captures the time, place, and characters beautifully.  A thrill ride from start to finish, ‘Evita and Me,’ is a gem of a novel that simply cannot be missed!

About the Author

Award winning author, Erika Rummel is the author of more than a dozen non-fiction books and seven novels. Her seventh novel, ‘Evita and Me’ is being published on May 24, 2022.

She won the Random House Creative Writing Award (2011) for a chapter from ‘The Effects of Isolation on the Brain’ and The Colorado Independent Publishers’ Association’ Award for Best Historical Novel, in 2018. She is the recipient of a Getty Fellowship and the Killam Award.

Erika grew up in Vienna, emigrated to Canada and obtained a PhD from the University of Toronto. She taught at Wilfrid Laurier and U of Toronto.  She divides her time between Toronto and Los Angeles and has lived in Argentina, Romania, and Bulgaria.

Erika’s Website: http://www.erikarummel.com/
Erika’s Blog: http://rummelsincrediblestories.blogspot.ca/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/historycracks

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 2 print copies and is open to Canada and the U.S. only. This giveaway ends on July 23, 2022, midnight, pacific time.  Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Book Review & Giveaway: Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano by Arnon Z. Shorr

Jose and the Pirate Captain by Arnon Z. Shorr

Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano by Arnon Z. Shorr, Illustrated by Joshua Edelglass’

Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing, May 1, 2022
Category: Children’s Graphic Novels, Pirates, Action Adventure, Jewish, Children’s Prejudice and Racism
ISBN: 978-1728420097
Available in Print and ebook, 96 pages
Jose and the Pirate Captain

Description

Set in the shadows of the Spanish Inquisition, this is the coming-of-age story of José Alfaro, a young refugee who forms a powerful bond with the mysterious Pirate Captain Toledano. It’s also a dynamic pirate adventure on the high seas, with hand-to-hand combat and ship-to-ship action, and the powerful story of a dark time in history when people took different paths to survive.

José Alfaro is a cocky, rambunctious teen in the 16th-century colony of Santo Domingo, pulling pranks and dodging the authorities. One day, José’s mischief lands him in serious trouble.

Hoping for a fresh start, he stows away on the Laqish, not knowing that it’s a pirate ship. From his hiding place, he watches the pirates divide their loot and plan their attacks on long days at sea. He also takes note of the respect they have for their captain, the intimidating Toledano.

But the captain has a secret―like José, he is a Jew. For him, piracy is not about the gold; it has a different purpose.

Under the tutelage of the ship’s quartermaster, José learns the intricacies of pirate life. But when he can, the captain finds ways to pull José away from the crew, to teach him about his ancestors.

Guest Review by Sal

“On Sundays, I went to church like everyone else. But late at night, I prayed to our God and studied our holy books. I kept a careful calendar so I would not miss our holidays. And on Friday nights, I lit the candles, and recited the blessing over wine.” – ‘Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano,’ by Arnon Z. Shorr, Illustrated by Joshua Edelglass’

A story about the perseverance of faith and loyalty in an unjust world, ‘Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano,’ is a graphic novel for all ages, and one that everyone should read.

In 1547, much of the world was being crushed in the cold grip of the Spanish Inquisition. This graphic novel is set in one such part of the world, San Domingo, a fictional colony in the new world, where a young man named Jose Alfaro resides.

Jose is a wildly intelligent, if a little over-confident young man who has, up until the start of the story, led a pretty easy life. Despite losing his mother at a young age, Jose has had the benefits of an extensive education from his father, the treasurer of the colony.

Of course, this all goes away when a ship bearing several high up members of the Spanish Inquisition washes ashore, having been attacked by pirates. Jose’s father, Señor Alfaro, reveals to him that they are Jewish and that he has hidden this fact for Jose’s entire life.

Terrified that he is going to be arrested, Señor Alfaro tries to entreat Jose to listen so that he can be prepared to evade arrest, but just as he is going to do so their door is kicked in and Señor Alfaro is arrested by the Inquisition.

Jose escapes, but only barely and winds up climbing aboard a pirate ship where he must rely on the captain, the aforementioned Captain Toledano, in order to survive and hopefully return to San Domingo and recue his father.

A compelling story with a lot of heart, expertly written and illustrated! ‘Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano,’ is just the story for you if you love historical fiction!

Advance Praise Jose and the Pirate Captain Toledano 

Winner of the PJ Our Way Author Incentive Award

Praise The Pirate Captain Toledano Film

“Despite its brevity this movie was extremely well done, emotionally very moving, realistic, and genuine.”-Anne, Amazon

“I’ve definitely never seen this version of pirate storytelling, or even knew about their existence historically until now, but it’s SO fascinating to think about what these pirates could have been like. The score, the acting, and the storyline flows so well and definitely makes you want to keep watching what happens with the stowaway. I’d love to see this made into a feature one day.”-Milagros Ortiz, Amazon

“Filled with suspense and genuine emotion. I was moved by the story and very impressed.”- Philip W, Amazon

IndieFEST Film Awards Winner: Award of Excellence

Near Nazareth Film Festival Winner: Jury Award

About the Author

Jose and the Pirate Captain by Arnon Z. ShorrArnon Z. Shorr is an author, screenwriter and filmmaker of character-driven adventures and thrillers, where heroes grapple with the extraordinary, and in doing so, learn important truths about themselves.

Arnon spent most of his childhood between worlds: a Hebrew speaker in America, a private school kid in a rented two-bedroom apartment. Whenever he’d set foot in one world, his other foot would betray him as different. For that reason, he tells stories that embrace the peculiar, where encounters with the unexpected reveal who we are.

Website: https://www.arnonshorr.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/shorr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArnonShorr/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arnonshorr/

About the Illustrator

Jose and the Pirate Captain by Arnon Z. ShorrJoshua Edelglass is a freelance illustrator from Massachusetts. He is also the Assistant Director of Camp Ramah New England. At Brown University, Josh wrote and drew the political cartoon, WorldView for The Brown Daily Herald. That experience gave him the bug for cartooning, a passion that has never left him.

Josh’s work has appeared in a variety of exhibitions, including Pow! Jewish Comics Art and Influence that ran at the Brooklyn Jewish Art Museum in Spring 2018. Josh was included in the Jewish Comix Anthology, published in 2014 by Alternative History Press. Josh was also included in SCI: The Jewish Comics Anthology vol. 2, which was published in the fall of 2018.

Website: www.motionpicturescomics.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joshua_edelglass/

Pre-order

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New Releases

The Most Dangerous Spy

Nancy Brown is an ordinary girl living in the industrial town of Orethorpe at the outbreak of the Second World War. Her life suddenly changes when she is told to report to the mysterious Megg House, and soon she finds herself caught up in a top-secret operation to find German spies operating in the town.

Seventy years later Arthur Lane is living in Orethorpe. By chance, he strikes up a friendship with an elderly man, Mr Smith. When a newspaper reporter turns up asking to interview Mr Smith about his role in the war, Arthur learns that Mr Smith has a deep secret. Can he discover what it is?

“The Most Dangerous Spy” switches between 1940, when a careless word can leave lives in peril, and 2010, when once-deadly knowledge – including the identity of ‘the most dangerous spy of all’ – can remain secret no longer.

About the Author:

Sharon Edwards works for the BBC. Her novel is aimed at 9-13 year-olds and is mainly set in the Second World War, although there is also a modern-day story that weaves through the novel. The two storylines come together at the end. The book is set in a Midlands industrial town in the UK where a young girl is recruited to help find German undercover agents in the town. She visits Bletchley Park as her intercepts end up there for decoding.

Excerpt from Book:

Nancy was staring at one man and then the other.  What did they want with her and how did he know about her German lessons? It was then that the tall, thin man spoke for the first time.

“The country is at War, Miss Brown; you know that, of course,” he said, his tone gentle. “What you may not know is that England could be invaded by Hitler’s forces.” He suddenly walked over towards her, reached out to a spare chair in the corner of the room and slammed it down on the floor close to hers. He sat down and leant forward. “Hitler is coming, that’s a fact, but we want to stop him,” he said. “It’s our duty to stop him. It’s my duty and it’s your duty to do whatever we can to aid our own side in keeping the Germans at bay, and you can help us. Do you understand?”

“We want you to listen,” the older man explained, taking over from his colleague. “You know how to listen and goodness knows there aren’t enough of you. Nothing to do with running into a line of bullets or trying to get yourself blown up. It’s absurdly simple. We just want you to listen.”

Nancy looked at the faces bearing down on her. After a few moments she blurted out: “Listen to what?”

The older man leant in even closer, their faces almost touching. “Why, the Germans, of course, German spies.”

 

“The Most Dangerous Spy” by Sharon Edwards is available in paperback from Amazon at:

You can also download the e-book version from:

 

Press/Media Contact Details:

Sharon Edwards
E-mail: sharon222edwards@btinternet.com

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The Morgana Chronicles: The Pen of Guinevere

The gates of hell open, and a thirteen-year-old girl is left in the graveyard. Who is she? What is she?

That is what she wants to know!

But all is not what is seems. Morgan is two people: a girl and a witch by the name of Morgana. She finds the land is very bright and colourful and does not wish to go back to hell – but the God of Purgatory wants her back.

Morgan has a job to do, and it means meeting witches, fairies, and other creatures in a world of magic and mayhem.

She wants love and wants to give it back, but it is all so muddled…

Excerpt from the book:

“As the baby girl slept, the Devil appeared.  Red hot skin with horns on his head, he carried a staff with a skull and fiery red eyes as an aid.  His appearance took Tanya aback as she stood at the doorway of the bedroom; when she looked at him, she felt as though he was burning a hole through her soul.

‘You are here,’ she whispered, glancing around the corridor to make sure no-one else was awake.

‘I am here for my prize,’ he growled deeply.

‘Take her,’ she replied coldly.  ‘I have all that I need.’ The Devil picked the child up, wrapped in her pink blanket, and left.

Tanya too a deep breath and went back to bad as if nothing had happened, then lay down and fell into a deep and restful sleep.

The next morning, she went to the nursery and screamed to find one empty Moses basket.

That scream led to many years of hope that one day, the little girl would come home, and her family would finally be whole again.  Because that morning, it broke apart…”

The Morgana Chronicles:  The Pen of Guinevere (Book 1)” by Morgan Harrison is available in paperback from Amazon UK at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Darin Jewell
Tel. 0208 292 5163
E-mail: darin@theinspiragroup.com

Audiobook Review: Black Rocks and Rainbows by Susan C. Riford

Title: BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS
Author: Susan C. Riford
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Genre: YA / Historical

BOOK BLURB:

The journey of a lifetime told in the audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS begins with a ship: “An enormous canoe, with great white wings like a magnificent bird.” This is the merchant schooner Triumph from New England, anchored offshore by what is now known as the Big Island of Hawaii, and in 1807, the sight of it captivates a young Hawaiian boy’s imagination and spirit of adventure. Fifteen-year-old Hiapo Opukahaia, orphaned as the result of a war between two rival island chiefs, has been contemplating his future. He dives into the sea and swims to the ship, where he is invited to stay for dinner. When the captain asks if he would like to go to America, he nods Yes.

The audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS, an historical novel for young adults, edited and narrated by actress Suzanne Ford, was written by her late mother, Susan C. Riford.  The audiobook chronicles the gripping story of Hiapo – renamed “Henry” by his fellow crewmen – whose literal and figurative journey leads to the greatest adventure of all: a hunger for knowledge which ultimately changes Hawaii forever. The title refers to the lava rocks and beautiful rainbows of the Big Island, the vision of which Henry carries with him for the rest of his life.

Working as a cabin boy, Henry does encounter true-life adventures – pirates, storms – during the ship’s year-long voyage, via the Seal Islands and China, back to its home port of New Haven, Connecticut. He also learns to read and write English, unlocking his quest for further knowledge; upon arriving in New Haven, Henry realizes he desperately wants to keep learning, but has no idea how.

Weeping one day on the steps of Yale College, he is found by a kind student, a relative of the school’s president. Taken under the president’s wing, Henry becames a scholar. He wants to translate written works from English into Hawaiian, but at the time, there is no such written Hawaiian language. So he begins to apply the principles in an American spelling book – devised by Noah Webster, of dictionary fame – to the sounds of his native tongue. In doing so, he creates the alphabet-spelling-grammar system that is the basis for the Hawaiian written language in use to this day.

Sadly, Henry dies of typhus fever in 1818 at the age of 26. He is buried in Cornwall, Connecticut, until 1993, when he makes one final journey: a group of Hawaiian residents has successfully crusaded for the return of his remains to the Big Island for permanent burial. Hiapo Opukahaia has come home.

Suzanne Ford was inspired to create the audiobook BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS originally written by her late mother, Susan Riford, a prolific author of children’s books and plays and founder of what is now known as the Rev Theatre Company in Auburn, New York. Her mother became fascinated with Henry’s story when she moved to Maui. “The novel was her final work before she died,” Ford says. “I took on the unfinished manuscript, wrote the last chapter, had a few copies printed and recorded the audiobook. The story is such a fascinating and compelling adventure, fun to listen to for anyone, but especially for young adults.”

Ford is working on an updated, illustrated book version of BLACK ROCKS AND RAINBOWS. “It’s noteworthy that there has never been a full-length historical novel about Opukahaia, who is such a major figure in Hawaiian history and whose story carries a timeless message about the importance of education,” she observes. “Especially in this era of the dawning of deeper recognition of indigenous peoples and their heritage, this as yet unfamiliar but universal coming-of-age story is resonant and relevant to youth of any culture.”

Amazon → https://amzn.to/3vWmViK

My Review

I chose to listen to the book after receiving a free audio copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

This story is based on the facts of the life of Opukahaia, which was an amazing one. At just 10 years old he witnessed the murder of his parents and then had to live with the chief of the tribe responsible for killing his parents. When his uncle found out that he was alive, he took over his care and wanted to teach him to follow in his footsteps. Although everyone treated him well, he wanted to find his calling in life instead of being told what he was going to do. Such a strong young man!

At 15 years old, Opukahaia became a cabin boy which started his journey that not only changed his life but made his mark in history. He was so smart and he had a thirst for knowledge so, fittingly, he ended up at Yale and learned as well as taught others about his homeland.

Historical fiction has been one of my favorite genres since I read Johnny Tremain as a child. I enjoyed this story immensely and believe that young adults as well as adults will like it. The ending was sad and really touched me, I think because I knew that Opukahaia was an actual person. But he did inspire others to go to Hawaii to teach his people to read and write using the alphabet that he devised.

Suzanne Ford does a great job narrating the story. Her pace and timing are great, and I enjoyed listening to her. I definitely recommend Black Rocks & Rainbows to anyone who likes audiobooks.

Praise

“This adventure story is riveting from start to finish and the action keeps coming. The ending, though sad because it’s a true story, was very uplifting and inspiring. A very satisfying audiobook experience.”

-Amazon

Listen to a sample of the audiobook here:

Amazon

And here:

About the Creator

Suzanne Ford is an actress and writer working in film, television, and theatre. She has performed in more than100 stage productions in New York and Los Angeles, on tour and in regional theatres around the country. Her many film credits include the Duplass Brothers’ recent hit Manson Family Vacation; You, Me and Dupree and The Apparition, and she has appeared on such television shows as Grace and Frankie, Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal MindsIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Friends. She has been an advertising copywriter, has written a biography of Mel Gibson, screenplays, and cookbooks, and has ghostwritten memoirs. She and her husband live in the Hollywood Hills.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Book Review & Giveaway: Enigma by Chris Bennett

Book Title: Enigma (Road to the Breaking Book 2) by Chris Bennett
Category: Adult Fiction (18 +) , 514 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: CPB Publishing, LLC
Release date: February 2021
Content Rating: PG-13. Cursing, violence and war scenes, etc.

Book Description

“How can I call myself a man of good conscience, when I myself am no better than a slaver?”

It’s summer 1860, and former army Captain Nathan Chambers has returned home to Virginia to claim his inheritance: a large plantation with more than one hundred slaves.  Nathan wants no part of slavery and intends to sell the farm and all its slaves.  But even as he arrives home, enduring fearful and downcast stares from despondent black faces, he knows what he must do … and the price he must pay for doing it.

And then Evelyn arrives … strikingly beautiful, spirited, and intriguing, she is the daughter of an old family friend.  But the more Nathan is drawn in by her charms, the harder she pushes him away …

The Road to the Breaking Series is an epic tale of a young nation seething with debauchery, brutality, corruption, and political intrigue, unwittingly on the brink of a deadly precipice: the American Civil War.  In Book 2 of the series, Nathan Chambers has returned from the violent army life out West, only to face a heart wrenching Enigma at home.

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon~ B&N
Bookshop
Add to Goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I read the first book, Road to the Breaking, and was glad I had Enigma to continue the story because there wasn’t a resolution.

There are two main plots in this book. The first is about the horrid practice of slavery in America and Nathan’s fight to help the slaves he inherited from his father along with his plantation. He wants to do what is right but is having trouble not only with neighbors, but the slaves understandably don’t trust him.

The second plot begins about halfway through the book when Evelyn and her mother arrive at the plantation. Most of the second half of the book is about their budding romance.

The characters are well developed, and I like Nathan and his men as well as his mom and Megs, the slave who took care of him as a child. I still don’t know how I feel about Evelyn.

The author’s writing flows well. This book doesn’t have as much action as the first book but a lot more romance and politics. There is quite a lot of description – a little more than I like, but that’s a personal preference.

Like the first book, Enigma leaves some things unresolved. I recommend having all 5 books in the series before you start reading them.

About the Author

Chris A. Bennett grew up on the shores of Klamath Lake in southeastern Oregon. For a young boy it was a dream world of water, hills, forests, and abundant wildlife. His love for action and adventure morphed into a lifelong love for books when his Mom read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to the family on a long road trip.

Chris’s thirst for adventure never faded and he began to live out his love of history onto the pages of his first book, Road to the Breaking. Once he started writing he just couldn’t stop and the result is The Road to the Breaking series; an epic journey across a young nation seething with debauchery, brutality, corruption, and political intrigue, unwittingly on the brink of an unimaginable disaster: the American Civil War.

Chris currently lives near Seattle with his wife Patricia. His three adult children Nick, Rachel, and Josh also live in the Puget Sound area.​

Connect with the Author:   website  ~ instagram ~ goodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of Chris Bennett, author of the A ROAD TO BREAKING book series! (one winner/USA only) (ends Aug 2)

Gleam

Follow the Tour

July 6 – Cover Lover Book Review – books spotlight / giveaway
July 6 – Working Mommy journal – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / giveaway
July 7 – The Momma Spot – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / giveaway
July 8 – Books for Books – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1)
July 12 – Books for Books – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2)
July 13 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / giveaway
July 13 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / giveaway
July 15 – Jazzy Book Reviews – books spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 16 – The Momma Spot – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2) / giveaway
July 19 – Splashes of Joy – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / author interview / giveaway
July 19 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / giveaway
July 20 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2) / giveaway
July 20 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2) / giveaway
July 20 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING,  Book 2) / giveaway
July 20 – fundinmental – books spotlight / giveaway
July 21 – @twilight_reader – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1)
July 21 – Literary Flits – books spotlight / giveaway
July 22 – @twilight_reader – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2)
July 22 – Character Madness and Musings – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / guest post / giveaway  
July 23 – Splashes of Joy – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2) / giveaway
July 23 – Character Madness and Musings – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2) / giveaway
July 26 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Book Review & Giveaway: Road to the Breaking by Chris Bennett

Book Title:  Road to the Breaking
Category: Adult Fiction (18 +) , 345 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher:  CPB Publishing, LLC
Release date:   January 2021
Content Rating:  PG-13. Cursing, violence and war scenes, etc. 


Book Description:

​Nothing survived “The Breaking” unchanged; lives and fortunes, love and hate, freedom and slavery …

It’s early 1860, and war hero Captain Nathaniel Chambers, commander U.S. Army Fort Davis in the west Texas wilderness, has received shocking news – his father is dead.  He must return home to Virginia and claim his inheritance before a maniacal neighbor can murder his widowed mother and seize the family plantation.

But he’s torn by a terrible dilemma – to stay in the army and turn his back on his fortune, his mother and his beloved childhood home, or become the thing he despises; a slave master!  Is there no other choice? 

An epic journey across a young nation seething with debauchery, brutality, corruption, and political intrigue, unwittingly on the brink of an unimaginable disaster; the American Civil War.  Nathan Chambers has left the violent army life behind in Texas, never imaging he’s on the very Road to The Breaking.

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon ~ B&N
Bookshop  
Add to Goodreads

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

Nathaniel Chambers is a captain in the army stationed at Fort Davis in Texas. When he receives a telegram from his mom that his father has passed away, he decides it’s his duty to return to Virginia to take over the farm. Several of his men resign to follow him and to help out as needed.

As they move across the south, the men encounter several challenges and Nathan feels like he can’t keep moving on until he takes care of each one. He is a good and moral man, but he struggles with anger issues. It tore at my heartstrings when he lost control or when someone he cared about was killed.

The characters are well developed, and the author’s writing flows well. There is a lot of action and a quite a lot of description – a little more than I like, but that’s a personal preference. I like to get to the meat of the action!

This is the first book in the series, and I’m getting ready to start the second book, Enigma. I’m glad I have it because Road to the Breaking did not have closure.

About the Author

Chris A. Bennett grew up on the shores of Klamath Lake in southeastern Oregon. For a young boy it was a dream world of water, hills, forests, and abundant wildlife. His love for action and adventure morphed into a lifelong love for books when his Mom read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings to the family on a long road trip.

Chris’s thirst for adventure never faded and he began to live out his love of history onto the pages of his first book, Road to the Breaking. Once he started writing he just couldn’t stop and the result is The Road to the Breaking series; an epic journey across a young nation seething with debauchery, brutality, corruption, and political intrigue, unwittingly on the brink of an unimaginable disaster: the American Civil War.

Chris currently lives near Seattle with his wife Patricia. His three adult children Nick, Rachel, and Josh also live in the Puget Sound area.​

Connect with the Author:   website  ~ instagram ~ goodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of Chris Bennett, author of the A ROAD TO BREAKING book series! (one winner/USA only) (ends Aug 2)

Gleam

Follow the Tour

July 6 – Cover Lover Book Review – books spotlight / giveaway
July 6 – Working Mommy journal – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / giveaway
July 7 – The Momma Spot – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / giveaway
July 8 – Books for Books – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1)
July 12 – Books for Books – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2)
July 13 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / giveaway
July 13 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / giveaway
July 15 – Jazzy Book Reviews – books spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 16 – The Momma Spot – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2) / giveaway
July 19 – Splashes of Joy – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / author interview / giveaway
July 19 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / giveaway
July 20 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2) / giveaway
July 20 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2) / giveaway
July 20 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING,  Book 2) / giveaway
July 20 – fundinmental – books spotlight / giveaway
July 21 – @twilight_reader – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1)
July 21 – Literary Flits – books spotlight / giveaway
July 22 – @twilight_reader – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2)
July 22 – Character Madness and Musings – book review of ROAD TO THE BREAKING (Book 1) / guest post / giveaway  
July 23 – Splashes of Joy – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2) / giveaway
July 23 – Character Madness and Musings – book review of ENIGMA (ROAD TO THE BREAKING, Book 2) / giveaway
July 26 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

Guest Post by Carl Buccellato, author of To Every Page a Turning

Book Title:  To Every Page a Turning: One Life’s Journey
Category: Adult Fiction (18 +),  284 pages 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Mascot
Release date:   April, 2021
Content Rating:  PG. Content not suitable for young children.​ 



Book Description:

A parallel to Buccellato’s own life, the main character in To Every Page A Turning: One Life’s Journey considers the trials and tribulations throughout his life, beginning in the 1950s. Traveling through hope, a great cause, disenchantment, hopelessness, discovery, and rebirth, the novel also recounts the travel of a generation as they move through time.​

Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ B&N
add to Goodreads

Guest Post by Carl Buccellato

A Most Memorable Birthday

I suppose all birthdays are somewhat memorable just for the sake of aging one year older. The mere fact of aging, rather than the clear end, is a win.

I have often said, “I never had a birthday party as a child.” To my memory, I never did —a cake, yes, but not a party.

It was a hot evening in July of 1992. I arrived home from work after a long week of travel and meetings. I parked my car in the garage and attempted to enter the house, only to find the inside garage door locked (wise security, but not the habit at the time).

I walked around to the main entrance of my home. Entering, I heard a surge of cheers and loud cries of “SURPRISE!!” I was shocked as I look around seeing smiling faces of friends and family — some having traveled great distances to be here to surprise me and celebrate my 50th birthday.

I then notice something very odd. All of these people were dressed as children and the rooms were filled with balloons and toys, joyfully eating candies and popcorn. This was indeed a child’s party—my childhood party that I never had as a child. The menu was filled with youthful selections, PB&J sandwiches, hot dogs, tons of candy and ice cream, and dozens of toys that would later be donated to a local church. I was given a change of clothes: a t-shirt, shorts, and a cap with a propeller on top. I laughed and sang songs and just had the most wonderful time being celebrated and being a child again.

The crowning event was the presentation of my birthday cake, ablaze with candles and decorated with toy cowboys and Indians.

All in all, a great memory!

About the Author

Carl Buccellato was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1942, and is of Italian-American descent. Throughout his career and travels, Carl has met a broad array of different people. Some, down on their luck, some at the pinnacle of their careers and personal lives. Many of the people and their stories left a mark on Carl’s heart and mind. It is from some of these encounters that Carl has drawn inspiration for a few of the fictitious characters in this novel. Today, Carl resides in Coral Springs, Florida, with his wife Mary Ellen. She is an award-winning multimedia artist and speaker. Together, Carl and Mary Ellen love traveling the globe and looking for new inspiration for their gifts and talents given to them by their loving God.
​​
connect with the author: website ~ facebook  ~ youtube ~ goodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win a signed copy of TO EVERY PAGE OF TURNING! (one winner/USA only)

https://gleam.io/l3YLk/to-every-page-of-turning-book-tour-giveaway

Tour Schedule

July 6 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 6 – The Momma Spot – book spotlight / giveaway
July 7 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review / giveaway
July 8 – @twilight_reader – book review / guest post
July 8 – Kam’s Place  – book spotlight
July 9 –Bound 4 Escape – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
July 12 – Books for Books – book review
July 13 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / guest post / giveaway
July 13 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review / giveaway
July 14 – Welcome To MLM Opinions Reviews – book review
July 14 – I Read What You Write – book spotlight / giveaway
July 15 – Instagram: Read With Me – book review
July 15 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
July 16 – Splashes of Joy – book review / author interview / giveaway
July 19 – JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder – book review / guest post / giveaway