Friday, August 12, 2022

First Chapter Review: Birthright by Jeanette Baker

I received the first chapter of this women's novel from Pump Up Your Book to review during the author's virtual book tour.

BLURB: Two women on a course to confront the past, one to expose its secrets, the other to bury them. 

Claire Williams travels halfway across the globe from Southern California to Ireland to find the mother who gave her up and the questions that need answering. Norah O’Connor is equally determined to avoid revisiting the most shameful time of her life and the devastating decisions she was forced to make.

Claire’s presence fifty years later is the engine for the confrontations to come when neighbors Norah has known forever recognize Claire’s resemblance to a younger sister. Norah must face the man who fathered both her daughters, and decide to either hold the secrets that continue to embitter her or release them for the shame that will surely mark her. 

“Jeanette Baker’s award winning novels have earned her a place in the paranormal genre beside giants such as Barbara Erskine and Kristin Hannah. Now she brings her unique writing style and compelling characters to the stage of contemporary Ireland, sharing a world as alluring as its secrets are opaque.”
Lauren Royal, New York Times and USA Bestselling Author.

"Gorgeously descriptive and unforgettably moving, Baker’s novel is a wondrous journey of the heart." 

—Candi Sary, author of Magdalena 

Birthright will find a welcome place in any library strong in stories of mother/daughter relationships, Irish culture, and the special conundrums faced by adult children who seek answers to the decisions their birth parents made.”

Diane Donovan, Sr. Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

COVER: What a beautiful cover that captures the setting of part of this story so well and the connection between Claire and Norah.

FIRST CHAPTER: Norah is thinking about what a fine day it is for washing when the postman arrives to share tea and a scone, delivering a letter that could change Norah's life forever.

KEEP READING: After a short prologue told from Claire's point of view, the reader discovers Norah's world; living in Ireland, she is a married mother and grandmother. Baker draws the reader into both women's worlds right away. She writes with an air of mystery surrounding the two main characters, which hooks the reader into wanting to learn more about what happened to Norah decades ago and what Claire's family life was like. I am certainly intrigued and want to continue reading.

Release Date: June 21, 2022

Publisher: Top Reads Publishing LLC

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1970107296; 254 pages; $16.99; eBook $4.99


Barnes & Noble: 

I received a digital copy of this chapter from the author through Pump Up Your Book. This First Chapter Review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday Top Ten Hilarious Historical Book Titles


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  

Welcome back to Tuesday. I am scheduling this post ahead of time, because I am trying to stay on top of my favorite memes. This week, Top Ten Tuesday is featuring Top Ten Hilarious Book Titles. We covered funny book titles in March 2021, so I am sharing Top Ten Hilarious Historical Book Titles

What do you think of my list? What are some funny book titles you know? 

Monday, August 8, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday - Aug 8

  Welcome to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday. 


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

Welcome back to Monday. College move in countdown has really begun. Most of the shopping is done. Then it is packing everything up and marking it all. UNCW has a team of people who help with move-in day, so we have to make sure all of the Lil' Princess' boxes are clearly marked. 

Other than that, life has been work, work, and work. In addition to real estate, I will be editing an exciting project, and am finalizing the proofreading of another project for a fellow author that I hope will be published soon. 

As far as reading goes, I kept going with this one. I enjoy Charyn's writing style. My review of Big Red will appear here on September 23. 

Look for my first chapter review of Birthright by Jeanette Baker here on August 12.

Look for my review of this writing craft book here on August 25.

I am also going through this one when I have time, which isn't often.

This Christmas one is next.

After that, it is probably these.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

My physical mailbox remained empty because I have such a hard time buying books lately when I have so many unread books here. I did, however, pick up one Kindle freebie, and I earned a $5 reward toward a digital book by Karen White, so I grabbed one that I don't own on paperback.

That's it from me. Today, I will be in and out with appointments, so I will check in and visit blogs as I am able. Hope you share your new books. 

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Home to Clare Harbor Series by Jacie Middlemann


They started out as strangers…but didn’t stay that way for long… 


A devoted granddaughter willing to do whatever it takes to keep everyone safe.  Strangers who meet during the worst of conditions and become friends in the midst of chaos.  Unexpected romance under the most unlikely circumstances.  A puzzling mystery with its roots in historical events that took place centuries ago. And a storm that hides an ominous purpose that could change all their lives forever.


Sara knows before she walks into her grandparent’s home that her grandmother’s greatest fear will never be the storm or the threat it poses but instead the unknown that lays just beyond her front door. She knows too its cause and grieves that there is nothing she can do to change it.


Throughout the years of his career John has covered numerous battlefields including those that are a result of nature’s unyielding tempest.  He fears this might be the worst one yet.


Mel didn’t expect to spend more than a few days in the large house where they’d taken refuge.  She figured the storm would pass by and then they’d be off to their next assignment.  The last thing she expected was David Payne.


Despite the fact that Lance was the bane of her teenage years, Tish knows that without the help of her father’s assistant, that the trip to North Carolina likely would have been a lot more challenging than it was. She’d been unequivocally terrified but his presence gave her strength she didn’t realize she had.  She wasn’t certain how she felt about that…or him…or that he no longer irritated her the way he used to.


When Gary arrived at his family’s home in the mountains of North Carolina, he’s relieved that Sara and her grandparents along with their elderly friends are already there. But he is unable to take an easy breath until Tish finally arrives with Lance…and is not at all surprised at what he hears from Lance about their trip and the potential dangers they’d just barely been able to avoid.


He’s determined to do everything he can to keep their location safe…and unknown. Their knowledge, skills, and ingenuity are their greatest defense. For a time they would have to depend on themselves…it hadn’t take long to discover that the storm was never their greatest threat…but what is could change all their lives for the immediate future…or longer.


If you enjoy uplifting and heartfelt women’s fiction, young and older heroes and heroines filled with courage and compassion as they share joys and triumphs, and united they face and overcome tremendous challenges and tragedy, this book is for you.

Read an excerpt

“You didn’t know?” 

John wasn’t about to pretend that he had no idea what she was talking about.  

“It was pretty obvious that Ben spent a lot of his spare time with his nose in the books, but I figured it was towards a journalism degree.” 

He stared out into the darkness.  He could hear the trees moving with the wind in the distance but beyond that he couldn’t see a damn thing.  “I had no clue about the rest of it.”  

And that he knew was on him.  He’d never made the effort to learn more about the young man in all the months that he’d been working with him. 

“Grandma has a way about her.  In the right situation, people talk to her about things they usually don’t with anyone else,” Sara said quietly.  

“Sounds like it,” John said as he thought about what he’d heard.  People lost loved ones over the course of their lives.  There was no getting around that one.  

But from what they’d just heard Ben had lost everyone.  That wasn’t normal and he knew no matter how well-adjusted Ben appeared, it couldn’t be easy no matter how long ago it had been.  He was only…John sighed deeply.  He didn’t even know how old the kid was. 

“It explains how good he is with Grandma and the rest of them,” Sara said into the quiet that had again fallen between them. 


Jacie Middlemann lives in Texas with her husband and a couple of cats who believe they rule…and sometimes they do. 

When she’s not watching classic sitcoms or working on a needlework project for one of her kids, she loves to read women’s fiction and sometimes a good mystery suspense.

Jacie Middlemann will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Guest Post & Giveaway: The Inspiration Behind God’s Intervention: a second chance for humankind by Kenneth B. Little & Helen Davies


Humans are on the brink of disaster...

In the United States, President Samuel Cummings has taken the reins of a deeply divided country at a time when nuclear, chemical, biological and cyberthreats loom.

Things look bleak until God's emissary Sarah, a composite of 40 million female souls from Heaven, arrives on Earth with the message that God is intervening in human affairs to save the human race from itself. God, she explains, is the life force of the universe, the only intelligent form of energy. People who help others grow their own life force will join God in Heaven. However, many humans are more inclined toward hatred, intolerance and greed and so God is intervening to course-correct them. 

The first thing Sarah does is to announce God's edict of 'thou shalt not kill' to the world. Anyone who tries to kill another person—or who enables someone to do so—will die instead. As commander-in-chief, Cummings must call back his military troops or risk his life. He must then deal with both the fallout and benefits of the dissolution of America's military-industrial

Sarah's mission is to establish a new world order that is kinder, better and united. As she guides the world through this evolution, President Cummings begins to notice a depth in his own soul that makes him both a better man and a better leader.

Sarah remains on Earth for one year to help the world come together, and leaves behind a legacy of hope—a second chance for humankind.


Immediately on alert, and with as much bravado as he could muster, he stuttered, “What in the hell are you doing here . . . ?” He punched a button on his desk and yelped, “Security!” as loudly as he could, expecting his personal bodyguard, Don Taylor, to rush into the room and usher this intruder out posthaste . . . but Don didn’t come. 

Instead, the woman continued to stand in front of him as bright as a satellite in space. Glowing, it seemed. 

“You must leave immediately!” he shouted at her, but she appeared unperturbed by his anxiety and did not move. “Now!” he yelled again, this time with more fervor as he pointed toward the door. 

When she did not react, he slowly glanced around the room and noted an unnatural stillness. The usual electronic sounds that were part and parcel of day-to-day life—like lights buzzing and clocks ticking—were absent. It was like he was in a vacuum of some sort. He started to realize that he was alone with this woman and that no one was going to save him. 

Don’t panic, he told himself, and he calmed down a little. He glanced quickly at her and had the uncomfortable sensation that she was flitting around the room. He looked away, at the door behind her, still hoping Taylor would bust through and usher her out, but nothing happened. 

Finally, he managed to muster the words, “Where did you come from . . . ?” and then his tongue tied itself into a knot, and further speech failed him as he felt the full power of her presence.

This was no ordinary woman. She seemed to suck the oxygen from the room, leaving him light-headed, and oddly light-hearted as well. As he felt himself being somehow drawn to her, he could hear his heart beating as if in anticipation of something delightful, though his rational mind told him it was probably just due to surprise and shock. He fought to hide his odd mix of feelings from her by reminding himself that she was an intruder. The truth of the matter, he told himself sternly, is that this woman breached White House security in order to threaten me in the Oval Office.


I have been asked what inspired me to write “God’s Intervention: a second chance for humankind.”

I typically answer this question by citing the fact that I am 72 years old and an 8 year cancer survivor who is unhappy with the state in which we are leaving the world for our grandchildren but who has run out of time to actually fix any of the problems we face as a species. What else could I do but write a book that solves everything through divine intervention?

Today, I would like to add another perspective to why I wrote the book.

When I sit down and relate openly with another human being I always find common ground one-on-one. Regardless of the nationality, language, culture, sex or age of the other person, we seem to enjoy opening up to strangers and we would all like to see a better world.

So what’s the problem? Why is the world so full of hatred, intolerance and greed?

To me, a very large part of the problem is that people in groups behave differently than they do individually.

This goes back to hundreds of thousands of years of evolution during which Homo sapiens formed tribes to acquire and defend resources. The strategy was extremely successful and it wasn’t long until humans were at the top of the food chain. As a member of a successful tribe, our ancestors competed aggressively for resources to the point that they killed members of other tribes or even outliers within their own tribe when deemed necessary.

Tribes proliferate in modern societies. Street gangs are tribes. Villages are tribes. States are tribes. Countries are tribes. Religions are tribes. Companies are tribes.

Tribes differentiate themselves from other tribes and they compete with other tribes. First comes greed, then intolerance and, in the extreme, hatred.

Generally speaking, people will place the needs of their largest tribe (usually a country or a religion) above the needs of their smaller tribes. This allows societies to develop and flourish but they still fight domestically and they wage war against other super tribes from time to time. With modern weapons of mass destruction this perpetual wheel of conflict becomes unsustainable.

The only way that I can see humankind flourishing in the long term is if we come together as a species at one with itself.

That means that we humans must form super tribes that put the needs of the planet ahead of those of any individual nation, religion or other tribe.

With divine intervention and the god-like and impish Sarah as emissary, the transformation to global super tribes begins quickly and success seems possible.

But, what if divine intervention does not materialize? Could 40 million living women from every corner of the planet come together to form a multigenerational movement that would emulate Sarah’s role in course-correcting humankind? I am considering a sequel that would outline how this could be accomplished.

Get a copy of God's Intervention         











Kenneth B. Little is a 72-year-old retired business executive who is unhappy about how the state of the world has deteriorated during his lifetime. 

The human population has ballooned from one billion to nearly eight billion, and people have moved off the land into massive cities where they have no ability to survive on their own. Instead, we rely on massive electrical grids energized by power plants largely burning fossil fuel; we’ve developed industrial complexes and global transportation systems that also rely on fossil fuel; we’ve created corporate farms that promote animal cruelty and destroy the soil by overusing chemicals; we’ve decimated our ocean marine life by dragging the ocean floor; we’ve created plastics that pollute land, rivers, lakes and oceans; and, of course, we’ve created nuclear, chemical, biological and cyber weapons that are now in the hands of unstable countries and terrorist organizations. 

In short, we are racing headlong into a series of mass extinction events. 

At seventy-two, Ken felt motivated to try to create a better world for his grandchildren by writing a fiction book full of non-fiction ideas that could potentially correct many of the world’s problems. Realizing that the only two avenues toward this were themes of divine intervention or mass extinction, he chose divine intervention as the solution, creating a scenario where God could step in to save humankind. 

Ken wrote his initial manuscript during the Covid-19 lockdown, a 70,000-word overview that his wife told him read like a textbook. Deciding to see professional help, he engaged Tellwell Publishing to do a critical edit, which was performed by Tellwell editor Helen Davies.

Helen was intrigued by the storyline but, like Ken’s wife, felt it needed a lot of work to develop the characters and make it more engaging. With Tellwell’s blessing, Ken then contracted Helen to do just that. Thus began a most unusual and successful collaboration! 

Says Ken: 

Helen and I are completely different people. She is a writer, musician, and farmer. I am the grumpy old man who watches European business news when I get up at 3:00 a.m. We live as far apart as possible in Canada. She lives in Victoria on the West Coast, and I live in Fredericton on the East Coast. We have never met, yet we talked for nearly two hours on our first phone conversation. Usually, I never talk for more than five minutes with anybody on the phone. What unites us is that we share a passion for this story, and for the idea of a better, more united world. 

During the writing process, Helen routinely sent me edited chapters, one at a time, always with the tagline, “I hope you like it.” I like it very much; the story I wrote that sounded like a textbook now brings tears to my eyes. 

God’s Intervention: A Second Chance for Humankind is a story of hope.

We hope you like it.

Kenneth B. Little and Helen Davies



Kenneth B. Little and Helen Davies will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books Set in Places I’d Love to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.  

Here we are at the first Tuesday of August. I haven't participated in a Top Ten Tuesday post since the end of June. July is vacation time for us, and I just didn't seem to have the right amount of time to visit everyone, so I held off. This month's list of Top Ten Tuesday ideas sounds like fun, so I hope I can keep up.

This week we are talking about the Top Ten Books Set in Places I'd Love to Visit... 

The White Sands Hotel (Anne of Avonlea & Road to Avonlea) ~ Photo credit Sullivan Entertainment. 

White Sands is mentioned in some of the Anne novels, but taking it from memory, the White Sands Hotel was only part of the Anne of Green Gables movie (Anne gave her famous recitation of "The
Highwayman" there) and the Road to Avonlea television series. The building pictured above is an actual resort on Prince Edward Island called Dalvay by the Sea. Sullivan Entertainment used it during filming. You can read more here. I would love to visit this and other PEI sites. 

Charleston, South Carolina ~ Photo credit Getty Images. 

Many novels are set in Charleston, SC. If you spend any time here, you will already know that Karen White's Tradd Street series is set in Charleston, which inspires me to pay it a visit.

Chattahoochee, Florida ~ Photo credit City of Chattahoochee. 

As a life-long New Englander, I had never heard of Chattahoochee, Florida until I read Rhett DeVane's The Madhatter's Guide to Chocolate. One of the main characters, Hattie Davis, lived down the road from Florida's first psychiatric hospital, which was located in Chattahoochee. With trails, the river landing tour, and historic sites, I would enjoy a visit. 

Rodanthe, NC Photo credit

This one feels a little bit like a cheat, because we have been going to the Outer Banks for decades. I have to admit, however, we have only ever driven through Rodanthe on the way to other things--like the ferry dock taking us from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke Island. Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks is set here. Rodanthe is just one of the villages located on Hatteras Island. 

Alaska ~ Photo credit

Our son had the chance to visit Alaska, but we never have. I'm not sure I could tolerate the harsh winters, but a July trip might be nice. The Call of the Wild by Jack London is set in Alaska. 

Mexico Photo credit

With its rich culture, a trip to Mexico sounds like an exciting time. This is a photo of the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Everyone Knows You Go Home by Natalia Sylvester speaks to the immigrant experience and is set partially in Mexico. 

Bermuda ~ Photo credit BBC.

I visited Bermuda in high school, but I haven't been back since. I recall it being lovely with bright colored houses, few cars, and sparkling blue water. Beyond the Moonlit Sea by Julianne Maclean, which came out in June, is the story of two women whose paths collide when a pilot disappears over the Bermuda Triangle. 

Jamesport, Missouri ~ Photo credit 

Charlotte Hubbard's books feature Missouri Amish communities. I've come to adore the characters, and the descriptions of the countryside makes me yearn to visit. Jamesport has a bed and breakfast and an inn for tourists. 

Rocky Ridge Farm, Mansfield, Missouri ~ Photo credit LIW Historic Home & Museum.

The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder tell the story of a young pioneer girl growing up on the American prairie. The First Four Years, which was published after her death, spoke of the early years of Laura's married life with Almanzo. After numerous attempts at making a living, the Wilders moved to Mansfield, Missouri and worked on a forty-acre farm they called Rocky Ridge Farm. I had a chance to visit many of the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites, but I have not yet made it to Rocky Ridge Farm.

Wilder Homestead, Malone, NY ~ Photo credit

The second book in the Little House series, Farmer Boy, is about Almanzo's years growing up on a farm in upstate New York. I've never been to the Wilder Homestead, which is so silly because it is the closest site to me. 

So, that's my list. What do you think? Do we share any of the same sites? If you could only choose one from your list, which would it be?

Monday, August 1, 2022

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday - Aug 1

 Welcome to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday. 


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

Welcome to the first Monday in August. Hard to believe we are already nearing the end of summer. This week, I got a chance to visit with Yia-Yia a couple of times. We are planning a family birthday party for her. On my day off, I did some totally overdue cleaning, but I also watched a few episodes of The Good Doctor.

I think we are in good shape for the Lil' Princess' dorm room supplies. It feels so strange to be doing this. Our other two kids went to college locally, so we have never bought or packed someone up for college. I really hope she enjoys UNC Wilmington.

Not a ton of reading going on, but here is what I accomplished.

My review of this book appears at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection

My First Chapter Review of this book appeared here last week. 

I am going back and forth between the next two books, but my review of Big Red will appear here on September 23. 

Look for my review of this writing craft book on August 25.

This Christmas book with a story from Charlotte Hubbard needs to be next because I promised a review. 

After that, it is these two. 

I might try something just for fun if I get the chance. It really depends on my work schedule. With fall and Halloween coming, this might be a good choice.

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

My physical mailbox remained empty, but I picked up this book for only 99 cents on Sunday.

When investment banker Lazzaro de Medici is found dead, Professor of Biblical Studies at University of Illinois at Chicago Aiden Leonardo is the prime suspect. In possession of an encrypted letter given to him by Lazzaro, Aiden utilizes his extensive knowledge of Scripture to piece together clues that lead to a Lost Bible dating back to the time of Christ.

Hidden within the text is an ancient truth about the most controversial message Jesus left to His disciples. But as Aiden embarks on his quest to unravel the mystery of redemption and faith, a secret organization known only as The Group hunts him down to destroy the Lost Bible and tie up loose ends.

With the help of his fiancé Dr. Miriam Levin-a cultural anthropologist and a professor of historical archaeology in her own right, their friend Nagi, a philologist, religious historian and an eccentric cryptographer, Aiden soon realizes the Lost Bible was written by the only disciple who walked with Jesus and had his gospel omitted from Scripture.

Things are further complicated when a mysterious stranger warns Aiden that possessing the secret of heaven could cost him his life. Pursued by the F.B.I. for the ancient Black market relic and the Chicago PD in connection to the murder of Lazzaro de Medici, Aiden races against the clock to prove his innocence and fulfill his mentor's dying wish. Expose the secret of heaven...

Doesn't this sound like a fabulous novel? 

What are you reading these days? Anything I should add to my list.