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Skin Curse (The Gate Cycle #2) by Kristin Jacques Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A young woman searching for her brother in a city of monsters must navigate her growing power and the inner workings of the city of Avergard’s politics in order to save her family and friends in author Kristin Jacques’s “Skin Curse”, the second book in The Gate Cycle series. 

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The Synopsis 

The Children of the Gate wait for the call to Rise.

Azzy Brimvine knows her brother is in the vast city of Avergard. She must find him, but time is not on their side.

In the House of Seven Smiles, Azzy struggles to understand the constraints and limits of her power. She finds the whispering voices that guided her for so long, suddenly silent. The enigmatic Lord Wallach is both a frustrating ally and a dangerous mystery, and a strange entity lurks among the household servants. The haven Azzy sought may not be as safe as she thought…but is anywhere truly safe in the Above? 

The city of Avergard is full of monsters and secrets, and a dark history festers at its root. A yawning pit nestles in the house of a scheming lord, who will use Armin’s dangerous gifts to raise history, and raze the city to the ground. As Azzy finds herself and her brother pulled into these machinations, she must navigate the politics and society of Avergard’s brutal ruling class to save her family and friends before the Gate consumes them all.

©2020 Machovi Productions Inc (P)2021 Machovi Productions Inc

The Review

This was a gripping and engaging story, blending everything from fantasy and horror to sci-fi and dystopian themes. While I am new to this series, I found the author did a great job of implementing enough of the first book’s story into this novel to make it feel both fresh and well-understood. 

The pacing and haunting atmosphere played a big role in establishing this fantasy world. The blend of chilling imagery that really brought Avergard to life in the reader’s mind and the narrator (Amie Lyn Hornick) really did a great job of voicing this story, establishing the mix of wonder and terror the protagonist endures throughout the novel while capturing the raw emotions and action that Azzy must overcome to save those closest to her. 

The Verdict

A brilliant, entertaining, and mesmerizing fusion of gothic horror and sci-fi dystopian elements, author Kristen Jacques’s “Skin Curse” is the perfect fantasy read for both new and established fans alike of this series. As a fan of history, I loved the backstory the author established of using one of history’s greatest villains, the Third Reich, and showed their involvement in opening the fabled Gate that let the magic and monsters into this dystopian world, as I know it is well established that one of Hitler’s mad machinations was to harness the power of the occult into his hatred and war machines. Add to this a great story with both haunting and engaging characters and a heart-pounding narrative that readers won’t be able to get enough of, this is a brilliant audiobook that can’t be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author: Kristin Jacques

Narrator: Amie Lyn Hornick

Length: 9 hours 13 minutes

Series: The Gate Cycle, Book 2

Publisher: The Parliament House

Released: Apr. 21, 2021

Genre: YA Fantasy

Continue reading “Skin Curse (The Gate Cycle #2) by Kristin Jacques Review”
Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two young women in very different circumstances during the German occupation of WWII find themselves becoming quick friends, but soon that friendship is tested as the war grows far deadlier in author Pam Jenoff’s “The Woman with the Blue Star”.

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The Synopsis

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris comes a riveting tale of courage and unlikely friendship during World War II.

1942. Sadie Gault is eighteen and living with her parents in the Kraków Ghetto during World War II. When the Nazis liquidate the ghetto, Sadie and her pregnant mother are forced to seek refuge in the perilous tunnels beneath the city. One day Sadie looks up through a grate and sees a girl about her own age buying flowers.

Ella Stepanek is an affluent Polish girl living a life of relative ease with her stepmother, who has developed close alliances with the occupying Germans. While on an errand in the market, she catches a glimpse of something moving beneath a grate in the street. Upon closer inspection, she realizes it’s a girl hiding.

Ella begins to aid Sadie and the two become close, but as the dangers of the war worsen, their lives are set on a collision course that will test them in the face of overwhelming odds. Inspired by incredible true stories, The Woman with the Blue Star is an unforgettable testament to the power of friendship and the extraordinary strength of the human will to survive.

The Review

The author does a truly fantastic and haunting job of capturing the horrors of WWII and the conditions that so many were forced to live in. Right off the bat readers are shown the pain of loss that one of the protagonists goes through in the heart-pounding moments a family attempts to find an escape from the overwhelming German forces. The imagery and sense of setting really are powerful in this story, as readers are immediately brought to the very different and distinct lives that separated those being hunted by the German occupation and those living “normally” during the occupation. 

What really stands at the heart of this story however is the relationship between the two young women that become the protagonists of the story. Sadie and Ella’s stories are heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once, highlighting their individual struggles in this time of war while also showcasing how friendship, love, and relationships, in general, can give those in a time of need or struggle the hope they need to either endure or overcome those struggles. Readers will instantly be drawn into their friendship and the path their lives take during this tumultuous time. 

The Verdict

A mesmerizing, haunting, and emotional historical-fiction read, author Pam Jenoff’s “The Girl with the Blue Star” is a must-read novel and the perfect historical-fiction read for the upcoming summer season. For those who love history and stories that delve into personal relationships that help overcome struggles, this is a truly engaging and intriguing read that cannot be missed. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Pam Jenoff is the author of several books of historical fiction, including the NYT bestseller The Orphan’s Tale. She holds a degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a degree in history from Cambridge, and she received her JD from UPenn. Her novels are inspired by her experiences working at the Pentagon and as a diplomat for the State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland. She lives with her husband and 3 children near Philadelphia, where she teaches law.

Social Links:

Website: https://www.pamjenoff.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PamJenoffauthor/ 

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/213562.Pam_Jenoff 

Mailing List: https://pamjenoff.com/mailing-list/ 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Woman-Blue-Star-Novel/dp/0778389383/ 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-woman-with-the-blue-star-pam-jenoff/1137387567 

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/the-woman-with-the-blue-star-9780778311546/9780778389385 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778389385 

Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781488211706-the-woman-with-the-blue-star?bookstore=betweenthecovers 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Woman-Blue-Star/Pam-Jenoff/9780778389385?id=8140224153967 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/the-woman-with-the-blue-star-by-pam-jenoff-paperback/-/A-81225916 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-Woman-with-the-Blue-Star-Original-Edition-Paperback-9780778389385/304633554 

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-woman-with-the-blue/9780778389385-item.html 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-woman-with-the-blue-star 

AppleBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-woman-with-the-blue-star/id1524947358 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/The_Woman_with_the_Blue_Star_A_Novel?id=De_yDwAAQBAJ&hl=en&gl=US 

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An Excerpt from THE GIRL WITH THE BLUE STAR

Sadie

Kraków, PolandMarch 1942

Everything changed the day they came for the children.

I was supposed to have been in the attic crawl space of the three-story building we shared with a dozen other families in the ghetto. Mama helped me hide there each morning before she set out to join the factory work detail, leaving me with a fresh bucket as a toilet and a stern admonishment not to leave. But I grew cold and restless alone in the tiny, frigid space where I couldn’t run or move or even stand straight. The minutes stretched silently, broken only by a scratching—unseen children, years younger than me, stowed on the other side of the wall. They were kept separate from one another without space to run and play. They sent each other messages by tapping and scratching, though, like a kind of improvised Morse code. Sometimes, in my boredom, I joined in, too.

“Freedom is where you find it,” my father often said when I complained. Papa had a way of seeing the world exactly as he wanted. “The greatest prison is in our mind.” It was easy for him to say. Though he manual ghetto labor was a far cry from his professional work as an accountant before the war, at least he was out and about each day, seeing other people. Not cooped up like me. I had scarcely left our apartment building since we were forced to move six months earlier from our apartment in the Jewish Quarter near the city center to the Podgórze neighborhood where the ghetto had been established on the southern bank of the river. I wanted a normal life, my life, free to run beyond the walls of the ghetto to all of the places I had once known and taken for granted. I imagined taking the tram to the shops on the Rynek or to the kino to see a film, exploring the ancient grassy mounds on the outskirts of the city. I wished that at least my best friend, Stefania, was one of the others hidden nearby. Instead, she lived in a separate apartment on the other side of the ghetto designated for the families of the Jewish police.

It wasn’t boredom or loneliness that had driven me from my hiding place this time, though, but hunger. I had always had a big appetite and this morning’s breakfast ration had been a half slice of bread, even less than usual. Mama had offered me her portion, but I knew she needed her strength for the long day ahead on the labor detail.

As the morning wore on in my hiding place, my empty belly had begun to ache. Visions pushed into my mind uninvited of the foods we ate before the war: rich mushroom soup and savory borscht, and pierogi, the plump, rich dumplings my grandmother used to make. By midmorning, I felt so weak from hunger that I had ventured out of my hiding place and down to the shared kitchen on the ground floor, which was really nothing more than a lone working stove burner and a sink that dripped tepid brown water. I didn’t go to take food—even if there had been any, I would never steal. Rather, I wanted to see if there were any crumbs left in the cupboard and to fill my stomach with a glass of water.

I stayed in the kitchen longer than I should, reading the dog-eared copy of the book I’d brought with me. The thing I detested most about my hiding place in the attic was the fact that it was too dark for reading. I had always loved to read and Papa had carried as many books as he could from our apartment to the ghetto, over the protests of my mother, who said we needed the space in our bags for clothes and food. It was my father who had nurtured my love of learning and encouraged my dream of studying medicine at Jagiellonian University before the German laws made that impossible, first by banning Jews and later by closing the university altogether. Even in the ghetto at the end of his long, hard days of labor, Papa loved to teach and discuss ideas with me. He had somehow found me a new book a few days earlier, too, The Count of Monte Cristo. But the hiding place in the attic was too dark for me to read and there was scarcely any time in the evening before curfew and lights-out. Just a bit longer, I told myself, turning the page in the kitchen. A few minutes wouldn’t matter at all.

I had just finished licking the dirty bread knife when I heard heavy tires screeching, followed by barking voices. I froze, nearly dropping my book. The SS and Gestapo were outside, flanked by the vile Jüdischer Ordnungsdienst, Jewish Ghetto Police, who did their bidding. It was an aktion, the sudden unannounced arrest of large groups of Jews to be taken from the ghetto to camps. The very reason I was meant to be hiding in the first place. I raced from the kitchen, across the hall and up the stairs. From below came a great crash as the front door to the apartment building splintered and the police burst through. There was no way I could make it back to the attic in time.

Instead, I raced to our third-floor apartment. My heart pounded as I looked around desperately, wishing for an armoire or other cabinet suitable for hiding in the tiny room, which was nearly bare except for a dresser and bed. There were other places, I knew, like the fake plaster wall one of the other families had constructed in the adjacent building not a week earlier. That was too far away now, impossible to reach. My eyes focused on the large steamer trunk stowed at the foot of my parents’ bed. Mama had shown me how to hide there once shortly after we first moved to the ghetto. We practiced it like a game, Mama opening the trunk so that I could climb in before she closed the lid.

The trunk was a terrible hiding place, exposed and in the middle of the room. But there was simply nowhere else. I had to try. I raced over to the bed and climbed into the trunk, then closed the lid with effort. I thanked heavens that I was tiny like Mama. I had always hated being so petite, which made me look a solid two years younger than I actually was. Now it seemed a blessing, as did the sad fact that the months of meager ghetto rations had made me thinner. I still fit in the trunk.

When we had rehearsed, we had envisioned Mama putting a blanket or some clothes over the top of the trunk. Of course, I couldn’t do that myself. So the trunk sat unmasked for anyone who walked into the room to see and open. I curled into a tiny ball and wrapped my arms around myself, feeling the white armband with the blue star on my sleeve that all Jews were required to wear.

There came a great crashing from the next building, the sound of plaster being hewn by a hammer or ax. The police had found the hiding place behind the wall, given away by the too-fresh paint. An unfamiliar cry rang out as a child was found and dragged from his hiding place. If I had gone there, I would have been caught as well.

Someone neared the door to the apartment and flung it open. My heart seized. I could hear breathing, feel eyes searching the room. I’m sorry, Mama, I thought, feeling her reproach for having left the attic. I braced myself for discovery. Would they go easier on me if I came out and gave myself up? The footsteps grew fainter as the German continued down the hall, stopping before each door, searching.

The war had come to Kraków one warm fall day two and a half years earlier when the air-raid sirens rang out for the first time and sent the playing children scurrying from the street. Life got hard before it got bad. Food disappeared and we waited in long lines for the most basic supplies. Once there was no bread for a whole week.

Then about a year ago, upon orders from the General Government, Jews teemed into Kraków by the thousands from the small towns and villages, dazed and carrying their belongings on their backs. At first I wondered how they would all find places to stay in Kazimierz, the already cramped Jewish Quarter of the city. But the new arrivals were forced to live by decree in a crowded section of the industrial Podgórze district on the far side of the river that had been cordoned off with a high wall. Mama worked with the Gmina, the local Jewish community organization, to help them resettle, and we often had friends of friends over for a meal when they first arrived, before they went to the ghetto for good. They told stories from their hometowns too awful to believe and Mama shooed me from the room so I would not hear.

Several months after the ghetto was created, we were ordered to move there as well. When Papa told me, I couldn’t believe it. We were not refugees, but residents of Kraków; we had lived in our apartment on Meiselsa Street my entire life. It was the perfect location: on the edge of the Jewish Quarter but easy walking distance to the sights and sounds of the city center and close enough to Papa’s office on Stradomska Street that he could come home for lunch. Our apartment was above an adjacent café where a pianist played every evening. Sometimes the music spilled over and Papa would whirl Mama around the kitchen to the faint strains. But according to the orders, Jews were Jews. One day. One suitcase each. And the world I had known my entire life disappeared forever.

I peered out of the thin slit opening of the trunk, trying to see across the tiny room I shared with my parents. We were lucky, I knew, to have a whole room to ourselves, a privilege we had been given because my father was a labor foreman. Others were forced to share an apartment, often two or three families together. Still, the space felt cramped compared to our real home. We were ever on top of one another, the sights and sounds and smells of daily living magnified.

“Kinder, raus!” the police called over and over again now as they patrolled the halls. Children, out. It was not the first time the Germans had come for children during the day, knowing that their parents would be at work.

But I was no longer a child. I was eighteen and might have joined the work details like others my age and some several years younger. I could see them lining up for roll call each morning before trudging to one of the factories. And I wanted to work, even though I could tell from the slow, painful way my father now walked, stooped like an old man, and how Mama’s hands were split and bleeding that it was hard and awful. Work meant a chance to get out and see and talk to people. My hiding was a subject of much debate between my parents. Papa thought I should work. Labor cards were highly prized in the ghetto. Workers were valued and less likely to be deported to one of the camps. But Mama, who seldom fought my father on anything, had forbidden it. “She doesn’t look her age. The work is too hard. She is safest out of sight.” I wondered as I hid now, about to be discovered at any second, if she would still think she was right.

The building finally went silent, the last of the awful footsteps receding. Still I didn’t move. That was one of the ways they trapped people who were hiding, by pretending to go away and lying in wait when they came out. I remained motionless, not daring to leave my hiding place. My limbs ached, then went numb. I had no idea how much time had passed. Through the slit, I could see that the room had grown dimmer, as if the sun had lowered a bit.

Sometime later, there were footsteps again, this time a shuffling sound as the laborers trudged back silent and exhausted from their day. I tried to uncurl myself from the trunk. But my muscles were stiff and sore and my movements slow. Before I could get out, the door to our apartment flung open and someone ran into the room with steps light and fluttering. “Sadie!” It was Mama, sounding hysterical.

“Jestem tutaj,” I called. I am here. Now that she was home, she could help me untangle myself and get out. But my voice was muffled by the trunk. When I tried to undo the latch, it stuck.

Mama raced from the room back into the corridor. I could hear her open the door to the attic, then run up the stairs, still searching for me. “Sadie!” she called. Then, “My child, my child,” over and over again as she searched but did not find me, her voice rising to a shriek. She thought I was gone.

“Mama!” I yelled. She was too far away to hear me, though, and her own cries were too loud. Desperately, I struggled once more to free myself from the trunk without success. Mama raced back into the room, still wailing. I heard the scraping sound of a window opening and felt a whoosh of cold air. At last I threw myself against the lid of the trunk, slamming my shoulder so hard it throbbed. The latch sprang open.

I broke free and stood up quickly. “Mama?” She was standing in the oddest position, with one foot on the window ledge, her willowy frame silhouetted against the frigid twilight sky. “What are you doing?” For a second, I thought she was looking for me outside. But her face was twisted with grief and pain. I knew then why Mama was on the window ledge. She assumed I had been taken along with the other children. And she didn’t want to live. If I hadn’t freed myself from the trunk in time, Mama would have jumped. I was her only child, her whole world. She was prepared to kill herself before she would go on without me.

A chill ran through me as I sprinted toward her. “I’m here, I’m here.” She wobbled unsteadily on the window ledge and I grabbed her arm to stop her from falling. Remorse ripped through me. I always wanted to please her, to bring that hard-won smile to her beautiful face. Now I had caused her so much pain she’d almost done the unthinkable.

“I was so worried,” she said after I’d helped her down and closed the window. As if that explained everything. “You weren’t in the attic.”

“But, Mama, I hid where you told me to.” I gestured to the trunk. “The other place, remember? Why didn’t you look for me there?”

Mama looked puzzled. “I didn’t think you would fit anymore.” There was a pause and then we both began laughing, the sound scratchy and out of place in the pitiful room. For a few seconds, it was like we were back in our old apartment on Meiselsa Street and none of this had happened at all. If we could still laugh, surely things would be all right. I clung to this last improbable thought like a life preserver at sea.

But a cry echoed through the building, then another, silencing our laughter. It was the mothers of the other children who had been taken by the police. There came a thud outside. I started for the window, but my mother blocked me. “Look away,” she ordered. It was too late. I glimpsed Helga Kolberg, who lived down the hall, lying motionless in the coal-tinged snow on the pavement below, her limbs cast at odd angles and skirt splayed around her like a fan. She had realized her children were gone and, like Mama, she didn’t want to live without them. I wondered whether jumping was a shared instinct, or if they had discussed it, a kind of suicide pact in case their worst nightmares came true.

My father raced into the room then. Neither Mama nor I said a word, but I could tell from his unusually grim expression that he already knew about the aktion and what had happened to the other families. He simply walked over and wrapped his enormous arms around both of us, hugging us tighter than usual.

As we sat, silent and still, I looked up at my parents. Mama was a striking beauty—thin and graceful, with white-blond hair the color of a Nordic princess’. She looked nothing like the other Jewish women and I had heard whispers more than once that she didn’t come from here. She might have walked away from the ghetto and lived as a non-Jew if it wasn’t for us. But I was built like Papa, with the dark, curly hair and olive skin that made the fact that we were Jews undeniable. My father looked like the laborer the Germans had made him in the ghetto, broad-shouldered and ready to lift great pipes or slabs of concrete. In fact, he was an accountant—or had been until it became illegal for his firm to employ him anymore. I always wanted to please Mama, but it was Papa who was my ally, keeper of secrets and weaver of dreams, who stayed up too late whispering secrets in the dark and had roamed the city with me, hunting for treasure. I moved closer now, trying to lose myself in the safety of his embrace.

Still, Papa’s arms could offer little shelter from the fact that everything was changing. The ghetto, despite its awful conditions, had once seemed relatively safe. We were living among Jews and the Germans had even appointed a Jewish council, the Judenrat, to run our daily affairs. Perhaps if we laid low and did as we were told, Papa said more than once, the Germans would leave us alone inside these walls until the war was over. That had been the hope. But after today, I wasn’t so sure. I looked around the apartment, seized with equal parts disgust and fear. In the beginning, I had not wanted to be here; now I was terrified we would be forced to leave.

“We have to do something,” Mama burst out, her voice a pitch higher than usual as it echoed my unspoken thoughts.

“I’ll take her tomorrow and register her for a work permit,” Papa said. This time Mama did not argue. Before the war, being a child had been a good thing. But now being useful and able to work was the only thing that might save us.

Mama was talking about more than a work visa, though. “They are going to come again and next time we won’t be so lucky.” She did not bother to hold back her words for my benefit now. I nodded in silent agreement. Things were changing, a voice inside me said. We could not stay here forever.

“It will be okay, kochana,” Papa soothed. How could he possibly say that? But Mama laid her head on his shoulder, seeming to trust him as she always had. I wanted to believe it, too. “I will think of something. At least,” Papa added as we huddled close, “we are all still together.” The words echoed through the room, equal parts promise and prayer.

Excerpted from The Woman With the Blue Star @ 2021 by Pam Jenoff, used with permission by Park Row Books.

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Q&A With Author Pam Jenoff

  • Why did you decide to write this story?

While looking for an idea for my next book, I discovered the incredible story of a group of Jewish people who had hidden from the Nazis by living for many months in the sewers of Lviv, Poland.  I was struck by the horrific circumstances which they endured, as well as their ingenuity and resilience in surviving there.  I was also moved by the selflessness of those who helped them, most notably a sewer worker, and by their search for human connection in such a dark and isolated place. 

After twenty-five years of working with World War II and the Holocaust, I find a story that makes me gasp, I know I am onto something that will make my readers feel the same way.  This was certainly the case with the true inspiration for The Woman With The Blue Star.

  • How much research went into your story?

Immersing myself in the world where my story is set, whether the circus in The Orphan’s Tale or the sewer in The Woman With The Blue Star, is always one of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of beginning a book.  I had so many questions:  What did the sewer look and feel like?  How was it possible to eat and sleep and even see in the dark underground space?  Fortunately, there was an excellent non-fiction book, In The Sewers of Lvov by Robert Marshall, that explained so much of it.  I learned that there were so many dangers beyond getting caught by the Germans, from drowning to floods.  Every day was a battle for survival.  

When I decided to move the story to Krakow, Poland (where I had lived for several years), I planned a research trip there.  Those plans were scuttled by the pandemic, but I am lucky enough to still have good friends there who put me in touch with experts on the sewer and the city to help me (hopefully) get it right.

  • What takeaway message do you hope readers get from your book?

Sadie and Ella, two women from completely different worlds, form a deep bond that has profound and lasting consequences.  I hope readers will see in them the ways in which we can transcend our differences and connect.  I also hope readers recognize the ways in which reaching out to someone, even in the smallest or most fleeting way, can have a tremendous impact on that person’s life as well as his or her own.

  • What can you tell me about your next project?

My new book is set in Belgium and inspired by the incredible true story of the only Nazi death train ever to be ambushed on its way to Auschwitz.

  • Do you have any specific writing rituals, such as a certain pen, drink, outfit, etc?

I find that my writing routine has evolved over the years.  For example, at one point I went in to my office to write, at another I went to a coffeeshop, now sometimes I am on the couch.  I have written in castles and mountain getaways, but I have also written in my doctor’s waiting room and in my car.  There are certain constants, though.  I love the early morning and I would write from five to seven every day if I had the chance.  I just love getting that first burst in before the day gets hectic.  I am a short burst writer, which means I have no stamina.  If you give me eight hours in a day, I don’t know what to do with that.  I would much rather have an hour seven days per week.  And as much caffeine as possible!

  • Which character is most like you and why?

In this book, I suppose I relate to Sadie because her sense of isolation in some ways reflects what we have all felt during this pandemic.  

  • Readers can’t get enough of WWII stories. Why the interest?

Personally, m love for the World War II era comes from the years I spent working in Krakow, Poland as a diplomat for the State Department.  During that time. I worked on Holocaust issues and became very close to the surviving Jewish community in a way that deeply moved and changed me.  More globally, I think World War II has great resonance for authors and readers.  There is a drive to capture and tell stories from survivors now while we still have a chance.  There is also a great deal of archival material that became available to authors as researchers after the Cold War ended that provides new ideas for books.  And as an author, my goal is to take my reader and put her or him in the shoes of my protagonist so she or he asks, “What would I have done?” World War II, with its dire circumstances and stark choices, is incredibly fertile ground for storytelling.

  • Your stories are always Jewish related. What is the universal idea that captures readers of all backgrounds?

I would not describe my stories as “always Jewish related” but rather predominantly set around World War II and the Holocaust.  This era is not only important in its own right but has many uniersal themes regarding human rights, prejudice and hate that are very relevant for our times.

  • Where do your stories come from? Do you do research?

I do research for new ideas and I am generally looking for two things.  First, I would like to take a true bit of history and illuminate it so that readers can learn.  Second, I am looking for an incredible, untold story.  I have worked with World War II and the Holocaust for twenty-five years and if I find an idea that makes me gasp with surprise, I’m hopeful readers will feel the same way. 

  • Do you work from an outline or do you write from the seat of your pants?

Well, I’m a “pantser” and that means I write by the seat of my pants and not from an outline, at least most of the time.  So I don’t have a neat idea of where the book will wind up.  I have an opening image and some general idea of where I will wind up and if I am lucky there are one or two high moments that I can see along the way, like lighthouses to guide me.  But I am sometimes surprised by the end and that was certainly the case with The Woman With The Blue Star.  That moment when you realize it is all going to come together is just one of the best feelings ever.

  • You are a bestselling author. How many books are expected from you per year? How many edit passes does your novel go through?

I used to write a book a year, but I’ve slowed down and now it is more like 18-24 months.  I really prefer that creatively.  My manuscripts go through many rounds of edits.  The first round of changes are usually big picture and then it goes back and forth with the feedback getting increasingly more granular with each round of revision until my editor, agent and I are all satisfied.

  • Is there anything about you or your work that you’d like to share with readers?

I consider my books that are set around World War II and the Holocaust to be love songs to the people who lived through that most horrific period.  I try to approach it with a great deal of respect and do them justice.  On a very different note, I’d like to share that I always love connecting with readers.  I invite each reader to find me online – through my website, Facebook author page, Twitter, Instagram or wherever they are hanging out.

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Passiflora by Kathy Davis Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author and Poet Kathy Davis shares a collection of poetry that highlights life’s everyday struggles and some of life’s toughest battles in her poetry collection, “Passiflora”.

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The Synopsis

Passiflora is a collection of poems about our day-to-day struggles with loss, raising children, relationships, aging and creating art, and how the nature that surrounds us informs how we view these challenges and sometimes serves as a source of solace.

The Review

A beautifully written and emotional narrative unfolds across this amazing collection. The author has a wonderful way of marrying the imagery of nature with the emotional core of life and the events that often define us. From the book’s very first poems, readers are treated to a unique perspective on life in general, comparing the care for a garden to the care one must show for ourselves physically and mentally, not leaving grief or sorrow to fester or grow on its own in the poem HOW TO GROW WILD.

The author manages to pack a lot of heart and soul into a short read. Readers can truly feel the passion radiating off of the page, exploring the simplest to the most complex and emotionally-driven events life has to offer us all. The author’s words are layered and do a great job of getting the reader to read and re-read the book over and over again to gain new insight into what each poem is bringing forth to the reader’s mind.

The Verdict

A masterful, artful, and mesmerizing book of poetry, author and Poet Kathy Davis’s “Passiflora” is a must-read. A truly heartfelt and emotional journey that readers won’t want to put down, be sure to grab your copies today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Kathy Davis is a poet and nonfiction writer who received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her poetry manuscript, Passiflora, won the 2019 Cider Press Review Book Award and was released in February 2021. She is also the author of the chapbook Holding for the Farrier(Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Barrow Street, Blackbird, Diode, The Hudson Review, Nashville Review, Oxford American, The Southern Review, story South and other journals. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and been a finalist for Best of the Net and the Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction. After raising their two boys, she and her husband moved to an old farmhouse outside of Richmond, Va., where she tends a wildflower meadow when not writing.

https://kathydaviswrites.com/

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Anything That Happens by Cheryl Wilder Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author and Poet Cheryl Wilder shares an intimate and personal look into a time of tragedy and pain and showcases the path towards a second chance at life in the book, “Anything That Happens”.

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The Synopsis

At the age of twenty, Cheryl Wilder got behind the wheel when she was too drunk to drive. She emerged from the car physically whole. Her passenger, a close friend, woke up from a coma four months later with a life-changing brain injury. Anything That Happens follows her journey from a young adult consumed by shame and self-hatred to a woman she can live with… and even respect. Along the way, Wilder marries, has a son, divorces, and cares for her dying mother. Anything That Happens examines what it takes to reconcile a past marked by a grave mistake, a present as caregiver to many, and a future that stretches into one long second chance.

The Review

A truly emotional and deep read, author and poet Cheryl Wilder does a fantastic job of conveying the raw emotions that swirled around her in those painful moments during and after the fateful car crash that changed her and her friend’s lives forever. The author’s words cut deep, exploring the light and darkness of her life and in essence the light and dark that we all face at one point or another in our own lives. 

Slipped I, II, and III were definitely the most gut-punching and visceral poems of the collection, highlighting the traumatic experience the car accident took on the two friends that night. The author also explores the present and the future in this collection, from her years taking care of her dying mother to the rise and fall of her own family and looking ahead, and finding peace and redemption in life. 

The jumble of pain, memories, and yearning in the face of great loss is not only felt in the author’s powerful writing but resonates with so many, including this author, who watched his own mother have to say goodbye to his grandmother in much the same way just two short years ago. Great writing such as this does a great job of connecting readers with the author’s emotions, and this book does just that.

The Verdict

A heartbreaking walk into the past and written in a beautiful symphony of emotions and memories, author Cheryl Wilder’s “Anything That Happens” is a must-read poetry book. A truly honest and memorable collection of poetry that touches the soul and tugs at the heartstrings as readers feel the author’s raw feelings pour out onto the page, readers will not want to miss this incredible journey for themselves. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Cheryl Wilder is the author of Anything That Happens, a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection (Press 53, 2021), a collection that examines how to reconcile a past grave mistake and a future that stretches into one long second chance. Her chapbook, What Binds Us (Finishing Line Press, 2017), explores the frailty and necessity of human connection. 

A founder and editor of Waterwheel Review, Cheryl earned her BFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

The Little Book of Big Knowing by Michele Sammons Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Michele Sammons takes readers on a journey through small yet powerful ideas on spirituality and philosophy in the book “The Little Book of Big Knowing”. 

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The Synopsis

The Little Book of Big Knowing is filled with tiny bursts of insight to nourish your heart, warm your Soul, and help you to remember your true self.

If you find yourself asking big, deep life questions like, “What’s my purpose?” and “Why am I here?” then you’ll want to curl up with The Little Book of Big Knowing.

Inside you’ll be reminded

-Why you are here.

-Who you are at your core.

-Why your dreams matter to more than just you.

Can you feel the gentle tug on your heart to know more? It’s time. Take a breath, and lean in.

The Review

This was such a unique read. The author does a great job of presenting this collection of really cool and inspiring ideas that can resonate with a large collection of different readers. The way the author presents these ideas too is inspired, as some readers may see the book and wonder why the author didn’t necessarily divide the book into chapters or specific sections. However, this felt like a much more intimate and personal conversation the author was having with the reader one-on-one, making these inspired bits of knowledge feel much grander in scale. 

There were a lot of different ideas presented throughout this book, and the brilliant thing about it was how the author acknowledged not everything would resonate with every single reader, making the things that did feel more pronounced and important. The writing was clear and concise, as in the section that dealt with the appearance of spirituality, which really spoke to me. As a spiritual yet not religious person, it was interesting to read the idea that spirituality will not always look the same to others, whether that’s doing yoga or going to church, or just walking in nature or being at peace in your own sanctuary. 

The Verdict

A heartfelt, thoughtful, and quick-yet engaging read, author Michele Sammons’s book “The Little Book of Big Knowing” is a must-read spirituality and philosophical book. The author is memorable for writing that speaks to readers on a personal scale and presents some amazing ideas that engage readers on both a spiritual and intellectual level. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of this amazing book today!

Rating: 10/10

The Little Book of Big Knowingis available to purchase at Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and Walmart.com. You can also add this to your reading list on GoodReads.com.

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About the Author

Michele makes her home in Memphis, Tennessee, with husband Scott and chocolate Labrador, Dewey. The Little Book of Big Knowing is Michele’s first book, but probably not her last. You can discover more about Michele’s work on her website: 

https://www.michelesammons.com 

– Blog Tour Dates

March 29th @ The Muffin 

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Join us on the WOW blog today and celebrate the launch of Michele Sammons’ book Little Book of Big Knowing. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book too. 

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

March 31st @ Create Write Now 

Today, author Michele Sammons shares a guest post on the subject of consciousness. CreateWriteNow.com 

April 1st @ Editor 911 

Join Margo as she shares a guest post by Michele Sammons about energy and how it influences your creative process. 

https://editor-911.com/blog

April 2nd @ Balance and Joy

Visit Sheri’s blog today to see her spotlight and review of Little Book of Big Knowing by Michele Sammons.

Balanceandjoy.com

April 3rd @ Eden Literary 

Deirdra will be showcasing Little Book of Big Knowing by Michele Sammons. http://www.edenliterary.com/

April 5th @ Ramona Mead 

Join Romana as she reviews Michele Sammons’ book Little Book of Big Knowinghttps://ramonamead.com/

April 8th @ Deborah Adams 

Join Deborah as she shares a guest post about Spirit by Michele Sammons, author of Little Book of Big Knowing

http://www.deborah-adams.com/blog

April 9th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion

Linda features author Michele Sammons book Little Book of Big Knowing.

http://bootsshoesandfashion.com

April 11th @ Knotty Needle 

Judy shares her insights into Michele Sammons’ soul-inspiring book Little Book of Big Knowinghttp://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

April 12th @ Freeing the Butterfly 

Visit the Freeing the Butterfly blog today and read Michele Sammons’ guest post on the spiritual path. https://www.freeingthebutterfly.com/blog

April 14th @Beverley A Baird’s Blog 

Join Beverley as she shares Michele Sammons’ guest post on mindfulness. https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

April 15th @ The Frugalista Mom 

Join Rozelyn as she shares a guest post on manifestation by Michele Sammons, author of Little Book of Big Knowing

https://thefrugalistamom.com

April 15th @ Choices 

Join Madeline at her blog Choices today where she shares a guest post by Michele Sammons about consciousness. 

http://madelinesharples.com/

April 16th @ Author Anthony Avina 

Join Anthony as he shares his thoughts about Michele Sammons’ book Little Book of Big Knowinghttp://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com 

April 16th @ The Faerie Review 

Visit Lily’s blog today and read Michele Sammons’ guest post about meditation. https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

April 18th @ It’s Alanna Jean 

Visit Alanna’s blog today as she reviews Michele Sammons’ book, Little Book of Big Knowinghttps://itsalannajean.webnode.com

April 20th @ Coloring Outside the Lines

Join Cara as she reviews Michele Sammons’ book Little Book of Big Knowing.

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/coloringoutsidethelines/

April 21st @ Speaking of Spirit 

Join Linda as she shares Michele Sammons’ guest post on spirit guides. https://interfaithmoments.blogspot.com/

April 23rd @ A Writer’s Life 

Join Caroline today as she shares a guest post by author Michele Sammons on intuition. http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/

April 23rd @ ReadingGirlReviews 

Gina shares her thoughts on Michele Sammons’ book Little Book of Big Knowinghttps://readinggirlreviews.com/ 

April 24th @ CK Sorens Blog 

Visit Carrie’s blog today and read a guest post by author Michele Sammons on the topic of meditation. https://www.cksorens.com/blog

April 25th @ Strength 4 Spouses 

Join Wendi as she reviews Michele Sammons’ inspiring book Little Book of Big Knowing https://strength4spouses.blog/

April 27th @Beverley A Baird’s Blog 

Visit Beverley’s blog again as she reviews author Michele Sammons’ inspiring book, Little Book of Big Knowing

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

April 28th @ Books Beans and Botany 

Visit Ashley’s blog today as she reviews author Michele Sammons’ book, Little Book of Big Knowinghttps://booksbeansandbotany.com

April 29th @ Strength 4 Spouses 

Join Wendi as she shares a guest post by Michele Sammons about present-moment awareness. https://strength4spouses.blog/

April 30th @ My Question Life 

Join Kara as she interviews author Michele Sammons about her bookLittle Book of Big Knowinghttps://myquestionlife.com/

May 1st @ CK Sorens Blog 

Join Carrie again as she reviews author Michele Sammons inspiring book, Little Book of Big Knowinghttps://www.cksorens.com/blog

May 2nd @ Shoe’s Seeds & Stories 

Visit Linda’s blog today where she reviews Little Book of Big Knowing by Michele Sammons. https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

The Longblood (The Longblood Series Book 1) by Charmin Blazier Audiobook Tour and Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A promising young musician getting ready to the life he’s always dreamed of finds his world turned upside down as he discovers another life he never knew he lived, and soon he is drawn to Ainsley Fairfax, who works in the shadows to discover the truth behind both their fates in author Charmin Blazier’s “The Longblood”, the first in the Longblood series. 

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The Synopsis

Love will make him a better man. If it doesn’t kill him first.

Nineteen-year-old Daniel Marco is about to start the life he’s always wanted. But when he blacks out and etches a mysterious code on his arm, it changes his plans in ways he never imagined.

The code leads him to the grounds of an ancient British asylum housing a secret society where he learns the unthinkable – he’s lived before. As his past life begins to resurface in unpredictable and terrifying ways, Daniel seeks answers and learns his life is in danger.

And he’s not alone.

When he meets bold Ainsley Fairfax, who is working in the shadows to solve a mystery tied to both their fates, Daniel is intensely drawn to her in ways he can’t explain. Ainsley believes Daniel is the key to solving the mystery and keeping them alive. But the more time Daniel spends with Ainsley, the deeper he’s drawn into danger. And the more he begins to lose control…

Together, they must solve the mystery before it’s too late. Will he prevail? Or will all he cares for be destroyed?

Be on the lookout for the second audiobook in this paranormal new adult romance – Lost Longblood: The Longblood Series, Book 2 (coming soon).

The Review

The author does a great job of balancing a blooming romance with the mystery and suspense of the novel’s narrative. Perfectly capturing the New Adult genre in this story, the plot is both creative and original, giving readers a new paranormal romance series to dive deeply into. 

The narrator does a great job of bringing these characters and their story to life. Readers instantly feel connected to Daniel and Ainsley, as both come at this mystery from two very different points of view but soon find themselves drawn together. The novel jumpstarts immediately with shock and awe with Daniel’s introduction into this dangerous world and the mystery within, giving readers an instant connection to the overall narrative. 

As someone with a keen interest in the past life theory and the paranormal, I found myself drawn to the narrative immediately, and the narrator himself does a great job of capturing the amazing cast of characters that fill out this large plot and mystery.

The Verdict

A memorable, entertaining and engaging audiobook, author Charmin Blazier’s “The Longblood” is the perfect start to a brand new paranormal romance New Adult series. The characters are engaging and the story adapts perfectly to the audiobook format, creating a narrative that lends itself to some cinematic style imagery within each chapter. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author: Charmin Blazier

Narrator: Alex Black

Length: 12 hours 1 minutes

Series: The Longblood Series, Book 1

Publisher: Charmin Blazier

Released: Feb. 12, 2021

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Add on Goodreads



Love will make him a better man. If it doesn’t kill him first. Nineteen-year-old Daniel Marco is about to start the life he’s always wanted. But when he blacks out and etches a mysterious code on his arm, it changes his plans in ways he never imagined. The code leads him to the grounds of an ancient British asylum housing a secret society where he learns the unthinkable – he’s lived before. As his past life begins to resurface in unpredictable and terrifying ways, Daniel seeks answers and learns his life is in danger. And he’s not alone. When he meets bold Ainsley Fairfax, who is working in the shadows to solve a mystery tied to both their fates, Daniel is intensely drawn to her in ways he can’t explain. Ainsley believes Daniel is the key to solving the mystery and keeping them alive. But the more time Daniel spends with Ainsley, the deeper he’s drawn into danger. And the more he begins to lose control… Together, they must solve the mystery before it’s too late. Will he prevail? Or will all he cares for be destroyed? Be on the lookout for the second audiobook in this paranormal new adult romance – Lost Longblood: The Longblood Series, Book 2 (coming soon).
Buy Links
Buy on Amazon Buy on Audible

Charmin Blazier is a writer of paranormal romance and a mother of chihuahuas. She lives in Northern Virginia with the most amazing sister and blue-eyed pup on earth. Her poetry was published in the Heart 11 Poetry Journal, and she holds a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy from George Mason University. Additionally, she’s currently working on the next installment in The Longblood Series. Be on the lookout for Lost Longblood: The Longblood Series Book Two (coming soon)!
Website
Narrator Bio

Alex Black is a professional audiobook narrator who has performed and produced over 75 audiobooks. Many of his audiobooks have made the top 20 Amazon best sellers list within their category. He has received hundreds of 5 star reviews across various genres. Audible listeners have this to say: “Fantastic narration! The narrator weaves a spell reading this book!” “I felt all the emotions these characters experienced through his voice and I was totally pulled into this story!” Location: Vermont, United States
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Guest Post
Author Charmin Blazier’s Reasons Why You Should Give Audiobooks a Listen
You deserve to hear a great story. And how long has it been? For some, far too long. As we grow up, we often leave great joys behind. We forget to play, lose interest in drawing for the fun of it, and no longer ask those in our lives to crack open a book and read us a story. I mean, why would we do that? We can read it ourselves, right? Yes, but in our quest to be silently independent in the presence of books, we’ve lost something vital. We’ve lost a realm of creativity, a place like no other, a place that belongs to us. It doesn’t have to be this way. The realms we leave behind might be forgotten for a while, but they don’t disappear. And though we have tight schedules, bills to pay, and doings to do, we also have a way to reclaim long-forgotten joys even as we speed through our over-tasked lives. Enter audiobooks. Glorious, magical, irresistible audiobooks. For me, they’ve done the impossible—made otherwise hideous commutes enjoyable. And that’s just the beginning of their talents. Audiobooks change our relations to stories; they expand our creative collaborations. After all, when you engage with fiction, you become a creator of worlds. When you read, you and the writer come together to craft something utterly unique in your mind. And when you listen, you, the writer, and the narrator come together. Voice brings another layer to the collaboration, another soul to the story, another existential form via external sound. The jump from book to audiobook is more subtle than the one from book to movie. It’s a mid-way point—a zone of twilight that retains intimacy and imaginative engagement yet draws the inward nature of reading ever so slightly outward. And all this is done with just a bit of breath and sound. People sometimes ask whether listening to a book is as good as reading it. Some even suggest that listening equates to “cheating.” Such notions miss the larger point. It’s not about what’s as good or better. It’s about you as a creator and what a different artistic collaboration can bring to your life and imagination. It’s about fun, expansion, and learning that in the best possible way, you and I are not so different than we used to be. So, go ahead. Give an audiobook a listen and reclaim your forgotten creative realm. Your collaborators are waiting. Happy listening. -Charmin Blazier Top 10 List
Author Charmin Blazier’s Top Ten Perks of Being an Author
 
  1. The possibility that your story might bring a little lightness and joy into a reader’s vacation/rainy day/train ride/life in general. There’s nothing better than that.
  2. Being able to collaborate with other creative people such as cover artists, narrators, and bloggers.
  3. Being able to dedicate your work to all the people who’ve supported you along the way.
  4. That moment when you hold your paperback book for the first time.
  5. That moment when you hear your audiobook for the first time.
  6. Creating story worlds where the impossible becomes possible.
  7. The sense of accomplishment when you learn a new writing skill (and there’s always more to learn!).
  8. Being able to connect with your audience in so many ways.
  9. The joy of creating characters out of your imagination.
  10. Having an excuse to spend countless hours in Starbucks.
  I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Charmin Blazier. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
VIEW THE FULL Tour SCHEDULE HERE!

Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.

Sign up as a tour host here.
Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Confined Desires (Rehoboth Pact #1) by Katherine McIntyre Blog Tour

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Two women who have been best friends for years find themselves sharing a home during a required Quarantine during a pandemic, and in the process find their buried feelings for one another coming to the surface in author Katherine McIntyre’s “Confined Desires”, the first in the Rehoboth series.

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The Synopsis

Sky’s crush on her best friend has always been unrequited… until they’re stuck in quarantine together and sparks fly.

Sky’s high school bestie is moving back to the area and staying with her for a few weeks. Easy, right? Not when she’d held a torch for the woman since high school. The moment Mia walks through Sky’s door, those unrequited feelings return full-force. So, when a spreading virus keeps them confined in Sky’s apartment even longer, Sky is screwed.

Mia returns home after a bad breakup, but Sky is the only one who offers a safe place to land. However, the seven years they spent apart has her looking at her best friend through a different lens, attraction sparking with every inside joke, shared dinner, and cuddle on the couch.

That flare of desire fast turns physical. They can’t get enough of each other. Yet, whenever Mia tries for the “where is this going” talk, Sky dodges. Sky lost her sister in high school, and ever since, she’s become ace at keeping dates at a distance. Yet if she doesn’t manage to push past her own fears, she might lose her one shot at happiness with the woman she’s waited a lifetime for.

The Review

This was such a well-balanced and engaging read. The author brilliantly delivers a powerfully romantic story of two friends who reunite after years apart, only to be forced into quarantine together where feelings both had pushed down without the other’s knowledge begin to stir up. The author expertly brings the real-life feelings and complications from a romance such as this to life, from the fear of losing that best friend should the relationship fail, to the pain of the past threatening to loom over their relationship, and more.

What makes this novel stand out is not only the amazing relationship between these two women and its evolution throughout the narrative but the setting of the novel as well. While not the exact same virus, pitting this romance story against the backdrop of a pandemic is inspired at a time like this. The real-world pandemic has not only been stressful and painful for many around the world but has forced us all to reexamine our lives and the relationships we hold dear as well. This makes the romance even more profound and emotional in this story.

The Verdict

A romantic, emotionally investing and remarkable read, author Katherine McIntyre’s “Confined Desires” is a must-read novel. The author’s use of the two central protagonists for a majority of the novel’s plot was an inspired choice and really elevated the book’s setting as well. Combine this with the extreme emotions these two women share together and apart from one another throughout the narrative, and readers will be thoroughly invested in this book. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Confined Desires - Katherine McIntyre

Katherine McIntyre has a new FF contemporary romance out: Confined Desires. And there’s a giveaway!

Sky’s crush on her best friend has always been unrequited… until they’re stuck in quarantine together and sparks fly.

Sky’s high school bestie is moving back to the area and staying with her for a few weeks. Easy, right? Not when she’d held a torch for the woman since high school. The moment Mia walks through Sky’s door, those unrequited feelings return full-force. So, when a spreading virus keeps them confined in Sky’s apartment even longer, Sky is screwed.

Mia returns home after a bad breakup, but Sky is the only one who offers a safe place to land. However, the seven years they spent apart has her looking at her best friend through a different lens, attraction sparking with every inside joke, shared dinner, and cuddle on the couch.

That flare of desire fast turns physical. They can’t get enough of each other. Yet, whenever Mia tries for the “where is this going” talk, Sky dodges. Sky lost her sister in high school, and ever since, she’s become ace at keeping dates at a distance. Yet if she doesn’t manage to push past her own fears, she might lose her one shot at happiness with the woman she’s waited a lifetime for.

Publisher | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAN | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Universal Buy Link | Goodreads


Giveaway

Katherine is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47177/?


Excerpt

Confined Desires meme

Mia twined her arms around Sky and leaned her head against her shoulder. “See, this is why I missed you so damn much.”

Sky froze, unable to move. Part of her melted at this touch, while the other freaked out. The last thing Mia needed was her best friend dumping a lifelong crush on her lap. This close, she could feel the woman’s sleepy heat, and the sweet scent of peaches wafted off her. Sky’s mouth watered—the response instinctual. She forced her hand up to run her fingers through Mia’s silken strands. That was friendly, right?

“Missed you too, babe,” she murmured.

“So, wait, are you working tonight, or no?” Mia asked, pulling away to grab her mug.

“Uh, no,” Sky murmured, mind racing as she tried to come up with an excuse to leave.

Mia tapped the edge of her mug with her fingernail. “Then maybe we could take the day to play catch up?” she asked. When Sky didn’t respond, the words refusing to leave her tongue, Mia’s eyes widened. “I mean, as long as you didn’t have plans or anything. I know I kind of dropped this on you. Fuck, I don’t even know if you’re seeing anyone or who you hang out with anymore.”

“Pitifully single,” Sky responded. “My girlfriend and I split up last year, and I’ve been so busy with work that I haven’t been able to get out to the bars or clubs in Philly at all to jump back into the dating scene. Trust me, you haven’t missed much.”

“Bullshit,” Mia said, placing her mug of coffee down. “Get dressed. We’re heading out to Lucky’s, and I’m buying you breakfast.” Her blue eyes twinkled as she doled out the commands, and Sky’s heart thumped harder.

Sky scratched the nape of her neck. “Yes, ma’am.”

She headed to the bedroom, cursing her lack of an excuse. A large part of her was thrilled to be spending all of this time around Mia after so long. Yet the other part of her just wanted to solder metal sheets around her heart.

As if she’d stand a chance with Mia Brownstone living at her house for the next two weeks.

 


Author Bio

Katherine McIntyre

Snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes.

Katherine McIntyre is a feisty chick with a big attitude despite her short stature. She writes stories featuring snarky women, ragtag crews, and men with bad attitudes—and there’s an equally high chance for a passionate speech thrown into the mix. As an eternal geek and tomboy who’s always stepped to her own beat, she’s made it her mission to write stories that represent the broad spectrum of people out there, from different cultures and races to all varieties of men and women.

Author Website: http://www.katherine-mcintyre.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://www.facebook.com/kmcintyreauthor

Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pixierants

Author Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/authorkmcintyre

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6473654.Katherine_McIntyre

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Katherine-McIntyre/e/B00J8U4VNU

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Posted in Blog Tours, Book Events, reviews

Ever Alice by H.J. Ramsay (Narrated by Caroline Holmes) Audiobook Tour and Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A now 15-year old Alice finds herself desperate to escape an asylum her tales of Wonderland landed her in, but upon deciding against an experimental experiment at the last minute, Alice escapes back into Wonderland, only to land in the court of the Queen of Hearts in author H.J. Ramsay’s “Ever Alice”. 

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The Synopsis

Alice’s stories of Wonderland did more than raise a few eyebrows – it landed her in an asylum. Now at 15 years of age, she’s willing to do anything to leave, which includes agreeing to an experimental procedure. When Alice decides at the last minute not to go through with it, she escapes with the White Rabbit to Wonderland and trades one mad house for another: The court of the Queen of Hearts. Only this time, she is under orders to take out the Queen. When love, scandal, and intrigue begin to muddle her mission, Alice finds herself on the wrong side of the chopping block.

The Review

A fantastic deep dive into the aftermath of author Lewis Carrols classic tale, Ever Alice does an amazing job of standing on its own feet while still paying tribute to such an iconic story. The narrator brought a sense of classic English literature to the retelling of this novel, capturing the elegance and grace that the themes of royalty and the setting of the 1800s in her delivery. 

The thing that really stood out to me while reading this book was the way the author mirrored real-life tales of royalty and betrayal. The spiraling nature of the Queen of Hearts and her capturing of the Queen of Spades reminded me of Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I, which as a history buff was a great addition to the fantasy element of the narrative. The way the author delves into both Alice and the Queen of Hearts stories was interesting to see, the complexity of their journeys layered perfectly.

The Verdict

A fascinating, entertaining and engaging journey through Wonderland, author H.J. Ramsay’s “Ever Alice” is a fantastic audiobook. The story is magical and the characters both old and new highly complex and thrilling in their depictions. The surprise ending has me as a reader hooked on this particular fantasy world, and everyone should check out this book for themselves. Be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author: H.J. Ramsay

Narrator: Caroline Holmes

Length: 11 hours 2 minutes

Publisher: Red Rogue Press

Released: January 19, 2021

Genre: Fantasy; YA

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Bittersweet Revenge (The Patricians #2) by R.G. Angel Audiobook Review/Tour

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

After seemingly escaping and building a new life, Esme is forced to return to the dangerous world of Stonewood as she faces more secrets, lies, and the vengeful Caleb as his need for revenge clashes with feelings he thought he’d left behind in author R.G. Angel’s “Bittersweet Revenge”, the second in The Patricians series.

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The Synopsis

Esme had thought she was free, but a shocking revelation forces her to return to Stonewood.

There she must deal with life-altering secrets and lies, as well as face the consequences of running away.

Caleb is angrier than ever, hell-bent on punishing her for what he considers to be the greatest betrayal.

As she delves deeper into the past with the aid of unlikely allies, even more secrets resurface, making her and everyone around her question the very foundation of their lives.

As the clock ticks and danger looms closer, what will Esme sacrifice to get to the truth? What will Caleb destroy to get his revenge?

The Review

This was a captivating and intriguing sequel to the hit YA thriller fans were treated to in book 1 of the series. I absolutely loved the dual perspectives of this narrative, as Caleb’s darker, more vindictive personality was paired with Esme’s lighter, more caring, and innocent perspective, creating a memorable and almost iconic relationship between the two.

After the events of the first book, the author does a great job of maintaining the same level of suspense in the second book while increasing the danger and shock of the narrative, from Esme’s imposing father to Caleb’s complicated feelings of both revenge and romance towards Esme and even the growing relationship between Esme and her brother Archibald. The narrators do a great justice towards the two protagonists, capturing the raw emotional delivery of their dialogues and the intrigue of the plot overall. 

The Verdict

A memorable, entertaining, and satisfying second book, author R.G. Angel’s “Bittersweet Revenge” is a must-read novel. The twists and turns of the suspenseful part of the narrative take to complement the satisfying conclusion to both protagonist’s stories, while also leaving room for some spin-off or even possible sequels in this memorable series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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Author: R.G. Angel

Narrators: Charlotte Claremont, Robert Hatchet

Length: 10 hours 10 minutes

Series: The Patricians, Book 2

Publisher: Angel Production

Released: Jan. 22, 2021

Genre: Romance; New Adult

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