Lauren Carr’s Audiobook-a-palooza and Giveaway – Also includes my review of THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE Audiobook and an interview with Narrator Dan Lawson. 

  1. Welcome to Lauren Carr’s Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour! To celebrate the release of Lauren Carr’s mysteries in audiobook format, we have 14 books from her three series on tour!


To follow the tour and to read reviews, please visit Lauren Carr’s page on iRead Book Tours.

The Mac Faraday Mystery Series: Book Five


Buy the Audiobook ~ Book


Book Description:   

Never tell Mac Faraday not to do something.


Spencer’s police chief, David O’Callaghan, learns this lesson the hard way when he orders Mac Faraday to stay away from the south end of Spencer’s mountaintop – even though he owns the property. It doesn’t take long for Mac to find out what lies on the other side of the stone wall and locked gate, on which hangs a sign warning visitors to Keep Out!

Topping the list of the 10 top haunted places in America, Astaire Castle is associated with two suicides, three mysterious disappearances, and four murders since it was built almost a century ago – and Mac Faraday owns it!

In spite of David’s warning, Mac can’t resist unlocking the gate to see the castle that supposedly hasn’t seen a living soul since his late mother had ordered it closed up after the double homicide and disappearance of Damian Wagner, a world-famous master of horror novels.

What starts out as a quick tour of a dusty old castle turns into another Mac Faraday adventure when Astaire Castle becomes the scene of even more murders. Mac is going to need to put all of his investigative talents to work to sort out this case that involves the strangest characters he has run into yet – including a wolf man. No, we’re not talking about Gnarly.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.


MY REVIEW: Listening to the audiobook of THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE was an entertaining treat. 

The narrator for this audiobook is Dan Lawson. His voice is perfect for the Mac Faraday books. He is able to modulate his voice so that there is never a doubt which character is speaking. I am impressed with his enunciation and was able to understand every word he said.

The story itself is a well written mystery that spans several decades. I have not read, or listened to the second, third or fourth book in this series and yet I never felt like I was missing pieces of the story. This audiobook would even work well as a stand-alone thriller.

The only issue I had with THE MURDERS AT ASTAIRE CASTLE was that when the story was nearing its completion, DNA was sent for analysis and seemed to be returned almost immediately. This is a fantasy. In reality, obtaining DNA results can take anywhere from a few days to several months before the results are returned to the investigating officers. It is exceedingly rare for small town police offices to have their own lab and most biological samplesď would have to be outsourced. I understand that the DNA results were important to the plot which is why the author chose to speed up the results, but it did stand out to me as inaccurate and unbelievable.

Despite the minor hiccup I just mentioned, I enjoyed listening to this audiobook. There are so many different threads to this story and yet Lauren Carr was able to weave them all together to create a tapestry that readers will not soon forget.

My favorite character in this book is the “Wolf-Man.

I rate MURDER AT ASTAIRE CASTLE as 4 out of 5 Stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV. 

Connect with Lauren: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


Meet the Narrators:

​Over the past several years Dan Lawson has appeared in numerous spots for radio, television and the internet. He has worked with All-State, Sprint PCS, Mountain Dew and many more. His unique ability to mimic existing characters and celebrities has landed him diverse voice match work ranging from Charlie Sheen to Morgan Freeman.

In 2008 Dan was cast as the first American voice actor for the Korean video game company, Nexon. Over the next several years Dan was the flagship voice of the company, appearing in such titles as Mabinogi, Maple Story, Vindictus, Dragon Nest, Dungeon Fighter Online and Atlantica. In total he has voiced nearly 100 characters for Nexon.

In late 2012 Dan’s voice over career took an unexpected turn into book narration. His first audition landed him the job of narrating The Psychology of Twilight, a psychological look at the wide-spread obsession of the Twilight saga created by Stephanie Meyer. Eighteen more audiobook narrations have followed and show no signs of slowing down.

Enter the Giveaway!

Ends July 22

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INTERVIEW WITH NARRATOR DAN LAWSON: 

How long have you been narrating audiobooks?

I narrated my first audiobook in 2012. I hadn’t actually auditioned for the audiobook. One of my agents thought that I had a good sound for the material and submitted me. That started a narration spree that continues today.


Do you have a favorite character from any of the books you’ve narrated? 

Robert Cook in Antidote is one of my favorites. I connected to the character almost immediately. He and I are very similar as  far as thought process, humor and how we view the world.  It made the whole narration process very comfortable.


Do you work with the author to select a tone and narration style for the audiobook? 

It varies, but getting a chance to speak with the author is one of my favorite parts of the narrating process.   There are so many different ways to approach an audiobook. Having the authors insight really helps to connect the story to the listener. My goal as a narrator is to fulfill, to the best of my ability, the vision the author has for the book.


How do you keep all the characters voices straight when narrating an audiobook?

Great question! It can be challenging if the cast of characters is large or if there are multiple characters with similar characteristics. for example, if the story centers around a group of young soldiers.   One of my techniques is to model the speaking style of a character after known actors and celebrities.  I have actually printed pictures of actors and written the name of the character from the novel below them. Then aligned the pictures on a piece of cardboard and placed it just beyond my music stand. That way I’m able to reference who is speaking with a quick glance.


If it is not clear from the writing, how much freedom do you have as a narrator in deciding if a character has an accent or a unique way of speaking?

It depends entirely on how much the author is involved. A great many authors are not familiar with audiobooks so they will leave the bulk of the choices up to the narrator. Making the characters unique without detracting from the overall story is one of the greatest thrills about the narration process.

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AUDIOBOOK-A-PALOOZA BLOG TOUR, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY 

Welcome to Lauren Carr’s Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour! To celebrate the release of Lauren Carr’s mysteries in audiobook format, we have 14 books from her three series on tour!


To follow the tour and to read reviews, please visit Lauren Carr’s page on iRead Book Tours.

The Mac Faraday Mystery Series:

Buy the Audiobook ~ Book

Book Description:
Old loves die hard…and in the worst places.

In Old Loves Die Hard, Lauren Carr continues the rags-to-riches story of Mac Faraday, an underpaid homicide detective who inherits 270 million dollars and an estate on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, from his birth mother on the day his divorce becomes final.

Mac is settling nicely into his new life at Spencer Manor when his ex-wife Christine shows up-and she wants him back! Before Mac can send her packing, Christine and her estranged lover are murdered in Mac’s private penthouse suite at the Spencer Inn, the five-star resort built by his ancestors.

The investigation leads to the discovery of cases files for some of Mac’s murder cases in the room of the man responsible for destroying his marriage. Why would his ex-wife’s lover come to Spencer to dig into Mac’s old cases?

With the help of his new friends on Deep Creek Lake, Mac must use all of his detective skills to clear his name and the Spencer Inn’s reputation, before its five-stars – and more bodies – start dropping!

MY REVIEW:

I had not read anything by Lauren Carr before listening to OLD LOVES DIE HARD and I have to say that I am now officially a fan. 

Her characters are complex and yet simple, they act like real people rather than characters in a book.

The fact that Mac’s wife cheated on him and then asked for a divorce which then became final on the exact same day that he learned that he was to receive $270 million dollars along with a mansion and a thriving 5 Star Inn, feels like sweet justice.

Mac had been a homicide detective, and he never made much money, but he was good at his job and he loved it. Coming into massive amounts of money, anď quitting his job, he isn’t really sure what to do with his time.

But, ‘Old Habits Die Hard’ and he finds himself once again investigating murders. The difference this time is because of who the victims are as well as where they were killed.

If you choose to purchase this audiobook, and I sincerely hope you do, you will fall in love with Mac Farady (just like I have.)

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Buy the Audiobook ~ Book

Book Description:

Question: what do you get the man with everything?

Answer: when that man is the heir of the late mystery writer Robin Spencer, retired homicide detective Mac Faraday, you get him a cold case to solve.

In Shades of Murder, Mac Faraday is once again the heir to an unbelievable fortune. This time the benefactor is a collector of stolen art. But this isn’t just any stolen work of art – it’s a masterpiece with a murder attached to it.

Ilysa Ramsay was in the midst of taking the art world by storm with her artistic genius. Hours after unveiling her latest masterpiece, she is found dead in her Deep Creek Lake studio, and her painting is nowhere to be found.

Almost a decade later, the long lost Ilysa Ramsay masterpiece has found its way into Mac Faraday’s hands and he can’t resist the urge to delve into the case.

A world away, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, former JAG lawyer Joshua Thornton agrees to do a favor for the last person he would ever expect – a convicted serial killer.

The favor: solve the one murder wrongly attributed to him.

Joshua finds an unexpected ally in Cameron Gates, a spunky detective who has reason to believe the young woman known to the media only as Jane Doe, victim number four, was the victim of a copycat. Together, Joshua and Cameron set out to light a flame under the cold case only to find that someone behind the scenes wants the case to remain cold, and is willing to kill to keep it that way.

Little do these detectives know that the paths of their respective cases are on a collision course when they follow the clues to bring them together in a showdown with a killer who’s got a talent for murder!

Buy the Audiobook ~ Book





Book Description:


In this fourth mystery on Deep Creek Lake, Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs in mobsters and federal agents.
After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars – Archie Monday!

Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town, things may be hotter than even he can handle.




Buy the Audiobook ~ Book





Book Description:




Never tell Mac Faraday not to do something.

Spencer’s police chief, David O’Callaghan, learns this lesson the hard way when he orders Mac Faraday to stay away from the south end of Spencer’s mountaintop – even though he owns the property. It doesn’t take long for Mac to find out what lies on the other side of the stone wall and locked gate, on which hangs a sign warning visitors to Keep Out!

Topping the list of the 10 top haunted places in America, Astaire Castle is associated with two suicides, three mysterious disappearances, and four murders since it was built almost a century ago – and Mac Faraday owns it!

In spite of David’s warning, Mac can’t resist unlocking the gate to see the castle that supposedly hasn’t seen a living soul since his late mother had ordered it closed up after the double homicide and disappearance of Damian Wagner, a world-famous master of horror novels.

What starts out as a quick tour of a dusty old castle turns into another Mac Faraday adventure when Astaire Castle becomes the scene of even more murders. Mac is going to need to put all of his investigative talents to work to sort out this case that involves the strangest characters he has run into yet – including a wolf man. No, we’re not talking about Gnarly.

Buy the Audiobook ~ Book





Book Description:


Fame comes at a price. Some pay with their privacy. Others pay with their pride. Khloe Everest paid with her life.

Determined to get her pretty face in front of the cameras, Khloe Everest fakes an abduction only to make a grand entrance in the midst of a press conference held by Spencer’s Police Chief David O’Callaghan.

Three years later, after failing to catapult her notoriety into a long-lasting celebrity, Khloe Everest returns to Spencer upon her mother’s sudden death and seemingly finds another weapon to propel herself into the spotlight. Unfortunately, someone kills her before she can make this entrance.

In Lauren Carr’s sixth Mac Faraday Mystery, Mac and his friends come up against reality stars, politicians, has-beens, and wannabes. Mac also finds himself face-to-face with an old foe from his past who had managed to escape arrest during their last encounter. Now, Mac sees that his adversary has only become more powerful, and dangerous, with the passage of time.

Intent to not let this killer escape again, Mac and his friends need to put all of their talents together to put a stop to a cold-blooded lady killer.

Buy the Audiobook ~ Book




Book Description:




Two people are brutally murdered in their summer place on Deep Creek Lake. Suspected of the murders, former child star and one-time teenybopper idol Lenny Frost takes innocent bystanders hostage in a local pub and demands that Mac Faraday find the killer. Can Mac save the hostages and himself from the wrath of the enraged has-been by piecing together the clues in less than twelve hours, or will it be a fatal last call at the stroke of midnight?


Buy the Audiobook ~ Book

Book Description:


With three days left to the year, Deep Creek Lake is hopping with holiday vacationers and wedding guests pouring into the Spencer Inn for Mac Faraday and Archie Monday’s huge wedding ceremony which is being touted as the social event of the year.

But droopy flowers and guests who failed to RSVP are the least of Mac’s and Archie’s problems when a professional hit squad hits Spencer Manor to send the groom, Joshua Thornton, Archie’s mother, and Gnarly running for their lives.

With time running out before the big day, Mac Faraday and Spencer’s small police force have to sort through the clues to figure out not only who has been targeted for assassination, but also who is determined to stop everything…forever!

Buy the Audiobook ~ Book

Book Description:


Spring is in the air. In Deep Creek Lake, the burst of blossoms on the trees has the effect of a starting pistol in the race to get the resort area ready in time for the seasonal residents return to Spencer, Maryland.

This year, the Spencer Inn, Mac Faraday’s five-star resort, has the added duty of preparing for the Diablo Ball, an annual benefit event that used to kick off Deep Creek Lake’s summer season. The exclusive gala has drawn in A-listers from across the country, including suspects and witnesses connected to Ashton Piedmont, a young woman who had disappeared while skinny dipping in Deep Creek Lake five years earlier, days after the last Diablo Ball.

Intrigued by a mysterious phone call from a young woman claiming to be Ashton, retired homicide detective Mac Faraday can’t resist diving head first into the cold case. But he’s not the only one. Someone behind the scenes has gone to a lot of trouble to bring Ashton Piedmont’s friends and enemies to the Diablo Ball, which promises to be a gala event to die for!

Buy the Audiobook ~ Book

Book Description:


Police Chief David O’Callaghan and Chelsea Adams’ wedding day is fast approaching. Unfortunately, at the last minute, David discovers that there is one small problem to be taken care of before he can walk down the aisle – divorce his first wife!

Lauren Carr takes fans of the Mac Faraday mysteries to the Big Apple in this nail-biting adventure. In Cancelled Vows, David, Mac, and Gnarly, too, rush to New York City to dissolve David’s marriage to an old girlfriend – and he’s got five days to get it done. When murder throws up a road block, it is up to David’s best man, Mac Faraday, and Gnarly, K9-in-waiting, to sort through the clues to get David to the church in time!

The Lovers in Crime Mystery Series:



Buy the Audiobook ~ Book

Book Description:



Spunky Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, whose body turns up in an abandoned freezer. The case has a personal connection to her lover, Joshua Thornton, because the freezer was located in his cousin’s basement. It doesn’t take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué star’s roots were buried in their rural Ohio Valley community, something that Cherry had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept her hometown off her road map, too – because when this starlet came running home from the mob, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.

Buy the Audiobook ~ Book

Book Description:


When Homicide Detective Cameron Gates befriends Dolly, the little old lady who lives across the street, she is warned not to get lured into helping the elderly woman by investigating the unsolved murder of one of her girls. “She’s senile,” Cameron is warned. “It’s not a real murder.”

Such is not the case. After Dolly is brutally murdered, Cameron discovers that the sweet blue-haired lady’s “girl” was a call girl who had been killed in a mysterious double homicide.

Meanwhile, Prosecuting Attorney Joshua Thornton is looking for answers to the murder of a childhood friend, a sheriff deputy whose cruiser is found at the bottom of a lake. The deputy had disappeared almost 20 years ago while privately investigating the murder of a local prostitute.

It doesn’t take long for the Lovers in Crime to put their cases together to reveal a long-kept secret that some believe is worth killing to keep undercover.

Buy the Audiobook ~ Book

Book Description:


Joshua’s eldest son, Joshua Thornton Jr. (J.J.) has graduated at the top of his class from law school and returns home to spend the summer studying for the bar exam. However, to Joshua’s and Cameron’s shock and dismay, J.J. moves into the main house at Russell Ridge Farm and Orchards, the largest dairy farm in the Ohio Valley, in order to rekindle a romance with Suellen Russell, the one-time leader of a rock band who is twice his age. Quickly, they learn that she has a deep dark secret.

The move brings long buried tensions between the father and son to the surface – not the least of which being J.J.’s inexplicable dislike for his stepmother Cameron. But when a brutal killer strikes, the Lovers in Crime must set all differences with Joshua’s son aside to solve the crime before J.J. ends up in the cross-hairs of a murderer.


 

The Thorny Rose Mystery Series:


Buy the Audiobook ~ Book

Book Description:


Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

Before long, the case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday sift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

Buy the Audiobook ~ Book

Book Description:


After 10 months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect…except in the middle of the night when, in the darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family while visiting family at the winery near-by, and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?


Content Rating:


All of Lauren Carr’s books are rated PG-13 because they are murder mysteries and will contains murder scenes. Some of the books contain violence associated with military assignments. There are some books that contain sex scenes which are not explicit. There is little profanity, no f-words.

 

Meet the Author:



Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

 

Connect with Lauren: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


Meet the Narrators:

​Over the past several years Dan Lawson has appeared in numerous spots for radio, television and the internet. He has worked with All-State, Sprint PCS, Mountain Dew and many more. His unique ability to mimic existing characters and celebrities has landed him diverse voice match work ranging from Charlie Sheen to Morgan Freeman.

In 2008 Dan was cast as the first American voice actor for the Korean video game company, Nexon. Over the next several years Dan was the flagship voice of the company, appearing in such titles as Mabinogi, Maple Story, Vindictus, Dragon Nest, Dungeon Fighter Online and Atlantica. In total he has voiced nearly 100 characters for Nexon.

In late 2012 Dan’s voice over career took an unexpected turn into book narration. His first audition landed him the job of narrating The Psychology of Twilight, a psychological look at the wide-spread obsession of the Twilight saga created by Stephanie Meyer. Eighteen more audiobook narrations have followed and show no signs of slowing down.

C.J. McAllister is an Audible Approved Producer — “Audible Approved producers are the best audiobook producers in the business.” Only a small number are awarded this honor.

C.J. has produced best-selling audiobooks in multiple genres/styles, TV commercials/promo teasers, animation projects, interviews (TV and radio), corporate presentations.

Another Audible Approved narrator, voice actor James Lewis has established a solid reputation in fiction as well as non-ficton audiobooks. At latest count, he’s narrated nearly 50.

Although his specialty is noir fiction, James has done several non-fiction books as well on a range of people and subjects: Butch and Sundance, General Custer, Revolutionary War, psychic development, taxes.

James Lewis has been awarded the AudioFile Earphone Award for narration, “The Last Outlaws”. It’s about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

A broadcast veteran of over 30 years, Mike Alger is best known as the award-winning Chief Meteorologist for KTVN-TV in Reno, NV. He is also a successful author, having penned the Mystery-Thriller novel “Snow Storm,” and is the narrator of the audiobook of the same name.

Enter the Giveaway!

Ends July 22

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BERKELEY TO PARIS AND BACK WITH TWO STOPS IN NEW YORK by Lynn Snyder is a moving read. 4 Stars -🌟🌟🌟🌟

Title: BERKELEY TO PARIS AND BACK WITH TWO STOPS IN NEW YORK

Author: LYNN SNYDER

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Genre: MEMOIR, NON-FICTION

Length: 101 PAGES

Publisher: CREATE SPACE

Release Date:

ISBN: 9781530855896

Price: $5.38 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS 🌟🌟🌟🌟


* I received a free copy of this book through the 
Goodreads Giveaway program.

Shop Indie Bookstores

Playwright Lynn Snyder had decided to give up looking for love. In fact, she even briefly contemplated moving far away from San Francisco to live out the rest of her life on the edges of the High Sierra mountain range.

Thankfully she realized that idea would be taking things a bit too far.

Not long after making this monumental life decision, she heard an announcement on her favorite classical music radio station regarding personal ads for meeting people with the same interests (this was many years before the invention of online dating.) Lynn decided she wouldn’t mind meeting new people and answered an ad that interested her.

It was the best decision she had ever made. It was how she met and fell in love with Leo, which led to them having twenty years together.

I expected this book to be a chronicle of their lives together and nothing more, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that while it was what I expected, it was also so much more.

Leo is eventually diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease and at this point in the story it could have taken a dramatic and sad turn. The author instead chooses to use his diagnosis as a challenge. It is one that Leo will inevitably lose, but at least they had each other and they were deeply in love.

Lynn Snyder is an intelligent and interesting person who loves to travel and who is extremely self-aware. I love that she is unapologetic and firm in her beliefs – many of which I share.

The scene I found the most compelling takes place at a Huntington’s Support Group.

Jane’s eighty-year-old mother, Marilyn tells us that Jane has started to become violent.” Obviously this poses great problems for Marilyn since she is Jane’s sole caregiver. “She says that when her physician suggested Jane be placed in a nursing home, Jane protested loudly, demanding that she be allowed to commit suicide.” Marilyn is deeply religious and does not believe in suicide and the resident social worker tells her to trick Jane into going into a nursing home. She also points out that suicide is illegal. I agree 100% with Lynn’s response to this conversation and I applaud her for voicing her opinion in such an emotional matter. When she says that suicide is a crime, Lynn says:

 
“I’m well aware of that. But deceiving a mentally unstable person should be and isn’t, which doesn’t mean that we, in this group, should be as unenlightened as our society.”

Lynn leaves the support group – never to return. She realizes that she does not fit in, which, in my opinion, is a good thing.

Lynn also does a credible job of articulating the helplessness and despair that is often felt by those who have to watch a loved one deteriorate, knowing there is nothing they can do to save them. This is my favorite quote from the book:

“I want to help him speak and walk. I want to rub strength into his fingers so that he can play the piano. I love him so much, and it seems incredible that I can’t translate my love into restoring what is rightfully his – speech, mobility, everything that allows him to be who he is.”

There is so much emotion in those few short sentences and Lynn’s love for Leo shines like a beacon for the rest of us.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟 

The one thing that I would have liked to see would have been some photos the couple and possibly some photos of their travels and their homes. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Lynn Snyder was born in Akron, Ohio. After receiving a degree in political science from the University of Michigan, she became a journalist.

She spent time in London, England, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, before moving to Northern California.

It was there that she met her husband, Leo.

In addition to journalism, Snyder has also worked as a playwright, campaign publicity director, and literature teacher.

Visit Lynn Snyder on FACEBOOK    

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THE WINEMAKERS by Jan Moran – BOOK SPOTLIGHT TOUR & GIVEAWAY

Winemakers by Jan Moran Cover Pic

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

1956: When Caterina Rosetta inherits a cottage in the countryside of Italy from a grandmother she’s never known, she discovers a long-buried family secret — a secret so devastating, it threatens the future of everything her mother has worked for.

Many years before, her mother’s hard-won dreams of staking her family’s claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition; but as an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragic secret that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past.

From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.

Buy the book:   Amazon  ~   Barnes & Noble  ~   Kobo  ~  Chapters  ~  Books-a-Million  ~   Book Depository   ~  iBooks

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

jAN mORAN author of the WINEMAKERS

 

Jan Moran is a Rizzoli bestselling and award winning author. She writes historical women’s fiction for St. Martin’s Press (Scent of Triumph, The Winemakers), contemporary women’s fiction (Flawless, Beauty Mark, Runway), and nonfiction books (Vintage Perfumes, Fabulous Fragrances). Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth. Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details.

The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful. She likes to talk to readers at http://www.janmoran.com and on social media. She lives in southern California and loves lattes and iced coffee, anything chocolate, and Whole Foods Double Green smoothies to balance it all out.

Connect with the author:  Website   Twitter   Pinterest   Facebook   Instagram

 

BOOK SPOTLIGHT BLOG TOUR STOPS:

April 18 – Working Mommy Journal – author interview / giveaway
April 18 – Lavish Bookshelf – guestpost / giveaway
April 18 – Coffee books & Art – giveaway
April 18 – Brooke Blogs – guest post / giveaway
April 19 – Corinne Rodriges – guest post / giveaway
April 19 – JustOneMoreChapter – giveaway
April 19 – The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass – giveaway
April 19 – Words And Peace – author interview / giveaway
April 19 – The Autistic Gamer – spotlight
April 20 – Paulette’s Papers – giveaway
April 20 – Olio by Marilyn – author interview
April 20 – Discovering/Writing Life – author interview / giveaway
April 20 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – giveaway
April 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – guest post
April 20 – thoughts on this ‘n that – giveaway
April 21 – Fantastic Feathers – author interview
April 21 – First Impressions Reviews – spotlight
April 21 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – giveaway
April 21 – The Travelogue of a book addict – The Book Drealms – giveaway
April 22 – ABookGeek – spotlight
April 22 – Celticlady’s Reviews – giveaway
April 22 – Carole’s Book Corner – giveaway
April 22 – The Bookish & The Romantic – giveaway
April 25 – XoXo Book Blog – giveaway
April 25 – Il mio tesoro – author interview
April 25 – A Bit Bookish – giveaway
April 25 – Jayne’s Books – spotlight
April 26 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – guest post
April 26 – The Booktrailauthor interview
April 26 – #redhead.with.book – giveaway
April 26 – Essentially Italian – giveaway
April 27 – Library of Clean Reads – giveaway
April 27 – Studentessa Matta – guest post / giveaway
April 27 – Kritters Ramblings – spotlight
April 27 – A Bookaholic Blog – giveaway
April 28 – A Holland Reads – giveaway
April 28 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – guest post / giveaway
April 28 – 3 Partners in Shopping Nana, Mommy , + Sissy, Too ! – giveaway
April 28 – History from a Woman’s Perspective – giveaway
April 29 – Amie’s Book Reviews – giveaway
April 29 – Anglers Rest – spotlight
April 29 – FLY HIGH! – guest post / giveaway
April 29 – Italophilia – spotlight

 

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CADENCE OF GYPSIES BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY

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Book Description for The Cadence of Gypsies:

On her 18th birthday Carolina Lovel learned that she was adopted and was given a letter written by her birth mother in an unknown language. After years of research she travels to Italy on a mission to find the truth about her past. Carolina is accompanied by three extremely gifted but mischievous students the FIGs from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. In an effort to help their favorite teacher, the FIGs will have to use their special abilities to decipher the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, and the one thing that is strangely similar to what Carolina was given. Their search will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

Buy the Book:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble

 

MY REVIEW: 


Dara, Mackenzie and Jennifer call themselves the FIGs. They all live and attend school at Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women.

With only a few months until graduation the girls are bored and are not intellectually stimulated by their classes. Unfortunately for the school’s frustrated Headmaster, the girls channel their energy into pulling elaborate pranks.

Young teacher, Carolina Lovel is hired to help teach the young geniuses since Carolina could relate to the girls and their lives.

On Carolina’s 18th birthday she discovered that she had been adopted. She was given a box containing a picture and letter from her biological parents. BUT, (and, it is a big BUT) the letter is written in a language she is unable to decipher. The writing on Carolina’s letter is eerily similar to that of a mysterious document on display in Italy.

Carolina comes up with a brilliant plan. She decides to take the FIGs to Italy for a few weeks. She wants to challenge the girl’s extensive intelligence and hopefully unearth information that will lead to her finding her biological parents.

CADENCE OF GYPSIES is an amazing story filled with wonderfully inspiring female characters. It is wonderful to read a Young Adult novel where the protagonist is a strong, capable woman and the people who help her on her journey are also female.

Thank goodness this is not a typical female in peril who is rescued by the strong alpha male. I think it is important that young women realize that you do not need a man to achieve great things.

The addition of mysterious historical documents and a connection to the Italian gypsies just adds to this wonderful story.

Gypsies are a subject that somehow seems to fascinate readers and even television junkies.

There is some special quality about the gypsy life that draws the reader into the story and makes you want to know more.

Most of us will never meet a true gypsy. However, it is a fascinating subject and the idea that magic might actually exist is an intriguing one.

So, with all the praise I have heaped upon this book, people might wonder why I rated this book as 4 out of 5 stars rather than 5 out of 5. The answer to that question is that I deducted a star due to editing/proof-reading errors that I found in the book. For example: it says “pales” when it should say “pails” and “insure” when it should say “ensure”. When these errors are fixed, this book will definitely rate as 5 out of 5 stars.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Barbara Casey is the author of several award-winning novels for both adults and young adults, and numerous articles, poems, and short stories. In addition to her own writing, she is an editorial consultant and president of the Barbara Casey Agency, established in 1995, representing authors throughout the United States, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan.

In 2014 Barbara became a partner in Strategic Media Books Publishing, an independent publishing house that specializes in true crime and other cutting-edge adult nonfiction.

Barbara lives on a mountain in Georgia with her husband and three dogs who adopted her: Benton, a hound-mix, Fitz, a miniature dachshund, and Gert, a Jack Russel terrier of sorts.

Connect with the author:  Website

 

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BLOG TOUR STOPS:

April 25 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review / giveaway

April 25 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine – review

April 26 – #redhead.with.book – review / giveaway

April 26 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – guest post

April 27 – Working Mommy Journal – review / author interview / giveaway

April 27 – Bookishly Devoted – review / guest post / giveaway

April 27 – Confessions Of The Perfect Mom – review

April 28 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes – review / giveaway

April 28 – Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway

April 29 – The Autistic Gamer – review

April 29 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway

April 29 – Jayne’s Books – review

May 2 –    Bookroom Reviews – review / guest post

May 2 –    The Bookish & The Romantic – review / author interview / giveaway

May 2 –    Svetlana’s Reads and Views – review

May 3 –    JBronder Book Reviews – review / guest post

May 3 –    Rockin’ Book Reviews – review / author interview / giveaway

May 4 –    Discovering/Writing Life – review / guest post / giveaway

May 4 –    Il Mio Tesoro – review / author interview

May 5 –    Corinne Rodrigues – review / guest post / giveaway

May 5 –    Readers Muse – review / guest post

May 5 –    Sahar’s Blog – review

May 6 –    Anglers Rest – review

May 6 –    First Impressions Reviews – review

 

GIVEAWAY:

Prizes:

Win 1 of 5 print / 1 of 5 ebooks of The Cadence of Gypsies (international)

One winner will also receive a $25 Amazon gift card

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BOOK SPOTLIGHT – Accepted Secured Significant by Kemley Whiteside

  
Book Details:

Book Title: Accepted, Secured, Significant: Empowering, Igniting and Fulfilling your Purpose

Author: Kemley Whiteside 

Category: Adult non-fiction, 100 pages

Genre: Inspirational / Motivational

Publisher: Copper Owl Press

Release date: June 2015

Content Rating: PG-13
Book Description:

This text is a spiritual and inspirational journey for those drawn away from their purpose by the circumstances of their lives. This book is dedicated to those told they would never amount to anything.

It is for those told they would be just like their mother or father, that they are idiots, mistakes, and failures. It is for the pushed aside and ignored. It is for those under shadow, and for those abused from childhood. It is for the molested, and the ones told that no one loves them and no one ever would. It is for the misled and mistreated. It is for the suicidal. It is for the victims of domestic violence and abusive relationships. It is for those in spiritual bondage, and those who don’t believe in themselves. It is for those suffering from cancer or other diseases. It is for the motherless, fatherless, jobless, and homeless. It is for the depressive and anxious, the lonely and isolated. This book is for the hopeless.

To my brothers and sisters who need a way out: This book was written just for you. It is to polish your existence and your purpose on this earth.

This book was inspired and written by the Holy Spirit to assure you that, as a child of God, you no longer have to feel bound by labels and curses spoken over the course of your life. God wants to reinforce in your heart how valuable you are and how much you mean to Him. He wants you to know that through Him, you are Accepted, Secured, and Significant.
Meet the author:   

  
Kemley Whiteside is a native of the Republic of Panama, a survivor and overcomer. Kemley resides in the state of New Jersey with her husband and children.

She is ordained to help build by empowering, igniting, and fulfilling people into their purpose. She is a life-coach, mentor, inspiration, motivational speaker, and a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

She is the survivor of an anxiety disorder, depression, cancer, Lyme disease, domestic violence, and suicide. She is the survivor of physical, emotional, and mental abuse. These obstacles have strengthened her life and her purpose.

She is a woman birthing life to others by embracing them with confidence, and helping them achieve their calling. Kemley Whiteside earned her MA in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University, and her MBA in Project Management from Ashford University. She holds a BS in Information Technology from Phoenix University and has over fifteen certifications.

Connect with the author: Website Twitter 
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BOOKGRABBR SPOTLIGHT & GIVEAWAY


​BookGrabbr: A
 great way for readers to discover new books and an innovative marketing tool for authors. 
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​For Readers:

BookGrabbr is a social media-marketing tool that allows authors to share both full books and previews of their books with readers. Readers, you can have access to these books by signing in through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and using their ability to share as a form of currency. The “Share” is the payment! Share the book, and it will allow you to read it. Just click the “Grabb this book” button next to the book and our system will prompt you to share in exchange for reading!

BookGrabbr contains books of many genres, so visit today, “grabb” a book that catches your eye and start reading!
For Authors and Publishers:

Through their unique marketing tool and platform, BookGrabbr helps authors connect to readers that they wouldn’t generally be able to connect to through their friends and their friend’s friends. The noise in the marketplace is deafening, and at times can be a bit overwhelming for authors trying to promote their books.

BookGrabbr created a way to generate some more buzz by harnessing the power of each individual author’s social media platform.  Once you create your profile on BookGrabbr it allows potential readers to read a preview of your book or the full copy and then directs them to your site of choice to purchase your book in the format that you desire. And since BookGrabbr doesn’t make any money on book sales, you can send them to a retailer, or to your own personal page or wherever you choose! BookGrabbr’s purpose is to help you sell more books, gain momentum and generate exposure.

See how it works:


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​How does iRead Book Tours help?

For Readers: 

We help you discover new authors that have put their profile and books on BookGrabbr through our BookGrabbr Promotion Service.

For Authors and Publishers:

Don’t have time to dedicate to yet another marketing campaign? Let us take care of it for you. Through the BookGrabbr Promotion Service we create your profile, help you share your books on your social media and ours too, of course. In addition, we provide you with ideas and the support on how to best use your BookGrabbr profile. This is a cost-effective, efficient way to publicize your books! Contact us to see how we can help you spread the word about your book through BookGrabbr.

Like the idea? Enter the giveaway below to win a BookGrabbr Promotion Service worth $75 and $100 in cash!

Not an author? You can still win the $100 in cash.

Giveaway starts March 14 and ends April 15, 2016.


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5 STARS for IN THE CONTEXT OF LOVE by Linda KI. Sienkiewicz – BOOK REVIEW, BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY

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Book Description:

What makes us step back to examine the events and people that have shaped our lives? And what happens when what we discover leads to more questions?

Angelica Schirrick wonders how her life could have gotten so far off-track. With two children in tow, she begins a journey of self-discovery that leads her back home to Ohio. It pains her to remember the promise her future once held and the shattering revelations that derailed her life.

Can she face the failures and secrets of her past and move forward? Somehow she must learn to accept the violence of her beginning before she can be open to life, and a second chance at love.

Buy the book:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble

 

Praise for In the Context of Love

“Linda K. Sienkiewicz’s powerful and richly detailed debut novel is at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey. In the Context of Love should be required reading for all wayward teenage girls—and their mothers, too.” ~Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters.

“With tenderness, but without blinking, Linda K. Sienkiewicz turns her eye on the predator-prey savannah of the young and still somehow hopeful.” ~ Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of the #1 NY Times Bestseller, Deep End of the Ocean

“Absorbing, heartbreaking, compulsively-readable and insightful, Linda Sienkiewicz’s In the Context of Love casts a hypnotic spell. This is storytelling at its best.” ~ Lewis Robinson, author of the critically acclaimed, Officer Friendly: and Other Stories, and Water Dogs

 

Book Trailer:

In the Context of Love | Book Trailer from Linda Sienkiewicz on Vimeo.

 

MY REVIEW:

At the beginning of this book, readers are introduced to Angelica Lowsley. She is a married (but separated) mother of two and her life is a mess. We learn a few details, but the story quickly shifts from present day to Angelica’s past.

Readers find that the story has regressed in time to 1974, Angelica is sixteen (having been born in 1958) and just beginning the year that would forever change her life.

Entering the story at this time is a boy named Joe Vadas: “…a stone fox…”

 Joe and Angelica become a couple and it is through this relationship that Angelica experiences the exquisitely exciting and euphoric world of first love. Author Linda K. Sienkiewicz perfectly captures and describes the heady rush and the mixture of emotion and hormones that all teenagers experience when they fall in love for the first time, and she conveys the extreme feelings and the euphoria that comes with first love in perfect nostalgic detail. Readers will not be able to stop themselves from reminiscing about their own first “love”.

Because I am unwilling to ruin the joy that reader’s will experience when they read this book, I do not want to give away any of the plot. Suffice it to say that this is a book that everyone should read. If you do not find something to relate to in this book then you have led a very sheltered nd very uninteresting life.

Being a teenager is hard. That is just a fact of life. But, some teens have it harder than others and some teens are forced to grow up too fast. Linda K. Sienkiewicz understands this. I believe that Linda has a talent that is extremely special. She is able to perfectly describe the incredible angst that comes from being an immature teenager and to highlight exactly how events that occur at this volatile and emotionally-charged time in a person’s life can have a profound and lasting effect. She understands that these events can help mold a person and can have the potential to determine who that person will be when he or she reaches adulthood.

As I have already stated, I absolutely loved this book. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and very definitely, it will make you not want to put it down. This is an absolute MUST READ book and I rate it is 5 out of 5 Stars.

I will be on the lookout for more books by this talented author. Buy this book. You will not be disappointed.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

in the context of love author pic

Linda K. Sienkiewicz is a published poet and fiction writer, cynical optimist, fan of corgis, tea drinker, and wine lover from Michigan. Her poetry, short stories, and art have been published in more than fifty literary journals, including Prairie Schooner, Clackamas Literary Review, Spoon River, and Permafrost.

She received a poetry chapbook award from Bottom Dog Press, and an MFA from the University of Southern Maine. Linda lives with her husband in southeast Michigan, where they spoil their grandchildren and then send them back home.

​Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook

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Tour Schedule:

March 28 – Corinne Rodrigues – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

March 28 –   Olio by Marilyn – review / author interview / giveaway

March 29 – The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass – book spotlight / giveaway

March 29 – Writing Pearls – review

March 30 – Book Reviews Nature Photos – review / author interview

March 30 – Tale of Two Tomatoes – review

March 30 – Amie’s Book Reviews – review / giveaway

March 31 – Sahar’s Blog – review

March 31 – #redhead.with.book – review / giveaway

April 1 –   A Splendid Messy Life – review / author interview / giveaway

April 1 –   The World As I See It – review / giveaway

April 4 –   A Blue Million Books – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway

April 4 –   The Autistic Gamer – review

April 5 –   Working Mommy Journal – review / giveaway

April 5 –   The Phantom Paragrapher – review

April 6 –   A Bookaholic Blog – review

April 6 –   Deal Sharing Aunt – review / author interview / giveaway

April 7 –   I’d Rather Be At the Beach – review / giveaway

April 8 –   Ali – The Dragon Slayer – review / guest post / giveaway

April 11 – Bound 4 Escape – review / giveaway

April 11 – T’s Stuff – review / author interview / giveaway

April 12 – Readers’ Muse – review / guest post

​April 12 – Library of Clean Reads – review / giveaway

April 13 – Allthingsbookie – review / giveaway

April 14 – bookmyopia – review / giveaway

April 14 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – book spotlight / author interview

April 15 – Novel Escapes – review

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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 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

GIVEAWAY:

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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