Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review: Winter Warning by Jerome Charyn (Giveaway)

Isaac Sidel returns in this superb novel by Jerome Charyn.

Former New York police commissioner and mayor Isaac Sidel accidentally finds himself in the Oval Office. Not the typical President of the free world, he upsets a lot of apple carts on both sides of the political aisle. Is there any wonder there is a secret lottery to determine the exact date of Sidel's death? With a group of unusual allies, Sidel must outrun the lottery to save himself.

Winter Warning is not my first Sidel novel. Blue Eyes introduced me to Sidel who had fallen from grace due to a corruption scandal. While I haven't read the books in the series between Blue Eyes and Winter Warning, Sidel came right back to life for me the minute I opened the page of this final book in the series.

Raw, edgy, humorous, and action packed, you know you can expect the unexpected from the street cop who winds up Commander in Chief. The reader can't help in some ways draw parallels to our current political arena; except its the "Decade of Greed" instead of the Trump era.

Having read Charyn more than once, I can never decide if his ability to develop the perfect setting or his talent at creating such captivating characters is his greatest strength. As one who enjoys the psychology of characters, Charyn's novels provide tons of fodder for me to consider why certain characters act the way they do. With every book, I can't help but dive right in and be pulled deeper and deeper into the story's murky depths.

Winter Warning is a fascinating conclusion to the Sidel series.

Prices/Formats: $25.95 ebook, $25.95 paperback
Genre: Political, Espionage, Thriller
Pages: 256
Release: October 1, 2017
Publisher: Pegasus
ISBN: 9781681773483

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

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Jerome Charyn published his first novel in 1964. He's the author of Johnny One-Eye, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, I Am Abraham, and dozens of other acclaimed novels as well as nonfiction works. His short stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Paris Review, American Scholar, Epoch, and Ellery Queen. Charyn's popular crime novels featuring homicide detective Isaac Sidel inspired a new animated drama series: Hard Apple debuts on the small screen in 2017, helmed by Hollywood insider James Gray (The Immigrants) and illustrated by famed artists Asaf and Tomer Hanuka. Charyn lives in Greenwich Village, New York. 

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GIVEAWAY ($10 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash)

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Book Blast and Giveaway: Her Final Watch by Marguerite Ashton

Author: Marguerite Ashton
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Pages: 296
Genre: Crime

Speaking second-hand truths can be deadly …

Detective Lily Blanchette will stop at nothing to solve a murder. Her current case involves the killing of an undercover cop working to bring down the mob for prostitution and drugs.

But Lily’s usual laser-like focus on the case has been disrupted.

Two weeks earlier, she learned she was pregnant by her murderous husband whom she’d killed in self-defense. Unsure whether to keep her baby or place the child of this cruel man up for adoption, Lily keeps the pregnancy a secret from her colleagues.

Under mounting pressure to solve the case, Lily arranges a sit-down with a local mob boss only to find out her suspect is also wanted by them. But before Lily can warn her team, she and her new partner, Jeremiah, are shot at, and another body is found.

When she discovers Jeremiah has a connection with the underworld, she is pulled into a conflict that swirls around the boss’s son who’s hell-bent on revenge.

To add to the complexity of the situation, Lily learns that her victim might still be alive if it wasn’t for opportunistic Assistant District Attorney, Ibee Walters, who has a twisted vision of justice.
As Lily gets closer to finding the killer, she unravels ugly secrets that point to Ibee and Jeremiah – placing Lily’s life and her unborn child in danger.

When Marguerite Ashton was in her twenties, she took up acting but realized she preferred to work behind the camera, writing crime fiction. A few years later, she married an IT Geek and settled down with her role as wife, mom, and writer. Five kids later, she founded the Crime Writer’s Panel and began working with former law enforcement investigators to create; Criminal Lines Blog, an online library for crime writers who need help with their book research.

She’s a workaholic who hides in her writer’s attic, plotting out her next book and stalking Pinterest for the next avocado recipe.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Marguerite grew up in Colorado, but is now happily living in Wisconsin and playing as much golf as possible.


Marguerite Ashton is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter
  • This giveaway ends midnight October 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on November 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


Guest Blogger: Mary Elizabeth Briscoe, Author of The First Signs of April

Wounds fester and spread in the darkness of silence. The swirling reds, oranges, and yellows of fall’s foliage dance alongside Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe like flames as she tears through the winding back roads of the Northeast Kingdom, Vermont. Desperate to outrun memories that flood her mind, no matter how hard she rolls her motorcycle’s throttle, she cannot escape them.

Shut down and disconnected, Briscoe has lived her life in silence in order to stay alive. Her grief is buried, and shame is the skin that wraps around her bones—but then, following the brutal murder of a local teacher, she is forced as a grief counselor to face her lifetime of unresolved sorrow. Will she finally be able to crack the hard edges of her heart and allow in the light of truth so real healing can occur?

What Happens in This Space of Mine

One of the things I like most about writing is its solitary nature. So, to ask me to discuss my writing habits and process is a bit like peeking into my sacred writing world. But, okay, I am willing expose the truth of what happens in this space of mine and what doesn’t.

My habits are less than disciplined I’m afraid. Sometimes days pass without a single word written. I often talk about how I need to be writing, but there are times it takes a good deal of shutting out the rest of the world enough to settle into my writing space-both literally and figuratively. In fact, just in the short time I’ve been writing this I’ve taken the dog out, graded assignments for a course I’m teaching-you see where I’m going. I’m often easily distracted. I do carry a journal and a pen everywhere I go because great ideas seem to hit at the oddest of times and places. So, my writing space can be anywhere, though I’m partial to a window seat and of course my office and desk. Once I get into my own groove, which includes setting the intention for my writing, some quiet instrumental music in the background, and occasionally staring out a window, I am able to find inspiration either through force of will or opening to it from within and I begin.

Unlike most people, I still prefer to write long hand. As a therapist who has used therapeutic writing in my work with clients, I know the benefits of writing in this manner. Besides, I’m a “technophobe” so I dread using the computer. Once I begin to put pen to paper, my words flow almost effortlessly and can carry me along for hours. There’s an adrenaline rush that comes and lifts my spirits and excites me with the passion that I have for this work. These are the moments that keep me coming back. I crave it and once I can settle myself into the rhythm its like nothing else I have ever known and I can’t wait to spend time with my characters, my stories my ideas.

So, my habits are less than ideal I suppose, but I manage to make it all work for myself, and produce and that’s all that matters in the end.

Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe is a licensed mental health counselor currently on sabbatical from her private psychotherapy practice in northeastern Vermont. She currently spends her time between Cape Cod, Vermont, and Ireland. She has a masters degree in clinical mental health counseling from Lesley University and is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and a Certified Trauma Professional. She has been a lecturer for Springfield College School of Professional and Continuing Studies St. Johnsbury, Vermont campus. She has contributed to Cape Woman Online and Sweatpants and Coffee magazine. This is her first book.  Visit her website, her Facebook, and on Twitter.

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Book Spotlight: Night in Jerusalem by Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy

Author: Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy
Publisher: PKZ Inc.
Pages: 246
Genre: Historical Romance

A bewitching love story that is also an extraordinary portrait of Jerusalem, its faith, spirituality, identity, and kaleidoscope of clashing beliefs, Night in Jerusalem is a novel of mystery, beauty, historical insight, and sexual passion.
David Bennett is invited to Jerusalem in 1967 by his cousin who, to the alarm of his aristocratic British family, has embraced Judaism. He introduces David to his mentor, Reb Eli, a revered sage in the orthodox community. Despite his resistance to religious teaching, David becomes enthralled by the rabbi’s wisdom and compassionate presence. When David discloses a sexual problem, Reb Eli unwittingly sets off a chain of events that transforms his life and the life of the mysterious prostitute, Tamar, who, in a reprise of an ancient biblical story, leads both men to an astonishing realization. As passions rise, the Six Day War erupts, reshaping the lives of everyone caught up in it.


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David lay awake thinking about Anat. He was intimidated by her sexuality, but also fascinated by her free spirit and daunting intelligence. He had never met anyone like her. He wondered if Jonathan and the others knew she preferred women lovers, and why she had confided in him. He became anxious, thinking perhaps she sensed he had sexual issues and was someone she could easily manipulate. 
Earlier, out on the roof, he had asked her why she preferred women. She had answered simply, “For the same reasons you do,” then adding, “I find women more interesting intellectually, as well as sexually.” 

Her directness was equal parts frightening and exciting. He wanted to know her better. Perhaps, with her, he could get over his sexual problem. The truth was, he desired her as much as he found her intimidating.

Gaelle Lehrer Kennedy worked as an actress and writer in film and television in the United States and IsraelNight in Jerusalem is her debut novel, which she has adapted to film. She lives in Ojai California with her husband and daughter.

She writes, “I lived in Israel in the 1960s, a naive twenty-year-old, hoping to find myself and my place in the world. The possibility of war was remote to me. I imagined the tensions in the region would somehow be resolved peacefully. Then, the Six Day War erupted and I experienced it firsthand in Jerusalem.

I have drawn Night in Jerusalem from my experiences during that time. The historical events portrayed in the novel are accurate. The characters are based on people I knew in the city. Like me, they were struggling to make sense of their lives, responding to inherited challenges they could not escape that shaped their destiny in ways they and the entire Middle East could not have imagined.

I have always been intrigued by the miraculous. How and where the soul’s journey leads and how it reveals its destiny. How two people who are destined, even under the threat of war and extinction, can find one another.

Israel’s Six Day War is not a fiction; neither was the miracle of its victory. What better time to discover love through intrigue, passion, and the miraculous.

Writing this story was in part reliving my history in Israel, in part a mystical adventure. I am grateful that so many who have read Night In Jerusalem have experienced this as well.”



Thursday, October 12, 2017

New Release: Christmas Babies on Main Street by the Authors of Main Street

Nine individual stories from the bestselling Authors of Main Street - New for the 2017 Christmas Season!

This year, Authors of Main Street have combined their talents to bring you stories about love, the holidays, and babies. And not all of our babies have pudgy fingers and adorable of them has hooves and a mane!

Baby Blue Christmas - Kristy Tate

After a tragic accident claims the lives of baby Jamison’s parents, custody is awarded to both his aunt Sophie Rossi and his uncle Luke Mason. With Luke nowhere to be found, Sophie quits her demanding job with a prestigious law firm in San Francisco and moves into her sister’s farmhouse in Shell Beach to care for Jamison. After six months, she is doing the best she can, but mostly feels like an imposter trying to fit into her sister’s too big shoes. Still, when Luke Mason resurfaces and wants to be a part of Jamison’s life—and therefore Sophie’s—she resents his long absence and interference. Plus, she hasn’t really forgiven him for his teasing when they were in high school.

But as Christmas nears, Sophie and Luke’s shared concern for Jamison begins to draw them together, forcing both of them to rethink their plans for the future and to redefine their ideas of a family.

The Christmas Stocking - Carol DeVaney

Ellie had never wanted to settle for less than a happy home and the sound of pitter-patter dancing across her floors…but she had. Ryan Newsome had married her only to give him babies. One week after her second miscarriage, Ryan took the cowards way out and walked away.
Little did Ellie know, God was about to intervene.

Baby Steps and Snow Flakes - Jill James

After more than a decade as a foster parent, all Krista Green wants is to become a mother.
When Max Evans drops into her lap just before Christmas, she believes this is the one she gets to keep.

Morgan Fieldcrest finds out he has a child, and all he wants is to be a father to baby Max.
The only thing standing in his way is Krista and her distrust of anyone with the Fieldcrest name.
They will need baby steps and Christmas magic to work their way toward each other
in the pursuit of the best for baby Max.  

A Sister's Christmas Gift - E. Ayers

Naval officer Craig Jenski returns home on leave to discover his on-again-off-again would-be girlfriend has been tragically killed. He also discovers she has a twin sister who is now the guardian of a baby he didn’t know existed. His suspicions that the child is his prompt him to become a part of Brandy’s life, perhaps more so than he’d originally intended.

Lena Takes a Foal - Lizzi Tremayne

If there is one thing a veterinary school faculty of frowns upon, it's a relationship between a resident and a oil and water, they just don't mix.

After a messy divorce, Kit Allen returns to his first loves -horses and his old veterinary school alma mater. Determined to earn a tenure track position, he excels at imparting his knowledge to students.
Becoming involved with anything but a pager—ever—isn't in the cards. Especially a talented and beautiful student in need of his help.

When Lena Scott’s horse lands on her, upside down, it has to be the dashing new resident, Kit, who finds her. Self-reliant she may be, but she's not bullet proof! She swore off relationships after her last romantic disaster and vowed to concentrate on graduating from vet school—and it's not yet a sure thing. Besides, she has more important things to think about than sea-green eyes and rugged good looks.

Lena has a secret…

A Family Christmas - Jude Knight

Trevor is heading home for Christmas, after three years undercover investigating a global criminal organization. He hasn’t spoken to his sister and grandfather since the case began. He hasn’t spoken to Kirilee, his target’s sister, since the day nearly nine months ago he married her and helped her escape. Will she want to stay married? And if so, will he?

In the heart of a storm, two people from different worlds question what divides and what unites them.
Small Town Christmas Baby - Stephanie Queen

Julie and Jack are excited about having a baby until a long-ago secret threatens to create a deep divide between their mothers. Can Julie count on Jack to come up with a Christmas miracle to keep them all together? 

Christmas in Eastport - Susan R. Hughes

A holiday visit to her hometown of Eastport brings Carly Nolan face-to-face with a part of her past she’d rather forget. That face belongs to Mitch Logan, the boy who broke her heart when they were seventeen. When their reunion leads to one passionate night, Carly is convinced that Mitch has changed and dreams of a fresh start with her first love. But after rumors and revelations shatter her illusions, she resolves to leave Mitch in her past for good—a pledge that becomes impossible to keep when it turns out there are not just two hearts on the line, but three.

Christmas in July - Leigh Morgan

Madelyn Grace recently returned to Door County, Wisconsin after twenty-five years away to try to renew her relationship with her daughter, Dr. Julie Grace. Drew Selleck, Sheriff of Fish Creek, never left The Door and never lost his love for Maddy. When they get together, old flames re-kindle, and long-held secrets are revealed.

For Drew, Maddy’s return in July was just the Christmas present he needed.

Available now for only 99 cents! Order here!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Book Spotlight: Death Comes by Sue Hallgarth

Death Comes gives us another glimpse into the life and work of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and her talented life partner. The year is 1926. Willa and Edith return to Mabel Dodge Luhan’s pink adobe in Taos, New Mexico. Willa is writing Death Comes for the Archbishop. Edith is sketching Taos Pueblo and hoping for a visit to the nearby D.H. Lawrence ranch. The previous summer they had stumbled onto a woman’s body. Now the headless bodies of two women add to the mystery. Sue Hallgarth presents an intimate portrait of Cather, Lewis, the spectacular New Mexico landscape, and the famous artists and writers Mabel Dodge Luhan gathered in Taos.

Sue Hallgarth is former English professor. She has written scholarly articles on Willa Cather and Edith Lewis, and this is her second book of fiction featuring the two of them. Her first book in the series On The Rocks, set in 1929 on the island of Grand Manan in New Brunswick, Canada. She lives in Corrales, New Mexico.

Blog Tour Schedule:
Oct. 11: The Book Connection (Book Spotlight)
Oct. 12: Debra Smouse (Review)
Oct. 14: Teddy Rose Book Reviews and Plus More (Book Spotlight/Giveaway)
Oct. 17: Jorie Loves A Story (Review On the Rocks)
Oct. 18: Jorie Loves A Story (Review Death Comes)
Oct. 19: Modern Creative Life (Interview)
Oct. 25: Silver's Reviews (Book Spotlight/Giveaway)
Oct. 30: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)
Nov. 2: Jorie Loves A Story (Interview)
Nov. 6: CelticLady's Reviews (Book Spotlight)

Nov. 8: Donna’s Book Reviews (Review)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Review: Kin Types by Luanne Castle

Emotional and gripping, Kin Types by Luanne Castle is a collection unlike anything I've ever read before. At moments heart wrenching, at moments disturbing, these powerful glimpses into the lives of the women and men from Castle's family history will grab you right away.

While part of me hoped for more lighter moments, the reality is that our ancestors lived in dangerous, difficult times. Castle captures that reality so well with her poetry and prose. She writes a fascinating blog on family history at The Family Kalamazoo. Kin Types is a wonderful new way to bring those people to life for others.

Paperback: 44 pages
Publisher: Finishing Line Press (July 14, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1635342546
ISBN-13: 978-1635342543

Book trailer:

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Winner of the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, Doll God, Luanne Castle‘s first collection of poetry, was published by Aldrich Press. Luanne’s poetry and prose have appeared in Grist, Copper Nickel, River Teeth, Glass Poetry Press, Barnstorm Journal, Six Hens, Lunch Ticket, The Review Review, and many other journals. Published by Finishing Line Press, Kin Types was a semi-finalist in the Concrete Wolf chapbook contest.

Luanne has been a Fellow at the Center for Ideas and Society at the University of California, Riverside. She studied English and creative writing at the University of California, Riverside (Ph.D.); Western Michigan University (MFA); and the Stanford University writing certificate program. Her scholarly work has been published in academic journals, and she contributed to Twice-Told Children’s Tales: The Influence of Childhood Reading on Writers for Adults, edited by Betty Greenway. For fifteen years, she taught college English. She divides her time between California and Arizona, where she shares land with a herd of javelina. Visit her website.

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