Spotlight on: Hunting Teddy Roosevelt by James Ross

The good people at Books Forward sent me some info on a new historical fiction book that sounds interesting and fun: Hunting Teddy Roosevelt by James Ross.

Here’s the overview:

It’s 1909, and Teddy Roosevelt is not only hunting in Africa, he’s being hunted. The safari is a time of discovery, both personal and political. In Africa, Roosevelt encounters Sudanese slave traders, Belgian colonial atrocities, and German preparations for war. He reconnects with a childhood sweetheart, Maggie, now a globe-trotting newspaper reporter sent by William Randolph Hearst to chronicle safari adventures and uncover the former president’s future political plans. But James Pierpont Morgan, the most powerful private citizen of his era, wants Roosevelt out of politics permanently. Afraid that the trust-busting president’s return to power will be disastrous for American business, he plants a killer on the safari staff to arrange a fatal accident. Roosevelt narrowly escapes the killer’s traps while leading two hundred and sixty-four men on foot through the savannas, jungles, and semi-deserts of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Congo, and Sudan.

Sounds interesting – a real mix of historical and fiction; however, sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction! I love HF because, unless you were there, no one really knows exactly what happened in the past.

Here’s some info on Mr. Ross:

James Ross has been at various times a Peace Corps volunteer, a Congressional staffer, and a Wall Street lawyer. His short fiction has appeared in numerous literary publications. He has appeared as a guest storyteller on the Moth Main Stage, and he has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is a frequent contributor to, and sometimes winner of, the Jackson, Wyoming live story telling competition, Cabin Fever Story Slam.

Find this book at a bookstore near you, online at Amazon or your favorite online retailer, or ask for it at your library!

Thank you for sharing this book with me!

The Brave by James Bird

I absolutely loved this kids’ story about a boy with OCD tendencies who connects with his Native American heritage and befriends the unique girl next door.

Here’s the overview:

Description

Perfect for fans of Rain Reign, this middle-grade novel The Brave is about a boy with an OCD issue and his move to a reservation to live with his biological mother.

Collin can’t help himself—he has a unique condition that finds him counting every letter spoken to him. It’s a quirk that makes him a prime target for bullies, and a continual frustration to the adults around him, including his father.

When Collin asked to leave yet another school, his dad decides to send him to live in Minnesota with the mother he’s never met. She is Ojibwe, and lives on a reservation. Collin arrives in Duluth with his loyal dog, Seven, and quickly finds his mom and his new home to be warm, welcoming, and accepting of his condition.

Collin’s quirk is matched by that of his neighbor, Orenda, a girl who lives mostly in her treehouse and believes she is turning into a butterfly. With Orenda’s help, Collin works hard to overcome his challenges. His real test comes when he must step up for his new friend and trust his new family.

This novel is marketed as a “middle grade” book, which to me means grades 4-8. I’d aim this book for Middle School as it has some serious themes in it: parental rejection, divorce, death, mental health, etc. In a way it reminded me of one of my favorite books for kids: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.

This was such a touching and honest read, and I couldn’t help but love Collin and Orenda. The ending made me cry. This is one that is definitely going on our MS Summer Choices for next year!

Thank you for my e-copy via Net Galley!

Here’s a bit on James Bird – an author who is new to me:

Biography

James bird is a Native American author from the Ojibwe tribe. He was born and raised in Southern California and began his writing career penning screenplays and directing films (Eat Spirit Eat, From Above, Honeyglue, We Are Boats). He met his wife, New York Times Bestselling Author Adriana Mather at a nightclub in Hollywood and together they moved to the east coast, where they both write books, rescue animals, and raise their son, Wolf. His favorite food is rice crispy treats and his favorite color is green. His goals in life are to be a great dad, one day open a vegan diner, and write enough books to fill up a bookshelf.

The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff

As you can imagine, I have a LOT of books on my kindle. I actually burnt out my first Kindle by reading more than 400 pages a day (Amazon gave me a discount to replace it).

Right now I have over 125 pages of books in my “library”. With 6 on each page, that’s about 750+ books. Needless to say, I often have to go through them and see what I’ve missed in my TBR pile!

I was searching one day and came across this novel. I really enjoy Pam Jenoff’s historical fiction, and I had actually purchased this book for myself in 2019 as a birthday present. I guess I then forgot about it!

This is a touching and heartfelt story of WWII (you know I’m a big fan!), centering on a family of children that have been torn apart by the war. The two eldest sisters (twins) are trying to keep them all together. One of them, Helena, finds an injured pilot hiding nearby and takes care of him, and (of course) they fall in love.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

Life is a constant struggle for the eighteen-year-old Nowak twins as they raise their three younger siblings in rural Poland under the shadow of the Nazi occupation. The constant threat of arrest has made everyone in their village a spy, and turned neighbor against neighbor. Though rugged, independent Helena and pretty, gentle Ruth couldn’t be more different, they are staunch allies in protecting their family from the threats the war brings closer to their doorstep with each passing day. 

Then Helena discovers an American paratrooper stranded outside their small mountain village, wounded, but alive. Risking the safety of herself and her family, she hides Sam—a Jew—but Helena’s concern for the American grows into something much deeper. Defying the perils that render a future together all but impossible, Sam and Helena make plans for the family to flee. But Helena is forced to contend with the jealousy her choices have sparked in Ruth, culminating in a singular act of betrayal that endangers them all—and setting in motion a chain of events that will reverberate across continents and decades. 

This was a very memorable story, and I see that it is the first in a series. If I had one honest complaint, it was that I felt the pacing was rather slow for the first 85% of the book – and that was the perfect fit for the dull winter season that the children were trying to get through. Then suddenly things sped up and happened and the rest of the story was told in a flashback. I guess the novel could have been 600 pages if it was all written out, but I would have loved to read through the happenings.

Maybe that’s in the series? I really don’t know. But I do know that if you like WWII genre and stories of resiliency, this is a good one!

No Exit by Taylor Adams

Am I the only person who loves to read about the dead of winter in the heat of summer?

I had come across this title on the blogosphere and it sounded soooo good: suspense, mystery, a young woman out to save a kidnapped child, an unknown perpetrator, all stuck at a rest stop during a blizzard! This story had many twists and turns and it kept me guessing until the last chapters.

I’ve never read a novel by Mr. Adams but he has several and they all look suspenseful! I enjoyed this one a lot and will look to read his others.

Highly recommended if you like this genre!

Here’s the overview from Amazon (where I purchased my kindle copy):

A brilliant, edgy thriller about four strangers, a blizzard, a kidnapped child, and a determined young woman desperate to unmask and outwit a vicious psychopath.

A kidnapped little girl locked in a stranger’s van. No help for miles. What would you do?

On her way to Utah to see her dying mother, college student Darby Thorne gets caught in a fierce blizzard in the mountains of Colorado. With the roads impassable, she’s forced to wait out the storm at a remote highway rest stop. Inside are some vending machines, a coffee maker, and four complete strangers.

Desperate to find a signal to call home, Darby goes back out into the storm . . . and makes a horrifying discovery. In the back of the van parked next to her car, a little girl is locked in an animal crate.

Who is the child? Why has she been taken? And how can Darby save her?

There is no cell phone reception, no telephone, and no way out. One of her fellow travelers is a kidnapper. But which one?

Trapped in an increasingly dangerous situation, with a child’s life and her own on the line, Darby must find a way to break the girl out of the van and escape.

But who can she trust?

With exquisitely controlled pacing, Taylor Adams diabolically ratchets up the tension with every page. Full of terrifying twists and hairpin turns, No Exit will have you on the edge of your seat and leave you breathless.

The Vacation by T. M. Logan

Description

“T.M. Logan’s latest nail-biter…THE VACATION is a virtual holiday.”—Washington Post

In The Vacation, a captivating thriller from T. M. Logan, the bestselling author of Lies and 29 Seconds, four best friends on a dream vacation come face-to-face with an explosive secret.


It was supposed to be the perfect getaway: Kate and her three best friends, spending a week with their families in a luxurious villa in the south of France. Through the decades they’ve stayed closer than ever, and seven days of drinking crisp French wine and laying out under the dazzling Mediterranean sun is the perfect celebration of their friendship. But soon after arriving, Kate discovers an incriminating text on her husband’s cell phone.

A text revealing that he’s having an affair.

And that the other woman is one of her best friends.

But which one?

Trapped in paradise with no one to trust, Kate is determined to find out who has put her marriage—and a lifelong friendship—in jeopardy. But as she closes in on the truth, she realizes that the stakes are higher than she ever imagined. Everyone on the trip has secrets…and someone may be prepared to kill to keep theirs hidden.

T.M. Logan is an amazing suspense writer, and I was thrilled to be able to get his latest book via Net Galley. The Vacation was super suspenseful — I could not put it down and read it all in one night! I loved the thrill of it and I really hope that they make it into a movie. (though aren’t books always better??)

Thank you for my review e-copy!

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman

I just loved this touching story from Harlequin that was partly historical fiction and partly “women’s fiction”. It was a sweet story with a happy ending and was a nice read during our COVID confinement. Gardens symbolize the eternalness of the seasons and the passing of life and the garden in this story stood for a life well-lived that had been dormant a little too long.

Description

In her inimitable style, Viola Shipman explores the unlikely relationship between two very different women brought together by the pain of war, but bonded by hope, purpose…and flowers.

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to illness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind the towering fence surrounding her home, Iris has built a new family…of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to a garden filled with the heirloom starts that keep the memories of her loved ones alive.

When Abby Peterson moves next door with her family—a husband traumatized by his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability—Iris is reluctantly yet inevitably drawn into her boisterous neighbor’s life, where, united by loss and a love of flowers, she and Abby tentatively unearth their secrets, and help each other discover how much life they have yet to live.

With delightful illustrations and fascinating detail, Viola Shipman’s heartwarming story will charm readers while resonating with issues that are so relevant today.

This is one my mother would have called “a nice story”. It made me cry.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read and share about it!

(Net Galley ARC received for free)

YA Blog Tour for The Summer I Drowned by Taylor Hale

I’m so happy to take part in the blog tour for this suspenseful YA novel: The Summer I Drowned by Taylor Hale. This was one I could not put down. You know I love a good YA suspenseful mystery!

Here’s the overview:

Title: The Summer I Drowned

Author: Taylor Hale

Publisher: Wattpad Books

Release Date: May 26, 2020

Genre: Teens & YA

ISBN: 9781989365182

Price: $10.99 (USD)

Description:

Five years after almost drowning, Olivia Cathart returns home to Caldwell Beach determined to face her fears and take some risks—not just by swimming, but by opening her heart. Hoping to rekindle her friendships, she’s excited about a carefree summer with her best friends Keely and Miles. But life in the sleepy town has changed, and no one and nothing is as it seems.

When a series of startling crimes threaten Olivia’s fragile state, she is plunged into a terrifying game of cat and mouse. Her only solace from the chaos is West, Miles’s disowned and ruggedly handsome brother, but even he can’t answer the question on everyone’s minds—is Olivia really in danger or is it simply all in her head?

Author Bio:

Taylor Hale was born in Southwestern Ontario, and started writing on Wattpad in 2015. When she isn’t writing, she can be found bartending at a live music venue, and thinking up her next idea. The Summer I Drowned is her first novel.

Fun, fun, fun! I always like a book with a strong, female, teen protagonist. If I could have changed anything, I would have had less focus on the romance piece and more on the action. I also had a chuckle in that every character seemed to have a unique “smell” that I really haven’t found in real life, something like “He smelled like balsam and cinnamon”. “She smelled like vanilla and lavender”. “He smelled like ocean breeze and hickory”. Things like that. In real life I’m more inclined to say, “Mmmm – what’s that smell??”

Thank you for my copy and for having me as part of the tour! I would recommend this book for older YA readers due to sexual content and “heavy” content or potential triggers (e.g. drowning, relationship abuse, animal abuse, parental neglect, teen drinking, drinking and driving, sexual assault, etc.).

Access Point by Tom Gabbay

Author Tom Gabbay sent me a mobi of his new thriller, Access Point. Mr. Gabbay is well-known for his Jack Teller spy series. This was an almost sci-fi story — about a woman accessing her dead roommate’s memories in order to solve her murder. Creepy and suspenseful, I couldn’t help but think how this kind of stuff could be possible within the next 10-20 years!

Here’s the overview:

Wouldn’t we all want a second chance at life?

When young American art student Mia Fraser is brutally murdered steps away from her London house she shares with computer genius Ula Mishkin, it leaves the socially inept scientist heartbroken. When it becomes clear that Detective Sarah Boyd is making no progress in solving the crime using traditional methods, Ula creates a software program that allows her to reach into her dead housemate’s memory in order to reveal the identity of the killer. Entering the dead girl’s life through the echo of her memory, Ula learns that sometimes the past is best left undisturbed.

This was super suspenseful! I liked it but will admit that I sometimes struggled to figure out whose mind I was in – real time or memory time – and the chronology of the story. Chapter headings would have helped me, and it’s possible they are in the final edition (I read an ARC).

Thanks for sending me your new read, Mr. Gabbay!

Recommended to those who like a suspenseful story that borders on science fiction.

Partners in Crime Blog Tour for Closer Than She Knows by Kelly Irvin

I’m here today to share with you a new Christian crime novel: Closer than She Knows by Kelly Irvin as part of the Partners in Crime blog tour!

Here’s the scoop!
Closer Than She Knows by Kelly Irvin 
Synopsis:
A serial killer bent on revenge . . . and striking too close to home.
Teagan O’Rourke has always loved murder mysteries. In her job as a court reporter, she has written official records for dozens of real-life murders. She’s slapped evidence stickers on crime scene photos. She’s listened to hours of chilling testimony. But she’s never known the smell of death. And she never thought she might be a victim.Until now.A young police officer is murdered just inches away from her, and then a man calling himself a serial killer starts leaving Teagan notes, signing each with the name of a different murderer from her favorite mystery novels.Panicked, Teagan turns to her friend Max Kennedy. Max longs for more than friendship with Teagan, but he fears she’ll never trust someone with a past like his. He wonders how much of God’s “tough love” he can take before he gives up on love completely. And he wonders if he’ll be able to keep Teagan alive long enough to find out.As Teagan, Max, and Teagan’s police officer father race to track down the elusive killer, they each know they could be the next victim. Desperate to save those she loves, Teagan battles fears that once haunted her in childhood. Nothing seems to stop this obsessed murderer. No matter what she does, he seems to be getting closer.
Book Details:Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: June 9th 2020
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 0785231862 (ISBN13: 9780785231868)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
This was an interesting and fun read. I will say that it had some “triggers” in it — abduction and murder “off stage” and discussion of substance abuse and suicide — but overall it was what I call a “clean read”. The Christian thread was fairly strong in this story — the characters discussed their faith and prayed often. The main characters boyfriend was a youth minister. And I chuckled at times when just about every character would say things like “How is this affecting your faith?” or “Have you spoken to your pastor?” They were a faith-filled lot in this story! Even though I guessed who the perpetrator was, I still enjoyed the story and I always like an uplifting ending and a mystery that is not gory!!

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my e-copy!
Kelly IrvinAuthor Bio:Kelly Irvin is a bestselling author and two-time Carol Award finalist. She is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats.
Visit her Online:
KellyIrvin.com
Goodreads
BookBub
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook 
But wait – there’s more!
GIVEAWAY:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Harper Collins and Kelly Irvin. There will be 1 winner of one (1) CLOSER THAN SHE KNOWS by Kelly Irvin (Print). The giveaway begins on June 22, 2020 and runs through July 26, 2020. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.
Click to enter:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZjI0YmY4NGI1MjJkZDM3MDAyMmIxNWZhMzUxNTNkOjY3NA==/?

Harlequin Blog Tour for The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards

I’m thrilled to be part of the Harlequin Summer Reads blog tour for The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards. This was a riveting read of WWII Resistance, centering on two main characters, mother and daughter Lillian and Genevieve. Living in France, both of them were pulled into anti-Nazi activities, risking and often losing much of what they held dear. I couldn’t put it down! Ms. Robards is a new author to me, but I loved her writing and will look for her other novels.

Here’s the overview:

For fans of The Alice Network and The Lost Girls of Paris comes a thrilling standalone by New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards about a celebrated singer in WWII occupied France who joins the Resistance to save her estranged family from being killed in a German prison.

In Occupied France, the Resistance trembles on the brink of destruction. Its operatives, its secrets, its plans, all will be revealed. One of its leaders, wealthy aristocrat Baron Paul de Rocheford, has been killed in a raid and the surviving members of his cell, including his wife the elegant Baronness Lillian de Rocheford, have been arrested and transported to Germany for interrogation and, inevitably, execution.

Captain Max Ryan, British SOE, is given the job of penetrating the impregnable German prison where the Baroness and the remnants of the cell are being held and tortured. If they can’t be rescued he must kill them before they can give up their secrets.

Max is in Paris, currently living under a cover identity as a show business impresario whose star attraction is Genevieve Dumont. Young, beautiful Genevieve is the toast of Europe, an icon of the glittering entertainment world that the Nazis celebrate so that the arts can be seen to be thriving in the occupied territories under their rule.

What no one knows about Genevieve is that she is Lillian and Paul de Rocheford’s younger daughter. Her feelings toward her family are bitter since they were estranged twelve years ago. But when she finds out from Max just what his new assignment entails, old, long-buried feelings are rekindled and she knows that no matter what she can’t allow her mother to be killed, not by the Nazis and not by Max. She secretly establishes contact with those in the Resistance who can help her. Through them she is able to contact her sister Emmy, and the sisters put aside their estrangement to work together to rescue their mother.

It all hinges on a command performance that Genevieve is to give for a Gestapo General in the Bavarian town where her mother and the others are imprisoned. While Genevieve sings and the show goes on, a daring rescue is underway that involves terrible danger, heartbreaking choices, and the realization that some ties, like the love between a mother and her daughters and between sisters, are forever.

BIO: 

Karen Robards is the New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than fifty novels and one novella. She is the winner of six Silver Pen awards and numerous other awards.

SOCIAL:

Author Website: http://karenrobards.com/

TWITTER: @TheKarenRobards

FB: @AuthorKarenRobards

Thank you for my ARC and for making me part of the tour!

Buy links provided by Harlequin and not affiliated with BBNB:

BUY LINKS:

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo