Tag Archives: history

Daughters of Teutobod by Kurt Hansen Review and Blog Tour

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

The lives and struggles of three different women through different eras of history are revealed in author Kurt Hansen’s historical fiction novel, “Daughters of Teutobod”. 


The Synopsis 

Daughters of Teutobod is a story of love triumphing over hate, of persistence in the face of domination, and of the strength of women in the face of adversity.

Gudrun is the stolen wife of Teutobod, the leader of the Teutons in Gaul in 102 BCE. Her story culminates in a historic battle with the Roman army.

Susanna is a German American farm wife in Pennsylvania whose husband, Karl, has strong affinity for the Nazi party in Germany. Susanna’s story revolves around raising her three daughters and one son as World War II unfolds.

Finally, Gretel is the infant child of Susanna, now seventy-nine years old and a professor of women’s studies, a US senator and Nobel laureate for her World Women’s Initiative. She is heading to France to represent the United States at the seventy-fifth anniversary of the liberation of southern France, at the commemoration site where her older brother, who was killed in action nearby, is buried. The site is very near the location where the Romans defeated the Teutons.

The Review

As a history buff and advocate for feminism and equality in life, I loved this narrative. The balance of emotional storytelling and captivating and engaging character development was so great to see unfold in this story, and the vivid imagery the author deployed in this novel expertly brought the reader into these various periods of time.

Yet to me, what stood out the most was how immersive and adrenaline-fueled the narrative itself was as well as the settings of these different eras of time. The author did an incredible job of bringing these chaotic, violent, and brutal periods of history to life in a natural way, and yet honed in on the personal and quiet yet profound strength of the women that each era focused on. From the fight against enslavement against the Roman warriors to the staunch battle brewing within a German-American family at the height of WWII and how these two eras come weaving together in the more modern-day made this story shine so brightly.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, entertaining, and mesmerizing, author Kurt Hansen’s “Daughters of Teutobod” is a must-read historical fiction novel of 2022. The twists and turns these characters and their arcs take meld perfectly with the striking imagery the author’s writing utilizes and the strength and impactful journey of these women made this one story I didn’t want to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Kurt Hansen is from Racine, Wisconsin, and has lived in Kansas, Texas, and Iowa. He has experience in mental health and family systems as well as in parish ministry and administration. He holds degrees in psychology, social work and divinity. Kurt now lives in Dubuque, Iowa with his wife of 44 years, Dr. Susan Hansen, a professor emerita of international business. Kurt is the author of Gathered (2019). Daughters of Teutobod is his second novel.

Website: https://www.authorkurthansen.com/

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



Enjoy this Excerpt from Kurt Hansen’s “Daughters of Teutobod”

Chapter One

The smoke of the grist fires rose incessantly, grey black against the cloudy blue sky as the day meandered toward its middle hours. It was the season of harvest, and those konas who were able were out among the plantings, gleaning grain or digging turnips, carrots, or beets out of the black, loamy soil. Some ground grain into flour and some baked bread, while others tended the fires and the fleshpots. Still others were about the business of tanning hides, mostly of deer, raccoons, rabbits, or fox, occasionally from a bear. The smells of death intermingled with the breathing life and beating heart of the sveit.

Gudrun liked this time of day best. She grabbed another handful of golden wheatstalks, slicing off the grain heads with a strong whisking motion and dropping the grain into her tightly woven flaxen gathering bag. She paused for a moment, wiping the sweat from her brow with the back of her hand. The sun was bright today, making the air steamy. Gudrun looked out across the hills, down the valley, past the wooded glades where she could see dozens of other kǫngulls like her own, and she knew there were even more beyond the reach of her eyes. Most of the kǫngulls contained about 100 persons, but some had more. As she fixed her gaze closer, to the kǫngull where she lived, she could see the jungen, chasing one another, some wielding sticks or branches, others seeking to escape the assaults of their aggressors. The jungmädchen were variously helping their mothers with cooking or cleaning vegetables or sewing hides; the kinder simply hid in corners or clung to their mothers’ legs.

Several hours passed, and now the sun was receding, thankfully, because its blazing, yellow glare kept breaking through the billowing clouds all day, intensifying the laborers’ fatigue. Gudrun emptied her grain bag into the large, woven basket at the edge of the planting. The basket was filled to the brim, and as she plunged both hands into the basket, letting the harvested grain sift between her fingers, a smile of satisfaction softened her face. Filling up her basket all the way to the top was for her, a measure of the goodness of the day. She hoisted the heavy basket, glad for the leather strap she had fashioned to carry it. Before she designed the strap, two women were needed to carry the woven baskets—one on either side—especially when full. But Gudrun decided to cut a long strip from the edge of a tanned deer hide and, with a sharp bone needle she affixed the strap to her basket, allowing her to shoulder the entire weight by herself.

When she first showed her invention, one of the men—Torolf—chastised her for taking the piece of deer hide. He pushed her to the ground and threatened worse, but Teutobod intervened, bashing Torolf on the head with his club and sending him reeling. Teutobod, Gudrun’s mann, was the undisputed leader of their sveit, and he had been their leader long before he took her for his wife, ever since the sveit’s earliest days in Jutland. He ordered that all the grain baskets be fashioned with straps for carrying, and Gudrun won the admiration of all the konas (and even some men). Torolf avoided her from then on.

As evening approached, it was time to prepare for the return of the männer. Most hunting excursions were a one-day affair, bringing in meat for perhaps a few days at best. But as the harvest season proceeded, the männer would leave for days at a time, seeking to increase supplies for the long winter to come. This foray had lasted nearly a week, but Gudrun was told by Teutobod to expect their return before seven suns had passed, and she shared this information with the some of the other konas. By now all the kongulls were preparing for the männer coming home.

As the sun began to set, the konas started pulling out skins from their bærs, unfolding them and laying them on the ground about the fire pits. The flesh pots were stirred and stoked, and a hearty stew was prepared with deer meats, mushrooms, yellow beans, potatoes, turnips and carrots, seasoned with salt and fennel and black peppercorns. Flasks of beer that had been cooling in the stream all day were brought to each firepit and hung on a stake which had been plunged in the ground for that purpose. Various dinner ware made from carved bone or fashioned out of wood or clay were laid out. All was in readiness.

An aura of anticipation and anxiety tumbled around the kǫngull, shortening tempers as the waiting lengthened. Finally, about an hour after the sun had fully set, the sound of the ram’s horn distantly blasted out its announcement: Die männer komme! The jungen were hustled away to the kinderbærs. One never knew the mood that might accompany the hunters when they returned, and things could and often did get ugly. The konas sat or knelt respectfully beside the firepits, twitching, nervously swatting insects away from the food, inhaling excitement and breathing out fear. 

Soon the rustling of leaves and the snap of twigs underfoot grew louder and closer until the shadows brought forth the whole troop of men, bustling in to the kǫngull, carrying or dragging the meat they had procured, pounding their chests, howling, pulling on their scraggly hair or beards, banging the ground with clubs or spears and smelling of the hunt and of the forest. Similar sounds of triumph and dominion could be heard resonating throughout all the kǫngulls below as the männer clamored in across the entire sveit.

Here in Gudrun’s kǫngull, the konas kept their gaze to the ground, their eyes fixed on the fire, and as the hunters’ swagger slowly abated, one by one the konas silently lifted their plates above their heads, each looking up to her mann as they all found their respective places. Once the providers were all reclining on skins beside the firepits, the konas stood and began to prepare plates of food for them. The men ate loudly, hungrily, slurping the stew from the lips of the bowls and using hunks of bread to grasp chunks of meat and vegetables.

The food having been consumed, skinflasks of beer soon followed, and before long the sated belches and grunts of the eaters gave way to boisterous banter, the proud providers reliving the thrill of killing a stag or the bravery of facing a bear. The konas scraped up the leftovers to take to the huts for themselves and the children, after which the cleanup tasks commenced. The women worked in groups of three or four, tending two large boiling pots to soak the dinnerware until all remnants of the food floated up to the top and were skimmed off. A little more soaking, then all the dinnerware was stacked and stored for the next use. Gudrun, along with two other konas, took the job of drying the cleaned dishes, swinging a dish in each hand to move the air. They playfully swung the wet plates or cups at one another, spritzing each other in the process and giggling like little meyas.

This being the end of a prolonged hunting venture, the children were tucked in early in the kinderhäusen, and the konas prepared to receive their husbands. For those unlucky enough to have brutish men, their wifely duties were not at all pleasant. Others were more fortunate. Gudrun was happy to be among the latter, hoping only that the beer ran out before Teutobod’s love lust. She retreated to the bær she shared with her husband, glad for the privacy his role as leader provided. This entire kǫngull was comprised of the sveit’s leadership and their skuldaliðs, and as such it claimed luxuries not generally known throughout the sveit by underlings. The leaders camped furthest upstream, and therefore got the cleanest water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. The leaders claimed individual space for themselves and their vifs, while others down below had to share living space with two or three other skuldaliðs. 

Gudrun removed her garments and lay nude on the soft deerskins in her bær to prepare herself for her husband. Covering herself with another skin, she began to move her hands over her thighs and abdomen, softly, back and forth, her rough-skinned fingertips adapting to their more delicate uses. She moved a hand upward, swirling around her breasts and throat, teasing each nipple at the edges, holding back from contacting the most delicate flesh.

Her stroking and probing continued, a bit more urgently as she felt her breath rise and grow more heated. The muscles in her abdomen began to pulse, and as her hands found the sensitive spot between her legs, she felt the moisture beginning to flow inside her. When she was young Gudrun had learned from the older konas how to help her husband in this way, to ease his entrance and hasten his joy. Along the way, over the years, she also learned to enjoy herself more in the process. As the instinctive rocking motion in her pelvis began, she eased her manipulations, not wanting to be prematurely excited. Breathlessly, she looked toward the bær’s entrance, hoping Teutobod would hurry.

The New Empire by Alison McBain Review

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

The youngest son of a Chinese emperor finds himself captured and purchased by an Elder of two Native American tribes and must find the truth behind the idea of freedom in the historical fiction novel “The New Empire” by Alison McBain.


The Synopsis

In the alternate history novel The New Empire, the world undergoes a drastic change in the 14th century when Chinese ships land on the west coast of what we know as the Bay Area of California. Fast forward four hundred years to a much different America than we’ve read about in the history books, a land dominated by a cross-continental tribal confederacy grown out of a strong alliance with Beijing. This new empire has been built on the backs of enslaved Chinese political prisoners and a profitable trading partnership overseas. Into the mix comes Jiangxi, youngest son of the last Chinese Emperor. When he arrives from across the ocean as a boy, he is purchased by Onas, a renowned tribal Elder of both the Haudenosaunee and Mutsun tribes. As Jiangxi grows up, he’s caught between the two worlds of his past and present, forced into choosing between opposing ideas of freedom. Told from the main perspective of a Chinese slave in a Native American world, The New Empire paints a vibrant picture that draws strongly on a non-Eurocentric worldview.

The Review

This was such a powerful and engaging read. The world-building and culture that embedded itself into the narrative were mesmerizing, and the way the author was able to capture an 18th-century North American continent that featured a Non-Eurocentric worldview was incredible to behold. The brutality and chilling imagery the author was able to infuse into the narrative really painted a grim picture of the horrors of slavery and the cost of freedom overall to so many throughout human history, as well as the importance of a person’s heritage and culture when it conflicts with the life that has been thrust onto them.

Yet for me, the underlying themes of family, betrayal, and freedom really captivated me throughout this story. The haunting nature of how Jiangxi came to be enslaved in the first place as the result of a chilling uprising and power grab by his older brother made the protagonist feel the sting of betrayal and loss. The relationship he develops with Onas and Daiyu throughout the narrative was so compelling and spoke to the dual reality of his life as he becomes an apprentice in a land of laws yet struggles with the identity of the slave he was made into all those years ago and recognizes that struggle in his newfound allies. The fight for freedom takes a heavy toll throughout the narrative, and the morality that the protagonist faces is incredibly compelling. 

The Verdict

Captivating, engaging, and brilliantly written, author Alison McBain’s “The New Empire” is a must-read historical fiction novel of 2022. An incredible and highly creative book that highlights the realities of what our world’s trajectory could have looked like if an Eastern exploration had led to a more Eastern-led American continent was fascinating to see come to fruition, and the rich character dynamics and emotional storytelling will keep readers invested in this amazing author’s work. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Alison McBain is a Pushcart Prize-nominated author with over two hundred short stories, poems, and articles published worldwideHer books have been honored with gold in the Literary Classics International Book Awards, as well as being finalists in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards and IAN Book of the Year. Her forthcoming novel, The New Empire, won gold in the When Words Count Pitch Week contest and will be published in October 2022. When not writing, Ms. McBain is the associate editor for the literary magazine Scribes*MICRO*Fiction, co-editor of Morning Musings Magazine, and pens an award-winning webcomic called Toddler Times. She lives in Alberta, Canada.




Spring House (Westward Sagas Book One) by David Bowles Review

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

Families of both Scottish and Irish descent settling into the colony of North Carolina find themselves fighting to not only survive but thrive in the new world in author David Bowles’s “Spring House”, the first book in the Westward Sagas series.


The Synopsis

The Westward Sagas tell the stories of the lives of Scots-Irish families struggling to find happiness on the new frontier. Spring House, the first book of the series, begins in North Carolina in 1762 and paints a vivid picture of colonial life in the backwoods of the North State. Adam Mitchell fought to protect his family and save his farm, but his home was destroyed by British troops in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, and his corn fields were turned into fields of death.Finalist in the Historical Fiction category of the National Indie Excellence 2007 Book Awards.

The Review

This was a powerful and moving historical fiction read. The intimate look into the lives of these ordinary families just trying to make a home for themselves and how the events of the Revolutionary War would impact them was so moving to read about. The atmosphere and tone the author struck in his writing allowed for some engaging moments between the reader and the narrative, giving a sense of urgency and the scenes themselves had some depth thanks to the great use of imagery in the writing. 

Yet it was the balance the author struck between history and character-driven narratives. The story of protagonist Adam and his pursuit of what would later be known as the “American Dream” was great to see, and whether intentional or not, showcased every immigrant’s dream of finding a place to call home, free to be themselves and without fear of persecution. The detail of historical events and figures made the story feel much more alive, and the captivating moments where these families were able to set aside their differences in everything from politics to faith and instead focus on surviving together against insurmountable odds showed the true heart of what this nation’s foundation was meant to be.

The Verdict

Thought-provoking, entertaining, and character-driven, author David Bowles’s “Spring House” is a brilliant historical fiction novel and the best introduction novel to the Westward Sagas series. The rich setting and historical facts layered into the personal character growth and emotional narrative allowed readers to feel connected to both the story and the period of time in a really unique way. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

David A. Bowles is a fifth generation Austinite. Both parents from early Travis County pioneers. His great grandmother Elnora Van Cleve, is recorded as the first birth in Austin, Texas during the days of the Republic. The author and his dog Becka travel in a class A motor-coach they call home, telling and writing the stories of the Westward Sagas. David grew up listening to stories of his ancestors told by his elders. Their stories so fascinated him that he became a professional story-teller, spinning tales through the Westward Sagas as well as the spoken word. He is a member of the National Story Telling Network and the Tejas Storyteller Association. David entertains groups frequently about his adventures on the open road and the books he has written. All four books in the Westward Sagas series have won awards. He is presently writing the sequel to Comanche Trace which won 1st Place at the North Texas Book Festival.


Alternative Facts by Gary Westphalen Review

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

In a stunning and thought-provoking twist, author Gary Westphalen challenges readers to explore a historical fiction world set in our near modern times as one of the most disturbing and heartbreaking attacks on American Soil, 9/11, is examined in a new lens in the novel “Alternative Facts”.


The Synopsis

The 9/11 attack on the United States was horrific. Even as it claimed thousands of lives in a single morning, it also changed all of our lives forever. But what really happened on that morning? The U.S. government would have you believe that the 9/11 Commission report is the definitive examination of the catastrophic events. But this report raises many more questions than it answers, and the government has not been forthcoming in further explanations.

There was a conspiracy at work that morning. The 9/11 Commission says a couple of dozen radical Muslims conceived, planned and executed the plan with miraculous precision. It says they hijacked four airliners and managed to fly three of them with absolute pinpoint precision into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. It says the heat from fires fueled by nothing more than paper and office furniture was enough to cause the collapse of both WTC towers, along with another building on the property that hadn’t even been struck by an airplane. It says they defied aerodynamic possibilities to fly an airliner into the Pentagon at a speed that would have torn the plane apart long before it made it to the building.

In Alternative Facts author Gary Westphalen posits another possibility. It was indeed a conspiracy, but it extends way beyond a cabal of eager jihadis. This conspiracy extends to the highest levels of the U.S. government and would have failed miserably without the guiding hand of dark forces in powerful positions.

This work of Historical Fiction contains so many actual facts along with fantastical but highly probable scenarios that it’s impossible to know where the facts end and the fiction takes over. By the time you turn the last page, you’ll be wondering to yourself whether Alternative Facts tells a truer story than the 9/11 Commission report.

The Review

I was 11 years old when the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon occurred. I remember it vividly, watching in horror as the towers fell. I ran to my parent’s room and told them what had happened, and a quiet hush fell through our home. No one wanted to send their kids off to school. Life seemed to crawl to a snail’s pace all around us as the enormity of this event hit us hard. Every corner of our nation felt the pain and fear that this event brought on. 

Yet while the immediate aftermath instilled a need for unity and patriotism like never before, in the years since the attacks, many questions have always popped into my mind, and author Gary Westphalen has done an excellent job of bringing this to life in his novel. The amount of research and actual history that went into this novel was spectacular to see, and the thoughtful approach to detail went into every aspect of this novel, from the construction of the towers and the initial attack in 93’ to the devastating events of that fateful day.

The way that the author still managed to craft a fictional narrative with rich and emotionally-driven characters made this story flow smoothly, and gave readers more to relate to while also being respectful of real-life individuals by changing names or creating entirely new ones to fuel this narrative. The pacing and atmosphere that the author managed to develop made this story just come alive on the page, and managed to capture both the somber nature of the reality this narrative was based upon and the mystery that was the conspiracy the author laid out.

The Verdict

Captivating, shocking, and thought-provoking, author Gary Westphalen’s “Alternative Facts” is a must-read novel of 2022. The mystery and historical fiction are read to capture the heart of the suspense thriller genre while also giving voice to those affected by this real-world tragedy. While nothing, both the official story and the possible “truth” behind that day, can ever bring back those we lost, the heart of this narrative does a great job of keeping us always looking for truth, justice, and the means of bringing those who hide in the shadows into the light. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Gary has spent a lifetime as a documentary film maker and journalist. His pursuit of telling the story of the human condition has taken him to dozens of countries all over the world. He has interviewed Presidents and Kings, the homeless and destitute, and everything in-between. His work has been seen on nearly every major television and cable network. It’s almost a guarantee that you have seen the results of his story-telling. He has now turned to a life filled with narrating audiobooks for other authors, and writing his own books as well. Learn much more at garywestphalen.com , @GaryWestphalen on Twitter and facebook.com/gary.westphalen.

Moral Fibre: A Bomber Pilot’s Story by Helena P. Schrader Review 

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

A fighter pilot during WW2 struggles to return to duty after the loss of his best friend, while also dealing with a mark on his record stating he lacks moral fibre after his failure to return to duty during a raid in Berlin and fledgling feelings for the woman his best friend had been engaged to in author Helena P. Schrader’s “Moral Fibre: A Bomber Pilot’s Story”. 


The Synopsis

Riding the icy, moonlit sky—

They took the war to Hitler.

Their chances of survival were less than fifty percent.

Their average age was 21.

This is the story of just one bomber pilot, his crew, and the woman he loved.

It is intended as a tribute to them all.

Flying Officer Kit Moran has earned his pilot’s wings, but the greatest challenges still lie ahead: crewing up and returning to operations. Things aren’t made easier by the fact that while still a flight engineer, he was posted LMF (Lacking in Moral Fibre) for refusing to fly after a raid on Berlin that killed his best friend and skipper. Nor does it help that he is in love with his dead friend’s fiancé, but she is not yet ready to become romantically involved again.

The Review

This was such a powerful and thought-provoking WWII historical fiction read. The author perfectly captures the chaos and struggles of men and women during WW2 who fought against Hitler’s regime in the skies and on the ground. The attention to detail the author utilized in the narrative and the heavy emphasis on setting and tone really brought the history aspect of the novel to life perfectly.

Yet it was the character development and themes that really spoke to me in this read. The way the author wove these themes of racism, grief, PTSD, and “good versus evil” was fantastic to see, as they mirrored the historical context of the war so seamlessly. Kit’s development in particular was so moving, as the psychological and societal impact of his experiences during the war and his background overall played a role in the development of this rich and captivating read. 

The Verdict

Heartfelt, engaging, and thought-provoking, author Helena P. Schrader’s “Moral Fibre” is a must-read historical fiction novel! The complex themes the author explores, the rich character development, and the incredible historical detail of both the war and in particular the world of aviation during a time of war were so brilliantly portrayed here, and the emotional bond the reader makes with the protagonist and the cast of characters will have readers hanging off of the authors ever word. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Helena P. Schrader is an established aviation author and expert on the Second World War. She earned a PhD in History (cum Laude) from the University of Hamburg with a ground-breaking dissertation on a leading member of the German Resistance to Hitler. Her non-fiction publications include Sisters in Arms: The Women who Flew in WWII, The Blockade Breakers: The Berlin Airlift, and Codename Valkyrie: General Friederich Olbricht and the Plot against Hitler. In addition, Helena has published eighteen historical novels and won numerous literary awards. Her novel on the Battle of Britain, Where Eagles Never Flew won the Hemingway Award for 20th Century Wartime Fiction and a Maincrest Media Award for Historical Fiction. RAF Battle of Britain ace Wing Commander Bob Doe called it “the best book” he had ever seen about the battle. Traitors for the Sake of Humanity is a finalist for the Foreword INDIES awards. Grounded Eagles and Moral Fibre have both garnered excellent reviews from acclaimed review sites such as Kirkus, Blue Ink, Foreword Clarion, Feathered Quill, and Chantileer Books.

You can follow her author website for updates and her aviation history blog.

Purchase a copy of Moral Fibre on Amazon, Bookshop.org, and Barnes and Noble. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

Blog Tour Calendar

August 15th @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader. Read more about this fascinating historical fiction novel and learn more about the author. You can also enter to win a copy of the book too!


August 17th @ Deborah Adams’ Blog

Deborah Adams features Helena P. Schrader’s guest post about dissecting a novel.


 August 19th @ Life According to Jamie

Join Jamie as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.


August 21st @ What Is That Book About?

Join Michelle as she features Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader. 


August 22nd @ Mindy McGinnis’ Blog

Join Mindy as she features a guest post by Helena P. Schrader about how editors are not optional.


August 23rd @ Lisa Haselton’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Don’t miss an interview with author Helena P. Schrader about her book Moral Fibre.


August 24th @ A Writer of History

Read Helena P. Schrader’s guest post about the challenges of designing book covers for historical fiction.

August 25th @ Bring on Lemons

Join Crystal as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.


August 26th @ Bookshelf Journeys

Read Terri’s review of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.


August 27th @ Mercedes Rochelle’s Blog

Read Helena P. Schrader’s guest post featuring her book Moral Fibre.


August 30th @ World of My Imagination

Join Nicole as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.


September 1st @ The Faerie Review

Check out a spotlight of Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.


September 2nd @ Author Anthony Avina

Anthony reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.


September 5th @ Choices

Join Madeline as she features a guest post by Helena P. Schrader about the author and the seven drafts.


September 10th @ A Storybook World

Join Deirdre as she features Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.


September 12th @ Word Magic

Fiona shares a guest post by author Helena P. Schrader about the lack of moral fibre.


September 17th @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today where she interviews author Helena P. Schrader.


September 18th @ Wildwood Reads

Join Megan as she reviews Moral Fibre by Helena P. Schrader.


Cover Me With My Izar by Nora Houri-Haim Review

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

Author Nora Houri-Haim takes readers on a journey exploring the history, culture, and modern story of Iraqi Jews through a multi-generational fictional novel in the book “Cover Me With My Izar”.


The Synopsis

Through a series of stories that span several generations, ‘Cover Me with My Izar’, brings to vivid life the modern history of Iraqi Jews.

The stories are fascinating, humorous, filled with humanity, always captivating, and brimming with heart. Each story is told from the viewpoint of a different character across the generations.

From the tales of the vibrant Jewish community in Baghdad, through the terrors of the Farhud Pogrom to the mass immigration into Israel, a rich story of struggle and learning to adapt unfolds.

From the miracle that was visited upon the barren Latifa, to the disaster Ezra, the sword collector, brought on his own head; from Yvette, who decided to go and earn an education for herself against all odds, to the story of Itzik and Nava, children of the third generation born in Israel who wanted to be integrated into its newly forming society. These are just a handful of the rich tapestry of stories woven together to form the fabric of this book. A fabric as unforgettable and rich as that from which the traditional Izar gown, worn by the Jewish women of Iraq, is made. 

The Review

This was such a well-written and personal story. The author expertly found the balance between personal storytelling about family experiences and intimate looks into the culture and history surrounding the Jewish people of the Middle East over the last century. The way this story fell into an almost compilation of short stories that fell under a general story banner that connected to one another through the generations was such an inspired use of storytelling devices. The imagery and atmosphere were so vivid that the stories the author was bringing to life felt very real, allowing readers to feel quite connected to the narrative.

The blend of character development and culture really became the heart of this narrative. The exploration of several characters and their point of view over the course of an entire family’s history over the course of a century was an inspired creative choice and played well into the narrative choice to explore the Middle Eastern Jewish experience. It was original and allowed readers to fully feel immersed into an aspect and point of view of life that is rarely explored.

The Verdict

Brilliantly written, captivating, and engaging, author Nora Houri-Haim’s “Cover Me With My Izar” is a must-read family and multi-generational fiction novel of 2022. The unique setting and history the author explores in this narrative were so amazing to behold, and the rich cultural explorations were truly entertaining and emotionally driven, keeping readers invested throughout the narrative. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Nora Houri-Haim was born in 1953 in the “new, old” city of Tel Aviv, to parents who’d made aliyah from Iraq. She spent her childhood surrounded by her huge extended family and grew up on the knees of her aunts and uncles, listening to stories from the “old country.” These stories were in sharp contrast to the reality around Nora. In the fledgling state of Israel, anything foreign, and especially anything connected to the Arab world, was frowned upon. This dissonance defined Nora’s childhood and inspired her writing as an adult. She finished her schooling in Tel Aviv, and then served in the Israeli military as an educational adviser. After completing her BA, Nora got married, had four kids and spent eight years teaching 6-8th graders. Nora completed her MA, with honors in Literature and Creative Writing from Ben Gurion University in the Negev. While there, she began writing her first novel, Cover Me with my Izar”. The novel was nominated by her publisher for the Sapir Prize for debut novels and was praised by the National Library during the year it was published.


The Battle of Lincoln Place by Dennis Hathaway Review

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

Tenants of a historic building fight to keep their home and stop the corporate landlords who hold the rights to their building in the palm of their hands from tearing it down in author Dennis Hathaway’s “The Battle of Lincoln Place”. 


The Synopsis

The Battle of Lincoln Place is a stirring account of the courage and perseverance shown by the tenants of a large, historic apartment complex who stand up to the greed and heartlessness of their corporate landlords, whose quest for profit threatens to destroy their long-time homes. It follows four women who lead the hundreds of working class and elderly tenants in a desperate struggle on the streets, in the halls of government, and in the courts of law and public opinion, along with a fifth woman who fights for recognition of the forgotten Black architect whose innovative ideas about community and social interaction were featured in the apartment complex’s design. It is a story of heartache and joy, of despair and hope, and finally, of the triumph of the human spirit over the forces of indifference and disdain faced by some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

The Review

This was such a strong and powerful read. The author did an incredible job of bringing this story to life. The stark reality of the tenant’s situation was felt immediately, as the author vividly painted an image of the day the forced evictions began. The imagery and tone the author struck in this first chapter were equally mirrored by the research that went into the history of this building and the legal battles that went on in the wake of this event.

The way the author was able to succinctly share the facts of the case and the history behind the building while also marrying the raw emotions and heartbreaking experiences that the tenants had during these events was so inspired. The themes of greed on both a personal and corporate level, as well as the social justice and action that everyday people can take in the face of injustice, were so powerful in this book and kept the reader invested in the narrative throughout the read.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, captivating, and engaging, author Dennis Hathaway’s “The Battle of Lincoln Place” is a must-read memoir meets political and social justice nonfiction book! The passion and determination the subjects of this read had and the detailed way the author wrote brought this story to life in a wonderful way and made the readers take attention to the struggles of the housing crisis facing so many others around the world. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

Born and raised on an Iowa farm, Dennis Hathaway has worked as a newspaper reporter, construction worker and building contractor. He was director of low-income housing rehabilitation for a non-profit housing corporation and staff member of a job training and education program for at-risk youth. He was an active member of community groups dealing with issues of affordable housing and homelessness, and served eight years as president of a Los Angeles nonprofit organization fighting outdoor advertising and visual blight.

His nonfiction has been published in the Los Angeles Times and CityWatch, an online public affairs magazine. His fiction has been published in print and online journals, including TriQuarterly, Georgia Review, and Southwest Review, and his story collection, The Consequences of Desire, won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. He was the publisher and editor of Crania, one of the earliest online literary magazines, and his volume of poetry, The Taste of Flesh, was published by Crania Press.

He lives with his wife, artist Laura Silagi, in Venice, California.

Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer Review

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

Two Italian immigrants in 20th century America fight to reunite and find comfort in their letters to one another in the interim in author Audry Fryer’s “Until Next Sunday”.


The Synopsis

Until Next Sunday is a sweet Historical Romance inspired by a true story. It is based on actual Italian love letters which were discovered a century after they were written (some of which are contained in this book.)

Rosina leaves Italy to build a better life, but the reality in America is nothing like the dream.

She is far from the Italian countryside and the beautiful olive groves where she grew up. Here the work is endless, and the winters are cold and desolate. She never expects to find love in such a place.

Then she met him.

Gianni, the shoemaker’s apprentice, is gentle, handsome, and everything she never knew she needed in her life.

But when Rosina falls ill and is quarantined, their future is at stake. All she can do is cling to the beautiful letters Gianni writes. Each week she tries to survive the long, lonely days until next Sunday for his brief visit.

Will fate bring Rosina and Gianni together once more? Or are they destined to remain star-crossed forever?

It is a portrait of the times, and a true immigrant experience. Feel the force with which these two lives find love, against all odds.

The Review

This was such a powerful love story. The world-building and setting the author is able to bring to life through incredible writing that evokes a great sense of imagery made the story feel so vibrant and captivating to read. The powerful themes of love and the “American Dream” during a time when many people from Italy were immigrating to the United States were both captivating and brought a sense of community to the narrative as well.

It was the cast of characters that really sold this narrative. The emotional connection between Gianni and Rosina was so impactful, and the way this fictional narrative was fit around the love letters of real-world individuals made the connection readers had to this story that much more powerful. The way this aspect of the narrative was able to be more prominent in the novel was great to see, as the history portion of the historical fiction romance read was brilliant for a history buff like me, but with romance being such a focal point in this novel, as well as family, it was great to see the history lift up and add a spotlight to the romance more so than anything else.

The Verdict

Heartfelt, captivating, and entertaining, author Audry Fryer’s “Until Next Sunday” is a must-read and mesmerizing historical fiction romance novel! The emotional depths of the romance between these two main characters were amazing to read, and the natural way the history of the era played to the themes of love and the story many immigrants had during this point of history was inspiring to read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10



I’m excited to announce the WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour with author and Audry Fryer and her book Until Next Sunday. 

This book is written with so much heart – you can’t help but fall in love with the characters from this historical romance! 

Here’s a bit about the book:

 After bravely leaving the life she knew to come to America, 
illness threatens Rosina’s happily ever after. 
When separated, will letters keep their love alive? 

Rosina leaves Italy to build a better life, but the reality in America is nothing like the dream. She is far from the Italian countryside and the beautiful olive groves where she grew up. Here the work is endless, and the winters are cold and desolate. She never expects to find love in such a place. 

Then she met him. Gianni, the shoemaker’s apprentice, is gentle, handsome, and everything she never knew she needed in her life. 

But when Rosina falls ill and is quarantined, their future is at stake. All she can do is cling to the beautiful letters Gianni writes. Each week she tries to survive the long, lonely days until next Sunday for his brief visit. 

Will fate bring Rosina and Gianni together once more? Or are they destined to remain star-crossed forever? 

Until Next Sunday is a sweet Historical Romance inspired by a true story. It is based on actual Italian love letters which were discovered a century after they were written (some of which are contained in this book.) It is a portrait of the times, and a true immigrant experience. Feel the force with which these two lives find love, against all odds.

Purchase your own copy on: Smashwords, Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo!

About the Author

Audry Fryer is an author and professional freelance writer from Pennsylvania. Formerly a teacher, Audry wrote her first novel while her toddler son and twin babies napped. As her children have grown into teenagers, she has expanded her writing career. Audry lives with her family and two pugs in a quiet corner of Southeastern PA. To learn more about Audry, please visit her website at www.audryfryer.com

Social Media Links:


– Blog Tour Calendar

May 9th @ The Muffin
Join us as we celebrate the launch of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. We interview the author about her book and also give away a copy to one lucky reader.

May 10th @ Create Write Now 
Today’s guest post at Create Write Now comes from Audry Fryer as she pens an article titled: “The Importance of a Talented Editor”. Hear from Audry on this important topic and find out more about her latest work: Until Next Sunday.

May 11th @ Pages & Paws 
Kristine from Pages and Paws reviews Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. This historical romance is delighting readers – find out what Kristine thinks!

May 13th @ Rebecca J. Whitman
Audry Fryer pens today’s travel inspired guest post on Rebecca J. Whitman’s blog. Find out more about Fryer’s book Until Next Sunday and the region of Italy featured in the book.

May 16th @ What is that Book About
Today’s book spotlight at What is that Book About is none other than Audry Fryer’s latest Until Next Sunday. Readers will want to add this gem to their TBR pile right away!

May 16th @ Rebecca J. Whitman
Don’t miss today’s podcast with Rebecca J. Whitman as she features Audry Fryer and Audry’s latest book Until Next Sunday.

May 17th @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley A. Baird welcomes Audry Fryer to her blog today. Stop by and learn more about Fryer’s latest book Until Next Sunday and find out the inside story about “How 100 Love Letters Became a Novel”

May 18th @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Behavioral Psychotherapist, Linda Appleman Shapiro, reviews and shares her thoughts after reading Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. Don’t miss Shapiro’s insight on this beautiful historical romance.

May 19th @ A Storybook World
A StoryBook World welcomes Audry Fryer and Until Next Sunday to the spotlight today! Stop by and find out more about the historical romance everyone is talking about!

May 20th @ Rebecca J. Whitman
Rebecca J. Whitman reviews Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday and shares her thoughts with readers on her blog; don’t miss a chance to learn more about this historical romance that is delighting readers young and old!

May 20th @ Word Magic
Readers at Fiona Ingram’s blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about the difference between historical romance and historical fiction. Is there a difference? Find out today and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.

May 24th @ Mindy McGinnis
Readers at Mindy McGinnis’ blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about how to create a book club kit for your readers. Sop by and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.

May 24th @ Author Anthony Avina
Readers at Anthony Avina’s blog will hear from Audry Fryer today as she writes about Roses and what they symbolize in books. Stop by today and learn more about Fryer’s latest work Until Next Sunday.

May 25th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Fellow author Madeline Sharples has Audry Fryer and Until Next Sunday in the spotlight at her blog today! Stop by and see what all the fuss is about!

May 30th @ Bring on Lemons with High School Student, Carmen Otto
Teenager Carmen Otto offers her 5 star review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday. Otto can’t wait for her school library to add this gem to their collection! Read more from Carmen about this historical romance today!

May 31st @ Reading is My Remedy
Chelsie Stanford of Reading is My Remedy offers her review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday – find out what Chelsie has to say about this historical romance and it’s talented author!

June 1st @ Lisa’s Reading
Lisa from Lisa’s Reading has Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday in the spotlight today! Stop by and see the historical romance everyone is talking about!

June 2nd @ KnottyNeedle Creative
Judy from the Knotty Needle offers her review of Audry Fryer’s Until Next Sunday for readers of her blog. This is a delightful historical romance and readers will want to hear what Judy has to say!

June 2nd @ Beverley A. Baird
Beverley A. Baird reviews Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. This historical romance is getting lots of attention – find out what Beverley thinks!

June 3rd @ Author Anthony Avina
Author Anthony Avina reviews fellow author Audry Fryer’s latest historical romance, Until Next Sunday. Find out from one author to another what Anthony thinks of this book!

June 4th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion
Linda of Boots Shoes & Fashion interviews Audry Fryer about her latest historical fiction, Until Next Sunday; don’t miss this insightful interview!

June 5th @ Choices with Madeline Sharples
Madeline Sharples welcomes a guest author to her blog – today, readers will hear from Audry Fryer about Until Next Sunday as well as learning what Audry has to say about Top Strong Female Characters in Literature.

June 9th @ The Frugalista Mom
The Fruglista Mom, Rozelyn, shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer! This is a book and review you won’t want to miss!

June 10th @ World of My Imagination
WOW! Blog Tour Manager Nicole Pyles shares her review of Until Next Sunday by Audry Fryer. Nicole’s review wraps up the book blog tour for this historical romance – find out what Nicole has to say about this beautiful story!

The Lessons of History – Observed: Change Your Context – Change Your Life by Jim Giombetti Review

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

Author Jim Giombetti takes readers through the moments throughout history that leaders and thought-driven individuals can learn from and apply to our modern problems in his book, “The Lessons of History – Observed: Change Your Context – Change Your Life”. 


The Synopsis

How well do you understand the rise and decline of nations?

Do you understand the realities of the millennial generation as we know it?

What is the sociology behind why nations fail?

What events influenced the survival of the human condition?

How should political leaders be assessed?

The eye of the world is in pages of history and, without knowledge of the past, it becomes difficult to understand the current global chaos. Author Jim Giombetti explores the nooks and crannies of historical politics in ‘Lessons of History – Observed, Change Your Context – Change Your Life.’

Have we uncovered reality if we are still in the shadows of evolution? What do we know about life without history? Beyond the essentialism of history, the ultimate purpose of ‘Lessons of History – Observed, Change Your Context – Change Your Life‘ is to help the reader realize the truth of problem-solving. This book promises to take you on a journey to cut out barriers in getting things done and understanding international relations.

As a thought leader with in-depth knowledge of history, the writer creates well-defined concepts in chapters offering guidance into navigating global chaos. With every paragraph and every last word in this book, he explains that everything is an argument in the human condition. And by exploring knowledge in history, you can get to the very core of designing your life -and the world at large.

Learn about the world’s present state through the lenses of history and practical truths in ‘Lessons of History – Observed, Change Your Context – Change Your Life‘ by Jim Giombetti. Knowledge gives power to those who seek it, and with this book, you can gain the information to save your world.

Uncover the golden secrets of history to solve global problems and navigate international relations in author Jim Giombetti’s newest book!

The Review

This was such a fascinating read. The author did a great job of striking a balance between the history and lessons that those historical moments and the more personal and intimate moments from the author’s life. What is so great about this balance is that the history and lessons showcase the context of the book itself and the research that went into developing this read, while the more personal moments the author puts in the showcase the impact these lessons have had on his own experiences and shows the expertise that developed as a result.

The fast pace of the book and the inspirational tone that the author strikes were great motivators when delving into this read. The world we live in now can be quite morose and painful to observe, filled with racism, sexism, gun violence, and so much more. The authors can relate to some of these issues like climate control and racism and use history as a springboard to look at how learning from the past was truly moving. Learning early on about the difference between stoicism and epicureanism was fascinating to see as well, and definitely allowed me to open my mind up to new ways to observe history as a whole.

The Verdict

Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. At least according to Philosopher George Santayana, that is the case, and author James Giombetti’s “The Lessons of History – Observed” is a brilliant, engaging, and thought-provoking journey into this lesson. The history buff in me was so interested in this subject matter, and the use of both ancient history and more modern history was great to see play out in this self-help motivational read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

James Giombetti, Author of The Lessons of History – ObservedJames Giombetti, known to his friends as Jim or Babe, was raised in the hills of beautiful northeastern Pennsylvania in the small town of Jessup. As an international business executive, Jim developed an insatiable desire to understand complex systems with a passion and vision for resolving global supply-chain issues. His unique skills typically apply new ideas and approaches to complex problems using simplicity in design. In The Lessons of History – Observed, Jim explores historical events and how these seemingly unrelated historical events are the root cause of today’s unresolved complex problems. He uses Will and Ariel Durant’s seminal work, The Lessons of History, as a framework to share his observations. Jim considers his wife Barbara and family to be most important to him. If he isn’t spending time with Barb or their family, you can bet he is with Beane, his loyal companion: a dead grass Chesapeake Bay retriever. The Lessons of History – Observed is Jim’s first book. Keep in touch with Jim via the web: 

Website: https://jimgiombetti.com/