Blog Tour: Alfie Carter

BNR Alfie Carter

ALFIE CARTER
by
BJ Mayo
 
Published by Skyhorse Publishing Pages: 288 Published: January 19th, 2021 Categories: Southern Fiction / Rural Fiction / Mystery
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Cover Alfie Carter med res

The seemingly never-ending Cabinda War (1975—) has left multitudes dead in its wake and thousands of children homeless and orphaned. Jackaleena N’denga, a young Angolan girl, has become the sole survivor of one specifically brutal village massacre carried out by a band of guerrilla boy-soldiers. Jackaleena’s resilience leads her to an orphanage on the west coast of Africa, known as Benguela by the Sea, where she and other children are taken in and protected. Her brilliant mind and endless questions capture the heart of her mentor, Margaret, who ensures her that her survival thus far—especially being the survivor from her village—must mean she has big things ahead of her. When the opportunity arises, she must find her purpose. Not without a plan, Jackaleena stows away on a mercy ship that has made its yearly visit to the orphanage and is now preparing to return to America. Her journey takes her across the ocean, into the arms of New York City’s customs officials, and finally into placement in a temporary foster home in Texas. Enter Alfie Carter—a workaholic, small-town detective who is also battling memories of his past. His life is forever changed when he meets a young African girl looking for her higher purpose.

Purchase: Skyhorse Publishing

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BJ Mayo was born in an oil field town in Texas. He spent the first few years of his life living in a company field camp twenty-five miles from the closest town. His career in the energy industry took him to various points in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Louisiana, Bangladesh, Australia, and Angola West Africa. He and his wife were high school sweethearts and have been married for forty-six years with two grown children. They live on a working farm near San Angelo, Texas.
Visit BJ Mayo at his website: https://bjmayo.com/

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Review
Rating :★★★★★
Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are advanced reader copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

Alfie Carter is a tale that takes you on a journey of one young girl’s resilience during one of the toughest moments in her life. Jakaleena, the main character, is faced with a life-altering moment in the beginning stages of her childhood. She is forced into a position to make decisions on how to care for herself and keep herself alive. Faced with daily adversity she rises above the occasion and sees the purpose in her life. Destined for greatness and opportunities, she takes a huge risk in an attempt for a better life in America. A chance encounter with a thoughtful Doctor propels her life into a direction that others could not fathom. Will she allow her past to define her or will she use it as a way to inspire her?

BJ Mayo takes an interesting approach in this historical fiction. His writing style allows for the reader to have a front-row seat to the retelling of the life of Jakaleena. The story begins with engaging first chapters that start with the present-day and transition to the past. The reader gets a full retelling of the story of Jakaleena and her beginning. The author does a wonderful job with the development of the main and supporting characters as well as the full storyline. The story has twists and turns but it is also filled with moments that will make you cry, be empathetic, and be grateful all in the same moments. The ending has you wanting to find out more about her story and why her past made a sudden appearance. This book highlights the effects of trauma, healing, and growing through the pain. There are some faith-based moments, biblical references, and minor profanity towards the beginning of the novel, which does not take-away from the overall storyline.

I highly recommend this book for adults interesting in historical fiction but be aware there are triggers. If you have experienced trauma associated with killing, death, sexual assault, or loss, I recommend treading slowly when reading this novel. There are quite a few moments that can be triggering. However, you will enjoy the honesty, biblical reference, and family dynamic. You will feel inspired after reading this book. Once you begin, you won’t want to put it down.


FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:

2/23/21

Review

Reading by Moonlight

2/23/21

BONUS Promo

All the Ups and Downs

2/23/21

BONUS Promo

LSBBT Blog

2/24/21

Review

Missus Gonzo

2/24/21

Review

The Clueless Gent

2/25/21

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

2/25/21

BONUS Promo

Hall Ways Blog

2/26/21

Review

Jennie Reads

2/26/21

Review

Jennifer Silverwood

2/27/21

Review

Bibliotica

2/28/21

Review

Carpe Diem Chronicles

3/1/21

Review

Book Fidelity

3/1/21

Review

That’s What She’s Reading

3/2/21

Review

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

3/3/21

Review

Forgotten Winds

3/3/21

Review

Librariel Book Adventures

3/4/21

Review

It’s Not All Gravy

3/4/21

Review

The Plain-Spoken Pen

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Blog Tour: Pudge and Prejudice

PUDGE AND PREJUDICE
by
A.K. PITTMAN
Categories: YA / Clean & Wholesome Romance / ’80s
Publisher: Wander (a division of Tyndale House)
Date of Publication: January 12, 2021
Number of Pages: 352 pages
 
 
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A Mixtape of Big ’80s Style, High School Angst, and a Classic Jane Austen Tale

It’s 1984 and after moving to Northenfield, Texas, with her family, Elyse Nebbit faces the challenge of finding her place in a new school, one dominated by social status and Friday night football. When Elyse’s effortlessly beautiful older sister Jayne starts dating golden boy Charlie Bingley, Elyse finds herself curious about Charlie’s popular and brooding best friend, Billy Fitz. Elyse’s body insecurities eventually complicate her relationship with Billy, leaving Jayne and Elyse’s exceedingly blunt friend, Lottie, to step in and help Elyse accept herself for who she is, pant size and all.

 
PRAISE FOR PUDGE AND PREJUDICE:

Written with wit and considerable insight into the highs and lows of first love, this coming-of-age twist on the Jane Austen classic had me laughing out loud, singing ‘80s lyrics in my head, and cheering on the brilliant, yet self-deprecating heroine. Pudge & Prejudice is a joy to read from beginning to end! Lorie Langdon, author of Olivia Twist and the Disney Villains series

Allison Pittman will have readers laughing (and singing) on every page of this delightfully tenderhearted novel for all ages…[She] crafts a particularly savvy character who learns that beauty really is soul-deep…. Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials

I can’t remember the last time I loved a book as much as I love this one. It’s an instant classic I will return to time after time.  —Bethany Turner, Award-Winning Author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

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Allison Pittman is an award-winning author of thirteen novels, including the Christy-nominated Sister Wife series and the critically acclaimed The Seamstress. An enthusiast for all of the writing world, Allison holds active leadership in her local American Christian Fiction Writers chapter, and she heads up a thriving critique group in the San Antonio area. When not writing, Allison teaches middle school English, working as a conduit to introduce her students to new, fresh literature. You can follow her around on Instagram or Twitter and keep up with her writing news on her Allison Pittman Author Facebook page. Here you’ll learn what’s going on with new books, next books, and day-to-day life with Allison and her husband, Mikey. You’ll also get a peek at Snax, the world’s worst dog.

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Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

This book follows the life of main character Elyse. A sophomore in high school who has been forced to relocate to Texas after her dad gets a new job. Elyse is one of five children and she isn’t the one that is the most accepted but the one who wishes to disappear off the family’s radar. Her size isn’t quite what others would call “normal,” but to Elyse, she’s comfortable the way she is. Will Elyse find love or even get a boyfriend?

Elyse is developed as a strong female character who aims to not fit into society’s view of normal. Throughout the book she challenges authority, societal norms, and her parents.  It can be tough to not look like others but it is even tougher when your family points that out constantly. The greatest act of rebellion is to do the exact opposite and live her life the way she wants to. The author does a wonderful job developing the main characters and supporting characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the family dynamic and the teenage angst. It reminded me of many times when I was in junior high and high school. It is hard to deal with those emotions and I loved how this book brought a humorous and empowering approach to them. I only wished I was as determined as Elyse. 

The author spends time highlighting the challenges that Elyse faces with her weight but also encourages the reader to feel empowered by the way Elyse handles the backlash from others. This reminds us to embrace who we are and to not focus of what others think of us but embrace your own individual characteristics. This book has love, loss, family, and forgiveness as the author dives into relatable topics. Although, the book setting is based in Texas during the 1980s, the story reads as if the events were happening today. 

I highly recommend this book for anyone middle grade and up. The humor will have adults feeling nostalgic and younger kids gaining tools to face their fears of social interaction. Once you begin, you won’t want to put it down. I am curious if there will be a book two, if so, I can’t wait. 

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THREE WINNERS
Each winner receives a SIGNED COPY of the book,
a hair scrunchie, and a $25 Visa Gift Card
Giveaway ends Midnight, CST, 2/13/2021
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:
2/3/21 Review The Page Unbound
2/3/21 Review Missus Gonzo
2/4/21 Review All the Ups and Downs
2/5/21 Review Carpe Diem Chronicles
2/5/21 Review That’s What She’s Reading
2/6/21 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
2/7/21 Review Rebecca R. Cahill, Author
2/8/21 Review Nerd Narration
2/8/21 Review Rainy Days with Amanda
2/9/21 Review Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
2/10/21 Review StoreyBook Reviews
2/10/21 Review Momma on the Rocks
2/11/21 Review Book Fidelity
2/11/21 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
2/12/21 Review Librariel Book Adventures
2/12/21 Review Jennifer Silverwood
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Blog Tour: Stork Bite

STORK BITE

by
L.K. Simonds
Genre: Historical Fiction / Southern Fiction 
Date of Publication: November 30, 2020 
Number of Pages: 359 pages
 
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“Everything has to be reconciled eventually.” 

 
Caddo Parish, 1913. On an October morning, a Klansman confronts seventeen-year-old David Walker at a hidden oxbow lake where he has gone to hunt. David accidentally kills the man and hides the crime. His determination to protect his family from reprisal drives him far from home and into manhood. 
 
Shreveport, 1927. Cargie (rhymes with Margie) Barre and Mae Compton are two vastly different young women, but both are defying convention to reach for their dreams. The men in Cargie’s and Mae’s lives help and hinder them in more ways than one. After years in hiding, David Walker finally resurfaces, and we discover the past is never as far from the present as it seems.

PRAISE FOR STORK BITE:

“Simonds is a wonderfully talented author and evokes the South in astonishing detail in Stork Bite, making us feel we’re sitting in on a long, sumptuous, serial film production. But don’t think it’s mere eye candy–like the best period dramas, there’s plenty of social commentary here. Highly recommended!” 

–Linore Rose Burkard, author of Regency Romance and Contemporary Suspense
 
CLICK TO PURCHASE!

Review

Rating :★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

The author begins this book with the main character David going for his usual walk in his small town during the early 1900s. This is during a time where segregation is still a prominent issue and black males are taught to protect themselves from white males. As the story unfolds, we watch as David’s biggest fear comes true. He has crossed paths with a white male who has his eyes set on demeaning David. Based during a time where being Black was considered a crime, David must decide whether to defend himself or take whatever is thrown at him. Realizing that both choices have great consequences.

The overall storyline focuses primarily on the main character and a series of events that follow one main event. David’s life takes many twists and turns throughout the novel until finally toward the end he comes to some sort of resting place. It really makes you think of a time in your life where you felt you were carrying shame and guilt from a past mistake. There is a bit of biblical based references in this book that tend to focus on forgiveness and letting go. The author allows you to take a step in the shoes of the main character as he works through his emotions and pushes past the shame and guilt he has been carrying his entire life. This all occurs until he comes to a resting place at the end of the novel where he is finally able to find peace and healing in self forgiveness.

The author works to try to capture the true essence of the language during the time period targeted in this book and the potential challenges faced by those of color. If you are interested in a pre-civil rights movement fictional read that focuses on fear and guilt, then this book is one you should pick up.


 

L. K. Simonds is a Fort Worth local whose debut novel, All In, was published in 2019.

 

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Signed Paperbacks of ALL IN and STORK BITE
Plus $50 Visa Gift Card.
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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
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1/26/21 Review That’s What She’s Reading
1/26/21 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
1/27/21 Review StoreyBook Reviews
1/28/21 Review The Page Unbound
1/28/21 Review KayBee’s Book Shelf
1/29/21 Review Momma on the Rocks
1/29/21 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
1/30/21 Review Rainy Days with Amanda
1/31/21 Review Tangled in Text
2/1/21 Review Librariel Book Adventures
2/1/21 Review Jennifer Silverwood
2/2/21 Review The Clueless Gent
2/2/21 BONUS Promo All the Ups and Downs
2/3/21 Review Book Bustle
2/3/21 Review Forgotten Winds
2/4/21 Review It’s Not All Gravy
2/4/21 Review Reading by Moonlight
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Blog Tour: The Diary of Asser Levy

THE DIARY OF ASSER LEVY
First Jewish Citizen
of New York
by
DANIELA WEIL
 
Genre: Historical Fiction / Middle Grade / Jewish / Colonial America
Publisher: Pelican (Arcadia Publishing)
Date of Publication: March 9, 2020
Number of Pages: 128

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For twenty-four years the Dutch colony of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil was a safe haven for Jews who had escaped the Inquisition in Europe. Recife, its capital, was known as “Colonial Jerusalem,” and it was from this religiously tolerant town that Asser Levy tells his story. When the Portuguese recaptured the territory in 1654, they brought the Inquisition and its torments with them, forcing Asser and his family and friends to flee to Holland. About fifteen ships arrive safely in Holland; Asser’s ship does not. 

 
Through imagined diary entries based on real events, Asser tells the harrowing story of the Jewish refugees who arrived on the island of Manhattan and of some of the first court battles fought to allow religious freedom in America.

PRAISE FOR THE DIARY OF ASSER LEVY:

“The book breathes life into a little-known yet important Jewish figure of early New Amsterdam and New York. Through a series of diary entries based on fact and the author’s creation, the author brings out the emotion, drama, and conflicts of Asser Levy’s turbulent journey to a new land in search of religious freedom. … The book will add color to classroom lessons on early US history and on Jewish immigration.” —Paul Kaplan, author of Jewish New York: A History and Guide to Neighborhoods, Synagogues, and Eateries

“What an extraordinary amount of research went into it! And what a creative way of combining historical fiction and contemporary pictures. Kudos!” —Cynthia Levinson, author of The Youngest Marcher

“What a fine job [Daniela] did with this story! … The diary-style keeps the pace moving, and the adventures make it exciting. Lots of setting details bring the scenes alive, and the dialogue engages the reader in the plot. I can see how it will be easy for a young reader to identify with Asser, worrying about how (and if) he’ll succeed in his quest.” —Gail Jarrow, author of Fatal Fever


Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished book  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

This remarkable tale takes the reader on a journey through the life of Asser Levy, a notable Jewish born refugee, who despite all odds, rose to the top. This book consists of diary entries that describe the life of Asser Levy from his perspective. He recounts the events that led to him moving to what is  present-day New York.

The story begins with Asser describing the essential downfall of his community. The story is set in the mid-1600s when the Dutch captured the town of Recife, Brazil, a community that consisted of Jewish natives and immigrants such as Asser. Asser’s father built his life in their community as a town butcher who served Kosher meat. His family consisted of strong Jewish descendants who stood firm to their beliefs. All throughout this book the reader is able to see the Jewish influence on the lives of the people. After being given a few months to collect their belongings, Jewish natives prepare for departure from a place they have called home for years. Dutch soldiers would take up residence in their homes soon after their departure. Although this tale sounds bleak, to Asser it was an opportunity to remain positive. All throughout this book, Asser consistently remains positive, determined, and optimistic despite the numerous challenges they faced.

If you are interested in a historical fiction novel that allows you to be transported into the life of the main character, I recommend this book. It is a quick read and will have you wanting to finish it to see how this band of immigrants overcome adversity after adversity. It truly inspires the reader to see beyond what is right in front of you and believe the best is yet to come. This story inspired me to continue to push forward regardless of my circumstances and understand that the greatest challenges produce endurance. This is truly a well written book with the intent to provide quality and factually based information about Asser Levy, a butcher looking to move past the challenges and settle into a new home. Asser Levy’s name will be one that I will now remember, understanding the importance of setting the stage and not giving up despite the walls built around you intended to stop your growth.


CLICK TO PURCHASE

Daniela Weil was born in Brazil. She attended the International School in São Paulo, where she was surrounded by people and cultures from around the world. It was also there that she developed a passion for nature, art, and writing. After earning a BA in biology from Brandeis University in Boston, Weil became a field research biologist. She participated in various whale projects, including illustrating the first field guide for whales and dolphins in Brazil.

Being a mother rekindled her desire to share her passion about the natural world. She joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and attended workshops on writing nonfiction and science for kids. After writing several articles on science and history, she ventured into books. Weil attended the Texas Library Association annual conference with her SCBWI group and met the folks from Pelican, who were intrigued by her middle-grade book idea. As the project developed, her research took her back to Brazil and across the world, chasing Asser’s experiences.

When not on the hunt for new experiences, Weil makes her home in Austin, Texas, with her husband, Erik, and daughter, Lucy.

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 September 22-October 2, 2020
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9/22/20

Book
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Break Book Blog

9/22/20

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Hall Ways Blog

9/23/20

Author
Interview

Max
Knight

9/24/20

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

9/25/20

Sneak
Peek

Texas Book Lover

9/26/20

Review

Reading
by Moonlight

9/27/20

Author
Interview

Story Schmoozing Book Reviews

9/28/20

Top Ten

All the Ups and Downs

9/29/20

Review

Librariel Book Adventures

9/30/20

Scrapbook
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The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

10/1/20

Review

Book
Bustle

   
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Blog Tour: The First Emma

THE FIRST EMMA
by

Camille Di MaioHistorical Fiction / Historical Romance / Women’s Fiction

Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing
Date of Publication: May 5, 2020
Number of Pages: 315

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The First Emma is the true story of Emma Koehler. Whose tycoon husband Otto was killed in a crime-of-the-century murder by one of his two mistresses – both also named Emma – and her unlikely rise as CEO of a brewing empire during Prohibition. When a chance to tell her story to a young teetotaler arises, a tale unfolds of love, war, beer, and the power of women.
PRAISE for The First Emma

“Di Maio’s take on a shocking American drama pleasantly blends romantic and historical fiction . . . a sweet memorialization of a real-life female business pioneer in San Antonio.” —Kirkus

“A beautifully crafted portrait of an intriguing woman. Mystery and romance are set against the backdrop of fascinating pieces of twentieth-century history, and a richly drawn setting leaves the reader feeling wholly immersed. Historical fiction fans will love this one!” —Chanel Cleeton, NYT bestselling author of Next Year in Havana


“Di Maio does a brilliant job of weaving together all the threads—from past to present—while unearthing a tale of blossoming love, the power of our chosen family, and the losses that make us whole again.” —Rochelle B. Weinstein, USA Today bestselling author of This Is Not How It Ends

CLICK TO ORDER ON:
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Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of a finished ebook  from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

Emma Koehler, known as the first Emma, is a woman of great stature and determination. Her life took an unexpected turn of events as she lived through milestone moments. Emma watched her successful husband take on more than business ventures. Her relationship with her husband is described as purely contractual and far from an emotional connection. However, like any woman, Emma wanted the love of her husband but that would soon be deemed impossible after her accident. We are taken on a journey through history as we watch her story told by Maribel. Maribel is a young woman whose fiancé’ left her for another woman while at war. She answers an and for a job and leaves from Baltimore to Texas. We continue to watch as we learn more about the story of Emma Koehler told from the perspective of Maribel. Will they both find peace in this journey as the dive into the past?

Emma Koehler is a strong female lead who is described as taking charge and using her husband’s wandering eyes as a base to gain privilege in his company. She is an inspiring woman as she continues to take charge despite the many challenges she faced. Although, unable to live the life she wanted she insisted on making the best out of her situation. It was very interesting to read more about each Emma and their role in Otto’s death. We watch as Maribel is set as the narrator after a beginning that would leave any woman begging for a fresh start in a new place. Both women had a different start at life but they struggled with the men in their lives and you can see that connection in the beginning. The reader and the narrator are both captured by the story of Emma Koehler, both on the edge of their seats waiting for her next response. As we learn about each Emma and her role in the infidelity that plagued the Koehler household makes you wonder who is at fault in this situation. Is it the first Emma that lead to the death of Otto or is it the Emma that left? Throughout this story we are captivated by the strength, determination, and resiliency described in the first Emma. In the end, no one left this story unscathed.

I devoured this book in one sitting in less than three hours in an attempt to get to the end. In the beginning you are unsure of which direction the author will take the book as the title captures your attention. You wonder throughout the story, why is there a first Emma? The more the story unfolds then you understand the importance of the writing style and the way the author tells this story. The author does a phenomenal job with the telling of this story that captures the attention of the reader. You feel transported in the prohibition era and into the home of Emma and Otto Koehler. The contrast in stories from Emma and the narrator Maribel allows for a bit of a happy ending for both. I enjoyed reading about both Emma’s past and watching Maribel grow and develop in the story. It is truly remarkable to see such an interesting part of history told in such a way that provokes the reader to do more research on the subject matter. After reading this book I wanted to know more about the story of Emma and Otto. As you continue to journey through each page as the story unravels the intensity of each descriptive detail begins to reveal true emotions displayed by the main characters. Throughout this story I gasped, I cried a little, I laughed, and I applauded.

This is my first time reading a book by this author and I enjoy her writing style and attention to detail. I have read quite a few historical fictions and this book fits the bill of an entrancing read. You get to the end of the book and are excited to read more about the facts of the main character. You can tell the author was passionate about writing this book and took the time to do extensive research to ensure the story was told in a way that did not take the reader’s attention away from the first Emma. In the end, all I can say is “wow” what a wonderfully written book and I wish there was more.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in reading a captivating historical fiction novel. This book is appropriate for adults and young adults since it does not contain lewd content and is an easy read.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!


Camille Di Maio always dreamed of being a writer, though she took a winding path of waitressing, temping, politicking, and real estate to get there. It all came to fruition with the publication of her bestselling debut, The Memory of Us, followed by Before the Rain Falls, The Way of Beauty, and The Beautiful Strangers. In addition to writing, she loves farmers’ markets, unashamedly belts out Broadway tunes when the mood strikes, and regularly faces her fear of flying to indulge her passion for travel. Married for twenty-three years, she home-schools their four children. (Though the first two are off at college now!) She is happy to live in Virginia near a beach. 

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May 19-29, 2020
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Blog Tour: Out of the Embers

OUT OF THE EMBERS
MESQUITE SPRINGS, BOOK ONE
by
Amanda Cabot
Historical Fiction / Christian Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: March 3, 2020
Number of Pages: 336

Scroll down for the giveaway!
 
Ten years after her parents were killed, Evelyn Radcliffe is once more homeless. The orphanage that was her refuge and later her workplace has burned to the ground, and only she and a young orphan girl have escaped. Convinced this must be related to her parents’ murders, Evelyn flees with the girl to Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country and finds refuge in the home of Wyatt Clark, a talented horse rancher whose plans don’t include a family of his own.

At first, Evelyn is a distraction. But when it becomes clear that trouble has followed her to Mesquite Springs, she becomes a full-blown disruption. Can Wyatt keep her safe from the man who wants her dead? And will his own plans become collateral damage?

Suspenseful and sweetly romantic, Out of the Embers is the first in a new series that invites you to the Texas Hill Country in the 1850s, when the West was wild, the men were noble, and the women were strong.



PRAISE FOR OUT OF THE EMBERS:

Out of the Embers is part prairie romance, part romantic suspense. I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a book more. Amanda Cabot has written an intriguing, chilling mystery and she winds it through the pages of a sweet romance in a way that made me keep turning the pages fast to see what was going to happen next. An absolutely excellent read. And now I’m hungry for oatmeal pecan pie!” 

Mary Connealy, author of Aiming for Love, book #1 in the Brides of Hope Mountain series
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Review

Rating :★★★★★

Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Lone Star Literary Life partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copies used in this review are finalized copies sent to me in exchange for my honest review.  #partner #LSBBT

 

What lengths would you go to protect someone you loved? Evelyn Radcliffe’s life was forever changed ten years prior after her parents’ were murdered in their restaurant. She has spent the last ten years in an orphanage that she has now called home. Although the sheriff said her parent’s murderer was captured and hung, she still feels as though she is being watched. Her suspicions have become more evident after she and Polly narrowly miss being killed in a fire that took the lives of those in the orphanage. Evelyn must step up as guardian for Polly and work to protect them from the person who appears to want them both dead. After the orphanage burns down Evelyn decides to take Polly and leave the town she has called home for far too long. After a harsh storm, Eveyln and Polly take shelter in the home of Wyatt Clark in the town of Mesquite. Soon she will realize there is more to the new town that a kind stranger. Will they both survive? Will Evelyn let go of the guilt that she carries and move forward with her new life?

In this first installment of a new Christian Historical Fiction series, Cabot dives into the realm of historical fiction. The author does a phenomenal job with the telling of. the story of Evelyn and Polly. The storyline flows seamlessly with twists and turns on every corner. I thoroughly enjoyed the emotional connection the author enabled with her writing style. I was able to fully connect with each character and truly feel transported into this time period. Each supporting character played a major role in the overall plot and the author even provided a teaser at the end of the book. I enjoyed how Eveyln’s character is developed as a strong female protagonist with a compassionate heart to serve others. I also enjoyed the Christian based aspect of this novel and the influence of the scriptures. There is one part of the story where Wyatt looks at Evelyn and tells her that the truth will set her free. Evelyn has been carrying the weight of her parent’s death and the weight of the burning down of the orphanage on her shoulders far too long. At that moment she feels as though God has saved her for a reason. Which we will later find out towards the end of the story and we come to find out more about Polly and why she won’t share her last name.

I felt a strong connection to this novel. Often times we don’t fully understand how God truly intervenes in our lives to save us because our saving is tied to saving someone else. I would implore the readers to really consider this as they dive into this book. Think a moment where you know that God has saved you to only use you to provide a blessing to someone else or use you to save someone else.

Overall this is truly a remarkably written Christian historical fiction novel that allowed the reader to be transported into the story. The author spent time developing every supporting character, the description of the setting, and the plot. This all combined created a well-rounded novel with a heartbreaking beginning and a happy ending. I highly recommend this novel for anyone looking for a Christian based novel as such that focuses on fear, grief, strength, and love.

Click the link above to purchase this item or scroll towards the bottom of this review try your luck at the giveaway. Either way, get your hands on a copy of this book!


Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Cimarron Creek trilogy, as well as the Texas Crossroads series, the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.
 

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

F1CD5E32-44DE-4C87-B093-B425EDDDDAA6Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Pages: Print 552
Release Date: March 14, 2006
Author: Markus Zusak
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. The copy used for this review was a copy I purchased on my own.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the publisher or author. 

 

 


Goodreads Synopsis

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up, and closed down.


Final Thoughts

This young adult fiction novel told from the perspective of death is both humorous and heartbreaking. Death, portrayed as a man, become fascinated by Liesel Meminger and during a routine soul recovery. Who is the soul he is coming to retrieve, her brother’s? Liesel is on her way to new her foster family with her brother and mother. Hitler has taken over Germany, and her mother is ill and unable to care for her children. The two are going to a foster family in Molching, Germany. Liesel notices her brother take his last breath on the train with their mother to their new home. At that moment, they must get off the train in the next town and bury her brother then continue their journey to Molching. Liesel stares as they bury her brother with only the gravediggers near and her mother. Then on their way from the gravesite Liesel notices a book in the snow, “The Gravediggers Handbook,” she takes the book as a souvenir from the day’s events.

“The Gravediggers Handbook” leads her to learn to read, sparks her love for books, and her receiving the name “The Book Thief” by Death. After her brother’s funeral, she continues the journey to her new home with her foster parents, Hans and Rosa Hubermann. She will learn to love and trust her foster parents. Her first few months in her new home are challenging, and it gets worse when she starts at her new school and realizes she is behind the other students. She must learn to read and write to move up to her right grade. Liesel will make friends with the kids in her neighborhood, help her mother with the laundry business, learn to read with her foster father and learn to survive. Her love for reading and writing not only saves her life but benefits the lives of those around her. As Liesel learns to adjust to her new home the war around her continues to wage, and the poor small town of Molching must learn to survive as rations diminish. To make matters more complicated, Hans has agreed to be a haven for a Jewish male. The family keeps a huge secret as they sacrifice their lives for a friend. Will this poor small town and the occupants of Himmel street survive to see the end of the war? Or will everyone die trying to survive?

I tried to limit my summary but I loved this book, and it’s hard to hit every point. I adored this book and the writing style. I liked the fact that the narrator took breaks in the story to tell a bit more about himself and his journey to Liesel. This book touched my heart as it was filled with a variety of emotions. The connection that Liesel grew between Hans and Rosa Hubermann was described in great detail to paint a picture. Markus Zusak words painted a picture of emotional relationships, turmoil, loss, and family. I could tell that he meticulously developed each main character and the supporting characters as their stories started to intertwine. Each character had their own back story with was tied well into the story of Liesel. This book is one of my favorites by far. If you enjoy reading historical fiction and is a fan of “All the Light We Cannot See” then you will enjoy this novel. The Book Thief takes you on a journey through love, loss, immense tragedy, and redemption. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book immediately.

To purchase your copy of this novel you can visit this link to view purchasing links https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19063.The_Book_Thief 


Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

img_0317Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pages: Print 544
Digital: eAdudiobook 16 hrs 02mins
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Author: Anthony Doerr
Rating: ★★★★.5


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I borrowed a copy of this book from a library in Sugarland, TX. The copy used for this review was a printed copy for the first half and the second half was an audiobook from Scribd. This review is no way tied to the library or the publisher. 


Goodreads Synopsis

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.


Favorite Quotes

‘Don’t you want to live before you die?”


Final Thoughts

This book was actually recommended to me by my coworker and I adored it. I have a degree in History and I am trying to read more historical fiction. I cried, yelled at the pages, and held my breath while reading this novel. It took me over two weeks to finish because I had to keep putting it down to breath.

The book starts off near Paris with Marie-Laure in the Museum of Natural History listening to a guide explain the history of a prized jewel that is kept in the museum. The guide in the novel explains the myths surrounding the jewel and why it is kept in a special lock box in the museum. Afterwards we learn more about Marie-Laure and her fathers relationship by getting a glimpse of their everyday life and how they handle her condition. Then the author transitions to telling the story of Werner and his relationship with his family. The author develops a multi-level back story for each character sharing little details of their parents and siblings. I personally would have liked more depth in the back story of the main characters but I am confident that would have added more to the page count. The story then follows both characters through the war and details how each handles the various events. In the beginning of the book I wondered why the author would have two very unique main characters and the importance of the two. Later I realized that each character provided different perspectives of the war. The story continued on to be filled with sadness, grief, , love, happiness, family, and friendship. The  last five chapters were the hardest and happiest chapters for me. This was mostly due to the revisiting of family members of each character and the development of the supporting characters. Also, the ending shares a glimpse of the main characters and their families in the future. The author writes about how the family members of these characters were affected by the war, where they are now, and how they are dealing with the aftermath mentally and physically. The author did a fantastic job with the character development, the realism, and the overall plot of this book. I personally like a bit more violence since this is a book that focuses on World War II but I cam understand the point of this novel was to tell it from the perspective of the youth.

This book definitely takes you on an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. I recommend this to anyone interested in historical fiction. I would also recommend the audiobook, the narrator is amazing. If you’re interested in reading a Young Adult Historical Fiction then I would recommend the Alex & Eliza series by Melissa De La Cruz. It’s a fictional tale of the life of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. It is laced with humor throughout the entire novel. You can find my review of the Alex & Eliza story here.

To purchase your copy of this novel, visit Anthony Doerr’s website at http://anthonydoerr.com/books/ for access to purchasing links. 



Happy Reading and I hope you enjoyed my honest opinion of this novel!

Enjoyed this review or have book suggestions? Leave a comment below!

Contact me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com for book reviews.

ARC: Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages

img_3839Title: Out of Left Field 
Author: Ellen Klages
Genre: Middle Grade Historical Sports Fiction
Pages: Print 320
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Penguin Young Readers partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from the publisher, some quotes may have been changed prior to publishing.


Goodreads Synopsis 

Every boy in the neighborhood knows Katy Gordon is their best pitcher, even though she’s a girl. But when she tries out for Little League, it’s a whole different story. Girls are not eligible, period. It is a boy’s game and always has been. It’s not fair, and Katy’s going to fight back. Inspired by what she’s learning about civil rights in school, she sets out to prove that she’s not the only girl who plays baseball. With the help of friendly librarians and some tenacious research skills, Katy discovers the forgotten history of female ball players. Why does no one know about them? Where are they now? And how can one ten-year-old change people’s minds about what girls can do?

Set in 1957–the world of Sputnik and Leave It to Beaver, saddle shoes and “Heartbreak Hotel”–Out of Left Field is both a detailed picture of a fascinating historic period and a timelessly inspiring story about standing up for equality at any age.


Final Thoughts

This middle-grade historical fiction book provides information on women in baseball. This book is based in the fifties and discusses some of the obstacles women faced. Katy wants to play on her local little league baseball team with her best friend, PeeWee. Her and PeeWee were playing a game of baseball when a little league coach suggested she try out. Katy didn’t correct the coach when he referred to her as a boy; she merely informed him her name was Casey. Katy earns her place in the league but gets removed once the coach finds out her gender. She decides to write a letter to the league to get the decision overturned but to no avail, they respond by stating the sport is only for boys. Katy decides to fight it and starts digging for more information about female baseball players. With the help of her friend Jules, both girls find out the real challenge of being a woman in the sports industry. Katy gathers information, conducts interviews, and makes a new friend. Will she succeed in her quest to get the league? Will her efforts go unnoticed?

Overall, this is a well-written novel that focuses on critical issues that needed to be discussed. The book showcases the challenges women faced in the 1950s when trying to play a sport that was deemed appropriate only for men. Katy’s character is developed in a manner that emphasizes determination and perseverance in women. Katy does not give up, but she does run into more obstacles. I enjoyed the historical references, list of female baseball players, and the author’s note at the end. I would recommend this girl power book to any middle-grade youth who is interested in learning more about women in sports from a fictional point of view.


Interested in me reviewing your book or have suggested reads? Email me at librarielbookreviews@gmail.com

ARC Review: Love & War

Love & War CoverTitle: Love & War: An Alex & Eliza Story
Author: Melissa De La Cruz
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary, Realistic
Pages: Print 366
Release Date: April 17, 2018
Rating: ★★★★.5


Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from Penguin Young Readers as a part of  Penguin Teen #partner in exchange for my honest review.  The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or the publisher. The copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from the publisher, some quotes may have been changed prior to publishing.


Synopsis:

The thrilling romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler continues in the sizzling sequel to the New York Times bestselling Alex & Eliza: A Love Story
1781. Albany, New York.

As the war for American independence rages on, Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler begin their new life as a married couple. Still, Alex is as determined as ever to prove his mettle and secure his legacy . . . even if that means leaving his beloved Eliza behind to join the front lines at the Battle of Yorktown. But when the war unexpectedly arrives on Eliza’s doorstep, she must fight for a better future–for their fledgling country and for her marriage.

Yet even after the Revolution comes to its historic close, Alex and Eliza’s happily-ever-after is threatened. Eliza struggles to build a home in the hustle and bustle of New York City just as Alex’s burgeoning law practice brings him up against his greatest rival–the ambitious young lawyer Aaron Burr. And with Alex’s star on the rise, Eliza can’t help but feel neglected by a husband who seems to have time for everyone but her. Torn apart by new trials and temptations, can Alex and Eliza’s epic love survive life in the big city?

The battles are just beginning in the sumptuous sequel to Melissa de la Cruz’s New York Times bestselling Alex & Eliza: A Love Story.


Favorite Quotes:

“The say the pen is mightier than a sword, but that is not true in the battlefield.”

“and then there was no more time or desire for conversation, as the most articulate statesman in America found words paled in comparison to the sublime experience of being with his beloved.”


Author Bio:

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York TimesUSA TodayWall Street JournalLos Angeles Times, and Publishers Weekly internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed books for readers of all ages, including Alex & Eliza: A Love Story, Disney’s Descendants novels, the Blue Bloods series, and the Summer on East End series. Her books have sold over eight million copies, and the Witches of East End series became an hour-long television drama on the Lifetime network. Visit her at melissa-delacruz.com

Final Thoughts:

Love & War is part two of the Alex and Eliza love story. The author did a fantastic job developing both characters and continuing the storyline. In this book, we follow the life of Eliza Hamilton and Alexander Hamilton as both grow and flourish as a married couple. Alex has been tasked with the challenge of having to support his new wife and try to advance his career. Alex harbors the guilt of growing up as an orphan with no ties to a family. He had to fight for Eliza’s hand in marriage and the approval of her father; now he must fight to continue to prove he is worthy of her love. Alex feels as though the only way to establish himself as being more than just a clerk to General Washington, Alex must command his army. He wants command of the Yorktown brigade and feels he is contributing to the war by helping the fight against the British. Will his efforts lead to victory? Can he support Eliza after the war is complete? Alex must decide where he will reside once the war is over and how he will help his family. Will his new career turn out to be a success or a failure?

Overall this is a well written historical teen fiction. It showcases the struggles many women faced during the war. Women were meant to be seen and not heard. Women were the wives, caretakers, gardeners, seamstress, and midwives. While men spoke politics, fought in wars, and worked difficult positions. This book showcases the gender gap during wartime and the concepts instilled in women. I can also tell that the author did her research before writing this series. I enjoyed the notions of honor, the love between Alex and his new wife, and the importance of relationships. I recommend this book to any teen looking for an informative, realistic historical fiction.