Thursday, July 20, 2017

G834 Book Review of the woman behind the Waterfall by Leonora Meriel

Name of Book: The Woman Behind the Waterfall

Author: Leonora Meriel

ISBN: 978-1-911079-34-7

Publisher: Granite Cloud

Type of book:Ukraine, motherhood, mother/daughter relationship, depression, alcoholism, refusing help, friendship, death, alternative choices, love, shapeshifter, fantasy, magical realism, protection, struggles

Year it was published: 2011, 2016


Heartbreak and transformation in the beauty of a Ukrainian village

For seven-year old Angela, happiness is exploring the lush countryside around her home in western Ukraine. Her wild imagination takes her into birds and flowers, and into the waters of the river.

All that changes when, one morning, she sees her mother crying. As she tries to find out why, she is drawn on an extraordinary journey into the secrets of her family, and her mother's fateful choices.

Can Angela lead her mother back to happiness before her innocence is destroyed by the shadows of a dark past?

Beautiful, poetic and richly sensory, this is a tale that will haunt and lift its readers.

"A strange and beautiful novel" - Esther Freud, author of Mr Mac and Me, Hideous Kinky, Peeless Flats

"Readers looking for a classic tale of love and loss will be rewarded with an intoxicating world" - Kirkus Reviews


One of the main characters is a little seven year old girl, Angela, who can become part of the earth or a bird or someone else entirely. She can also communicate with her dead grandmother and there is something beautiful and special about her. Angela is dark haired and shares special connection with her family. She knows next to nothing about her father. Lyuda is beautiful, blonde haired single mother who has went through heartbreak and abandonment by Angela's birth father. She is an alcoholic and depressed and turns away help when she needs it the most. Sveta (character in the book, not me) is Lyuda's supportive friend who is very supportive of her friend and tries to help her get past depression and alcoholism. There are few other characters like Vova who sounds way too familiar to me for comfort as well as Zoroyana, Lyuda's mother and Angela's grandmother and Grisha, Zoryana's husband who did the best he could for his family.


The most important choice to make in life is to live


The story is both in third and first person narratives. Angela, the young seven year old daughter is using first person narrative while her mother, Lyuda as well as some other characters are using third person narrative. More than half of the story, up until the reader learns how Lyuda became a single mother, was confusing to me and is filled a lot with imagery, with people and so forth. I really liked Lyuda's story and could really relate to her character and how she felt about different things. Most of the time when the character is determined to be happy all of a sudden everything is roses and butterflies, but not in this story and I liked that Lyuda still struggled with bad things and with consequences of her actions in a realistic manner.

Author Information:
(From the book)

Leonora Meriel grew up in London and studied literature at the University of Edinburgh and Queen's University, Ontario. After a career in business in New York and Kyiv, she turned to writing full-time and has completed two novels: The Woman Behind the Waterfall and The Unity Game. SHe lives in Barcelona nad London and has two children. Read more about Leonora Meriel and her work at


I'll admit that I read the book awhile ago, but for some odd reason I kept procrastinating when it came to reviewing it. Not because a negative rating, but simply because I was likely waiting for something or a sign to tell me to go ahead and review it. When I reviewed Lilli de Jong, I realized that this is the moment I waited for. By an odd coincidence, this story also deals with being a single mother but unlike Lilli de Jong, this story has a lot more darker complex emotions of being a mother. The story is both a fantasy and realism, something extremely similar to Theresa of the New World by Sharman Apt Russell. The first half of the story, or perhaps more, I had trouble understanding what was going on, except that I wanted to keep on reading. When the story moves on to Angela's mother, Lyuda's mother and her tale of her failed first love, then the story began to make more sense, especially when Angela and the grandmother, Zoryana, attempt to help the struggling Lyuda with issues of alcoholism and depression. I admire that the book brought up the taboo issues and tried to gracefully tackle them in a land that looks down upon drugs, psychologists and psychiatrists. I really do think that this book will need to be re-read in order to fully understand what is going on.

This was given to me for an honest review

5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

G884 Book Review of Lili de jong by Janet Benton

Name of Book: Lilli de Jong

Author: Janet Benton

ISBN: 978-0-385-54145-9

Publisher: Nan. A Talese

Type of book: motherhood, mother/daughter bond, babies, children, 1883, house for single mothers, work, money, finances, scrupulous people, cheating, coping, self, wet-nursing, friendship, betrayal

Year it was published: 2017


A young woman finds the most powerful love of her life when she gives birth at an institution for unwed mothers in 1883 Philadelphia. She is told she must give up her daughter to avoid a life of poverty and shame. But she chooses to keep her.

Pregnant, abandoned by her lover, and banished from her Quaker home and teaching position, Lilli de Jong enters a charity for wronged women to deliver her child. She is stunned at how much her infant needs her and at how quickly their bond overpowers her heart. Mothers in her position have no sensible alternative to giving up their children, but Lilli can't bear such an outcome. Determined to chart a path toward an independent life, Lilli braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep herself and her baby alive.

Confiding their story to her diary as it unfolds, Lilli takes readers from an impoverished charity to a wealthy family's home to the perilous streets of a burgeoning American city. Lilli de Jong is at once a historical saga, an intimate romance, and a lasting testament to the work of mothers. "So little is permissible for a woman," writes Lilli, yet on her back every human climbs to adulthood."


Main character includes Lilli de Jong, a "fallen" Friend who becomes a single mother and refuses to give up her daughter. Lilli is amazing, courageous, resourceful, intelligent and high principled. She is also extremely dedicated to her daughter and will do whatever she can for her. There are many other secondary characters like the Burnham family who decide to hire Lilli as a wet-nurse for their son as well as some of Lilli's family and even her intended and some people she meets along the way. Lilli's daughter sounds quite a bit like my son in that he was passionate about being fed, also hated being swaddled. (he allowed himself to be swaddled, but during sleep somehow those little arms and legs got loose.) Women of all sorts were captured in motherhood, be it those who gave up their babies or kept them.


Although women have come far, there is still a long way to go


The story is in first person narrative from Lilli's point of view told in diary entries in ten notebooks. The author has done a lot of research and is very passionate about the subject. Lilli's tale is intimate in scope yet it encompasses the bigger picture of life and work created against mothers. Also it shows the ugly side of humanity and of those who dare to take advantage of a woman's situation. I was also saddened a lot by how babies, born to wed and unwed working mothers were treated by the "caretakers" or by necessity.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)

About the Author

Janet Benton’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Glimmer Train, and many other publications. She has co-written and edited historical documentaries for television. She holds a B.A. in religious studies from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and for decades she has taught writing and helped individuals and organizations craft their stories. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Lilli de Jong is her first novel.

Visit Janet Benton’s website for more information and updates. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


On my blog, I'd like to think of myself as a reviewer without bringing politics into my book reviews, especially the incendiary politics of today where both sides see each other as inhuman and are encouraged to continue to see one another this way. However, as I realized, in this particular review, its impossible to be removed from today, its impossible to not reflect on the commonality we humans share and how far we have come and how far to go. Its also heartbreaking to realize that all the progress women have made that I'm taking for granted would have had a different ending a hundred or more years ago, and that the world that some people desire to bring back would judge me and my son badly simply because I am an unmarried single mother who is raising a Hapa son. (Prior to 1960s, interracial marriage and children from those unions were reviled.) Its also distressing to realize that in America work is not tailored or accommodated towards mothers who are able to breastfed or who have recently had babies. If I could, I'd personally send this book to male politicians who honestly desire to bring back the world where women had little to no rights so they can experience the heartbreak and the struggle mothers of old went through. A beautifully well crafted love story to mothers and their children.

This is for HFVBT

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 10
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 13
Review at Caryn, the Book Whisperer

Monday, July 17
Review at Trisha Jenn Reads

Tuesday, July 18
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, July 19
Review at Creating Herstory
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, July 21
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, July 24
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, July 25
Review at SJ2B House of Books

Wednesday, July 26
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, July 27
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Friday, July 28
Review at Just One More Chapter

5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Sunday, July 16, 2017

G882 the Madeline project; Uncovering a Parisian Life

Title of the book: Madeleine Project; Uncovering a Parisian Life

Author: Clara Beaudoux, Alison Anderson Translator

Publisher: New Vessel Press

Publishing Date: 2016

ISBN: 978-1-939931-49-8


"Simply magical. . . . Words and images, magnified in this book, are woven together in small strokes to create two moving portraits of women." —Lire

"A beautiful book that bears witness. An original compilation of traces, thoughts and photos . . . that form the strata of our collective memory." —Télérama

A young woman moves into a Paris apartment and discovers a storage room filled with the belongings of the previous owner, a certain Madeleine who died in her late nineties, and whose treasured possessions nobody seems to want. In an audacious act of journalism driven by personal curiosity and humane tenderness, Clara Beaudoux embarks on The Madeleine Project, documenting what she finds on Twitter with text and photographs, introducing the world to an unsung twentieth-century figure. Along the way, she discovers a Parisian life indelibly marked by European history. This is a graphic novel for the Twitter age, a true story that encapsulates one woman's attempt to live a life of love and meaning together with a contemporary quest to prevent that existence from slipping into oblivion. Through it all, The Madeleine Project movingly chronicles, and allows us to reconstruct, intimate memories of a bygone era.

Clara Beaudoux is a Paris-based journalist for the France Info news network. The Madeleine Project has been wildly popular in France. You can follow her on Twitter at @Clarabdx.

Author Info:
(From France Book Tours)


Clara Beaudoux
is a Paris-based journalist for the France Info news network.
The Madeleine Project has been wildly popular in France.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Clarabdx

In French: on Facebook, The Madeleine Project page,
and the author’s main website
Follow New Vessel Press on Twitter | on Facebook
Sign up to receive their latest news and deals.

Buy the book: on Indiebound | on Amazon

Personal Opinion:

The book is similar to becoming an archaeologist, using objects and place to build a forgotten life. While archaeology requires a degree and a substantial knowledge of history, this book only requires two things: being human and familiarity with France because this is a story that is close to our hearts and close to our time; a time we still remember from stories. I am unhappy that the story tended to be short because I feel as if the book only scratched at the surface of Madeleine instead of going full depth, and I do hope that future twits will be translated to English so I can learn more about Madeleine. By the way, I am planning on sharing this book with my little boy as soon as he becomes far older than just 15 months.

This is for France Book Tours

Wednesday, July 12
Review + Giveaway at The French Village Diaries

Review + Giveaway at Readerbuzz

Thursday, July 13
Review + Giveaway at Reading To Unwind

Review + Giveaway at
Musings of a Writer & Unabashed Francophile

Friday, July 14
Review + Giveaway at An Accidental Blog

Monday, July 17
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Review + Giveaway at Walkie Talkie Book Club

Tuessday, July 18
Review + Giveaway at Chocolate & Croissants

Review + Giveaway at A Book Geek

Review + Giveaway at Words And Peace

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

G866 Book Review of infinity by Tabitha lord

Name of Book: Infinity

Author: Tabitha Lord

ISBN: 9781634899451

Publisher: Wise Ink

Part of a Series: Horizon Series

Type of book: Space, Almagest, genetic testing, love, fighting, freedom, help, technology, alliance, friends, friendship, loyalty

Year it was published: 2017


In the second installment of the award-winning Horizon series, Dr. Caeli Crys returns to her war-torn world to fight for those she left behind.

Almagest, Caeli’s home, stands on the brink of revolution. Long hidden from the rest of the galaxy, the once-peaceful planet suffers under a regime that grows more violent and oppressive by the day. Marcus, Almagest’s dictator, is building an arsenal of alien weaponry by selling empathic children into slavery. A resistance has risen, but they are outmanned, outgunned, and in hiding.

Joined by Commander Derek Markham and his elite squadron of operatives, Caeli embarks on a dangerous mission to find the Resistance, rescue her captive people, and save her civilization from destruction.


The only two characters that I was able to starkly recall are Caeli and Derek as well as Caeli's friend Lia. Other characters, whether main or secondary are not as well developed and for me not as memorable. Caeli is a powerful healer who is also Empathetic, a mind-reader and  can even make others vanish with her mind. She has recently went through extermination of her own people, been in a resistance and fell in love with Derek. Derek was rescued by Caeli in the first book when his ship fell on her world and he has suffered loss of a friend. If it were not for Caeli's abilities, he would have died.


Freedom comes with a price


The story is in third person narrative from Caeli's, Derek's and few other characters' points of view. The plot of the story was more interesting than the first book because the focus was on the bigger picture, and I liked learning the history of Caeli's world as well as development of the Empathetic people versus those of Marcus. I actually wish that the author would consider fleshing out the snippets about development of Empathetic people which would make a pretty fascinating by itself. I feel that there is way too much going on for me to be able to connect to any action or character, and I was pretty confused towards the end with everything going on. For example there was death of one of the characters, which I sensed was important, but I couldn't recall who this character was and what made him important in Caeli's life.

Author Information:
(From iRead book Tours)

Buy the Book:
​Amazon  ~  Kindle
Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island. She is married, has four great kids, two spoiled cats, and lovable lab mix. Her degree is in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and she taught Latin for years at an independent Waldorf school, where she now serves on the Board of Trustees.

Tabitha’s debut novel, Horizon, won the Writer’s Digest Grand Prize for Self-Published Fiction in 2016, and was named finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and National Indie Excellence Awards. Infinity, the second book in the Horizon series, will be released in June 2017. Her short story “Homecoming” appears in the anthology Sirens, edited by Rhonda Parrish and published by World Weaver Press, and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is also a senior editor for

Visit her blog at where she discusses favorite topics including parenting, teaching, and her writing journey.

​Connect with Tabitha: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram


First of all, the plot of the story is much better developed than in the previous novel, and the novel is a bit more engaging than the first one. There is some romance, but the novel doesn't revolve around it like in the first book. In the second book, it seems that this time the characters weren't as well drawn as in the first. Apparently from reading the reviews on Goodreads, reading first novel is required to read this one, which means its not a stand-alone, but what does make the journey more difficult is that I don't recall whether or not the author put in reminders for all the people in Caeli's life, which means a lot of confusion for the reader as to whom the characters are.

This is for iRead Book Tours


May 22 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Horizon / giveaway
May 22 - To Be Read - review of Horizon
May 23 - Working Mommy Journal - review of Infinity / giveaway
May 24 - 411 on Books, Authors and Publishing News - spotlight / guest post/giveaway
May 25 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Horizon / giveaway
May 26 - Cheryl' Book Nook - review of Horizon / author interview / giveaway
May 30 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Horizon / giveaway
May 31 - Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf - review of Horizon / giveaway
May 31 - Lisa Loves Literature - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 1 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review on Horizon
June 2 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review on Infinity
June 5 - Haddie's Haven - review of Horizon / guest post / giveaway
June 6 - The Autistic Gamer - review of Horizon
June 7 - The Autistic Gamer - review of Infinity
June 8 - Library of Clean Reads - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 9 - Cheryl' Book Nook - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 12 - To Be Read - review of Infinity
June 12 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review of Horizon / giveaway
June 13 - Haddie's Haven - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 14 - Mystery Suspense Reviews - review of Horizon / guest post
June 16 - 100 Pages A Day - review of Horizon / guest post / giveaway
June 19 - Elsie's Audiobook Digest - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 20 - Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 21 - Deal Sharing Aunt - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 22 - Books, Dreams, Life - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
June 26 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Horizon / giveaway
June 27 - Crossroad Reviews - review of Horizon
June 28 - Baker Kella - review of Horizon / author interview / giveaway
June 29 - Baker Kella - review of Infinity / giveaway
June 30 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Horizon
July 4 - Sharing Stories - review of Horizon
July 4 - Books for Books - review of Horizon
July 5 - Lukten av trykksverte - review of Horizon / giveaway
July 6 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Horizon / guest post
July 7 - JBronder Book Reviews - review of Infinity
July 7 - A Book Geek - review of Horizon
July 10 - Nighttime Reading Center - review of Infinity / giveaway
July 11 - Books for Books - review of Infinity
July 11 - Crossroad Reviews - review of Infinity
July 12 - Lukten av trykksverte - review of Infinity / giveaway
July 13 - A Book Geek - review of Infinity
July 13 - Reviews in the City - book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
July 14 - Sharing Stories - review of Infinity
July 14 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review of Infinity
July 14 - Bound 4 Escape - review of Infinity / giveaway

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb Spotlight

The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb

Paperback Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Pegasus Books
Paperback; 256 Pages

Series: Kate Clifford Mysteries, Book One
Genre: Historical/Mystery/Thriller

Expertly recreating the social and political upheavals of late medieval Europe, Candace Robb introduces a new series starring Kate Clifford, a woman forged on the warring northern marches of fourteenth century England.

Political unrest permeates York at the cusp of the fifteenth century, as warring factions take sides on who should be the rightful king--Richard II or his estranged, powerful cousin in exile, Henry Bolingbroke. Independent minded twenty-year-old Kate Clifford is struggling to dig out from beneath the debt left by her late husband. Determined to find a way to be secure in her own wealth and establish her independence in a male dominated society, Kate turns one of her properties near the minster into a guest house and sets up a business. In a dance of power, she also quietly rents the discreet bedchambers to the wealthy, powerful merchants of York for nights with their mistresses.

But the brutal murder of a mysterious guest and the disappearance of his companion for the evening threatens all that Kate has built. Before others in town hear word of a looming scandal, she must call upon all of her hard-won survival skills to save herself from ruin.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Praise for The Service of the Dead

“Robb’s deft hand creates a realistic political and commercial climate as King Richard II’s reign draws to a close in 1399. Comparable to Sara Poole’s Poisoner mysteries and Ariana Franklin’s Adelia Aguilar series, with its strong political setting and multiple plot strands.” (Booklist)

“A historical novel that deftly captures politics and interactions between different social interests in late medieval England…against the backdrop of social pressures and military actions, Kate’s character and world shine and draw readers into her choices and challenges.” (California Bookwatch)

“Kate Clifford is a wonderful creation, hard-nosed in some respects, compassionate and caring on the other. I look forward to the next installment of this delightful series!” (Historical Novels Review)

“The novel resonates with its compelling portrayal of an England on the brink of crisis.” (Publishers Weekly)

“The Service of the Dead is a tasty brew of political intrigue, larceny, and murder set within the walls of medieval York. Candace Robb’s latest historical mystery is steeped in the atmosphere of the late fourteenth century, and in Kate Clifford she’s given us a no-nonsense heroine and sleuth who is not only smart, but fierce when those she cares about are threatened. You’re going to love her.” (Patricia Bracewell, author of the Emma of Normandy Trilogy)

“The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb is a strikingly well-crafted novel that is a compelling page-turner from beginning to end. Very highly recommended for community library historical fiction collections.” (Midwest Book Review)

A Twisted Vengeance by Candace Robb

Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Pegasus Books
Hardcover; 400 Pages

Series: Kate Clifford Mysteries, Book Two
Genre: Historical/Mystery/Thriller

As the fourteenth century comes to a close, York seethes on the brink of civil war―and young widow Kate Clifford, struggling to keep her businesses afloat, realizes that her mother is harboring a dangerous secret…

1399. York is preparing for civil war, teeming with knights and their armed retainers summoned for the city’s defense. Henry of Lancaster is rumored to have landed on the northeast coast of England, not so far from York, intent on reclaiming his inheritance―an inheritance which his cousin, King Richard, has declared forfeit.

With the city unsettled and rife with rumors, Eleanor Clifford’s abrupt return to York upon the mysterious death of her husband in Strasbourg is met with suspicion in the city. Her daughter Kate is determined to keep her distance, but it will not be easy―Eleanor has settled next door with the intention of establishing a house of beguines, or poor sisters. When one of the beguines is set upon in the night by an intruder, Kate knows that for the sake of her own reputation and the safety of her young wards she must investigate.

From the first, Eleanor is clearly frightened yet maintains a stubborn silence. The brutal murder of one of Eleanor’s servants leads Kate to suspect that her mother’s troubles have followed her from Strasbourg. Is she secretly involved in the political upheaval? When one of her wards is frightened by a too-curious stranger, Kate is desperate to draw her mother out of her silence before tragedy strikes her own household.

"Lovers of Shakespeare’s Richard II will find Robb’s intricate sequel to 2016’s The Service of the Dead a particular treat, as it charts the course of Richard’s downfall and his cousin Henry of Bolingbroke’s rise through the fears and uncertainties of the residents of the city of York in July 1399. These anxieties are worsened by a series of strange deaths connected to the extended family of Kate Clifford, a fierce young widow struggling to cope with not only her own household of jostling servants and the recently arrived illegitimate children of her late husband but also the return of her quarrelsome mother, Eleanor, from Strasbourg with religious women in tow. The character of Clifford is compelling and finely drawn, and for those readers who are patient enough to manage an unusually large number of secondary characters, the answers to a series of mysteries, starting with the reason for an intruder’s attack on a beguine (or poor sister) in the middle of the night, are highly satisfying." - Publisher's Weekley, STARRED REVIEW

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

Candace Robb did her graduate work in medieval literature and history, and has continued to study the period while working first as an editor of scientific publications and now for some years as a freelance writer. Candace has published 13 crime novels set in 14th century England, Wales, and Scotland. The Owen Archer series is based in York and currently extends over 10 novels beginning with THE APOTHECARY ROSE; the most recent is A VIGIL OF SPIES. The Margaret Kerr trilogy explores the early days of Scotland’s struggle again England’s King Edward I, and includes A TRUST BETRAYED, THE FIRE IN THE FLINT, and A CRUEL COURTSHIP.

Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published historical novels about two fascinating women she encountered while researching the Owen Archer mysteries, Alice Perrers (THE KING’S MISTRESS) and Joan of Kent (A TRIPLE KNOT).

Candace was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she and her husband love for its combination of natural beauty and culture. Candace enjoys walking, hiking, and gardening, and practices yoga and vipassana meditation. She travels frequently to Great Britain.

For more information, please visit Candace Robb's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 3
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 4
Review at Laura's Interests (The Service of the Dead)
Review & Guest Post at Books of All Kinds (The Service of the Dead & A Twisted Vengeance)

Wednesday, July 5
Review at Broken Teepee (A Twisted Vengeance)

Thursday, July 6
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (The Service of the Dead)
Review at Queen of All She Reads (The Service of the Dead)
Interview at Dianne Ascroft's Blog

Friday, July 7
Review at Brooke Blogs (The Service of the Dead)
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Saturday, July 8
Review at The True Book Addict (The Service of the Dead)

Sunday, July 9
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views (The Service of the Dead)

Monday, July 10
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews (The Service of the Dead)

Tuesday, July 11
Review at Rainy Day Reviews (The Service of the Dead)
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, July 12
Review at 100 Pages a Day (The Service of the Dead)
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective (The Service of the Dead)

Thursday, July 13
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, July 14
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective (A Twisted Vengeance)

Monday, July 17
Review at Laura's Interests (A Twisted Vengeance)
Review at CelticLady's Reviews (The Service of the Dead)

Tuesday, July 18
Review at Brooke Blogs (A Twisted Vengeance)
Guest Post at Cafinated Reads

Wednesday, July 19
Review at CelticLady's Reviews (A Twisted Vengeance)
Review at The True Book Addict (A Twisted Vengeance)
Review at Queen of All She Reads (A Twisted Vengeance)

Thursday, July 20
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (A Twisted Vengeance)
Review at Just One More Chapter (The Service of the Dead)

Friday, July 21
Review at Rainy Day Reviews (A Twisted Vengeance)
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews (A Twisted Vengeance)
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views (A Twisted Vengeance)


During the Blog Tour we are giving away a copy of The Service of the Dead and A Twisted Vengeance to one lucky winner! To enter please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Kate Clifford Series Blog Tour

Monday, July 10, 2017

G880 Book Review of appointment with yesterday by Christopher stratakis

Name of Book:Appointment with Yesterday

Author: Christopher Stratakis

ISBN: 978-0-9977212-1-8

Publisher: Indie reader

Type of book: Greece, WWII, America, immigration, school, sea, dreams, fantasies, mother/son relationship, tumult, disease, death 1930s-1960s? marriage, culture, bad blood, small island living

Year it was published: 2016


A poignant and compelling first novel, Appointment with Yesterday tells the story of Yanni, a cheeky and delightful Greek boy growing up in a small town on an island in the eastern Aegean.

Left in the care of his loving grandparents, Yanni endures the deprivation and terror of the German occupation during World War II and finally leaves his beloved homeland and family to rejoin the parents who had left him behind to make a better life for themselves in America.

“With a touch of nostalgia and a lot of good humor, Appointment with Yesterday by Stratakis celebrates the passage of time as Yanni reflects back on his life and legacy, his heritage, and his choices and actions over the years. His story offers hope in the never-ending search for the ‘sweetness of life.'” ~ Foreword Clarion Reviews

“Appointment with Yesterday is a moving account of a young man’s coming of age and a well-crafted depiction of immigration, alienation, and triumphant assimilation.” ~ IndieReader

Left in the care of his loving grandparents, Yanni endures the deprivation and terror of the German occupation during World War II, and finally leaves his beloved homeland and family to rejoin the parents who had left him behind to make a better life for themselves in America.

Filled with heartbreaking and heartwarming stories of love, devotion, disenchantment, and dashed dreams, Appointment with Yesterday is, ultimately, the story of hardships overcome and a determined boy's journey toward finding his destiny.


Main characters include Yanni, a young boy who at the beginning of the story dreams of running away from school to become a sailor and also seems to take advantage of his grandparents by lying about his homework. He is best described as fanciful and dreamy, although that changes quite a lot when WWII begins and his personality evolves even more when he finally travels to America and learns a lot of painful lessons. Other characters include his beloved grandparents that cared a great deal about his comfort and about him as a person, even spoiling him a lot, along with a plethora of aunts and uncles and some memorable cousins. Most of the other characters seem to have complexity, but it's not explored as I had hoped.


Memories are amazing


The story is in third person narrative from Yanni's point of view. I really feel that the Greek half of the story is very vivid and powerful in storytelling as well as setting and characters, while the American half of the book strikes me more as rushed instead of fleshed out. In Greek part, I felt that I got to know the characters as well as Yanni's family and Yanni's goals and ambitions. Yanni was well drawn and memorable. In American half, it seems, I felt distant from Yanni and felt that I couldn't understand him as well as I could, although the American half is also very interesting.

Author Information:
(From iRead Book Tours)

Meet the Author:

Christopher Stratakis was born and raised in Greece. After moving to America, he graduated from Drexel University in 1951 and New York University School of Law in 1955. Shortly after joining the law firm of Poles, Tublin & Patestides in 1960, he became a partner, specializing in admiralty and corporate law.

He has written and published several articles, lectured on professional and historical subjects, served as Legal Advisor to several non-profits (pro bono), and was an arbitrator in maritime disputes. He is the author of Mnimes “Memories” (2010), a book of essays, short stories, and poems that he wrote as a teenager. In 2015, he co-edited Chains on Parallel Roads, a book published by Panchiaki “Korais” Society of New York. In recognition of his extensive community involvement, he has been the recipient of several awards from religious, governmental, and educational institutions.

Mr. Stratakis lives with his wife in New York City. He is the proud father of three and grandfather of three. This is his first novel.


I am a bit torn in whether or not the story is fiction because I am sure that the characters are fictional (or based on real life) but it reads a lot like a personal memoir and the touches that are in fiction are absent from the story (lack of dialog is one instance.) I enjoyed learning quite a bit about Greece, especially before and during WWII and the images that the author conjures with words are powerful indeed, transporting the reader back to the time that is long lost. However, once the character gets to America, the power that the story held for the reader seems to be lost and a lot of telling instead of showing can be seen. (For example, when Yanni is getting to know his intended bride, the narrator simply says they talked of this and that rather than use fictional dialogue to flesh out the intended woman.) The characters in America, in particular Yanni's parents, although are complex and should have been explored a whole lot more, are only given cursory attention in my opinion, while back in Greece the characters are wonderfully fleshed out. Also as well, the title is extremely apt, and the cover also appears to be awesome.

This is for iRead Book Tours

July 3 - Library of Clean Reads - review / giveaway
​July 3 - Essentially Italian - review / giveaway
July 4 - Olio by Marilyn - review / author interview / giveaway
July 5 - Literary Flits - review / giveaway
July 6 - Rockin' Book Reviews - review / giveaway
July 6 - A Mama's Corner of the World - review / giveaway
July 7 - Leels Loves Books - review
July 10 - Svetlana's Reads and Views - review
July 11 - Bound 4 Escape - review / giveaway
July 12 - Cheryl's Book Nook - review / giveaway
July 13 - Miracle Milli Reads - review / giveaway
July 14 - Working Mommy Journal - review / giveaway

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

Friday, July 7, 2017

G878 Book Review of The Babe Ruth Deception by David O Stewart

Name of Book: The Babe Ruth Deception

Author: David O Stewart

ISBN: 978-1-4967-0200-5

Publisher: Kensington

Type of book: Baseball, Babe Ruth, 1920s, interracial romance, white female/black male, mystery, money, portrayal of Jews, society, prohibition, scandal

Year it was published: 2016


“David O. Stewart is rapidly becoming one of our best new writers of historical mysteries . . . [Fraser and Cook] have plenty of fraught challenges, but none more engaging and human than the swaggering, generous, profligate Great Bambino.”
—Washington Times, September 22, 2016

As the Roaring Twenties get under way, corruption seems everywhere—from the bootleggers flouting Prohibition to the cherished heroes of the American Pastime now tarnished by scandal. Swept up in the maelstrom are Dr. Jamie Fraser and Speed Cook . . .

Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, is having a record-breaking season in his first year as a New York Yankee. In 1920, he will hit more home runs than any other team in the American League. Larger than life on the ball field and off, Ruth is about to discover what the Chicago White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series are learning—baseball heroes are not invulnerable to scandal. With suspicion in the air, Ruth’s 1918 World Series win for the Boston Red Sox is now being questioned. Under scrutiny by the new baseball commissioner and enmeshed with gambling kingpin Arnold Rothstein, Ruth turns for help to Speed Cook—a former professional ballplayer himself before the game was segregated and now a promoter of Negro baseball—who’s familiar with the dirty underside of the sport.

Cook in turn enlists the help of Dr. Jamie Fraser, whose wife Eliza is coproducing a silent film starring the Yankee outfielder. Restraint does not come easily to the reckless Ruth, but the Frasers try to keep him in line while Cook digs around.

As all this plays out, Cook’s son Joshua and Fraser’s daughter Violet are brought together by a shocking tragedy. But an interracial relationship in 1920 feels as dangerous as a public scandal—even more so because Joshua is heavily involved in bootlegging. Trying to protect Ruth and their own children, Fraser and Cook find themselves playing a dangerous game . . .

Once again masterfully blending fact and fiction, David O. Stewart delivers a nail-biting historical mystery that captures an era unlike any America has seen before or since in all its moral complexity and dizzying excitement.


Main characters include Dr. Jamie Fraser who, yes, happens to be a doctor. He is married with a daughter named Violet and seems to have enjoyed Babe Ruth's new movie and is also loyal to his friend Speed Cook, although at times it sounds as if the friendship was strained. His wife Eliza is old fashioned and is uncomfortable with people who are different than she is, although she is also a bit tempermental and I imagine her as a diva of sorts. Violet is their daughter who becomes involved with Joshua. Aside from being uninhibited and loyal to Joshua, I feel that not much is known about her. Speed Cook is best described as resourceful and very dedicated to baseball and sees a lot of potential in Babe Ruth. I think that out of all the characters, Joshua is the one that has most of the personality and he is also resourceful, uninhibited, daring, calculated and someone who enjoys challenges.


It's amazing how various aspects of life tie up together


The story is in third person narrative from Jamie's, Speed's and Joshua's points of view, although once in a while Babe Ruth or Arnold Rothstein do make an appearance. The writer is more concerned with focusing on the present rather than exploring origins of why some groups of people are outcasts, and although an interracial romance is featured and is explored, I feel that it's not explored as deeply as one hopes. While I'm pretty sure the baseball games were recreated faithfully, I was lost in what was going on when it came to baseball games, although I enjoyed the attention the author has paid to details of 1920s.

Author Information:
(From HFVBT)\

David O. Stewart, formerly a lawyer, writes fiction and history. His first historical work told the story of the writing of the Constitution (“The Summer of 1787”). It was a Washington Post Bestseller and won the Washington Writing Prize for Best Book of 2007. His second book (“Impeached”), grew from a judicial impeachment trial he defended before the United States Senate in 1989. “American Emperor: Aaron Burr’s Challenge to Jefferson’s America” explored Burr’s astounding Western expedition of 1805-07 and his treason trial before Chief Justice John Marshall. “Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America” debuted in February 2015. He has received the 2013 History Award of the Society of the Cincinnati and the 2016 William Prescott Award for History Writing from the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America.

Stewart’s fiction career began with the release of “The Lincoln Deception,” an historical novel exploring the John Wilkes Booth conspiracy. “The Wilson Deception,” the sequel, is set at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. “The Babe Ruth Deception” occurs during the Babe’s first two years with the Yankees while he remade baseball and America began the modern era with Prohibition, bootlegging, and terrrorism.

Stewart lives with his wife in Maryland. Visit his website at


I haven't read the previous two mysteries that feature Dr. Jamie Fraser and Speed Cook, but I'm happy to say that this reads as a stand-alone novel rather than a sequel. I admit that I felt discomfort at the idea of a white author writing about African-American characters, but from what I can see, he writes respectfully and crafts a believable background for Speed Cook's son and how he became the way he has. Although I understand the validity of portraying less than savory aspects of history such as racism or how Jews were treated, I still reserve the right of feeling sad and uncomfortable with the portrayal. While the story touches on various aspects be it romance, baseball, Babe Ruth and so forth, it focuses wholly on the mystery rather than going into origins of racism or of why some characters met up with unsavory Jews. For a fun mystery and something that focuses on life in 1920s, its a good read. Also, yes, one does need knowledge of baseball to enjoy the book because I had no idea of what was going on when it came to baseball games.

This is for HFVBT

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 27
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, June 28
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Thursday, June 29
Interview at I Heart Reading

Friday, June 30
Spotlight at A Holland Reads

Sunday, July 2
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, July 3
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, July 4
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, July 6
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Friday, July 7
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, July 10
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, July 11
Review at Laura’s Interests

Wednesday, July 12
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, July 19
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 21
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Wednesday, July 26
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Thursday, July 27
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)
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