Guest Post by Eric Burkhart – 5 Star Author of Mukhabarat Baby! My Life Spy for the CIA

Mukhabarat Baby!

 

Guest Post by Eric Burkhart

When I first landed in Baghdad in 2003, I was immediately impressed by the international flavor of the city.  I expected to hear nothing but Arabic being spoken in the markets and restaurants, but I was way off-base.  Baghdad is one of the world’s oldest cities, and is still home to a small Catholic community, a neighborhood of Assyrians, and a few Orthodox Churches. I was never able to find a Jewish Temple, but locals assured that a Jewish community continued to exist. All these cultures, and in particular the different languages, can make the job of a CIA Case a Officer very difficult. The Agency is very good about teaching it’s officers to be bi and sometimes trilingual, but I was hired with a fluency in Spanish, French and Afrikaans.  After my initial training was complete, the last thing I wanted was to go back into a classroom for a year and learn a language.  In hindsight, I which I had taken advantage of the Agency’s phenomenal Arabic instruction.  In fact, back in 2003, right off the plane, as I was settling down into my new living quarters and thinking about the work environment, I was truly regretting not having learned Arabic.

 

My responsibility as a CIA Case a Officer in Iraq in 2003, was to develop sources in the local community who could provide confidential information that would ideally allow us to keep our soldiers safe.This effort was called “Force Protection”, and I was never more proud as an Agency Officer than when I was part of this effort to disrupt the efforts of the Extremists to attack U.S. military targets and friendly Iraqi non-combatants. Speaking Arabic would be an invaluable tool to any Case Officer working in this part of the world. Upon arrival in the Green Zone, even before locating my quarters, I was lucky enough to meet three brothers who were working on contract with the CIA to act as translators. Having a good number of translators, or linguists, is very important. We did have a few Arabic speakers, but at the time the Case a Officer Cadre was stretched to the limit, and Arabic speakers were a wanted commodity. With welcome foresight, the Agency made arrangements to hire Arabic speakers to assist us in our interviews and debriefings. I became close friends with the Yonen brothers, who I mentioned earlier. Or seemed that no matter how busy we were, one Yonen brother was always on hand to assist me.

 

The Yonen brothers were Assyrian, and all three had been born in Baghdad. The family emigrated to the United States just after a World War Two. The oldest brother was 82, the second oldest was 79, and the youngest was 75.  As seems to be common with immigrants from that generation, the Yonens were tremendous patriots. Everyone at the CIA facility in Baghdad soon became familiar with the brothers, who were very charming. I recall one conversation I had over breakfast with the oldest brother. I asked him why he and his brothers would want this kind of work, especially at this age. It turns out that the brothers were ordered to apply for the linguist positions by their father Papa Yonen, who was still alive somewhere in Northern Virginia. You see, sometime within the last few decades, the U.S.-based branch of the Yonens lost contact with their family still living in Baghdad. Papa Yonen had instructed his sons to do whatever they could to find the old family. Not surprisingly, the brothers came to me and my sidekick Mark, and asked us if we could help. Only Case Officers were allowed out of the Green Zone, so they had correctly assessed that we were their only hope. I put the word out to all my local contacts, hoping that someone was aware of the existence of a Christian Assyrian community deep in the bowels of ancient Baghdad. It wasn’t until just before Christmas, 2003, that one of my most trusted assets called me to say that he had accidentally stumbled upon a crumbling Church that appeared to be Assyrian. Mark and I wasted no time in taking directions and heading out into uncharted Baghdad to discover if there might be some small hope of reconnecting the Yonens to their kin.

 

Did I mention that at the time, Baghdad had no street signs (not that I would have been able to read them in Arabic)? Mark and I had become experts at getting from point A to point B by using visual landmarks. We found the Church, but the area surrounding the building appeared very dicey.  It was an extremely poor community, and it was impossible to see where some dwellings started and others ended.  The roads had long-ago disappeared, and avoiding crater-sized pot-holes became essential for keeping our axel intact. When Mark and I returned to the Green Zone and reported to the Yonens, they were in no was dissuaded from their mission.  We explained that it was dangerous, and even though it appeared that the community was at some Assyrian, that we had been unable to identify the ethnicities of anyone. At that point, the oldest Yonen stood up, and announced that if we weren’t going to help, that he and his brothers would just walk to the Church for Christmas Eve services (the next day). So Mark and I went to my boss, and asked for permission to take the three Yonens out of the Green Zone and into the depths of ancient Baghdad, on a likely goose-chase looking for long-lost relatives. I was shocked when he told me to do what I thought was right, but I was on my own if things went south.

 

The next day was indeed Christmas Eve. I was beginning to worry because so far everything has gone smoothly. I’m always expecting a hiccup somewhere, and driving into a ramshackle, broken down neighborhood in Baghdad with our three passengers presented all sorts of opportunities for trouble. But everything was fine. Mark had no problems remembering the way to the street with the Church, and we were able to park about two houses down, directly in front of a large, very old home. Mark agreed to wait with the vehicle while I went to the Church with the Yonens. They were hoping to at least speak to the priest and hopefully get some information on their family. But as the Yonens stepped out of our vehicle, the oldest one stopped and just stared at the house in front of which we were parked. At about the same time, an army of people started filing out of the front door of the house, and approached us. I do not speak Assyrian but the emotions that were filling the air that afternoon, the love, the joy of the moment made it obvious to both myself and Mark, that we had managed to park right in front of a relative’s home. What was most astonishing to us was how quickly they all recognized each other. And oh how quickly that little community which previously had seemed so destitute and foreboding, was transformed into a place of rejoicing. When Mark and I were ushered into the home, I was pleased to see that as run down as the home looked in the outside, inside it was warm and welcoming and full of love. I remember eating some of the most delicious homemade bread before Mark and I made arrangements with the Yonens to pick them up the next morning, and said our goodbyes to so many new friends.

 

The Yonens ended their contract not long after, which I had expected. They had fulfilled Papa Yonen’s instructions, and re-established contact with the family in Baghdad. That Christmas Eve, after leaving the Yonens with their family, Mark and I stopped at the U.S. Army chapel at the Coalition Provisional Authority Headquarters, hoping to catch a service. We were lucky enough to make an early Midnight Mass service (there were four scheduled that evening, beginning at 6:00 pm). I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas, but that particular 2003 Christmas Eve in Baghdad is special, because I feel like I was part of the miracle.

 

AUTHOR WITH PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH Sr.

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NOTE FROM ME:

I posted my review of this book as my blogpost before this one.

The book is an absolute MUST READ!!! Think y0u have an idea of what being a spy for the CIA is all about? Think again!

Eric has endured (and continues to endure) many hardships because of his career as a spy. He deserves to be recognized for his incredible bravery and his selfless dedication to his country. He also deserves to be respected and thanked. So, even though I am Canadian, I want to thank Eric for his service to keep the rest of us safe from some VERY EVIL people.

 

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5 Stars for Mukhabarat, Baby! My Life as a Wartime Spy for the CIA by Eric Burkhart – BLOG TOUR,

Mukhabarat Baby!

Book Description for Mukhabarat, Baby!:

This is the story of a young American who would eventually fulfill his dream of becoming a CIA Case Officer, only to have a promising career cut short after having been purposely poisoned by a contact.

Eric Burkhart was raised in Europe in a bilingual household, and accepted a job in Africa right out of college. Upon his return to the United States, he was hired as an Immigration Agent in Laredo, Texas, working Inspections on one of the busiest port-of-entries connecting the United States and Mexico. This experience is detailed in this humorous, occasionally heartbreaking memoir about choosing to be a survivor.

In 2000, Burkhart accepted a position as a Case Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. The book includes details of both the notoriously arduous hiring process and the rigorous training program, including Burkhart’s eventual successful completion of the Espionage Course taught at the famous “Farm”. Burkhart’s first overseas working experience was in war-torn Kosovo, where he was unwittingly poisoned by an unstable intelligence contact. Burkhart would struggle with the repercussions of this episode for the remainder of his career, and eventually be obliged to accept full medical retirement from the CIA.

However, before retiring, Burkhart completed tours in Iraq and Africa. His time spent in the Green Zone almost immediately following the occupation of Baghdad, constitutes the majority of this enlightening book. Burkhart exposes the reader to the human element within the CIA, and we are introduced to a variety of characters, some who will seem familiar, and some who reveal the eccentricities we expect with this kind of occupation.

Follow Burkhart through the battlefields of Iraq, past the Iraqi Insurgency, and to his next assignment in Africa. Burkhart leaves no emotion unexpressed as he details his medical struggles with the horrific damage caused to his body from Toxic Exposure. Wracked by pain, Burkhart reaches the point where he must consider quality of life issues, and has to accept retirement as a necessary decision. Burkhart has a story to tell, and leaves no stone unturned during this turbulent time both in his life, and in our history.

Buy the book:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble

Author’s Bio:

Eric Burkhart

Eric Burkhart was born in North Carolina in 1965, and raised in France by his mother while his father was serving in Vietnam. Eric’s parents retired to San Antonio, Texas in 1978, and Eric has considered himself a Texan since that time.

​After completing college, Burkhart relocated to South Africa for a job in community planning and design. After returning to the United States in 1994, Eric started a career in federal service by becoming a Federal Agent. In 1999 he moved over to the CIA, which became his passion and focus in life. After being poisoned by while working in Kosovo in 2001, Burkhart was eventually obliged to medically retire, but not before extending his career to include tours in Iraq and Africa. Mukhabarat, Baby! is Burkhart’s first book.

Connect with the author:  Website  Twitter   Facebook

MY REVIEW:

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

~ I received a free copy of this book through the iRead Book Tours program in exchange for an honest review.

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of books written by or about soldiers fighting in the war on terror, and those books are important. BUT the public seems to forget that those soldiers cannot fight the war without intelligence. That intelligence comes from people who risk their lives on a daily basis to infiltrate the enemy infrastructure. Without people like Eric Burkhart, Osama Bin Laden and many other evil men would still be alive and in hiding.

It seems to me that soldiers get the thanks and respect of the general public, and we forget about those who work diligently behind enemy lines. Eric Burkhart is one of those people. He deserves the thanks, the love and the respect of the general public. He has definitely earned it. In fact, he deserves so much more. Once you read this book, I have no doubt that you will agree with me.

This book shocked me. I was greatly impressed by the quality of the writing and the inclusion of numerous anecdotes.

Eric Burkhart has led an extremely interesting life. This book follows his career as a CIA Spy in one of the most dangerous places on earth.

Eric has a gift for describing people which allows the reader to feel as if they actually know the person he is writing about.

Eric is lucky to be alive. He was basically one suicide bomber or sniper bullet away from death every single day, for years. I cannot imagine the stress that knowledge must have caused Eric. But, to his credit, he never allowed that stress to impact how he did his job.

The ending of this book both surprised me and really made me angry. I do not want to ruin the story for anyone, so I won’t mention what it is that angered me, but I suggest that you read this book to find out.

Although I am a Canadian, not an American, due to the close ties of our two countries, I would like to personally thank Eric for his work toward eliminating the terrorists that are a plague against humanity. Your efforts and dedication are greatly appreciated and I wish you all the best in the future and I wish you good health and happiness and a pain-free future.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The only negative comment that I have relates to the cover. The Arabic script is a turn-off for potential readers. In fact, when I received this book in the mail I initially put it aside because the Arabic on the cover turned me off.

However, I am VERY glad that I decided to read this book because I enjoyed it immensely and I highly recommend adding this book to your MUST READ list.

5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

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Prizes:

Win 1 of 10 print copies of Mukhabarat, Baby!

My Life as a Wartime Spy for the CIA (USA & Canada)

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Feb 22 –   Olio by Marilyn – review / author interview

Feb 23 –   Amie’s Book Reviews – review / guest post / giveaway

Feb 23 –   Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – review

Feb 24 –   Corinne Rodrigues – review / giveaway

Feb 25 –   Heidi’s Wanderings – review / giveaway

Feb 26 –   Library Educated – review

Feb 26 –   Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – author interview

Feb 29 –   Book Reviews Nature Photos and Everything Between – review

​March 1 – Puddletown Reviews – review / guest post / giveaway

March 1 – Book Nerd – review

March 2 – A Blue Million Books – book spotlight /author interview / giveaway

March 2 – Ali – The Dragon Slayer – review / guest post

March 3 – The World As I See It – review / giveaway

​March 4 – One Frugal Girl – review / giveaway

5 Hilarious Stars for FOWL LANGUAGE by Brian Gordon – New Release Book Review

FOWL LANGUAGE Cover Pic

Title: FOWL LANGUAGE: Welcome to Parenting

Author: BRIAN GORDON

Type of Book: Paperback

Length: 126 pages

Genre: Humor, Parenting

Price: $14.99 USD / $16.99 CDN

Release Date: MARCH 22, 2016

Publisher: ANDREWS McMEEL PUBLISHING

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

~ I received a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

When you first find out that you are going to be a parent, most people are ecstatic. They have visions of becoming the perfect family and think that since they have read multiple  parenting books they are fully prepared. Ha! They Wish!

It’s only after they get their “little bundle of joy” home, that they realize that parenting is not as easy as they had thought.

As the child (or children) grow, parents are faced with hundreds (if not thousands) of situations that we’re definitely NOT covered in any parenting book.

FOWL LANGUAGE FLIP-OFF-KIDS

Comic Creator and Illustrator, Brian Gordon has taken his parenting experiences and created hilarious (and true to life) comics. Those comics are now available in this amazingly funny book.

My children are no longer little. However I still vividly remember them being babies and as small children, so I can relate to every comic included in this hilarious collection.

The comic that I  loved the most, and that I actually laughed out loud to, is titled:
“Returning To Work After A Long Weekend.”

FOWL LANGUAGElong-weekend

Any parent who cannot relate to the comics in this book is either lying to themselves or is a from a town named Stepford.

Brian Gordon has taken all the joy and all the frustrations of parenthood and used those unforgettable moments to create a wickedly funny collection of comics for grownups. It is the perfect antidote to a stress-filled day dealing with your children.

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I think that this would make the perfect gift for anyone who has kids, whether they are still young or have already grown up and moved out on their own. Either way, the recipient is guaranteed some chuckles and even a few all-out ‘belly-laughs’. It is because of this that I feel that this book deserves a rating of 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

CHARACTERS IN THE COMICS: (obtained from www.fowllanguagecomics.com)

DICKY PATTERN

Dicky is a loving father, a devoted husband, a dutiful brother and an all-around nervous wreck. Life is hard for our hero.

tommy

Tommy is not only Dicky’s brother, he’s his next door neighbor. Unlike his more domestically inclined brother, Tommy has chosen the path of perpetual bachelorhood.

JACKIE

Jackie is Dicky’s wife and is, by all accounts, a saint for having put up with him for all these years.

CHAMP & MISSY

Champ And Missy are Dicky and Jackie’s 5 year old son and 2 year old daughter. They are both Dicky’s reason to live and the reason he can barely drag himself out of bed in the morning.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Fowl Language shirt

Brian Gordon  decided in kindergarten that he wanted to be a cartoonist. His classmates had equally unrealistic life goals, like becoming superheroes or princesses, but Brian was more tenacious.

So far, things are working out okay. Secret to his success? He sucks worse at everything else. You get a lot of drawing done when Plan B is “Starve To Death.”

His comics are largely inspired by his struggles as a parent, his fascination with technology, science and all things geeky. Oh, and a constant, crushing wave of self-doubt and anxiety. That’s a big source of inspiration, too.

It’s good work if you can get it.

Follow him on Twitter
https://twitter.com/fowlcomics

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Visit the Fowl Language Facebook Page

Visit the Official website of Fowl Language Comics
http://www.fowllanguagecomics.com/

Fowl Language girl dressed herself

 

5 Stars for A TALE OF TWO MOMMIES by Vanita Oelschlager – CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW

A Tale of Two Mommies Cover Art

Title: A TALE OF TWO MOMMIES

Author: Vanita Oelschlager

Illustrator: Mike Blanc

Length: 40 Pages

Genre: Children’ s Fiction, LGBTQ Awareness for children

Target Readership: This book is appropriate for children from Kindergarten to Grade 4 – Ages: 4-8 years

Edition: Hardcover

Publisher: VANITA BOOKS

Release Date: September 1, 2011

ISBN: 9780982636664

Price: $15.95

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars *****

 

OFFICIAL BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A Tale of Two Mommies is a beach conversation among three children. One boy asks another boy about having two mommies. A young girl listening in asks some questions too. True to a child’s curiosity, practical questions follow. “Which mom is there when you want to go fishing? / Which mom helps out when Kitty goes missing?” To which he answers: “Mommy helps when I want to go fishing. / Both Mommies help when Kitty goes missing.”

This book lets us look inside one non-traditional family, a same sex couple and their son. As the children talk, it’s clear this boy lives in a nurturing environment where the biggest issues are the everyday challenges of growing up.

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MY REVIEW:

This book was written by Vanita Oelschlager. Previously, she authored the book “A Tale of Two Daddies” and decided that it was important to write these children’s books so that they could be used/read aloud not only by parents, but also by librarians and teachers. In fact, if you visit the Publisher’s website you can download (for free) “An Educator’s Guide” to “A Tale of Two Mommies.” This guide is amazing and helps parents and teachers learn how to answer questions asked by their children regarding same sex parents. It also is a guide to how the subject of same sex parents can be talked about in a non-threatening way.

Firstly I want to talk about the gorgeous illustrations in this book. Mike Blanc has done a truly great job creating cute but also realistic child characters. The way he has shaped their faces gives them  friendly countenance. The fact that the three children in the book are all obviously friends despite the fact that the girl is Caucasian and one of the boys is Asian and the other is African-American is very nice to see. Children do not notice race or colour, they just see potential friends and playmates and his book reflects that fact.

This book takes place on a visit to the beach. The kid’s are asking their friend questions about his two moms. He calls one Mom “Momma” and the other “Mommie”

The kids ask: “Which Mom coaches your T-ball team? Which Mom’s there when you’ve have a bad dream?”

To which he responds: “Mommy is the coach of my T-ball team. Both Mommies are there when I’ve had a bad dream?”

The rhyming, lyrical quality to the writing is perfect for the target age group and I believe they will love to have this book read to them. It is a great way to open up a discussion about the many types of families that exist in today’s society.

The illustrations never include the moms, you see a bit of their hands, or the bottom half of their bodies, but you never see a full image of them. I think this was a brilliant decision because by not including pictures of the Mommies, kids will not get any ideas that Lesbian couples look a certain way. Very smart decision.

Overall I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. *****

CLICK THIS LINK TO BUY THIS BOOK: 
A Tale of Two Mommies on Amazon

** ALL PROFITS FROM SALES OF THIS BOOK WILL BE DONATED TO CHARITY**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A Tale of Two Mommies author pic

Vanita Oelschlager is a wife, mother, grandmother, former teacher, current caregiver and, for almost ten years, author and poet.

She was born and raised near Pittsburgh. She is a graduate of Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as a Trustee.

She has also supported and helped her husband Jim as he built Oak Associates, Ltd. into a successful investment management firm.

Today, as an accomplished author, Vanita shares openly the experiences that she, Jim and their families have had with multiple sclerosis. She has likened MS to living with an elephant, one that won’t go away or be ignored. Together, she and Jim have found ways to live with this “elephant”, and to share some of the larger lessons about life they’ve learned through the disease.

 

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

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Mike Blanc is a life-long professional artist.  His artwork has illuminated countless publications for both corporate and public interests, worldwide. Mike contributes creative direction and illustration. He lives with his wife, Gail, in sunny Doylestown, Ohio. They enjoy their four children, and five grandkids.

Mike was born in Akron Ohio, in 1953. On February 9th, 1964 he witnessed the first performance of The Beatles on Ed Sullivan in the living room with his brothers; Pat, Gene and Joe and also his toddler sister Lisa. He went to Coventry Senior High, Class of 1971. Mike married Gail Smith in 1973 and they have 4 children and 5 grandchildren. Mike is a self-taught artist. He has created many hundreds of designs for t-shirt and textile impressions for Champion Bowling Supply in Akron, Hooper Handprints, Florida, and Air Waves, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. Mike worked in an artists’ colony, Halbert’s Incorporated in Akron for a year creating heraldic art. Looking back, he believes that his Halbert’s co-worker was Chrissie Hynde, the Pretender and art major (please confirm this, Chrissie).  He’s been self-employed at Mike Blanc Studios since 1974. From 1989 till present, he’s a full-time associate at Artists Incorporated and is associated with VanitaBooks, LLC, of Akron an independent publishing corporation.

ABOUT THE PUBLISHER VANITA BOOKS:

Vanita Books Header

–> – The information below was copied from the Publisher’s website.

We’re In Business To Help Others

100 percent of the PROFITS_logo_001

VanitaBooks publishes books for children ages 4-8 that are short tales teaching a moral or value. Each book presents a dilemma or fear that a child may have, and resolves those issues through the loving and reassuring guidance of a parent, or through the plot of the story itself.

VanitaBooks is a for-profit business. Our goal is to produce popular, fun books that we hope lots of people will buy. Because our other goal is to donate ALL of our net profits to worthy organizations.

Here are the groups we are supporting so far. We will add more as we publish more books. We urge you to support them too.

Holt International
An international adoption and children’s support organization.
www.holtinternational.org

National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National organization providing programs for people with MS and supporting research to find its cause.
www.nationalmssociety.org

The Oak Clinic for Multiple Sclerosis
Ohio-based clinic that provides state-of-the-art care.
www.oakclinic.com

5 Gritty Stars for JERSEY TOUGH by Wayne Bradshaw – BOOK REVIEW

  
Title: JERSEY TOUGH

Subtitle: MY WILD RIDE FROM OUTLAW BIKER TO UNDERCOVER COP

Author: WAYNE “Big Chuck” BRADSHAW

Length: 336 pages

Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography, Memoir

Release Date: March 1, 2016

Publisher: ECW PRESS 

ISBN: 9781770412613

Price: $18.95 USD 

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

~ I received an Advanced Review copy of this book from the Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I had seen a review of this book in a popular magazine and immediately added it to my TBR (To Be Read) List. When I saw it on Netgalley as being available to read and review, I signed up right away. Luckily I was approved to review this book. 

Wayne Bradshaw has led a fascinating life and JERSEY TOUGH gives us a peek into that life. 

Wayne is the only Outlaw Biker to ever leave a biker gang and become a police officer. Yes, you heard right. He was a member of the Outlaw Biker Gang – The Pagans in New Jersey after the war in Vietnam.

In fact, Wayne joined the army at the tail end of the Vietnam War and his army experience was not what he had expected. It was his time in the army that started him on the violent path that ended with him becoming the Sergeant-At-Arms of his local chapter of the Pagans Motorcycle Club.

Since the airing of the television series “Sons of Anarchy” there has been a surge of interest in the lives of outlaw bikers. Wayne Bradshaw actually lived that life and once you read his story you will come to realize that the television show is definitely a glamorized version of the lives of Outlaw Bikers.

The fact that Wayne “Big Chuck” Bradshaw escaped his affiliation with the Pagans without a criminal record is almost a miracle. But he did it.

He then went on to become a decorated police officer who worked undercover on the same streets he had once ruled along with his fellow pagans. 

This book is an engrossing look into a lifestyle that few people have ever experienced. 

From the first chapter to the last, readers will not want to put this book down.  

The release date for this book is March 1, 2016 and I suggest that you head to your closest bookstore or online book shop and pre-order it so that you won’t miss out. 

I also wanted to briefly mention that I LOVE the cover of this book. It immediately grabs your attention and makes you want to look closer to see what the book is all about. Kudos go to the cover designer. 

In closing, this brilliantly written memoir is as intense as a ride on the back of a Harley. 

It’s gritty, it’s emotional, it’s terrifying … and it’s all true.

Rating 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

For more information visit ECW PRESS online. 

  
For more information on the Pagans Motorcycle Club visit:

http://www.segag.org/mcgangs/pagan.html

* Pagans MC Picture obtained from http://www.segag.org

TORN by Alexa Kim BOOK BLITZ & GIVEWAY

Torn_Blitz

Torn
by Alexa Kim
Master Trooper Series #1
Publication Date: January 12, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Science-Fiction, Fantasy

Torn by Alexa Kim

Purchase: Amazon

Book 1 of the German Bestselling Master Trooper Series now available in English!!!

Anno 2354. Earth’s government had a breakthrough in their top secret research project Life Tree. They’ve created perfect soldiers whose abilities exceed scientists’ expectations, thanks to the predator sequence in their DNA. Now project Life Tree is entering phase two, genetic reproduction of the Master Trooper.

Betrayed by her boyfriend and sentenced to penal servitude for drug possession, Larona finds herself among several other women en route to the convict colony on Mars. Turns out it’s not Mars they land on, but planet Terra Alpha, where the women are to be part of a research project.

There, Larona is chosen for program INBREED – she’s to bear the child of a Master Trooper. Her body is no longer hers, but a possession of Life Tree. Upon meeting Torn, who seems to have no qualms about carrying out Life Tree’s orders, Larona is absolutely desperate…

Torn has proven himself as above-average in combat and every test. That’s why he was chosen for program INBREED – to pass on his genes – a task others envy him for because it means luxury in between tours: vacation time, good food, and clean women.

Torn never had any reason to doubt Life Tree, and especially INBREED is a duty he enjoys. To him, women just serve to satisfy a bodily need… but it’s different with Larona. When she tries to kill herself, Torn starts to question Life Tree. Because he’s developing feelings for Larona that he, as a Master Trooper, isn’t even supposed to have…

About the Author

Alexa Kim is a German author of hot sci-fi and fantasy romance books, usually with a dark touch. She used to be a regular with trade publishers for over ten years before she decided to try and make her own way as an indie author under the pen name Alexa Kim. In 2014, she hit it off with her MASTER TROOPER series, and she’s since been in Germany’s Amazon bestselling list on a regular basis.

When she’s not writing, she’s either indulging her hobby—singing—or spending time with a book and her two cats.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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EMMY NATION BLOG TOUR – BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

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Book Description for Emmy Nation:

Being an independent woman in 1913 London is certainly empowering, but Emmy Nation is tired of the inescapable damp seeping through her worn shoes and the hopeless grumblings of her stomach.

When she receives an offer from Scotland Yard to boost her typist income by spying on the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), Emmy jumps at the chance. But as she grows closer to the WSPU women the lines begin to blur, and when a painful part of her past resurfaces Emmy begins to question her choices.

​How far are you willing to go to secure your equality?

Buy the book:  Amazon   Book Depository

See the video trailer:

Author’s Bio:

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L. Davis Munro holds a master’s degree with a focus on women’s suffrage theatre and works in theatre and dance. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with her husband and her dog.

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook

 

MY REVIEW:

Title: EMMY NATION: Undercover Suffragette

Series: EMMY NATION: Book One

Author: L. Davis Munro

Type of Book: Paperback

Length: 320 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Publisher: CreateSpace

ISBN: 9781517529673

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

~ I received a free copy of this book from iRead Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review.

“Their hands, used to sewing, writing letters to friends, and smoothing back children’s hair, are covered in dirt and their own blood. Their hands will never again be delicate things to be covered in lace gloves or to hold a fan to their faces. Their hands are now the hands of ruin, soldiers’ hands, strong hands, women’s hands. A new breed of woman. A woman to stand up for her rights as a citizen of the world. To bring together the two halves of one group. Men and women. That was the job of these hands. But first, destruction. First, make them listen.”

London in 1913 is a hard place to be female and it is especially difficult and dangerous to be an independent woman. But, independent is exactly what Emmy Nation is. She may be cold and hungry, and have perpetually wet feet since her only pair of boots are full of holes, but at least she has her independence.

Working as a typist certainly does not pay well, so when she is approached by Scotland Yard and offered a chance to make some extra income by spying on the WSPU (Women’s Social and Political Union) she jumps at the chance.

Emmy has never been involved with the Suffragettes before, in fact, she is so busy just trying to survive, that she hasn’t given the matter much thought.

But, as time goes on, Emmy discovers that she rather likes and admires the women of the WSPU and she begins to question what is right and what is wrong. After all, she wonders, just how far would she be willing to go to secure equality for herself and for all women.

Modern day women may have a hard time picturing what life was like for women in 1913. Personally I cannot imagine being considered sub-human or as the property of my husband. That would definitely not go over well in my household.

I think it is easy for us modern women to forget to thank the brave suffragettes that fought so that we could enjoy the right to vote. We always remember to thank the soldiers that fought for our freedom, but what about those who fought other important battles? There is a “Remembrance Day” here in Canada and a “Veterans Day” in the United States. Perhaps it is time to declare a “Suffragette Day”.

This book may be fiction, but it is based on historical facts. Yes, Emmy is fictional, but it is easy to believe that women just like her actually existed.

When this book first arrived at my door I was unsure what I thought of its stark cover. However, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the cover. The green colour draws the eye and the fact that the only picture is that of an old-fashioned typewriter are intriguing. The lack of hints on the cover as to the plot forces the potential reader to pick up the book and to read the back cover of they want more information. This is a brilliant strategy. I know that (for me) once I have a book in my hands, I am reluctant to let it go.

Emmy is a wonderfully nuanced character and the more the reader learns about her, the more they like her.

EMMY NATION is engrossing. This book will take readers on a heart pounding ride filled with secrets, betrayals, love, duty, honour, and much more. This book held me enthralled from start to finish.

L. Davis Munro has a gift. Not only is her character development absolutely phenomenal, but her ability to describe a scene is almost too good to be believed. There were moments when I felt that if I closed my eyes for just a second, that I would open them to find myself surrounded by the sights, sounds and even the smells of 1913 London.

What could improve this book?
Nothing! I just want MORE. I am now a fan of L. Davis Munro and I will be impatiently awaiting the next book in the “Emmy Nation” series.

If it was possible to give this book 6 stars, I would do so. This book has earned 5 out of 5 Stars and a spot in my list of MUST READ recommendations. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

GUEST POST:

On a writing schedule

I need solitude. This is a fact that most everyone in my life has come to accept. I thrive on having alone time, quiet time, space to myself. I have found the same to be true in my writing life. I cannot write if my husband is home. I just feel a distraction. Not to mention that I actually quite like to write out loud (dialogue always seems to come more naturally if I play act the scene!)

Virginia Woolf said it best, I need “A Room of One’s Own” more than anything else to be productive in my writing. If only that were possible. With a one bedroom home, a room of one’s own is out of the question. So much of my discovery into my writing practice is about finding a quiet, solitary place that is all mine.

The best thing I have found is to use my mornings to their fullest extent. About two years ago, when I was starting to dive into writing my novel, Emmy Nation: Undercover Suffragette, I started a habit of waking up early, really early. I created an extra couple of ours in the morning, before my husband woke up, before the dog had to be walked, before I needed to start getting ready for work, that were all mine. Maybe not a room of my own, but time of my own.

In the grey dawn light, I savoured my coffee and started my day with morning pages, a new practice I had picked up from The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. I had heard about this book for years and years and finally decided to read it. Although much from the book passed right through me, I took away this one really amazing practice that has opened up a lot of mental space for me. Morning pages, the practice of writing in a journal every morning for a set amount of time, or pages, has allowed me to free my mind of many things that I didn’t even know I was holding onto. Creating a quiet space inside me that reflected the physical space around me. This combination of morning pages and alone time helped me open up to writing the book and getting a first draft on paper.

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BLOG TOUR STOPS:

Feb 15 – Working Mommy Journal – review / author interview / giveaway

Feb 16 – Jorie Loves a Story – review / author interview

Feb 16 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – review

Feb 17 – Laura Fabiani – Top 500 Amazon.ca Reviewer – review

Feb 17 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – guest post

Feb 18 – Reviews by Martha’s Bookshelf – review / guest post / giveaway

Feb 19 – #redhead.with.book – review / giveaway

Feb 22 – Book Reviews Nature Photos and Everything in Between – review

Feb 22 – History from a Woman’s Perspective – review

Feb 23 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – review / giveaway

Feb 23 – Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway

Feb 24 – Sahar’s Blog – review

Feb 25 – Laura’s Interests – review / guest post / giveaway

Feb 26 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway

GIVEAWAY:

Prizes:Win 1 of 2 prizes!  A copy of Emmy Nation + $15 Amazon gift card

(print book USA & Canada) (ebook International)

CLICK THIS LINK:       a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

RISING FROM DUST BOOK BLITZ & GIVEAWAY

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Rising From Dust
by Martine Carlsson
Light from Aphelion #1
Publication Date: January 8, 2016
Genres: Historical, Fantasy

Rising from Dust Cover

PURCHASE: Amazon (#FREE with #KindleUnlimited)

Synopsis: FIGHT FOR JUSTICE. DIE FOR LOVE.

War is raging in the kingdom of Trevalden. Up north in the Frozen Mountains, the amnesic hermit Selen survives as the pariah in his community. Drawn by a mysterious call, he travels to Trevalden and meets Louis, an enigmatic archivist. Together, as Selen remembers his past, they face the desolation of war with a group of misfits. For the sake of the people, they fight back the king’s armies, prepared to meet death…or a new dawn. As Selen and Louis understand that their feelings for each other may be their undoing, they are torn between their emotions and the greater good. But in the end, what is the greater good?

While they try to find their place in an unknown world, they carry a secret that will shatter the society and make them realize that the hardest fights are not against dragons but within oneself.

Rising from Dust is an epic journey where gritty fantasy and history cross paths. A graphic story of loyalty, violence, magic, court plots, and unwavering love where no one is what they seem.

Please note: This book contains graphic scenes and is an M/M story intended for adult readers.

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Rising from Dust Full Jacket Cover

EXCERPT

“Whatever I am looking for, it’s hidden here,” Louis said and looked at the sign of the Wounded Owl Inn. It was time he arrived. His heart inflamed his lungs. His hands in his gloves were moist, and his vision had blurred a few times.

The place was built with white stone, and judging by the thickness of the ivy that grew on the north wall, it had probably stood there for a hundred years. The inn was big, with a long red tile roof and half-timbered walls. Louis looked at the stained-glass windows of different colors. Only rich taverns in cities could afford such luxury. To be so impressive, this place was probably the only resting spot on the main road for miles. He walked towards the porch. Like a moat around a castle, the inn was circled by a stream, which also could have been waste waters. A stone bridge connected the alley to the entrance gate.

A young lad in dusty outfits approached him. “Should I take care of your horse, my lord?”

“I’m no lord, but yes, you can,” Louis answered. As he dismounted, his head spun. He closed his eyes a few seconds. “How big is this place?”

“You have the stables at your right, over there. On the left is the inn. Though, I think the inn is full for the night. There is an inner garden that you can reach from the west side of the main room. This gate is the only entrance,” the lad explained.

So, that door would be the only exit should he meet someone nasty inside the inn. Louis was not reassured at all. “Thank you. That will be all.” Louis gave the lad a coin, handed him his horse’s bridle, and headed to the inn’s main door across the inner yard.

As Louis pushed the door, the smell of tobacco and cabbage fried in grease with onions welcomed him. He put a hand on his mouth. The tavern was crowded with all kinds of folk, each more suspicious and shabby looking than the other. The customers’ loud chatting covered the distant sound of a bard’s lute. His eyes narrowed when he stared at the faces. Under his cloak, Louis reached for the pommel of his sword. No eyes crossed his. No one reacted to his presence. Still, it was here, somewhere.

The heat in his chest was suffocating. He pushed his hood back. The terrible smell made his stomach contract again. In search for some fresh air, he noticed the open door on the other side, the one that led to the inner garden. He took a few unsteady steps towards the doorframe and leaned against it. The cold air of the evening felt wonderful on his face. The garden was full of colorful flowers. This enchanting place was a stark contrast to the main room of the tavern. Someone sat in the alley.

The pain in his heart stopped. The nausea left him. Could the something he was after be a someone? Louis approached with his hand on his sword. “Whoever you are, turn around and show yourself,” Louis commanded.

The person in front of him rose slowly and turned, pushing his hood back. The pain Louis had felt in his heart came back stronger than ever, but it was another kind of pain this time. The man had long hair the color of lilacs cascading down his back to his thighs. His face had the most delicate features Louis had ever seen. But above all, it was the man’s eyes that caught his attention. He had eyes of the purest green, expressing the most infinite kindness. Louis was drawn out of his amazement when the man opened his plump, curved mouth.

“My name is Selen. I’ve been waiting for you,” the man said with a smile and a hint of a blush.

ABOUT MARTINE CARLSSON

Martine Carlsson

Martine Carlsson lives in the middle of the Swedish forest. She is French, educated librarian, and studied history at the University of Liege. She takes her inspiration from the nature around her, from her roots in Brittany, and from fascinating parts from the European history. Therefore, it is not uncommon to read in her stories about forest creatures meeting peculiar characters in a detailed, historical-based background. She enjoys writing fantasy, especially a mix between harsh realism and magical wonders. Rising from Dust is her first novel and the first volume of the series Light from Aphelion.

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GIVEAWAY

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RELEASE DAY BLITZ: LAST VACATION by Sarah Elle Emm

About the Book:

Seven days have passed since Naples real estate agent Megan MacKenna has heard from her twin sister, Madeline, who was vacationing on the beautiful, Caribbean island of St. Croix. Though authorities are not convinced there is a case to solve, Megan knows with all of her heart something happened to Maddy. When Megan receives a direct warning to leave the island or end up like her sister, she turns to the only person who has taken her seriously since she arrived, Gabe, a breakfast cook at a local diner. 

Undercover DEA agent, Gabriel Walker has been building his cover for months, waiting for the opportunity to work his way into the infamous Torrez crime ring. When Megan shows up asking questions and Gabe realizes her twin’s disappearance might be linked to the Torrez men, he has to convince her to go back to Florida before she becomes their next victim. 

The closer Megan gets to the truth, the more Gabe begins to suspect he is missing a huge piece of the puzzle. And someone is closing in on Megan…

 
Buy Links:
11Map of St Croix

Map Image Obtained from http://www.mappery.com

 

I grew up visiting the island of St. Croix with my family.
As an adult, I lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands, on both St. Croix and St.
Thomas. I always wanted to write a fiction story that took place there, but I
never took the time to write it until recently.

 

Excerpt:


Megan peered out at the vast expanse of ocean gleaming in the bright morning sunshine
before her. The turquoise waters seemed to go on forever. From the Caribbean
Airways in flight map, she had noted theislands of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and
St. John were in the far off distance. She had been told a faint view of the
densely populated St. Thomas could sometimes be seen on a perfectly clear day,
but no matter how she strained her eyes, she couldn’t quite see it today.

Had Maddy hopped on a sailboat and continued her travels to another island as the police
officer had suggested? It wasn’t like Maddy not to check in. Her cell phone had
been going straight to voice mail since the last photo Maddy had sent, and
according to the cell company, the cell phone was out of service range.
Something had happened to her sibling. The last communication with Maddy had
been an unexplained picture of an iguana. No message, no text, nothing. Just an
enormous, slimy, dragon-resembling lizard. Megan sunk her head to her chest.
Where in the world was her sister?

“Everything okay, Miss?”

Startled from her hopeless thoughts, Megan sat upright at the sound of the low voice.
Her eyes scanned the length of the man standing before her, and she pursed her
lips together. She guessed he was probably about six-foot-two.

As she sat silently, observing him, the man repeated his question, “Are you okay?” His
tone bordered on cautious, but concerned.

“Everything’s fine,” she finally managed with a tight voice.

With a smile, his concern faded away, and he reached behind his back to untie a
grease-spotted apron. He folded the apron up, pulled out a chair at the table
right next to Megan’s, about a foot and a half from her, and sat down.

An internal alarm went off, making Megan feel extremely uncomfortable with his
proximity, and she fidgeted with her hands as he stared at her, finally forcing
them into her lap. How could a voice so soothing go with a gruff-looking
character like him? And what in the world was he doing sitting down so close to
her?

 
About the Author:



Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS, August 2015) Her debut fiction novel, MARRYING MISSY, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively beyond. Sarah lives in Naples, Florida with her family. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.

Stalk the Author:

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Time Heist Audiobook Giveaway – 44 Hours Left to Enter

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Author Anthony Vicino is giving away 5 copies of his brand new audiobook called “TIME HEIST” on his blog. He is also giving away 5 ebooks.

 

The giveaway ends in 44 hours, so enter asap to get your hands (and your ears) on a copy of this audiobook. I have entered to win as well, so hopefully I will end up winning a copy and if so, I will post my review here on my blog.

 

Enter to win at: http://www.anthonyvicino.com/giving-away-5-free-time-heist-audiobooks-and-5-free-ebooks/

 

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