WISHES IN A BOTTLE by Allie McCormack is NOW AVAILABLE – BOOK BLITZ & AWESOME INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY

Title: Wishes in a Bottle

Author: Allie McCormack

Series: Wishes & Dreams #1

Publication date: January 15th 2019

Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

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Centuries ago in plague-struck Italy, Julian DiConti cast a powerful spell in desperation to have the magical power to be able to help his people who were dying in horrific conditions. The spell goes spectacularly awry, leaving Julian enslaved to a Djinn bottle, bound to grant three wishes to each Master of the bottle until the spell can be broken. More than anything, Julian longs for a normal life – for a home, and a family. After six hundred years, however, he has begun to despair of ever being freed from the spell.

Enter Alessandra Taylor, a young woman who has followed her calling to help others, in the face of vociferous disapproval from her family, particularly her controlling father. Working at a shelter for battered women, she’s thrilled to meet the reclusive Julian DiConti, whose collection of garments from third world countries has provided funding for shelters across the country. When Julian turns out to be a Djinn from the old bottle she found in her attic, she hears his story and empathizes with his despair. Although she’s willing to free him, he can’t tell her how. As time goes by, their initial attraction blossoms into a love that both realize is doomed. Once she has made her third wish, the magic of the bottle will whisk Julian away and out of her life forever… unless she can somehow figure out how to free him. But one by one, she’s forced to use the precious wishes to help others.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

“Betty!”

Alessandra burst into the supervisor’s office, bursting with excitement. It was her first day back at work after everything that had happened. Betty looked up from her computer monitor, peering at Alessandra over the top of her reading glasses.

“Welcome back. What’s got you in such a tweak?”

“You’ll never guess who I’ve met.” Alessandra came to perch on the corner of Betty’s desk, nudging a stack of official-looking papers aside with her hip, anticipating Betty’s response.

“Whom,” Betty corrected automatically, taking her glasses off and leaning forward, slender brows raised over grey-blue eyes sparkling with interest. “Don’t keep me in suspense. Tell me.”

Alessandra leaned forward. “Julian,” she spoke the name slowly, enunciating each syllable, “DiConti.”

She enjoyed seeing Betty’s eyes widen, hearing her audible gasp.

“No!”

Alessandra just smiled and nodded.

“Oh my God, Alessandra. How did you meet him? Where? Is he here, in New York?”

“Yes, he’s here. In fact, it turns out he lives here, in the city.”

Alessandra paused for effect, grinning at the growing anticipation on her boss’ face. A thought struck her, and she pondered. Julian’s face arose in her mind’s eye, the clear pleasure on his face when he’d learned that she worked at one of the shelters that had received donations from the fund he’d set up. He would never ask, she thought, to visit the shelter to see for himself. He’d be well aware of the security and anonymity they required. But she would bet her bottom dollar he would love to actually see for himself the difference his Foundation had made for some.

“I wonder,” she said slowly. “I wonder if we might invite him to visit, and see what improvements his donations have made possible.”

“Yes!” Betty shot out of her chair. “Alessandra, this could be wonderful for us.”

“I’ve told him a bit about what we’ve been able to do with the funds we’ve gotten from Uncommon Threads. It turns out that he’s never seen a safe house, and has only the most basic knowledge of what we do here. He told me that he’d never met anyone who’d benefited directly from his Foundation, not here in the States, I mean. I think he’d very much like to see the place, what we’ve been able to do with the extra funding.”

Betty sank back into her chair, staring at Alessandra.

“I can’t believe it. You have met Julian DiConti. You’ve actually spoken to him. Do you know he has only appeared in public once? Once! And that was at the opening of his Uncommon Threads exhibit last year. He’d never been seen before then, has never been seen since. He travels a lot, the papers say,”

Betty seemed to be still lost in amazement. She lowered her voice, leaning forward conspiratorially, “Do you know, no one has ever been able to get a picture of him? He’s never been in the paper or in a magazine, not on the Internet… nothing! Even the paparazzi can’t seem to snap a shot of him.”

Alessandra tucked that away in the back of her mind to ponder. She’d ask Julian about it later. It seemed impossible that journalists, as persistent as they were annoying, would not have gotten some shots of him. A person as wealthy and reclusive as Julian DiConti would draw paparazzi attention like bees to honey. Maybe it was something to do with the Djinn magic. Certainly one could not live for so many hundreds of years and leave a record, something by which one could be recognized, especially now with photography. How embarrassing to have a photograph of one resurface half a century later and you haven’t changed by a whisker.

Betty’s mind was already darting ahead.

“We can invite the Board of Directors, and maybe some of the…”

“No, absolutely not,” Alessandra interrupted hastily. She didn’t have to ask Julian to know what his feelings about that would be. “He wouldn’t like that at all. He’s a very private person. Really, Betty. I think he’d appreciate seeing the positive results of his efforts, to see for himself the difference that is being made. He wouldn’t want publicity, or any grand fuss made, and you know it would be bound to get out, if we told the Board. And, too, you know,” she pressed on, “the residents here wouldn’t like it, either. It would make them uncomfortable. Just being here is hard enough for most of them.”

“Yes,” Betty admitted. “But, at the same time… Mr. DiConti is such a huge contributor. More than half a million dollars, just to us! It seems almost rude not to do everything we can to welcome him.

“Bring out the red carpet and brass band?” Alessandra suggested with a laugh. “Betty, I assure you he would neither expect that, nor want it.”

Betty pursed her lips, thinking this over. “You’re sure?”

“I am.” Alessandra made her answer as firm and authoritative as she could. “I’m very sure, Betty. And I was thinking, you know. We might ask some of the women if they would be willing to talk with him, tell him their stories. He knows the stories of the women he has helped in India, why shouldn’t he hear the stories of the women here? We can let the residents know exactly when he would be here, let them choose to come out to meet him, or not.”

“He’s worth millions, you know. Billions.” Betty’s eyes held a dreamy, far-away expression. “Mostly inherited, but he’s made a pile on his own. That antique shop has been around forever. There was an article on him in People magazine when he first opened Uncommon Threads, and then when it did so well and he sent the collection on tour across America. There was an article on Whimsies, too, in that artsy magazine from the Village. No one really knows much about Julian himself, though.”

“Except that he’s worth a lot of money.” Alessandra laughed, but inside she cringed. Billionaire? Of course, six hundred years was plenty of time for financial planning, but still… It was almost impossible to comprehend. Billions of dollars? And he was living in a little glass bottle on her dresser!

It would have been funny, if it weren’t so sad. Alessandra’s heart ached for Julian. If only there were something she could do for him, some way that she could release him from the spell so that he could really live, could have a real life. She would gladly give all three of her wishes… well, the two she had left… but she would have given all of them to free him.

That spell seemed more like a curse to her. Julian was so desperately unhappy. He never said so, but she could see it in his dark azure eyes, the brooding sadness that never quite left, that lurked behind the charming smile. So many times she had caught the quiet lapses, when he retreated inside himself when he thought she was unaware. It seemed an awful punishment, no matter what he had done. She just wished she could find a way to help him.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Bio:

A career medical transcriptionist, Allie McCormack is now writing from home full-time. Allie has traveled quite a bit and lived many places all over the U.S., and also a year in Cairo, Egypt as an exchange student, and a year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia under contract to a hospital there, plus a short stint with NATO while she was in the Army. As a single mom, she raised a wonderful daughter who’s recently married and there are plans afoot for grandchildren. A disabled veteran, Allie now lives in the beautiful Sorona Desert in southern Arizona with her two rescue cats and writes full-time.

Allie says: “A writer is who and what I am… a romance writer. I write what I know, and what I know is romance. Dozens of story lines and literally hundreds of characters live and breathe within the not-so-narrow confines of my imagination, and it is my joy and privilege to bring them to life, to share them with others by writing their stories.”

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RIVER PEOPLE by Margaret Lukas – Historical fiction – A fascinating tale of struggle and survival in the 1890s

Title: RIVER PEOPLE

Author: MARGARET LUKAS

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION

Length: 375 PAGES

Publisher: BQB PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1945448225

Price: $18.95 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Set in Nebraska in the late 1890s, seventeen-year-old Effie and eleven-year-old Bridget must struggle to endure at a time when women and children have few rights and society looks upon domestic abuse as a private, family matter.

The story is told through the eyes of the girls as they learn to survive under grueling circumstances.

MY REVIEW:

What first drew my attention to RIVER PEOPLE by Margaret Lukas was the wonderful cover. Seeing the shack near the water, it evokes a feeling of isolation and even somehow emits a sense of desperation – all that just from the front cover.

Once I started reading this book, I was introduced to Bridget (who is an eleven year-old half-orphan), and to Effie, who is the unwanted seventeen year-old daughter of a settler family.

The lives of girls and women in the 1890s were not their own. Females began life as property of their father, which only changed when she was married. At that point she became the property of her husband. Women could not vote since they were considered “non-persons.” Of course, in modern North American society, this seems ridiculous, but it was reality and very few people questioned it. In fact, if a man were to beat up his wife, the law would ignore it as being “none of their business.” Ridiculous I know, but that was reality and few people questioned it.

I do not think I would have done well living in such a society. In fact, I would probably end up like so many other women of that time who were labelled as “incorrigible” or as having “hysteria.” If a woman was so designated, her husband or family would have her admitted to an insane asylum to live out her days being considered crazy. Although this does not happen in this book, both Effie and Bridget must have known that it was a possibility, and that their fate rested in the hands of a man – one that neither of them liked very much.

Sixty four year-old Reverend Jackdaw has his heart set on building a church in Omaha, Nebraska and in having numerous sons to ensure his vision comes to fruition. To do this, he needs a wife, one young enough to bear multiple children. He sees his chance to begin fulfilling what he thinks of as his destiny when he stops at the farm belonging to Effie’s family. He convinces her father to allow them to wed by telling him that the Reverend and his new bride would be leaving for Omaha shortly after the ceremony and the consummation of the marriage.

When procuring supplies for their trek to Nebraska, Reverend Jackdaw comes across a sign offering “Free Orphans.” This is how Bridget becomes his adopted daughter. He sees her not as a person, but as a way to keep watch on his youthful bride. She tries to introduce herself, but he doesn’t care what her name is and tells her that from that day forward, her name would be “Rooster” due to her red hair.

The story then follows the unlikely trip as they trek through the wilderness and arrive at the “house” on the river that Reverend Jackdaw is being loaned the use of for free.

Author Margaret Lukas does a phenomenal job at world building and I felt as if I had been transported back in time. I loved the way she built up each character and they became real to me and I was invested in their survival. I just couldn’t put this book down and read the entire 375 in a single weekend.

Anyone who is curious as to how “real” people lived in the pioneer era should read this book. Unfortunately, many historical fiction authors take the easy route and choose to make their characters wealthy, but this just does not reflect the lives of average or poor people. To make a modern day analogy, it would be like writing about the Kardashians rather than a regular, every day person of middle class.

I enjoyed this book tremendously and as such, I am rating it as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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***Thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Margaret Lukas is an instructor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She teaches creative writing in the Writer’s Workshop Program. She received her BFA from UNO’s Writer’s Workshop in 2004. In 2007 Margaret received her MFA from Rainier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, Washington.

She is a recipient of a 2009 Nebraska Art Council Individual Artist Fellowship.

She is a contributor to NEBRASKAland magazine and an editor for the quarterly literary journal, Fine Lines. Her writing also appears online and in the 2012 anthology, On Becoming, published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Her award-winning short story, “The Yellow Bird,” was made into The Yellow Bird, a short filmand premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

Farthest House was her first novel.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

MIRACLE CREEK by Debut Author ANGIE KIM is coming soon and it is quite simply a fantastic book and one that everyone needs to read. 5+ Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: MIRACLE CREEK

Author: ANGIE KIM

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERY, DRAMA, MULTICULTURAL FICTION, INDIE

Length: 368 PAGES

Publisher: FARRAR, STRAUS AND GIROUX

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 16, 2019

ISBN: 9780374156022

Price: $27.00 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng about how far people will go to protect their families—and deepest secrets.

My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first . . .

In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.

Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.

Angie Kim’s Miracle Creek is a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. Both a compelling page-turner and an excavation of identity and the desire for connection, Miracle Creek is a brilliant, empathetic debut from an exciting new voice.

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MY REVIEW:

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“… Life doesn’t work like that. Tragedies don’t inoculate you against further tragedies, and misfortune doesn’t get sprinkled out in fair proportions; bad things get hurled at you in clumps and batches, unmanageable and messy.”

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MIRACLE CREEK is author Angie Kim’s debut novel.

Let me say that again,

MIRACLE CREEK is author Angie Kim’s debut novel.

Why am I repeating myself? Well, once you read this book, you will understand. The deft way Angie Kim steers the reader and fleshes out each character all while also creating an emotionally fraught courtroom drama and detailing equally emotional backstories for each of a wide range of characters is so skillfully achieved that it is difficult to believe this is her first novel.

The topic of children on the autism spectrum is always an emotional one. Such deep feelings can bring out either the best in someone, or the very worst. Teachers, doctors, therapists and especially parents can often feel that they know best, and that other people are irrational if they do not follow their advice.

Imagine being the mother of a child who is unable to effectively communicate with you. Imagine that you discover a new form of therapy that has shown positive results, would you not do everything you could to get that therapy for your child? As a parent, I know that I would.

In this book, readers are introduced to the family who run an HBOT facility. They are the Yoos’, a couple who recently emigrated from Korea to the United States, along with their teenage daughter.

The treatment center the Yoos have set up involves putting a patient or group of patients inside “—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility.”

Everything seems to be going fairly well until tragedy strikes and two of the patients die in a horrific explosion.

That single event causes ripples among the community, the patients and their families, as well as the Yoos’ who own “Miracle Submarine.” These ripples will sweep readers along, immersing them into one of the best and most dramatic books of 2019.

I have “favorited” this book and I fully intend to read it again and again. I am also recommending this book to my local library and to any and all local book clubs.

There are many themes happening in this story that are relevant to things happening in today’s America. The Yoo family are immigrants and they need to adjust to American living. Also, issues such as autism, infertility and discrimination are wound in and around every chapter.

Angie Kim has crafted a tale so compelling and so believable that readers will be left wondering if this is really fictitious, or if it is based on a true story. I am excited to share this book with everyone who reads my reviews. I firmly believe that if you are only going to read a few books in 2019, MIRACLE CREEK needs to be one of them.

I rate this book as 5+ Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ which is the highest rating I can bestow.

Angie Kim is incredibly talented and I am now a fan.

*** Thank you very much to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this wonderful book.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Angie Kim moved as a preteen from Seoul, South Korea, to the suburbs of Baltimore.

She attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, then practiced as a trial lawyer at Williams & Connolly.

Her stories have won the Glamour Essay Contest and the Wabash Prize in Fiction, and appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Salon, Slate, The Southern Review, Sycamore Review, The Asian American Literary Review, and PANK.

Angie Kim currently lives in northern Virginia with her husband and three sons.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

** This book is my Letter M contribution to the #2019AtoZreadingchallenge with the GingerMoms blog **

New Release – TRUE PLACES by Sonja Yoerg is Now Available – This is the perfect book for your first Book Club choice for 2019.

Title: TRUE PLACES

Author: SONJA YOERG

Genre: FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION

Length: 347 PAGES

Publisher: LAKE UNION PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JANUARY 1, 2019

ISBN: 9781503904781

Price: $24.95 USD

Rating: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A girl emerges from the woods, starved, ill, and alone…and collapses.

Suzanne Blakemore hurtles along the Blue Ridge Parkway, away from her overscheduled and completely normal life, and encounters the girl. As Suzanne rushes her to the hospital, she never imagines how the encounter will change her—a change she both fears and desperately needs.

Suzanne has the perfect house, a successful husband, and a thriving family. But beneath the veneer of an ideal life, her daughter is rebelling, her son is withdrawing, her husband is oblivious to it all, and Suzanne is increasingly unsure of her place in the world. After her discovery of the ethereal sixteen-year-old who has never experienced civilization, Suzanne is compelled to invite Iris into her family’s life and all its apparent privileges.

But Iris has an independence, a love of solitude, and a discomfort with materialism that contrasts with everything the Blakemores stand for—qualities that awaken in Suzanne first a fascination, then a longing. Now Suzanne can’t help but wonder: Is she destined to save Iris, or is Iris the one who will save her?

MY REVIEW:

Forty-two-year-old Suzanne Blakemore has the perfect life. She lives in a stunning house that could easily be featured in a magazine. She has a husband named Whit whose career is thriving, and she has both a son and a daughter; the perfect nuclear family.

One day she is driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway and stops to take in the scenery. She notices something out of place and is shocked to discover a girl burning with fever and all alone.

Suzanne rushes her to the hospital and discovers that the girl, despite her diminutive stature, is sixteen years old. Her name is Iris, and like a modern day version of Mowgli from the Jungle Book, she has never experienced civilization.

Unable to find any living family members, Suzanne welcomes Iris into the home and lives of her family members. She believes that she is saving Iris, but as the story evolves, it seems likely that it just might be the other way around.

As a mother who has experienced both the joys and the challenges of raising teenagers, I was able to relate to Suzanne. Her whole life is, and has always been, about taking care of the children and ensuring that their busy lives run as smoothly as possible. It is easy to lose sight of yourself and your own wants and needs when you are too busy to even notice that you are not feeling fulfilled.

Author Sonja Yoerg has immense talent for description, and as a mother I found the following quote one that I understood completely.

“… That morning Brynn had leveled her with a look so contemptuous Suzanne had been certain her daughter was possessed.”

What parent of a teenager has not had the exact same thought? The answer is: none that I know of.

Set in and around the gorgeous the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, the author paints a beautiful picture of the area where this story takes place. Readers find themselves immersed in not only the sights, but also in the sounds and even the smells of the region. The author’s love of the area is obvious and shines through in every description.

Released only four days ago on January first, this book is a terrific choice for one to begin the New Year with and is especially perfect for Book Clubs.

I rate TRUE PLACES as 4.5 Stars out 5, but will round up so the rating is 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

In the back of the book the author has included a discussion guide which is perfect for those who choose TRUE PLACES as a selection for their book club.

***Thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

SONJA YOERG grew up in Stowe, Vermont, where she financed her college education by waitressing at the Trapp Family Lodge.

She earned a PhD in biological psychology from the University of California, Berkeley; and wrote a nonfiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox, before deciding it was more fun to make things up.

Her previous novels are House Broken, The Middle of Somewhere, and All the Best People.

Sonja lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

PINTEREST

LINKEDIN

AMAZON

BOOKBUB

CHAPTERS

The Blue Ridge Mountains

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QUOTES:

“Reality offered unvarnished truths…”

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“Her stomach churned a slurry of acid and grief, her soul limp… Mama was gone.”

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“That was, in fact, what time was: a narrow container for a relentless succession of tasks.”

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“Time was a squeezing bitch. It never expanded, never gave up any slack…”

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“How could an expression that hateful, and directed at Suzanne, appear on the face of the child who had once – no, hundreds of times – looked upon her mother with love so pure it made her life … almost too beautiful to bear?”

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“No one gives in without giving something up, and nothing is given up without cost.”

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QUICK NOTE:

The author mentions a “Tulip Tree” in the book and I had never heard of this type of tree before. I live in Ontario, Canada and as far as I know, we do not have those trees where I live.

Anyway, I was intrigued, so I searched online and found some pictures and information about this tree on Wikipedia.

For those who are interested, here are some photographs of the Tulip Tree (obtained from Wikipedia):

#2019AtoZChallenge

#GingerMoms

https://gingermomreads.com/2019-challenges/2019-atoz-challenge/

4 Stars for PAPER WIFE by Laila Ibrahim – A timely tale of what it was like to move to a new country, where you knew noone and didn’t speak the language. NEW RELEASE!!!

Title: PAPER WIFE

Author: LAILA IBRAHIM

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, DIVERSE FICTION, MULTICULTURAL FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION

Length: 298 PAGES

Publisher: LAKE UNION PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: OCTOBER 30, 2018

ISBN: 9781503904576

Price: $14.95 USD

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

From the bestselling author of Yellow Crocus comes a heart-wrenching story about finding strength in a new world.

Southern China, 1923. Desperate to secure her future, Mei Ling’s parents arrange a marriage to a widower in California. To enter the country, she must pretend to be her husband’s first wife—a paper wife.

On the perilous voyage, Mei Ling takes an orphan girl named Siew under her wing. Dreams of a better life in America give Mei Ling the strength to endure the treacherous journey and detainment on Angel Island. But when she finally reaches San Francisco, she’s met with a surprise. Her husband, Chinn Kai Li, is a houseboy, not the successful merchant he led her to believe.

Mei Ling is penniless, pregnant, and bound to a man she doesn’t know. Her fragile marriage is tested further when she discovers that Siew will likely be forced into prostitution. Desperate to rescue Siew, she must convince her husband that an orphan’s life is worth fighting for. Can Mei Ling find a way to make a real family—even if it’s built on a paper foundation?

MY REVIEW:

With immigration currently being a hot button issue in the United States and many other countries around the world, the publication of this book could not be more timely.

Although this story begins ninety years ago in 1923, there are many alarming similarities between the discrimination faced by immigrants during that time period and the discrimination faced by those who have chosen to emigrate to the United States in modern times.

Mei Ling was happily living out her young life in China when the matchmaker arrived at the door of her parent’s home. A suitable match had been found for Mei Ling’s older sister and the wedding date was set. But, as fate would have it, her sister fell ill and her parents told Mei Ling that she would have to take her sister’s place.

This deception early in the story is only one of many deceptions and ‘white lies’ that occur throughout the book.

It is obvious that author Laila Ibrahim did her research for this book as the facts and traditions written about in this tale match perfectly with historic accounts from those who actually did leave China in hopes of a better life in the United States.

Laila Ibrahim’s writing style and subject matter reminds me of author Lisa See.

I enjoyed the story even though I found one event to be completely implausible. Despite that, the author has written a book that anyone who wonders what life might have been like for the huge wave of Asian immigrants who arrived en masse in the years following World War I will want to read.

I believe that by reading books such as PAPER WIFE, people will gain, at the very least, a small measure of empathy for people whose cultures and/or backgrounds are different from their own.

Reading stories like this one, prove to readers that people are more similar than they are different. We all want the same thing. We want a safe and comfortable place to sleep, a good education for our children, and a job that allows us to provide for our families.

In PAPER WIFE, Mei Ling was detained on Angel Island and interrogated by officials who used intimidation and threats to try to force her to change her story or to catch her in a lie. This is a true reflection of what immigrants were subjected to in 1925.

Chinese immigrants on Angel Island

Poetry carved into the walls at Angel Island

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We need to learn from the past. If we do not learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them.

I rate PAPER WIFE as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laila Ibrahim grew up in Whittier, California on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County, and moved to Oakland, California to attend Mills College where she studied Psychology and Child Development. After getting a Master’s Degree in Human Development, she realized she wanted to do more hands on work with children, and opened up her own preschool: Woolsey Children’s School.

Her education and experiences as an educator and parent provide ample for her writing – especially her study of Attachment Theory and multiculturalism.

She identifies as a devout Unitarian Universalist – which is sort of like being a radical moderate – and worked as the Director of Children and Family Ministries at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland for five years.

She lives in a small co-housing community in Berkeley with her wife, Rinda, a public school administrator. She the proud mother of two wonderful young adult daughters and the not-so-proud mother of a rambunctious mini-Aussies.

Laila self-published Yellow Crocus in 2011 after agents repeatedly told her that no one would want to read a story about the love between an enslaved black woman and her privileged white charge. Over the years the readers have proven them wrong. She became a full-time writer in 2015.

Living Right, her second novel, is set in 2004, but with a similar theme: loving across difference. It goes beyond the headline to reveal the life and death stakes when a devoted mother struggles to reconcile her evangelical Christian beliefs with her son’s sexual orientation.

Mustard Seed continues with the lives of the Freedman and Johnson families after the Civil War.

Paper Wife tells the story of Mei Ling, a young woman forced by social upheaval to marry a stranger and immigrate from Southern China through Angel Island to San Francisco in 1923.

To read an interview with the author click HERE.

Laila loves calling or Skyping into bookclubs and public speaking. She can be contacted at ldibrahim@gmail.com

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

AMAZON

HISTORIC PHOTOS

Photos obtained from the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

S

OME OF THE POEMS LEFT BEHIND:

(Source: Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation)

A Few Selected Poems


獨坐稅關中,
心內起不痛。
亦因家道貧,
遠遊不近親。
兄弟來到叫,
只得上埠行。
黑鬼無道理,
唐人要掃地。
每日食兩餐,
何時轉回返。

– 辛亥年七月十二日李字題寧邑
Poem 3

Hear Poem 3 Read In Toishanese.

Translation
Sitting alone in the customs office,
How could my heart not ache?
Had my family not been poor,
I would not have traveled far away from home.
It was my elder brother who urged me
To embark on a voyage to this shore.
The black devil* here is unjust-
He forces the Chinese to clean the floor.
Two meals a day are provided,
But I wonder, when will I be homeward bound?

– Lee from Toishan District, September 4, 1911

*A pejorative to refer to those of African descent-here, presumably, an African Canadian working at the immigration station directed the detainees to sweep the floors.


妻囑情
出門求財為家窮,
把正心頭在路中。
路上野花君莫取,
為家自有係妻奴。
臨行知囑情千萬,
莫作奴言耳過風。
家中妻兒係莫掛,
勤儉二年掃祖宗。
妻兒衣裳無一件,
米盒掃來無半筒。
家中屋舍無間好,
爛溶爛揸穿爛帘。
夫係昔日都尋賭,
不念奴奴淚飄飄。
多得親兄來打稅,
莫學忘叔大恩公。

– 辛亥七月十二日到李字題寧邑
Poem 4

Hear Poem 4 Read in Toishanese.

Translation
My Wife’s Admonishment
We are poor, so you’re leaving home to seek wealth;
Keep hold of propriety while on this journey.
Never pick wildflowers along the road,*
For you have your own wife at home!
Before you depart, I admonish you a thousand times;
Don’t let my words just whistle past your ears.
Don’t worry about us, be diligent and frugal,
And two years hence return to sweep the ancestors’ tombs.
Your wife and children haven’t a thing to wear;
Not half a cup of rice can be scooped from the pot.
Our house and rooms are dilapidated;
Our housewares are worn, and the curtains torn.
In the past, you did nothing but gamble;
You never thought of me and my flowing tears.
You are fortunate your elder brother has paid the taxes-
Always remember your great debt to him!

– Lee from Toishan District, Arrived July 12, 1911

Footnotes: To engage in romantic/sexual affairs while away from home.

THE WITCH ELM by Bestselling Author TANA FRENCH Audiobook Review

Title: THE WITCH ELM

Author: TANA FRENCH

Narrator: PAUL NUGENT

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS

Length: 22 HOURS, 8 MINUTES

Publisher: PENGUIN AUDIO

Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

Purchased from: Audible.com

Release Date: OCTOBER 9, 2018

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.
*

MY REVIEW:

Phenomenal. Intriguing. Unconventional. Thrilling. Astonishing.

All these words and more apply to Tana French’s novel, THE WITCH ELM.

At it’s core, this book is a modern day whodunit, a thriller of epic proportions, but it is also so much more.

This book is a character study, a tale of teen angst, the story of a family rallying together in the midst of a horrific medical diagnosis. It is the story of a romance. This is a book about siblings, cousins, friends and how relationships can change over time and how they stay the same. It is also a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

This is truly a book that has everything. I enjoyed listening to it immensely. The story takes place in Ireland and having a narrator with an Irish accent gave this book a sense of place and added authenticity to the audiobook.

The story has plenty twists and turns, some which were expected and many that were not.

Tana French has created characters so realistic that you almost expect to run into one of them on the street.

At just over 22 hours of listening time, this is not a short audiobook and you would think that 22 hours would be too long, however, you would be wrong. In fact, I didn’t want this story to end. I had become invested in the character’s futures.

The Publisher has created a reader’s guide for this book which can be found and downloaded HERE.

My favorite character was Uncle Hugo. On the surface he seems like a giant bore. But as you learn more about him, you start to realize that he is like an onion with many layers, some quite shocking. He has a passion for genealogy research and was able to parlay that into a career as a Genealogist. The author is somehow able to make this career choice seem interesting to listeners and Hugo’s research into his client’s history is an interesting side storyline.

I rate THE WITCH ELM as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I also give a 5 STAR rating to the narrator whose Irish accent offers listeners authenticity as well as a sense of place. His pacing is sheer perfection. Listeners are able to easily distinguish between character voices which is a huge plus in my opinion.

All in all, I highly recommend this audiobook to readers and listeners from the ages of 16 and up.

Tana French was new to me before experiencing “The Witch Elm” audiobook, but I will be on the lookout for more books from this author in the future.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tana French is the author of The Witch Elm, In the Woods, The Likeness, Faithful Place, Broken Harbor, The Secret Place and The Trespasser.

Her books have won awards including the Edgar, Anthony, Macavity and Barry Awards, the Los Angeles Times Award for Best Mystery/Thriller, and the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction.

She lives in Dublin with her family.

AUTHOR NOTE:

“There’s one thing that no one I know, including me, ever has enough of: time. Everyone has at least three things they should be doing with every minute, and everyone could do with about six more hours in the day. So I’m very aware that when you take a chance on one of my books, it’s not just your money that you’re putting on the line; it’s your time, which is probably even more precious. I want to thank you, so much, for taking that chance; for your wonderful support, which never stops taking my breath away. Here’s to all of you. I’ll do my absolute best not to waste your time.”

Tana French in The New Yorker

‘The Trespasser’ begs us to take crime fiction seriously

The Millions Interviews Tana French

*
To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

AUDIBLE

GOODREADS
AMAZON

CHAPTERS
“A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.

  • Quotes:

    The thing is, I suppose,” he said, “that one gets into the habit of being oneself. It takes some great upheaval to crack that shell and force us to discover what else might be underneath. What if I never got another day in my life when I was normal again?

    Once the fear took hold, I was fucked. I’d never known anything like it could exist: all-consuming, ravenous, a whirling black vortex that sucked me under so completely and mercilessly that it truly felt like I was being devoured alive, bones splintered, marrow sucked. After an eternity (lying in bed with my heart jackhammering, adrenaline firing me like a strobe light, feeling the last few threads that held my mind together stretch to a snapping point) something would happen to break the vortex’s hold—a nurse coming in so that I had to make mechanical cheerful chitchat, an uncontrollable rush of sleep—and I would clamber up out of it, shaky and weak as a half-drowned animal. But even when the fear receded for a while, it was always there: dark, misshapen, taloned, hanging somewhere above and behind me, waiting for its next moment to drop onto my back and dig in deep.

    ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

    https://vimeo.com/178172746

    To learn more about this Narrator, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE

    AUDIBLE

    LINKEDIN

    VIMEO

    FACEBOOK

    YOUTUBE

    AMAZON

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    “STRAY MAGIC” AUDIOBOOK REVIEW – A fairy tale for all those of us who love dogs and who dream about happy endings.

    Title: STRAY MAGIC

    Author: JACKIE BOUCHARD

    Narrator: AISLING GRAY

    Genre: FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION, CONTEMPORARY FANTASY

    Length: 9 HOURS, 1 Minute

    Publisher: JACKIE BOUCHARD

    Type of Book: AUDIOBOOK

    Received From: THE NARRATOR – AISLING GRAY

    Release Date: MARCH 26, 2018

    Price on Audible: $13.67 USD

    Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    DESCRIPTION:

    Cara Snow is newly divorced, stuck working for a jerky boss at a pet boutique, and dreading her soon-to-be-empty nest with only her beloved corgi for company. Worse still, her ex just got engaged. Doesn’t she deserve some romance, too? Or, at least a date for the Fur Ball. She’s always enjoyed the annual pet rescue gala, but this year her ex will be there with his fiancée. Meanwhile, Cara hasn’t met anyone- other than the irresistible dogs at the boutique’s adoption events.

    Cara is shocked when her wish to fall for a man as easily as she does for those mutts summons Vincent. His velour track suit, paunchy belly, and tough-guy accent don’t exactly fit her childhood image of a fairy godfather. Not exactly on top of his game, he admits to being twenty-five years late. (Her daughter Winnie is convinced he must be there for her!) Vincent does his best and casts a spell “guaranteed” to help Cara find the One. But when she actually starts meeting men, none of them are her type. If only they were as perfect for her as the dogs they adopt. Did her screw-up fairy godfather botch the spell? If so, what will it mean not only for Cara but Vincent as well?

    MY REVIEW:

    The description of this story states: it is loosely based on “Cinderella,” and I agree that it is VERY LOOSELY based on the classic fairytale. I enjoyed this book much more than I did the fairytale version.

    Why? Well, let’s start with the main character, Cara. She is not a doe-eyed innocent. Cara is a grown woman, with a grown daughter who is about to go off to college. To top it off, she has also just gone through a divorce which hit her self-esteem pretty hard. But, like many women, she did not allow herself to wallow in despair, she just moved on with her life the best she could. Sometimes it takes an exceptional amount of courage just to put one foot in front of the other.

    Cara may not think of herself as courageous, but that is how I saw her right from the beginning. As the story progresses, her actions, her attitudes and even her angst all solidified my belief in her courageous spirit.

    The introduction of a magical fairy godfather was hilarious. The author nailed this character. From his physical appearance to the clothes he chooses to wear, Cara’s Fairy Godfather is a hoot. And of course, Cara, like any other sane person, reacts to his appearance and his pronouncement of his Fairy Godfather status by thinking he must be an escapee from an insane asylum.

    Cara works in a pet store and has a beagle as well who plays a prominent role in the story. Then of course there’s the hunky guy from Cara’s past.

    There are lots of laughs in this audiobook as well as lots of tender moments. In fact, this book will constantly put a smile on the listeners face. What more could you want?

    I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I love dogs as much as the protagonist does, I am also around her age, and my kids have left home to go to college as well. So, suffice it to say that I very much relate to the book’s central character.

    This book is a great read, but I have to say that I firmly believe that narrator Aisling Gray’s performance is so perfect that it makes listening to the audiobook preferable over reading the paperback or eBook version of “Stray Magic.” I rate the narration as 5 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    I also rate the story as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I highly recommend this Audiobook to anyone who is in the mood for a light-hearted listening experience. I also recommend this audiobook to anyone and everyone who loves dogs.

    *Thank you to Aisling Gray for providing me with a free copy of this audiobook. The fact that I received this audiobook free of charge has in no way impacted my review. I only review books and audiobooks 100% honestly and anyone sending me a book or audiobook agrees that my honest opinion will be posted – sometimes good, sometimes not so good.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Jackie Bouchard, a USA Today bestselling author, writes what she calls Fido-friendly fiction – humorous and heart-warming stories about women and the dogs that profoundly impact their lives.

    She spent a long time as a creative soul trapped in the body of a practical person. When she was bitten by the writing bug, she managed to leap free of the hamster wheel of corporate America, and now spends her days walking her dog, talking to her dog, and listening for the voices in her head that want their stories told. When the voices don’t talk to her, she can often be found staring into the refrigerator.

    After growing up in Southern California, Jackie moved to Bermuda, where she met her husband. Now back in San Diego, American Jackie, her Canadian hubby, and her Mexican rescue mutt form their own happy little United Nations. Jackie’s novels include STRAY MAGIC, HOUSE TRAINED, the Readers’ Favorite gold-medal winning RESCUE ME, MAYBE, and WHAT THE DOG ATE.

    To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE

    BLOG

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    AMAZON

    CHAPTERS

    ABOUT THE NARRATOR:

    AISLING GRAY started doing voice work in 2005 with commercial narration and voice acting, but her love of reading lead her to branch into audiobook narration.

    Aisling grew up moving all over the world and has lived in the U.K., Costa Rica, Ghana, Sudan, Jamaica, Peru, the U.S., India, Poland, Azerbaijan, and Mexico — all the while learning languages, so she have a knack for accents.

    Listeners have praised her clear, engaging, and versatile narrating as well as her comedic delivery. She loves to bring great writing to life.

    To learn more about this Narrator, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE

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    ACX

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    THE GLOVEMAKER by Historical Fiction Author Ann Weisgarber is coming soon – Mark your calendars

    Title: THE GLOVEMAKER

    Author: ANN WEISGARBER

    Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

    Length: 336 PAGES

    Publisher: SKYHORSE PUBLISHING

    Received From: NETGALLEY

    Release Date: FEBRUARY 19, 2019

    ISBN: 9781510737839

    Price: $24.99 USD (Hardcover)

    Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    DESCRIPTION:

    In the inhospitable lands of the Utah Territory, during the winter of 1888, thirty-seven-year-old Deborah Tyler waits for her husband, Samuel, to return home from his travels as a wheelwright. It is now the depths of winter, Samuel is weeks overdue, and Deborah is getting worried.

    Deborah lives in Junction, a tiny town of seven Mormon families scattered along the floor of a canyon, and she earns her living by tending orchards and making work gloves. Isolated by the red-rock cliffs that surround the town, she and her neighbors live apart from the outside world, even regarded with suspicion by the Mormon faithful who question the depth of their belief.

    When a desperate stranger who is pursued by a Federal Marshal shows up on her doorstep seeking refuge, it sets in motion a chain of events that will turn her life upside down. The man, a devout Mormon, is on the run from the US government, which has ruled the practice of polygamy to be a felony. Although Deborah is not devout and doesn’t subscribe to polygamy, she is distrustful of non-Mormons with their long tradition of persecuting believers of her wider faith.

    But all is not what it seems, and when the Marshal is critically injured, Deborah and her husband’s best friend, Nels Anderson, are faced with life and death decisions that question their faith, humanity, and both of their futures.

    MY REVIEW:

    THE GLOVEMAKER is a story that takes place in the winter of 1888 deep in a remote valley in Utah. This valley is home to a tiny town known as “Junction.” It’s residents are all Saints (as in the Latter Day variety).

    This town is home to only seven families, all of them having drifted away from the strict rules of the church, and most of them did not agree with the practice of polygamy.

    This book is based on a real life village and real life families, so it is history mixed with a giant dose of fiction and imagined characters. It is human nature to wonder about the lives of those who came before us. In THE GLOVEMAKER, author Ann Weisgarber has richly imagined an entire town, with backstories for all the characters readers encounter as the story moves along.

    I read this book in a single day and found myself wrapped up in the life of the main character; thirty-seven-year-old Deborah Tyler. She is my type of woman. She is a tough as nails (but with a squishy heart) take-no-prisoners kind of woman.

    In 1888 a woman living alone for months on end while her husband travelled the territory fixing and making wagon wheels had to be tough. She had to be resilient and she had to be hard working.

    I found the fact that the villagers were all Latter Day Saints to be an interesting twist. And including some actual history of how the government saw the people who practiced that religion might be eye-opening for many readers.

    I enjoyed the story and I give Ann Weisgarber kudos for the historical research that went into the writing of this book. I rate THE GLOVEMAKER as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    *

    **** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.****

    *
    *

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Ann Weisgarber was born and raised in Kettering, Ohio. She has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, and Des Moines, Iowa, but now splits her time between Sugar Land, Texas, and Galveston, Texas.

    Her first novel The Personal History of Rachel DuPree was longlisted for the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers.

    To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

    OFFICIAL WEBSITE
    http://annweisgarber.com

    GOODREADS

    TWITTER

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    CHAPTERS

    PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

    *

    ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

    To find out more about Skyhorse Publishing, click on the following links:

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    DUTY COVER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY – WIN A $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD

    Title: DUTY

    Author: BETHANY-KRIS

    Andino + Haven, #1
    Publication Date: October 8, 2018
    Genres: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Organized Crime. Erotic Romance

    Cover Credits: Mykel Mignon at Oh So Novel

    SYNOPSIS

    They say heavy is the head that wears the crown …

    Andino Marcello’s world is turned upside down when he becomes the next heir apparent to the Marcello empire. He was comfortable in his place as a Capo, but comfort is for the weak in the world of mafioso. The boss’s seat is waiting. It takes meeting a tattooed beauty who has no idea who Andino is or the criminal legacy he now carries beneath his three-piece suits, and charming smile for him to finally bend the rules set out for him. That doesn’t mean he can keep her.

    They say things that never challenge you won’t change you …

    Haven Murphy is doing her own thing, and she does it well. The owner of a successful Brooklyn strip club, she makes it her only goal to never fail. She’s just trying to live her life when a morning jog puts her face to face with a man that will change the direction of her life with a single conversation. She knows there’s a dark side to him beyond his good looks, and three-piece suits, but it’s hard for her to care when she wants him. That doesn’t mean he can be hers.

    He’s going to break her heart; she’s going to keep his.

    Because duty waits on no one.

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    EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: DUTY

    “Bad things happen to people who aren’t paying attention,” the woman said.

    Andino nodded. “That’s true.”

    She gave him another look, adding, “I guess the bad guys probably don’t wear three-piece suits, or walk their dogs in the middle of broad daylight.”

    Funny.

    Hadn’t he just killed a man a couple of days ago? Didn’t he have a gun hidden at his back? Wasn’t he just told he would be the heir to a criminal empire?

    That all spelled bad guy to him.

    Just in different ways.

    “Life is busy,” Andino said, whistling after for Snaps to come back. Unquestioningly, the dog left the woman’s side, and came back to his master to sit patiently at Andino’s leather loafers. “Too busy for me, maybe. I don’t like change, but someone decided something recently that changed everything for me. Walking Snaps clears my head.”

    The woman crossed her arms over her chest, and it drew Andino’s attention to the colorful artwork tattooed up her arms. Full sleeves on both arms, ink covering her throat, and traveling down to where the baggy tank top dipped low on her chest.

    Damn.

    He wondered what kind of stories her ink told.

    Something amazing, probably.

    “You should take a break, then, stranger who wears a three-piece suit to walk his dog.” Her tone was half-amused, and half-teasing. “You looked happy right before I interrupted—I bet Snaps would like you to take a break, too.”

    “I—”

    Andino’s phone buzzed with a call—he cursed as he shoved his hand into his pocket, and pulled the offensive device out to check the call.

    Dante.

    The boss.

    No shunning a boss.

    It was a rule.

    He turned slightly to make his shoulder face the woman as he picked up the call. “Yeah, boss, what can I do for you?”

    “Nothing you can’t handle, I am sure.”

    The last thing Andino wanted to do was handle business. Any kind of business. He thought of the woman, and her words. Maybe she had a fucking point.

    “Actually, I need a couple of weeks,” Andino said.

    “Excuse me?” Dante asked.

    “Yeah, I need a break.”

    “For …?”

    “At this point, whatever the hell I want. And anything that is not in this city.”

    He needed to get away, and just … relax. Maybe then he wouldn’t get so snappy when his mother asked about women in his life, or whatever. Maybe then he might start to feel better about this whole fucking boss thing.

    “Is this about the business, and la famiglia again, Andi?”

    “Do you really need me to answer that?”

    “You’re the right choice,” Dante said quietly. “The best choice. And you know it.”

    “Fact remains. You’ve upended what I thought was my life. I need time to adjust.”

    Dante sighed harshly, and Andino knew then he was going to get what he wanted. After all, Dante would want to keep him happy.

    This was a two-way street.

    A give and take.

    “Fine, but—”

    “No buts,” Andino interjected. “A break is a fucking break.”

    “Has your father ever told you that you’re a demanding little shit?”

    “Yes, and also that it suits me.”

    Dante grumbled under his breath, but Andino was pretty sure his uncle said, “He’s not wrong.”

    “Yeah, well—”

    “Take your break.”

    Dante hung up the phone without a goodbye. Andino wished he could say he was surprised. Turning on his heel to apologize and say goodbye to the woman who had been at the mouth of the connecting trail, he found the spot empty.

    And the woman gone.

    Fuck.

    He hadn’t even gotten her name.

    Snaps looked up at Andino with his big, dark eyes—ready and willing to find yet another stick to be thrown for him, probably.

    “Where did she go?” Andino asked his dog.

    Snaps simply wagged his stubby tail.

    Thanks for the help, buddy.

    ABOUT BETHANY-KRIS

    Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to four young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

    To keep up-to-date with new releases from Bethany-Kris, sign up to her New Release Newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/bf9lzD

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    MOURNING DOVE AUDIOBOOK BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, GIVEAWAY and MORE

    Title: MOURNING DOVE

    Author: Claire Fullerton

    Narrator: Claire Fullerton

    Length: 9 hours and 13 minutes

    Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

    Released: June 25, 2018

    Genre: Southern Fiction

    “An accurate and heart-wrenching picture of the sensibilities of the American South.” (Kirkus Book Reviews)

    The heart has a home when it has an ally. If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, 18 months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s 10th birthday.

    Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother’s upbringing and vastly different from anything they’ve ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn’t gold.

    Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley’s world, as they find their way to belonging. But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?

    Claire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA.

    She is the author of contemporary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived.

    Dancing to an Irish Reel is a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards, and a 2016 Readers’ Favorite.

    Claire is the author of “A Portal in Time,” a paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods, set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a village called Carmel-by-the-Sea.

    Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing.

    Her third novel, Mourning Dove, is a Southern family saga, published in June, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction.

    She is one of four contributors to the book, Southern Seasons, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, to be published in November 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction.

    Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn, of The Seymour Literary Agency.

    To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

    WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram | Goodreads | Pinterest | Audible | WordPress | LinkedIn

    Readers’ Favorite awarded Mourning Dove the 2018 bronze medal in the Southern Fiction category.

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    MOURNING DOVE is a work of Historical Fiction set in the American South. The version I read was an Audiobook narrated by the author.

    Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton is a family saga. The book starts in the 1960s and follows the lives of Posey and her two children, Millie and Finley.

    Posey grew up in Memphis, but left the South and lived in Minnesota. Returning to her childhood home is easy for Posey. She grew up immersed in the strange (at least it is strange if you did not grow up there) customs and lingo of Memphis. For her, it is like putting on a favorite dress that is pure comfort.

    However, Millie and Finley do not fit in immediately. They find all the obscure social customs and rules bewildering at first. The children learn by watching their mother, but never really feel at home.

    MOURNING DOVE draws the reader (or listener in my case) into a world of old, moneyed families during a time in American history when those things were considered of upmost importance to the elite of Memphis society.

    The descriptions are exceedingly well written and readers are able to picture the time and place easily in their minds.

    The author shows that no matter how much money or social status a family has, it will not insulate them completely from tragedy and misfortune.

    I particularly liked the fact that the author did not shy away from the truth of the racism that was so abundant during the timeframe of this story.

    This book is a coming-of-age story not only for the characters, but also for the nation. Anyone interested in Historic and/or Southern Fiction will enjoy this audiobook.

    The narrator has the perfect accent for this audiobook and I give her full credit for increasing my enjoyment of this novel.

    I rate MOURNING DOVE as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Claire Fullerton. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

    Q&A with Author & Narrator:

    Claire Fullerton

    • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
      • I am the author and narrator of coming of age, Southern family saga, Mourning Dove. As I wrote Mourning Dove, I could literally hear the narration in my mind’s ears! I am attuned to sound, in that I enjoyed a nine year career in music radio. And growing up in Memphis will make anyone an aficionado of music. After I gained permission from my publisher to narrate Mourning Dove, I spent four weeks narrating in a recording studio, acting out the characters in the book. The Southern accent wasn’t as important as the inflections. Southerns have a specific way of turning a phrase, especially those in the Delta, so I aimed for accuracy. Mourning Dove’s audiobook is nine hours, and I loved every minute of the recording process.
    • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
      • No. As I wrote the book, I paid attention to the arc of the story. I had faith that if I wrote the book as best I could then an audiobook would be an off-shoot.
    • How did you wind up narrating this audiobook?
      • In the case of how I came to narrate the coming of age, Southern family saga, Mourning Dove, I had to audition with my publisher, who was not in the practice of having their authors narrate their own books. But Mourning Dove is written in the first person, and it takes place in the South, so I wanted to give it the authentic, Memphis accent.
    • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
      • Yes, but the characters in Mourning Dove came from impressions I had of Southerners as a whole, while growing up in Memphis. Some mannerisms I included were specific to certain people I knew in my youth. This isn’t to say I put people I knew in the books as characters, but I did steal from some engaging mannerisms.
    • How did you decide how each character should sound in this title?
      • After I knew the frame of mind of the characters, as well as their personalities, I let the characteristics be my guide. I asked myself if they were each confident or self-conscious, if they were fearful, anxious, or easy going. I let the scene’s urgency or lack thereof dictate the voice.
    • How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
      • I discovered long ago to let the story breathe. I write in scenes, and when I get to the end of a scene, sometimes it takes a day to arrive at where the story goes next. All along, I know the point I want to make in writing a novel. The task is to illuminate the path to my point, in scenes that illustrate the way to the point, if you will, and for this to happen, sometimes it’s good to pause while the next scene comes into focus.
    • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
      • I would head straight to 1797 and visit George Washington. I worked for several years as a historical interpreter on his estate and would love to pop in and see it in its prime. Not to mention catch some time alone with the General to talk to him.
    • Is there a particular part of this story that you feel is more resonating in the audiobook performance than in the book format?
      • I think the gift in Mourning Dove’s audiobook is that the listener will literally hear how the characters sound to me, as the author. Again, the nuances are all in the Southern inflections.
    • What’s next for you?
      • I have a novella coming out titled Through an Autumn Window, to be published as one of four novellas in a book called A Southern Season, by Firefly Southern Fiction. I also have a full manuscript in the hands of my literary agent, Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency.

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