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.

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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

 

GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win  $25 Amazon Gift Card and some “The Winemakers” Swag

Giveaway is only open to US Residents

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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

CLICK BELOW TO ENTER:

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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

in the context of love cover

 

 

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.

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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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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

EMMY NATION BLOG TOUR – BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

1455141427EMMY NATION

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?

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Author’s Bio:

 1290339_origEMMYNATIONAUTRHOR

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)

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VOICE OF THE SPIRIT Blog Tour & Giveaway

Voice of spirit book cover

 

Book Description for Voice of the Spirit:

As they dig through possible suspects—from religious fanatics to resentful Satanists—they also find themselves reexamining their relationship, trying to figure out if two people with opposite beliefs can stay together. As time begins to run out for their kidnapped singer and the murders begin to pile up, they will have to find a way to resurrect what they had doubted and sacrifice what they had believed.​

Buy the book:  Amazon

Author’s Bio:

Charlotte Raine

Charlotte Raine is a best selling suspense author. Charlotte gets inspiration for her writing from the scenic mountains around her home near Vail, Colorado.

When she is not writing you will find her after a long day of skiing at one of the many lodges in Vail. She will most likely be next to a warm fire, drinking a glass of wine and telling stories.

Connect with the author:   Website   Twitter   Facebook

FREE Teacher Beware

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Prizes:Win 1 of 3 signed copies of Teacher Beware by Charlotte Raine (USA)

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