Oct 272014
 

 

 

 

Product Details

 

  • Title: The Time of the Fireflies
  • Author:  Kimberley Griffiths Little
  • Age Range: 8 – 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 – 7
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What’s this?)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (July 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545165636
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Description:
Critically acclaimed author Kimberley Griffiths Little spins a thrilling story of one girl’s race to unravel the curse that has haunted her family for generations.

When Larissa Renaud starts receiving eerie phone calls on a disconnected old phone in her family’s antique shop, she knows she’s in for a strange summer. A series of clues leads her to the muddy river banks, where clouds of fireflies dance among the cypress knees and cattails each evening at twilight. The fireflies are beautiful and mysterious, and they take her on a magical journey through time, where Larissa learns secrets about her family’s tragic past — deadly, curse-ridden secrets that could harm the future of her family as she knows it. It soon becomes clear that it is up to Larissa to prevent history from repeating itself and a fatal tragedy from striking the people she loves.
With her signature lyricism, Kimberley Griffiths Little weaves a thrilling tale filled with family secrets, haunting mystery, and dangerous adventure.

 
My Review:
Even though this series of books are Middle-grade books written for children ages 8-12, I can’t help but be pulled into the mystery and magic found in Kimberley’s writing and her stories. The Time of the Fireflies takes the reader back to the world that first started in The Healing Spell and continuedin Circle of Secrets and When the Butterflies Came. Though I’ve never really been to the bayou or anywhere close to Louisiana, I feel like I have through the lush, descriptive writing found in Kimberley’s books. 

The Time of the Fireflies is Larissa’s story about her family and the past. There is an element of time travel, but I’m not giving away the secret of how that happens. I do love how she time travels and who she meets, and how this changes her life and her parent’s lives. Larissa had some hard things that happened to her in the past when she almost drowned in the Bayou Teche. The year before, she fell from the broken bridge that she crossed over on a dare.Now she has a large scar running down the side of her face. Years earlier,her Aunt Gwen drowned the same way. Now she struggles to fit in and deal with the lot that life has handed her. A mysterious, creepy antique doll adds spooky parts to the story, but not too scary for the intended age group. I loved how the history of the town, Bayou Bridge, is shared from Larissa’s trips to the past.

This is another beautiful “coming of age” story for a young girl who learns to let her past anger go, and embrace the wonder of new beginnings. Young people reading this book will be in for a ride of chills, thrills, mystery and learning to love and let go of the past. I would highly recommend this book to my students and my own kids. You too will be swept away with the mystery of the Fireflies and the secrets to be found in the bayou.

Meet Author: Kimberley Griffiths Little:
Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico with her husband and their three sons.
For such award-winning middle grade novels as When the Butterflies Came, The Last Snake Runner, The Healing Spell, and Circle of Secrets, her writing has been praised as “fast-paced and dramatic,” with “characters painted in memorable detail” and “beautifully realized settings.”
Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell and makes way too many cookies while writing.
She’s stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; sailed on the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.

Her amazing, filmed-on-location book trailers can be found on Goodreads. https://www.goodreads.com/videos/list…

Awards: Southwest Book Award, Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel, Bank Street College Best Books of 2011 & 2014, Crystal Kite Finalist, and New Mexico Book Award Finalist.

Learn more about Kimberley and her other wonderful books here at… http://www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com

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Oct 252014
 

 

 

 

Product Details

 

  • Title: Spell Check
  • Author: Julie Wright
  • File Size: 1072 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1941849008
  • Publisher: Heart Stone Press; 1 edition (June 30, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00LF449GG
  • AmazonGoodreads 
  • FTC,FYI: I bought my own copy at the Kindle Store!

Book Description

“Spell Check is an impossible-to-put-down, topsy-turvy adventure with fun, romance, and fabulous characters.”
–Heather B. Moore, USA Today bestselling author

A skeleton is rattling its way out of the closet marked
“FAMILY SECRET! KEEP OUT!”

Allyson Peterson believes that being hanged by the
Salem High Witches is the absolute worst thing that
can happen. But when her powers, wrested from the
trolls of ancient Sweden, manifest themselves, she
realizes that a prank hanging by vindictive cheerleaders
is the least of her worries.

Ally accidentally sends her parents to the jungle to fight
anacondas, turns her brother into a mute, and curses the
entire cheerleading team with an illness that has no cure,
proving that her spells need a little checking. Her Swedish
grandmother shows up to help her through the worst part
of all—surviving the Troll Trials and saving the guy of
her dreams from a vengeance that has festered through-
out generations.

The power is in her, if she can just get the magic right. 

My Review:
 Spell Check is a fun story of a young woman, Ally from Salem Massachusetts, whose life is turned upside down in just a few days. Not only does she find out that her thoughtless wishes are coming true, but also that she is a witch. Turning 16 is the key that unlocks her powers and boy does this cause havoc in her and her family’s life, her friends and her “frenemies” lives. I really liked how her magical powers came from the four elements of earth, air, water and fire.  The best part of the book is the humor and the dialogue that will keep you laughing page after page; even when Ally is in very scary predicaments like trying to save her parents in the Amazon and during the Troll Trials.  

Julie has written some of the best side characters, in Ally’s 10 year old brother Robison, and her Swedish Grandmother, Farmor, who is also a witch or a Troll Kvinna. The banter between Ally and her brother and Ally and her grandmother is sarcastic and funny. There is the sweetness and uncertainty of first young love between Ally and Jake, which is all clean, but so realistic for what teens go through. 

This YA Paranormal novel has so much to offer readers: mean girls that are chastised after they’ve bullied Ally for years, magical trolls with trials that can kill, and a rouge troll whose deception puts Jake’s life at risk. This story is one of coming of age where Ally finally learns to love herself and be proud of who she truly is. This was a great message for anyone, especially teens to read. 

I’m ending the review by listing some of the clever chapter titles that kept me smiling. If you like books about magic combined with great humor, you and your tweens and teens will love Spell Check.

-Note to Self: A Troll is a Lame Birthday Gift.
-Note to Self: Sleep is awesome. I should try it sometime.
-Note to Self: Just because a tiny man shows up at your door with an elk in tow doesn’t prove anything about Santa Claus.
-Note to Self: Dragon Boats are sarcastic, unhelpful, and deserve to sink.
-Note to Self: No matter what happens…it can be worse. At least I’m not married to a troll. 

 

 

 Spell Check is on sale for 99 Cents at the Kindle store now through Halloween!! What a great deal! (Follow this link)

Meet Author Julie Wright

Julie Wright started her first book when she was fifteen. She’s written seventeen novels since then: including the Hazzardous Universe Series and the Newport Ladies Book Club series. She won the Whitney Award for best romance for the novel Cross My Heart and the Crown Heart for The Fortune Cafe. She is represented by agent Sara Crowe with Harvey Klinger Inc. in New York. She enjoys speaking to writing groups, youth groups, and schools. She loves reading, eating, writing, hiking, and playing on the beach with her kids and husband. Julie’s favorite thing to do is watch her husband make dinner. Visit her at her website: www.juliewright.com

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Oct 242014
 

 

 

 


Product Details:

Book Title: Loving Lucianna: A Hearts in Autumn Romance  

Author: Joyce DiPastena

Category: Adult fiction, 223 pages

Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Sable Tyger Books
Published: October 11, 2014
ASIN: B00NG8NWGW
FTC, FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

About the Book:

Sir Balduin de Soler gave up long ago on love. He never had the means to support a wife until an unexpected advancement in his fifties allows him to reassess his future just as the lovely Lucianna enters his life.

Lucianna Fabio harbors a secret, painful memory from her past that has kept her unwed, as well. Now in her forties, she thought herself too old to marry until she meets Sir Balduin. Now suddenly their lonely autumn lives feel very much like spring again . . . until Lucianna’s brother appears without warning and threatens to revive the secret that will destroy Lucianna’s second chance at love.  

 

Loving Lucianna is the first in Joyce DiPastena’s new “Hearts in Autumn” romance series, medieval romances revolving around heroes and heroines “in the autumn of their years.” Because you’re never too old to fall in love!

 

 

Excerpt:

Lucianna gazed down at the three silver needles bedded against the red silk lining of the tiny but beautifully carved casket that held them, and nearly burst into tears. In the house of Siri’s first husband, a wealthy Venetian merchant, she had usually embroidered with needles of iron or bronze. These must have been shockingly expensive. Even with his prominent position in Triston’s household, the pins must have cost months of Sir Balduin’s pay. He still looked a little pale as he waited for her response, as though he had not quite recovered from the massive loss of his coins, but he also looked touchingly hopeful that they would please her.

 

Please her? No man had ever given her a finer gift. These would make her threads slide through cloth like butter.

 

Her lips trembled to thank him in the sweetest way for a couple in love, with a kiss that forgave everything in the past and promised only bliss in their future. But even as her feet quivered to carry her into Sir Balduin’s arms, Serafino spoke from where he gazed at the gift over her shoulder.

 

“There, you see, cara? You have been cross for no good reason. Today Sir Balduin lavishes silver needles on you. Tomorrow it will be gold threads for your embroidery and silk gowns for you to wear and black pepper at every meal, imported all the way from Venice.”

 

Lucianna shrank at her brother’s words. They were only a reminder of the poison he would pour into her marriage if she allowed the needles to melt her heart, as she had the sweet posy of flowers Sir Balduin had brought her after she had rebuked him for missing dinner.

 

She snapped the pretty little casket shut. “All I see is a man who expects me to sew my fingers to the bone for him. Shirts, hats—no doubt he will even want embroidery on his shoes!” She shoved the casket back into Sir Balduin’s hands. “No. I will not live my life as a drudge, just to wipe away the shame of never being a wife. Take him away, Serafino, out of my sight!”

 

She tried to slam the door of her bedchamber, but Serafino, who had stepped into the corridor outside to view the needles, stuck his foot on the threshold and blocked it from closing.

 

“Signore,” he said with a reassuring smile at Sir Balduin, “you must not heed her. I’m afraid I carelessly reminded her this morning that she is no spring maid as I sought to laud her good fortune in winning the favor of so generous a knight as yourself, but she took my remarks quite amiss. See, Lucianna, how I was right to praise him, though. You will lack for no luxury as his wife, while all he asks in return is to show off a bit of your fine embroidery to his friends. Be reasonable, cara.”

 

Lucianna determined to be anything but. If nagging and scolding and peevish rebukes had failed to break Sir Balduin’s affection for her, then she must leave him in no doubt that his “insulting gift” had broken hers.


My Review

 

It’s always a treat to run away from my troubles and escape in a lovely romance written by Joyce DiPastena. It makes the journey even better when you can revisit characters that you loved from Joyce’s other books. 

 

 Readers first met Lucianna in Illuminations Of The Heart as she was a minor character in Siri and Triston’s love story. Lucianna always intrigued me as I wondered why she acted the way she did. You knew that she had to have had a hard and painful past. This difficult past is the mystery that comes storming out in the middle of Loving Lucianna. The book starts with the serene picture of an “Autumn Romance” between Lucianna in her forties and Sir Balduin in his early fifties. As someone who fits into that age bracket, it was refreshing to read about a romance between people not in their teens or twenties. Of course it couldn’t stay perfect and wonderful too long because soon, Lucianna’s past comes to haunt her once again. Her older,half-brother Serifino, shows up to cause trouble and continue his blackmail of his sister. Serifino is a well- written fiend that readers will love to hate. Readers will be incensed as they “watch” Serifino manipulate every situation and person within his reach. 

 

 

I’ll not be giving away any more details now, but there will be many misunderstandings, deceptions and some very humorous scenes before this story plays itself out, leading to some sigh-worthy moments. Loving Lucianna is a must read for all of Joyce’s fan’s and for those wanting to read a clean medieval romance. I’m very excited to read more books in the “Hearts in Autumn Romance” series.

 

Buy Loving Lucianna now in ebook format from these booksellers:

Amazon Paperback and Kindle
Barnes and Noble Nook
iTunes (iBook)
Kobo
Smashwords


Praise for Joyce DiPastena’s Books:

“Illuminations of the Heart was truly superb. I was hooked by the first line, and in love with the hero by the third page.”
  — Donna Hatch, Author of The Stranger She Married

“Loyalty’s Web took me on a journey into the twelfth century that I will not soon forget. A tale of intrigue, manipulation, lust and conflict, this book was exquisitely written and showed how love can defy any evil that comes against it.”   
  –You Gotta Read Reviews

“Every story I read, written by Joyce DiPastena, makes me fall in love with this time period more and more. Medieval France is brought to life again, in this story about the fair maiden, Mathilde, and her handsome knight, Etienne.”
  — Sheila Staley, LDS Women’s Book Reviews

Picture Meet the author: 

Joyce DiPastena dreamed of green medieval forests while growing up in the dusty copper mining town of Kearny, Arizona. She filled her medieval hunger by reading the books of Thomas B. Costain (where she fell in love with King Henry II of England), and later by attending the University of Arizona where she graduated with a degree in history, specializing in the Middle Ages. The university was also where she completed her first full-length novel…set, of course, in medieval England. Later, her fascination with Henry II led her to expand her research horizons to the far reaches of his “Angevin Empire” in France, which became the setting of her first published novel, Loyalty’s Web (a 2007 Whitney Award Finalist).

Joyce is a multi-published, multi-award winning author who specializes in sweet medieval romances heavily spiced with mystery and adventure. She lives with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov, in Mesa, Arizona.

Connect with Joyce:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter

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Oct 172014
 

Truth is Relative 22739444 Product Details

  • Title: Truth is Relative
  • Author: J.J. Lyon
  • Series: Truth Inducer Mysteries
  • Paperback: 316 pages
  • Publisher: Gem Cache Publishing; 1 edition (July 26, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0990351203
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

Book Description:

Anthony Blackwell’s “gift” compels people to confess their deepest secrets. It corrupts his relationships, derails his career and drives him toward eviction—until he becomes Anthony Bishop, private investigator. His first case drops him into a deadly family drama that will save him financially, if it doesn’t kill him first.

 

My Review:

I knew that I was going to love this story when I first read the back blurb and it described Anthony Blackwell’s “gift” that compels people to confess their deepest secrets. What a great twist for a main character! I have to admit that my favorite parts of the book were when Anthony had his little chats with people and they were spilling all kinds of thoughts and feelings to him. Some are downright funny, where others are kind of creepy; this is a murder mystery after all. 

 

There are two stories intertwined in Truth is Relative. One story concerns Anthony and his family, and the other concerns the attractive Danielle, her cousin Aria who is engaged to Danielle’s former fiance and his father Dennis. The mystery in the story is compelling and keeps the story moving until the shocking end where the killer is revealed. I really like Anthony, and hope that J.J. Lyon writes more stories with this P.I. and his “gift” that makes others gab if they want to or not.

 

  Reader Reviews:

“I love the premise of this book, it’s like PI Morrow meets Liar Liar.”

 

 

“This book reminded me of the stone movies Tom Selleck was in. It has the rough feeling of the west but is written smoothly so that it’s hard to stop reading. I’m hoping there is/will be more. Stefanie Andersen - Logan, UT 

 

“A very interesting and innovative plot.” Billie H – Lamesa, TX

 

Amazon | Goodreads

 

 EXCERPT

The Monday before Thanksgiving, my car disappeared. Or it might have been late Sunday night. The day was half over before I even looked outside. Instead I focused on an ugly painting until I realized I was hungry. I was out of bread and low on groceries in general. I cleaned my brushes, grabbed my keys, opened the front door, and stared at gray asphalt where my Mazda used to be. A few dead cottonwood leaves swirled there before the wind swept them off.

I didn’t bother calling the police. My car hadn’t been stolen, it had been repossessed. 

My cell phone buzzed. It was my brother, Bart. “Hey,” I said.

“Hey, Bro. How’s life in the Big City?” Bart wasn’t being ironic. Compared to our hometown of Jersey, Cheyenne was enormous.

“It’s good!” I stepped back into Sam’s Café and tried to think of something else to say. Something that would back up my lie.

“Great. When are you coming for Thanksgiving?” Bart asked.

 

My brain scrambled, too busy to pay attention. I didn’t need a car. The abandoned café was a great studio, with north-facing windows and indirect natural light. My work happened right at home.

My work was also stacked against the walls, waiting for a gallery to accept it. The art that was already in a gallery had hung there for months. I needed a day job. A car would help.

“Tony? Hello?”

“Huh?”

“What about Thanksgiving?”

“I don’t know yet.”

“Whaddaya mean? I thought you were your own boss.”

“Yeah, but I’m pretty …” I glanced out at the empty parking place. “It’s hard to get away right now.”

Bart was quiet, and when he spoke again he sounded unusually hesitant. “So how are you really?”

“Fine. I’m doing great.”

“Yeah, okay. You know what you need? A night out.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do. I can tell you’re depressed.”

“I’m not depressed.”

“C’mon, Tony. Think of everything we could learn about the beautiful women of Cheyenne.” Bart could afford to be fascinated by my new ability. He didn’t have to live with it.

“I’ve got to go get some groceries,” I said.

“Fine.” Bart sounded annoyed, but he didn’t argue. “Fine, I’ll talk to you later.”

 

I turned away from the café window and walked to my bedroom, which was actually a converted storage area in the back of the café. A walk-in cooler had once taken up most of the space, but it had been ripped out and sold the last time the place went out of business. There was room for a twin bed and a battered dresser from Goodwill Industries. I pulled my wallet from the top drawer and retrieved my old bike from the back of the building.

 

It was a cold ride to the store. Cheyenne’s legendary wind pushed against my side and cut across my hands. I’d forgotten my gloves. I zipped my jacket all the way up, stuffed my hands in my pockets, and kept pedaling, glad I had at least one useful talent. God gave me excellent balance.

My mind whirled as fast as my bike wheels, tallying my other useful abilities. I was decent at hanging Sheetrock, and I could tape and texture as long as the customer didn’t mind it a little antique and heavy. As for roofs, I’d done it all—patch, replace, steel, asphalt. If I had a truck I could rent myself out as a handyman. I could work in blissful isolation most of the time.

A gust of wind broadsided me. I went down in slow motion, shifted my weight, scuffed on the pavement with my feet. In the end my shoulder hit the road before I could pull my hands out of my pockets. The car behind me screeched to a stop and a woman got out. “Are you all right?” she asked.

“Fine,” I said. The front bike wheel spun uselessly. My arm hurt. I scrambled out from under the bike, trying to place the woman’s voice.

“Anthony?”

Recognition registered in my gut as much as my ears. I knew that voice. The last time I had heard it, its tone had been much angrier. “Hi, Heather,” I said.

“What are you doing out here in the cold on a bike? I heard you drove a hot Mazda.”

“Not today,” I said.

“I heard you got fired, too. Twice.”

Technically I only got fired once. The other time I quit before the ax fell.

Heather wasn’t in my fan club, but she wasn’t being rude, either. She was just under my influence. After thirty seconds in close proximity, people began confessing to me. I didn’t know why this began happening. For the first year or so, I didn’t realize it was happening at all. But as soon as my “gift” began manifesting itself, my life started rolling down a rocky slope.

“I almost drove by when you fell.” She brushed dirt from my sleeve. “I knew it was you and I don’t want to talk to you, but it looked bad.”

“It’s all right.” I stepped away from her brushing hand.

She didn’t leave. “Can I give you a ride? Please say no. I don’t want to be in a car alone with you, pretending I don’t remember how you—”

“No thanks.” I gripped the handlebars and pressed my weight on them a little. 

She nodded. “You wouldn’t accept help from me anyway. Bart, maybe, but not me.”

“I don’t need it. I’ll see you later, okay?”

“Okay.”

I rode the rest of the way to Safeway with my hands on the handlebars. My fingers numbed in the wind. The pain in my arm faded to a dull ache, and I shook off the encounter with my ex. In the store parking lot, the lights shone in the murky daylight. It was early afternoon, but the thick clouds fooled the light sensors into thinking it was dusk. I went inside the store and found some sandwich meat on sale and a package of rubbery cheese slices. I picked up some day-old wheat bread and waited in line behind a thin, fortyish man with a few days’ beard. He wore dirty jeans and a sweatshirt stained with what looked like motor oil. After thirty seconds, he turned to me.

“My wife left me this morning,” he said.

I nodded. If I didn’t acknowledge him, he would only repeat himself. Louder.

“She put her ring in my hand and said, ‘I’ve got to go to work.’ I said, ‘Can we talk about this?’ and she said, ‘It’s too late.’”

I nodded again.

“How can it be too late? Twelve years, and she can’t even talk about it? Isn’t twelve years worth a little discussion before you throw your husband in the garbage?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“I know I didn’t pay attention before. I mean, when she was going around all mopey and resentful. I just figured she’d work it out. And sometimes she tried to tell me something and I’d change the subject, ’cause I could only hear that her life sucked so many times—”

“They’re ready to ring you up,” I said, nodding to the sales clerk.

The man stepped forward. I stepped back. So far, ten feet looked like the magic distance. More than that, and most people were out of the range of my gift. Less than that and I was in the confessor’s bubble.

“Are you in line?” a young mother asked behind me.

“Yeah. I’m just, uh …” I glanced at the man, who was now deep into an emotional conversation with the salesclerk. Apparently I wasn’t far enough away yet. I took another step back. “That guy needs a little space.”

The mother peered at him. “Is he crying?”

“I think so.”

She shrugged. “It figures. I get it all day from these two.” She nodded to her cart. A baby in the front clung to the push bar and gummed it with a slobbery mouth. A curly-haired toddler sat in the main basket, his fist buried in a box of cereal. “Maybe they never get over it. ‘I need this,’ ‘I want that.’”

I nodded.

“And then their dad comes home and he needs dinner and he wants sex. Everybody’s gotta have something.”

I took a step forward.

“Can’t anybody see that I’m tired? Look at me. I haven’t had a shower in three days, and I’m supposed to be a sex goddess?”

I glanced at her. She was frumpy. “Looks like it’s my turn.” I stepped up to the counter the crying man had just left.

She followed me, closing the space I had opened between us. “I mean, I’m doing good to be conscious at the end of the day.”

“Maybe you should tell this to your mom.” I hoped to deflect her. I didn’t want to hear any more—not today.

“She’s in Alabama,” the young mother said. “Everybody I know has a mom who acts like a built-in babysitter, but I’m stuck here alone in the cold.”

“Ten fifty-four,” the salesclerk said in front of me. I dug my wallet out of my jacket pocket and handed some bills to her.

“You have the most amazing blue eyes.” The clerk leaned forward. This might have been interesting, if she were not sixtyish, wrinkled, and stinking of cigarettes.

I held out my hand. “Can I have my change?” 

 J.J. Lyon is a wife, mom, public relations professional and recovering journalist.

Her passion for prose and love of the American West are so intertwined; she doesn’t think she can separate them. When J.J. runs out of words, she reaches for her camera, takes off on a back road and returns home with a bucketful of inspiration.

She lives in a mountain valley with her husband, three children, some cats, two goats, a bird and a basset hound.

 

Facebook | Twitter | Website Goodreads

 

 

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Aug 292014
 

 

 

 

 

 

Product Details

 

  • Title: How Much Do You Love Me?
  •  Author: Paul Mark Tag
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sweetwater Books (August 12, 2014)
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • ISBN-10: 1462114474
  • FTC, FYI: I received a review e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Description (From Amazon):
As the phone continued to ring, Kazuko bent over and picked up the cardboard. Fingers shaking, she steadied herself against the counter and stared. It took a fourth ring before she composed herself enough to answer. 

It was Patrick. “I was afraid that you had already left.” There was a pause. “Kazuko, are you there?” 

Kazuko’s heart was thumping hard. “I’m here, Patrick. You’re not going to believe what I just found—in the last place we would have ever looked.”

On December 7, 1941, Keiko Tanaka finds her whole world affected by the Pearl Harbor bombings. Normally friendly neighbors are suddenly suspicious of her Japanese ancestry, and her engagement to James Armstrong—a Caucasian—becomes a crisis rather than a celebration. Despite their parents’ protests, Keiko and James decide to marry before she is sent to the internment camps and he to the war.

Nearly sixty years later, Keiko’s daughter, Kazuko—born in the camps—attends to Keiko on her deathbed. However, a chance incident makes her suspect that her mother is harboring a secret. The truths she is about to uncover might unravel the family . . . and change her very perception of abiding love.

EXCERPT:
From the author: During the tumult of the anti-Japanese frenzy that follows Pearl Harbor, Keiko Tanaka and her Caucasian boyfriend, James Armstrong, decide to marry. Knowing that the idea of their marriage will create a furor, they make their announcement jointly (at a Christmas dinner) to the two families (the Tanakas farm land is owned by the Armstrongs). The following sequence occurs after James has made the announcement. Isamu and Akemi are Keiko’s parents; Harrison and Barbara are James’; Misaki is Keiko’s twin sister.
=====
James continued. “Keiko and I know how surprised you must be to hear this news.” All eyes returned to the speaker. “We thought long and hard about the best way to tell you. We chose Christmas Day so that you will always associate it with me and Keiko, to our happiness.”

At this point, Keiko thought she should stand as well. She reached across the table with her left hand and took his right, rotating her hand in his parents’ direction. Surely, they would appreciate his sincerity when they saw this beautiful symbol [author’s note: engagement ring] of his affection. She tried to gauge their reaction. She saw surprise, but not shock. So far, so good!

Keiko felt her face flush, and she knew why. She struggled to look to her right, toward the one person at the table whose approval was paramount. What she saw was not what she had hoped for. Isamu’s mouth hung open, and it looked like he was squinting. His color was gone. Fear gripped Keiko’s heart. She turned farther to try to assess her mother’s reaction. Unfortunately, because Akemi was looking at her husband, Keiko saw only her profile.

Hoping for better news at the opposite end of the table, Keiko turned to her left again. As she did so, Harrison and Barbara Armstrong switched their gaze from James to her. Compared to Keiko’s father, their complexions appeared more normal. The younger children at the table didn’t seem to know what to make of the situation. Their heads whipped back and forth from one adult to another, trying to make sense of what was obviously something quite unusual.
And then, Misaki came through. Across the table, next to James, the quiet of the room was broken by one set of hands clapping. Misaki promised that she would support me, and here she is. Perhaps concluding that if Keiko’s twin sister thought that this proclamation was worth applause, the rest of the children clapped as well.

Regrettably, Keiko saw that none of the adults was joining this spontaneous display of approval. Isamu’s back had straightened, and he was staring down the table, at no one in particular. Akemi bowed her head. Keiko hoped that James’s parents had chosen not to clap with the children so as not to embarrass their other adult guests. When the kids realized that those whose opinions at the table counted most were not participating, the applause petered out.
Keiko and James had figured that this could happen. James turned first toward his parents and then toward the Tanakas. “Mom, Dad, Mr. and Mrs. Tanaka, I want you to know…” He spoke directly to Isamu. “Mr. Tanaka, please. I love your daughter more than anything. I promise you that I will take care of her, every bit as well as you have. You have my word.”

Keiko noticed the chirp of a bird outside the window. She wondered if anyone else did, the senses of those at the table seemingly muffled by the tension filling the room. Keiko decided it was time for her to speak, and she turned to her right. “Papa, Mama.” Tears began to flow. “Papa, please look at me.” Another moment. “Papa, please.” A bit of color had returned to Isamu’s face, and he lifted his head to face his daughter.

Keiko sniffled and struggled to contain her emotions. With her left hand still in James’s and wet with perspiration, she wiped at her face with her right. “Papa, I love James and want to spend the rest of my life with him. I need your blessing.” Another beat of silence. “Mama?”

My Review:
I have read many books about World War II, and also many about the Japanese Internment Camps. This story of Keiko and James is right up there as one of my favorites. It’s already such an emotional subject of how American citizens of Japanese ancestry were treated during WWII after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. But as the reader becomes entangled in the life of Keiko and James you can’t help but become emotionally involved.

The story takes place in two different time periods as the story jumps back and forth between 1941-1942 and 2000. I truly liked the way the story unfolded. I never felt that the story was stifled because of the events being told in this format.In 2000 Keiko has had a stroke, her husband James has Alzheimers and both can’t communicate with their children. The reader soon finds out that there are deep, dark secrets that Keiko and James’s children never knew about that eventually are revealed. They were shocking things and I figured it out near the end. Even though the story and characters are fictional, it had a realistic feel throughout it’s pages. It was not always a happy read because of the events, but so worthwhile and a good reminder to not forget the past.

I truly enjoyed this beautifully written story, full of sad American history, but also a love story with a rocky beginning that lasted. Anyone that enjoys historical fiction must read this book, especially those who love anything having to do with the WWII era.

Purchase a copy HERE: 

 

 

Meet Author: Paul Mark Tag
Paul Mark Tag graduated with multiple degrees in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University and worked for the Naval Research Laboratory as a research scientist for over thirty years before retiring to write fiction. For years prior to retirement, and the following year exclusively, he honed his skills writing short stories. These have been published in StoryBytes, Potpourri, Green’s Magazine, and The Storyteller, as well as The Errant Ricochet: Max Raeburn’s Legacy.In 2005, he self-published his first thriller, Category 5,which took advantage of his knowledge of meteorology and weather modification, followed by Prophecy and White Thaw: The Helheim Conspiracy. With his historical novel How Much Do You Love Me? he has switched genres. He lives with his wife, Becky, in Monterey, California.

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Aug 152014
 
Today we welcome Author Monique Bucheger and her newest book to our blog!!

 
 
Let’s learn a bit about Monique:
 
When Monique Bucheger isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events. Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy
the journey that is her life.
 
She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, an adorable granddaughter,  a son-in-law, three cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of several books and plans to write many more. You can find more about Monique and her works at:
Monique Bucheger (author of The Secret Sisters Club: A Ginnie West Adventure)


Now for the fabulous book!
 
Twelve-year-old BFFs, Ginnie West and Tillie Taylor, are matchmaking geniuses. Together, they maneuvered Ginnie’s widower-dad into proposing to Tillie’s divorcee-mom. Sweet! Certain they are well on their way to sisterhood, each girl is floored when Tillie’s lousy-excuse-for-a-father puts in an appearance after a six year absence. Too bad “lousy dad repellant” doesn’t come in a can. Even though Tillie’s dad has sobered up and is determined to make amends, Tillie would rather he just disappear again. If he stays, “Operation: Secret Sisters” may need to be renamed “Operation: Not Gonna Happen.” If that’s not bad enough, the biggest bully in seventh grade comes over often and wishes he could call the West’s farmhouse “home.” When the bully’s abusive dad shows up as well, Ginnie thinks it’s time to change her family’s motto from “When you’re here, you’re family” to “There’s no more room at the West’s.”
 
My Review:
This book is a great book for tweens to read. There are both male and female main characters in 7th grade, so all kids would enjoy this book. There are some mature themes in this book dealing with child abuse, so reading this book together with your child/children could lead to some good discussions. The author does a good job of presenting this storyline for the young reader.
 
 I also like the characters in this series of Ginnie West and her adventures. There is always some witty dialogue to be found. This book will be especially loved by your tween that loves horses and the country.


 
Come Join the blog tour:
 
Blog Tour and Dates
August 4th
August 5th
August 6th
https://xclairex00.blogspot.co.uk
August 7th
August 8th
August 9th
August 10th
August 11th
August 12th
August 13th
August 14th
August 15th
August 16th
August 17th
 
And Don’t forget to come to the party!!
 
 
 

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