Friday, June 30, 2017

0 Review: Katana at Super Hero High


Random House Books for Young Readers
Available July 4, 2017
9781101940686
Source: Publisher

Summary

Get your cape on with the DC Super Hero Girls(TM)--the unprecedented new Super Hero universe especially for girls! Readers of all ages can fly high with the all-new adventures of Wonder Woman(TM), Supergirl(TM), Batgirl(TM), and some of the world's most iconic female super heroes as high schoolers!

Sword-wielding Katana isn't like most high school students--but with classmates like Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl, Super Hero High isn't like most high schools! 

In addition to training to be a super hero, Katana also follows the noble warrior traditions of the Samurai. Now an unknown source has given her the responsibility of guarding a hundred ancient Samurai swords--but why her, and for what purpose? With the help of Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Ms. Martian, and some of her other super friends, she intends to find out. But she just made captain of the fencing team, she has a huge school project due, and a villain with ties to her family's past seems to be amassing an army. Maintaining her inner peace isn't going to be easy . . . 

. . . but Katana has the steel to save the day! 

Award-winning author Lisa Yee brings this edge-of-your-seat adventure to life with mystery, thrills, and laughs. Move over Batman(TM) and Superman(TM)--the DC Super Hero Girls are ready to save the day and have fun doing it!

My Thoughts


Katana at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee is the fourth book in the DC Super Hero Girls series. The series focuses on DC's famous female super heroes, and also some villains. But before they become mortal enemies, they're just your not-so-average teenage supers that are learning what it means to be a hero and dealing with all the pressures that come along with it.

The students at Super Hero high are given a legacy assignment where they must interview members of their families to find out where they came from, their histories, their roots. Katana thinks that this assignment will help uncover the mystery of her grandmother's disappearance. And if that was all she had to worry about, it would be enough, but it's not. When mysterious swords appear along with a puzzling haiku, Katana has to unravel the intrigue before danger arrives. Luckily for Katana, she has some great friends to help her out.

Katana at Super Hero High is my favorite so far in this series. I loved the story line about discovering the supers' legacies, but I also loved that Yee addresses the pressures from expectations that the supers deal with. I think a lot of young kids will be able to relate. This series is all about empowering young girls and giving them heroes with all their flaws to look up to. My daughter and I both highly recommend this series!






*This post contains an affiliate link. Which means if you click on it and buy something, I get a small fee. Thank you for supporting To Read, or Not To Read.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

0 Bon Appétit and a Book: THEIR PRETEND AMISH COURTSHIP




THEIR PRETEND AMISH COURTSHIP
By Patricia Davids

Fannie Erb isn’t looking for a husband – especially if it means she has to leave behind her beloved horses to go find one. What she needs is a way to assure her parents that she’s not hopeless when it comes to love. And her family friend, Noah Bowman, might just be her solution.

A fake relationship would free them both from unwanted matchmaking plans, but how could Fannie predict that pretending to date the handsome boy next door would awaken genuine emotions? By summer’s end, they’ll be free to go their separate ways, but Fannie’s growing feelings are transforming her neighbor into the only man who might ever reign in her adventurous heart.




PATRICIA DAVIDS is a USA Today Bestselling author who grew up in Kansas. She began her career as a nurse, and put her dreams to write a book on hold as she raised a family and worked in the 
NICU. After forty years, she began writing seriously in 1996. Today, she enjoys crafting emotionally satisfying romances where love and faith being two people together forever.








Bon Appétit and a Book:

In Their Pretend Amish Courtship, my heroine Fannie offers the hero Noah some cinnamon raisin biscuits she’d made when they returned home from their first date. When she asks him how they are, his response is, “They won’t choke me.” These won’t choke you, either.





Glazed Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits
Ingredients:
·         2 1/2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix
·         1/2 cup raisins
·         2/3 cup milk
·         2 tablespoons granulated sugar
·         1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Vanilla Glaze
·         2/3 cup powdered sugar
·         1 tablespoon warm water
·         1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Directions
·         Heat oven to 450°F.
·         In medium bowl, stir all biscuit ingredients just until soft dough forms.
·         Place dough on surface generously dusted with Bisquick mix; gently roll in Bisquick mix to coat. Shape into ball; knead 10 times. Roll 1/2 inch thick. Cut with 2 1/2-inch cutter dipped in Bisquick mix. On ungreased cookie sheet, place biscuits 2 inches apart.
·         Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
·         While biscuits are baking, in small bowl, beat all glaze ingredients with spoon until smooth. Spread glaze over warm biscuits.


Recipe and photo from www.BettyCrocker.com







0 Sync Summer of Free #Audiobooks celebrates Independence Day in Week 10


It's week 10, and this week AudioFile and Sync bring you two new titles . Remember these audiobooks are only available: 06/29 - 07/06. You can download the audiobooks by clicking here: http://www.audiobooksync.com/ ←←← All you need to download them is the Overdrive app which is also free on the website.




by Debby Dahl Edwardson | Read by Nick Podehl, Amy Rubinate
Published by Brilliance Audio

Luke knows his I´nupiaq name is full of sounds white people can’t say. He knows he’ll have to leave it behind when he and his brothers are sent to boarding school hundreds of miles from their Arctic village. At Sacred Heart School things are different. Instead of family, there are students—Eskimo, Indian, White—who line up on different sides of the cafeteria like there’s some kind of war going on. And instead of comforting words like tutu and maktak, there’s English. Speaking I'nupiaq—or any native language—is forbidden. And Father Mullen, whose fury is like a force of nature, is ready to slap down those who disobey. Luke struggles to survive at Sacred Heart. But he’s not the only one. There’s smart-aleck Amiq, a daring leader—if he doesn’t self destruct; Chickie, blond and freckled, a different kind of outsider; and small quiet Junior, noticing everything and writing it all down. Each has their own story to tell. But once their separate stories come together, things at Sacred Heart School—and in the wider world—will never be the same.





by Richard Montoya, Developed by Culture Clash and Jo Bonney | Read by Richard Montoya, Keith Jefferson, Todd Nakagawa, Sean San Jose, Kimberly Scott, Herbert Siguenza, Tom Virtue, Libby West, Caro Zeller
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

In this wild satire, Mexican immigrant Juan José has a feverish dream while studying for his American citizenship exam. He meets a parade of characters ranging from Sacagawea to Teddy Roosevelt to Jackie Robinson, who take him on a mind-bending, hilarious, and poignant trip through American history.

An L.A. Theatre Works full cast recording featuring:
Keith Jefferson as Ben Pettus/Others; 
Richard Montoya as Juan José the First/Others; 
Todd Nakagawa as Johnny/Others; 
Sean San José as Juan José; 
Kimberly Scott as Viola Pettus/Others; 
Herbert Siguenza as Neil Diamante/Others; 
Tom Virtue as Harry Bridges/Others; 
Libby West as Mrs. Finney/Others; 
Caro Zeller as Lydia/Others. 

Additional voicing by Devon Sorvari.

Original sound design by Cliff Caruthers. Directed by Shana Cooper. Recorded in Los Angeles before a live audience at The James Bridges Theater, UCLA in May of 2014.

0 Q&A with Bob Marsocci


Why a marriage guide for clueless guys? Do you really have to ask?

About 2 million guys get married every year in the United States alone, and many (perhaps most) have no clue about the world they will enter once they say, “I do.”

Does a guy know the 10 Fatal Words his wife will spring on him days before her birthday? Does a guy know why he should never throw away his wife’s “bag of bags”? Does a guy know why he should avoid watching romance movies with his wife once he’s been married for a couple of years? No, no, and most definitely no! Millions of men are clueless about what to expect from marriage and need practical advice from a guy who has been there and seen it all.

Candid and humorous, You Exhaust Me, A Clueless Guy’s Guide to Marriage, speaks directly to clueless men everywhere. With more than 20 years’ experience (and counting) as a husband, Bob Marsocci provides valuable insight on what guys should really expect after the wedding rings go on. Whether you are engaged, a newlywed or have been married for several years, Bob’s personal and often hilarious marital anecdotes and lessons (often learned the hard way) will enlighten any guy. If that’s you, take it from a formerly clueless guy: If you want to avoid hearing “You exhaust me!” from your wife, read this book. It’s got the secret sauce to keeping her (and you) happy.



1. Why do you think guys are clueless when it comes to marriage?

I think a lot of guys are clueless when it comes to marriage because of what I would describe as their predominant environment up until they marry. My background is a perfect example. I grew up in a testosterone-laden environment for the first 30 years of my life that shaped my outlook and behavior.
Growing up in a household with three brothers, an old-school Italian father and doting Italian mother - well, that speaks for itself. In college I lived in a fraternity—the definitive “boys being boys” environment—with about 40 guys, and after graduating, I lived for several years in the proverbial bachelor pad with three male roommates. I was, and became, a product of my environment; an environment that often engendered juvenile and impetuous behavior.
In all those years of living with other guys, one thing became abundantly clear to me: while single guys can tend to at times be self-centered and immature, they let things slide. When I was living with my roommates, if I made dinner for myself and didnt offer them something to eat, they didnt care. If I made plans for a weekend and didnt include them, it wasnt a big deal.
Becoming totally comfortable with, and accustomed to, a pervasive cavalier attitude that is inherent in such a male-dominant environment, I felt right at home. Mowgli, the “man cub” in The Jungle Book stories, behaved like a wolf because that was his environment—he was part of the pack and thats all he knew. I acted and behaved like a typical guy because I was part of the “pack” and thats all I knew. 
When I married my wife it was the first time I lived with the opposite sex and suddenly, I was living with someone who was pretty much the exact opposite of my buddies -- someone who cared deeply about what I said and how I behaved. 
To say this was not an easy transition for me is an understatementFor decades I had just been one of the guys, and being one of the guys was antithetical to my life and role as a husband. 
I had many "lessons learned" but eventually, I got the hang of it.

2. What was the best advice you received before you got married?

The best advice I received before I got married was "have an open mind." To this day, even after more than 22 years of marriage (and counting), I try to have an open mind every day.

3. What was the worst advice you received?

I honestly don't recall receiving any bad advice before I got married. 

4. Do you have any advice for married women?

Be patient with your husbands. I know at times we husbands can behave like overgrown children. I'm a perfect example -- just recently, the youngest of my three daughters said to me, "Dad, you're like mom's fourth child." My wife has shown amazing patience with me over the years. 

5. What is the most misunderstood thing when it comes to marriage?

I think the most misunderstood thing when it comes to marriage is what makes it successful. Sure, it's important to listen to, communicate with, and be supportive of your spouse, but there's something else more important. 

When I was doing research for my book I came across a story in the Los Angeles Times about a team of psychologists at the University of Washington that studied 130 newlywed couples for six years in an effort to find ways to predict marital success and failure. The study found that marriages that worked well and were successful all had one thing in common -- the husband was willing to give in to the wife. "Give in to the wife." That is sage advice and I agree with it wholeheartedly. 


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

0 Review: The Golden Compass


The Golden Compass
Paperback, 399 pages
Fantasy
Received from publisher

Summary

Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle. 


My Thoughts


The Golden Compass has sold millions of copies worldwide. All three books in His Dark Materials trilogy--The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass--are bestsellers. The books have gone on to be adapted to film and stage. And earlier this year, Pullman announced a new book series set in the beloved world of Lyra. The Book of Dust will be released October 19, 2017. I, for one, will be waiting with bated breath.

I can't recall what year I previously had read The Golden Compass. I'm thinking it was around 2001. I remember being absolutely enchanted by the world Pullman created. So like our own, but yet so different. The whole aspect of  your soul residing outside your body and in an animal is so interesting. It was an absolute thrill to re-read this novel. It reminded me how much I enjoyed this series.

The story centers around Lyra Belacqua, a young orphan who has the run of Jordan College. After a visit from her uncle, Lyra is set out in a world of mystery and danger. She doesn't know who to trust--except for her daemon familiar Pantalaimon. This world is full of witches, a mysterious substance called Dust, and armored bears. It's fantasy at its best! 

The books are available on *Amazon right now for $1.99 each. Please be sure to check the price before you download.

Parental Advisory: As a parent I feel this book might be unsuitable for younger children (11-12). I believe it's more suitable for teens. There is a bit of violence with graphic scenes and/or descriptions that may frighten youngsters. Also, this book contains heavy religious themes that might need to be explained. If you're unsure, consider reading along with your child or read the book first.



 *This post contains an affiliate link. That means if you click on the link and make a purchase, I'll get a small fee. Thank you for supporting this blog. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

0 Hundreds of romance writers gather at the annual Readers for Life autographing to campaign for literacy

Hundreds of romance writers gather at the annual Readers for Life autographing to campaign for literacy




Houston — Romance Writers of America (RWA) invites romance readers to attend the 2017 Readers for Life Literacy Autographing on Saturday, July 29, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Walt Disney World® Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida. More than 400 romance authors, including Sylvia Day, Brenda Jackson, and Sherrilyn Kenyon, will meet with and sign books for fans.

In 2016, RWA, the trade association for romance writers, reached its goal to hit the million-dollar mark in donations to literacy organizations. Since 1990, the organization has raised a total of $1,011,023, in support of adult literacy programs and with this year’s annual Readers for Life Literacy Autographing event, begins work on its next million.

“For 27 years, RWA has brought together authors, publishers, and readers at our Literacy Autographing to support a cause dear to our hearts—increasing adult literacy. We’re proud to have reached our goal of one million dollars in donation last year,” Allison Kelley, executive director of RWA, says. “But the fight does not end there, and we look forward to reaching more milestones in the years to come.”

Thousands of books donated from publishers and authors for the event will be available for readers to purchase during the public event tied to the annual RWA national conference. Each year, the event raises thousands of dollars for ProLiteracy Worldwide, a non-profit educational corporation, to help fund literacy programs on a local and national level.

“There are 36 million adults in the United States who lack basic education and literacy skills. For adult students, literacy is the key to higher learning and a window to the world,” says Kevin Morgan, president and CEO of ProLiteracy. “Over the years, RWA’s donations to ProLiteracy have helped break the cycle of poverty, elevate workforce skills, and improve the quality of life for adults worldwide.”

One hundred percent of proceeds from book sales at the Readers for Life Literacy Autographing benefit ProLiteracy Worldwide and the Florida Literacy Coalition, helping these groups create lifelong readers. This year, autographing attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a giveaway sponsored by ProLiteracy for a chance to win two round-trip Southwest Airlines tickets.

Information about the event and a list of participating authors is available at http://www.rwa.org/literacy.

Monday, June 26, 2017

0 Last Week In Review (53)



Last week was a lot calmer than the previous weeks. I had more time for reading, which I believe soothed my soul. I also had the chance to catch up on my television shows.


Books I Finished


This is the fourth book in the Super Hero High series. My daughter and I are both fans!


This was a re-read for me, but it's been about 15 years since I first read it. So, it was like reading it for the first time.

What I'm Reading




A little experiment


The last few weekends I've stayed off social media. The first weekend was because I had little time to spare. However, this weekend, I made the conscious choice to do it. I think there's something to unplugging. I felt more relaxed. More like I was having a 'weekend'. So I might make unplugging a weekly thing. 

How do you unplug?

Friday, June 23, 2017

0 Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn


June 6, 2017
William Morrow Paperbacks
Historical Fiction
9780062654199
Source: Publisher

Summary

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth ...no matter where it leads.

My Thoughts

If you're going to read one book this summer, let it be The Alice Network. Kate Quinn has written an epic story based on the lives of the real Alice Network, a group of women spies during World War I.
This book is both tragic and wonderful. And one of the best books of 2017. The Alice Network is sure to keep you up way past your bedtime. 

1947, Charlie St. Clair steps off a boat with a piece of paper with Evelyn Gardiner's name written on it. Desperate to flee her controlling mother, Charlie boards a train in hopes that Evelyn (Eve) can help Charlie find her missing cousin. The woman Charlie encounters is rough, mean, and clearly haunted by events of the past.

Eve Gardiner is ahead of her time in 1915. She longs to be of use to the war effort. When an unexpected opportunity knocks on her door, Eve jumps at it, which leads her to be part of The Alice Network. Danger doesn't deter Eve from the mission, and she must do whatever it takes to try to end the war.

Told in a duel timeline, the events in the book have you on the edge of your seat. Eve and Charlie's stories, though separate at first, mingle together in a tantalizing way. Quinn doesn't back down from some of the questionable events the women often had to endure. And this book is one hell of a ride.

Once I picked up this book it was hard to put down. Do yourself a favor and read this book!






*This post contains an affiliate link. Which means if you click on the link and purchase the book, I'll get a microscopic commission.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

0 Q&A With Megan Easley-Walsh Plus An Excerpt From Flight Before Dawn


Before there was D-Day...

For over two years, she's watched him.
Now he's on her doorstep.
This is life in the Resistance.

In Normandy in 1943, Victoire leads a band of the Resistance. When Leal, the man she's had watched for over two years, arrives at her doorstep, she'll have to face new challenges in war and in love.

Robberies, a kidnapping and clandestine night adventures were not at all what Victoire planned for her life. And she most certainly never planned to be betrayed. But war — and love — are unpredictable. Joined by her friend Rainier who is mistrusted by Leal, the mysterious Voleta, and Father Pierre, Victoire and Leal must struggle for survival, the grounds of France, and the material of their souls.


When Leal unearths a twenty-five-year-old secret, with Victoire at the center, her whole life is shaken. As the Allies approach, the past, present and future hang in the balance. Can anyone be trusted when the world spins upside down?

1. Describe your novel in 120 characters or less.

Normandy, 1943. Victoire's biggest secret is the French Resistance, until a stranger uncovers a 25-year-old mystery.


2. How easy/hard was it creating Victorie?

On my website, I say that I'm an author befriending characters in need of an author. That was certainly true of Victoire as well. She had a very real story that needed to be told. Sometimes to readers that sounds odd, that our characters exist somewhere out there already, but as I talk to writers I discover that many feel the same. So for me, the process was more about discovering Victoire than creating her. At times, she was a bit shy as she is the keeper of many secrets.



3. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

The most difficult part of my artistic process is having enough time to write everything I would like to. I write quickly, but I have many ideas that are ready to be told. I also dislike leaving characters in peril for too long and so I always make sure that I have enough time to really write and finish the work when I begin something.


4. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I have four novels (Flight Before Dawn, which is now a bestseller, What Edward Heard, North Star Home, and Across the River) that are published and a number of others in the works and each was unique for research. For Flight Before Dawn, I read thousands of pages of printed material, dug into historical archives, and also had firsthand experience from visiting Normandy and the beaches, museums, and memorials of D-Day. I tend to do the major structural research before writing. For Flight Before Dawn, that was a few months’ worth of reading and note taking. Then I research as needed while writing, to fill in any details that may arise.

5. If you can tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I'd tell my younger writing self the same thing that I tell my clients (as a writing consultant and editor at www.ExtraInkEdits.com). 1. Keep reading. The more you read, the better you can write, because you are saturating yourself with words. 2. Keep writing. Your stories matter and you are the only person in the entire world that can write your characters, your plots, and your books.




Newsletter of the most up-to-date book information, historical happenings, seasonal celebrations, writing tips and more: https://tinyletter.com/MeganEasleyWalsh

Connect with Megan: 


Buy the Book:




About the Author:
Megan Easley-Walsh is a bestselling author of historical fiction, a researcher, and a writing consultant and editor at Extra Ink Edits. She is an award-winning writer and has taught college writing in the UNESCO literature city of Dublin, Ireland. Her degrees are in history-focused International Relations. She is American and lives in Ireland with her Irish husband.









Excerpt


Part One

Autumn 1943
Normandy, France

Betrayed. I was always so careful and trusted so few. I never let myself get close to the “wrong” people. Yet, somehow, despite all that, I was betrayed. There are a thousand secrets in war. I have held many. Never did I suspect that as I guarded my secrets, someone else harbored a closely guarded secret with me at the center— a secret that's remained hidden for twenty-five years.
— Victoire
 
Chapter One
 
Pebbles slipped beneath Victoire's feet as she moved deeper into the cave. The waves lapped against her boots, urging her on in her steps. Shortly, the tide would wash over the area, but the contents of her pocket burned with greater compulsion.

A lone dog barked in the distance, reminding Victoire that others could also creep among the shadows. She had but one guarantee: danger. Moonlight served as a lantern, beckoning her farther into the cavern of solace. Her right hand lifted to trace the stones that she had touched countless times before.

“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine,” she counted, her lips barely moving to ward off any breath escaping. In Victoire’s nightmares, she would trip and let out a small gasp that echoed through the cave before resonating across the beach and over the sleeping residents of the village. Her gasp thundered over the countryside and amplified over the cities, until at last it arrived in Hitler’s ear.

“Victoire, you knew you could not escape me. You knew I would find you,” he would sneer, his mustache twitching, as he erupted in villainous laughter.

“Ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen,” her counting continued. At stone forty-four, she tapped it twice and pushed it back. A little golden key glimmered from the moon’s glow. Her pale fingers retrieved the metal, as she kept her other hand on the stone. For a moment, she held it to her heart and then slid it into the pocket of her coat. So many depended on her. So much rested on this secrecy.

“One, two, three, four.” She removed the fourth stone and then the two to the left and right of it and then the three above and below it. Reaching into the gaping hole, her hand brushed an oak box and she removed it from its location. The key turned in the sturdy lock and the box clicked open to reveal its contents.

She lifted a small notebook and recorded a few markings. A solitary golden coin then slipped from her fingers, to be deposited into the box along with the notebook. Locking the box and returning it to its location, Victoire placed the stones back into their positions and prepared to leave the cave. She remained close to the wall on the way out, so as not to attract anyone else who was also breaking curfew this evening or, more importantly, anyone who was enforcing it. Some of the soldiers delighted in showing off the moon from these sandy stretches, to the local women they set their sights on. The French were not considered untermenschen, an inferior people, but France was undeniably occupied.

A scattering of clouds filled the expanse of night above Victoire's head, as she pulled the scarf closer around her to fend off the coolness of the autumnal evening breeze. She hurried toward her home at the edge of town, avoiding the illuminated sandy reaches. Leaning on the stone wall, she looked to the lunar lantern to see if it might somehow mercifully dim its glow. A dog was barking again, but this time it sounded closer.

Her back to the wall, Victoire inched toward the stony stairs leading away from the beach and up to the town. She was halfway up the stairs, when a branch snapped against her face. Catching her balance after the surprise, she pushed the branch back into place with one hand. With the back of her other hand, she wiped the water droplets from her face that had cascaded from the falling limb.
No sooner had she distanced herself from the branch, then she found herself flattening herself against the bush again. The lights of a car on the road ahead were flooding the steps in a basking glow. She held her breath as her heart pounded in her chest, like a thousand horses in the American cowboy movies that she had seen before the war. Flames lapped at her lungs. She was convinced there would not be enough oxygen to last.

Half-praying, half-consoling herself, the words coursed through her veins,
Come on, just a little longer. Please let them go now. It’s all right. Almost there. Please. Please. Please.

Curving toward her, the light spread to the hem of Victoire's coat. Surrounded in an amber glow, she would be discovered. On suspicion, she would be detained and questioned. Relentlessly, the questions would fire at her like the machine guns of the Wehrmacht. She was certain of it. Convinced of the irony of her name and that no victory would come to her, she prepared to meet her fate.

Seconds slowing turned to minutes and at last the car turned— not toward her, but away from her. She did not allow herself to breathe, until the car had disappeared completely around the corner. Raindrops began to fall, as if the clouds too had been holding their breath and could breathe freely once again. Nearing the top of the stairs she turned toward home, thankful that the car had driven in the opposite direction. Tucking her hands into her pockets, she continued down the path. Skittish, but trying to remain in the momentary calm, she planted her eyes on her shoes.

A noise mixed with the sound of rain hitting the ground and bouncing against the buildings. Footsteps were gaining on Victoire. There was nowhere that she could retreat into. Well aware of the trouble she would face, if caught outside after curfew, she had no choice but to continue her journey. If only those steps had some way to identify themselves. Were they the small feet of some grandmother returning from church? Perhaps, they were the measured strides of another Resistance worker. Just as likely though, they could belong to Nazi feet.

She hastened her steps, without trying to appear as if it were for any reason other than the rain. Shuttered windows and steeped roof were in sight. Momentarily, she would be within those sheltered walls of her home. Sitting before the fire, she would savor her tea and evening reading. She would be ordinary and innocent of any accusations. Her hand lifted the latch of the gate. Falling heavy on her ears, the footsteps were much louder. Without turning her back, she opened the gate to her home.
Please, keep going. Keep walking.

The footsteps did not obey her.

“Pardon me,” a male voice punctuated the night air. Investing her safety in ignoring him, she continued walking.

“Pardon me,” he said again, in a slightly louder voice this time. Onward she moved, another step toward the door. A hand reached out and touched her shoulder, stopping her in her tracks. For the second time that night, Victoire was certain she had been caught and prepared to face her fate.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

0 Audio Book Review: Birtt-Marie Was Here


Narrator: Joan Walker
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: May 3, 2016
Length: 9 Hours and 18 Minutes
ISBN: 1508216665
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher 

Summary

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. She eats dinner at precisely the right time and starts her day at six in the morning because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It's just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But at sixty-three, Britt-Marie has had enough. She finally walks out on her loveless forty-year marriage and finds a job in the only place she can: Borg, a small, derelict town devastated by the financial crisis. For the fastidious Britt-Marie, this new world of noisy children, muddy floors, and a roommate who is a rat (literally), is a hard adjustment.

As for the citizens of Borg, with everything that they know crumbling around them, the only thing that they have left to hold onto is something Britt-Marie absolutely loathes: their love of soccer. When the village’s youth team becomes desperate for a coach, they set their sights on her. She’s the least likely candidate, but their need is obvious and there is no one else to do it.

Thus begins a beautiful and unlikely partnership. In her new role as reluctant mentor to these lost young boys and girls, Britt-Marie soon finds herself becoming increasingly vital to the community. And even more surprisingly, she is the object of romantic desire for a friendly and handsome local policeman named Sven. In this world of oddballs and misfits, can Britt-Marie finally find a place where she belongs?


My Thoughts

Britt-Marie Was Here was my first introduction to the work of Swedish author Fredrik Backman. I knew from the first five minutes of listening Britt-Marie was going to be an interesting character, to say the least. She's very, very particular about how things are done; she lives and dies by baking soda; she unknowingly insults people. But this is only a small facet of her personality.

After she leaves her disastrous marriage, the proud Britt-Marie must learn how to be on her own. She unwillingly takes a job in Borg. The once thriving city is now a ghost town. Repulsed by her surroundings, Britt-Marie really isn't keen on staying. However, when the youth of the city implore that she become their coach, she agrees. She soon finds herself vital to the community as they grow in  their mutual appreciation of each other.

Listening to this book on audio was an absolute pleasure. Narrated by the talented Joan Walker, Britt-Marie and the town of Borg come alive. I laughed, I cried, I fell in love with the story. It's a thought-provoking book that reminds the readers you shouldn't judge someone. The more I got to 'know' Britt-Marie, the more I loved her. Life is messy and this book reminds me of the Rolling Stones lyric, "You can't always get what you want, But if you try sometimes well you might find, you get what you need." And that's what Britt-Marie does.





*This post contains an affiliate link. Which means if you click on the link and buy the book I get like a tiny, tiny percentage. Not even enough to buy a cup of coffee. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

0 Dragon Unleashed is out today and we're celebrating with a #giveaway!





HAPPY RELEASE DAY!

Dragon Unleashed (Dragon Point #3) by Eve Langlais RELEASED on June 20th!






Dragon Unleashed (Dragon Point #3) by Eve Langlais 

Every dragon hoard starts with something…or someone.
Tomas hates scientists, especially since they abused him in such vile ways. And yet, there is something about the doctor that calms his inner beast.
Tomas craves her. A treasure for his collection, but how can he convince her to stay?
Chandra is frightened by the dragon keeping her prisoner in his aerie. He’s been hurt so who can blame him for the madness within? However she sees a glimmer of goodness too. Can he open his heart enough to let her in, or will he unleash his fury upon the world?

Reserve your copy today @
"iBooks/"Amazon/"Kobo/"Indigo/"Thalia/"Buch/"Bol/
***More stores coming soon: Audible / Google Play etc




Dragon Point Series:

Becoming Dragon

Dragon Squeeze

Dragon Unleashed

Dragon Foretold









Giveaway  (USA ONLY) PRINTED COPY OF DRAGON UNLEASED






 

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