Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Ever-Growing TBR Pile 8/31/2013

Was free and looks way too good to pass up. I had no idea that Alex Haley's wife was also a writer.

The Treason of Mary Louvestre by My Haley. From the widow and collaborator of Alex Haley, award-winning author of Roots, comes a new American epic from the Civil War. The Treason of Mary Louvestre is based on the true story of a seamstress slave from the Confederate town of Norfolk, Virginia. When her owner gets involved with modifications to the ironclad CSS Virginia, Mary copies the plans and sets out to commit treason against the South. Facing certain death as a spy if caught, she treks two hundred miles during the bitter winter of 1862 to reach the office of Union Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, where she hands over the plans. Mary's act of bravery is ably told by Haley, using a rich narrative and characters drawn from that pinnacle era of American history. First there was Roots, now there is The Treason of Mary Louvestre.


Hell Hath No FuryDiscovered while searching for women in aviation books. It's on my wishlist. Hell Hath No Fury by Robert Reid.. It's a team of women combat pilots!

An extraordinary group of women embark on an extraordinary journey. They confront bias, ridicule and death. They stand fast and roar, "We will not go quietly into the night." Their skill, bravery and dedication change the course of military history. Their right to fight is on the line as they stand toe to toe with their enemies. Equality, like freedom, is won with their blood and sacrifice.


I Shall Be Near To YouSpotted on Netgalley and darn near flipped with excitement. I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe. Woman, Civil War, male attire. Need I say more?

An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband in the Civil War, inspired by a real female soldier's letters home.

Rosetta doesn't want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they'll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she's always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she's told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.

Rosetta drills with the men, prepares herself for battle, and faces the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Fearing discovery of her secret, Rosetta’s strong will clashes with Jeremiah’s as their marriage is tested by war. Inspired by over two hundred and fifty documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.


A Life Apart: A NovelA Life Apart by L.Y. Marlow also caught my eye.

When Morris Sullivan joins the navy in 1940, his hopes are high. Though he leaves behind his new wife and their baby daughter, he is thrilled to be pursuing his lifelong dream-only to be shipped off to Pearl Harbor when the war begins. When he narrowly survives the 1941 attack, thanks to the courage of a black sailor he doesn't know, Morris is determined to seek out the man's family and express his gratitude and respect. On leave, he tracks down the man's sister, and finds an immediate, undeniable connection with the nurturing yet fiercely independent Beatrice, who has left the stifling South of her upbringing for the more liberal, integrated north.

Though both try to deny their growing bond, their connection and understanding is everything missing from Morris's hasty marriage to his high school sweetheart Agnes, and from Beatrice's plodding life as she grieves the brother she has lost. At once a family epic, and a historical drama that takes readers from World War II through the Civil Rights Movement to the present day, A Life Apart is about a love that creates complicated and unbreakable ties between two families that live worlds apart. L.Y. Marlow brings readers along for the emotional journey as Morris and Beatrice's relationship is tested by timefamily loyalties, racial tensions, death, unending guilt, and the profound effects of war.


The Secret Kiss of DarknessAnd look what is coming next year from one of my favorite authors, Christina Courtenay. You bet this is on my "grab asap" list. The Secret Kiss of Darkness, a time slip.

Must forbidden love end in heartbreak?

Kayla Sinclair knows she’s in big trouble when she almost bankrupts herself to buy
a life-size portrait of a mysterious eighteenth century man at an auction.

Jago Kerswell, inn-keeper and smuggler, knows there is danger in those stolen moments with Lady Eliza Marcombe, but he’ll take any risk to be with her.

Over two centuries separate Kayla and Jago, but when Kayla’s jealous fiancé presents her with an ultimatum, and Jago and Eliza’s affair is tragically discovered, their lives become inextricably linked thanks to a
gypsy’s spell. Kayla finds herself on a quest that could heal the past, but what she cannot foresee is the danger in her own future.

Will Kayla find heartache or happiness?


A World ApartSpotted on Netgalley: A World Apart by Peter McAra.

A sweeping Australian historical saga that crosses oceans to prove love conquers all…

April, 1820. As children, they shared a schoolroom, but no education can remove the stain of being peasant-born. So when Eliza Downing begins to blossom into womanhood and the future Viscount de Havilland notices, his family steps in to intervene.

Once full of possibilities, Eliza’s life spirals into shame and degradation, culminating finally in a false conviction and transport to Botany Bay. Through shipwreck, exile, secrets, and scandals, Eliza holds fast to the belief that Harry will come for her — but he doesn’t come soon enough, and Eliza must learn to recognise her own value and become the heroine of her own story.


Spotted on a blog I follow--and a copy is on its way to my mailbox: Capitol Hell by Alicia M. Long and Jayne J. Jones.

Capitol HellWhen recent college graduate Allison Amundson, a small town girl from South Dakota, lands the highly sought after job of scheduler to the newly-elected and rising star of the United States Senate, Senator Anders McDermott III, she thinks she is on the fast track to success.
However, she quickly learns that crazy co-workers, a high maintenance boss, an over-the-top family and an unexpected Presidential bid make Capitol Hill seem even more dysfunctional than portrayed on TV. In fact, it is Capitol Hell.

The second Allison sets foot in the prestigious Senate Russell Building, things begin to go awry. Allison soon realizes her co-workers consist of a Chief of Staff who has little to no control over the antics in the office, a Press Secretary who is not only pompous, but who is constantly primping and preening, and worst of all the Senator himself, who cares more about his rise to fame than the people of Minnesota.

As Allison struggles to juggle a new career, her blooming love interest in Cam (a quiet but loyal Legislative Assistant), and her ever-declining bank account, she is comforted only by her co-worker Janet, a fireplug who spends the majority of her time on-line dating, trying to land a Senator of her own.

Just as Allison and Janet begin to figure out the ins and outs of Capitol Hill, their lives are turned upside down when Senator McDermott announces his bid for President of the United States. Soon, Allison an
d Janet find themselves at the center of one of the craziest campaigns in history, and hilarity ensues.

What Were They Looking For?

It's that time again...I got some more odd blogger search terms for ya.

This one...I can only assume they ended up here because Maiden Behind the Mask's heroine is Catalina Rodriguez. I guess someone wants to see a bit more of her than the book cover shows. Hum.

This next one is really offensive...I'm sorry in advance. But I said O.M.G. really loud and then laughed for a while, so maybe it's not too bad.

Another offensive one below...I edited it, mind you. But while the top one is rude and disgusting, sexy george made me curious. Is there a sexy George in your life?

Could they have been looking for...
File:George Clooney 2000.jpg

Someone was looking for sassy strong heroine books and sexy heroines. They certainly came to the right place. Seeing this made me feel good about what I do here.

This one below made me laugh. 


No idea what "lock me in the trunk" refers to or what they could have been looking for. Is there a song? Adventures of naked man just made me smile... Havoc Hailey is apparently a porn star and I have no dang idea why I keep getting people looking for porn. No idea. 

And this one...this one is just...priceless.

Anyway, what's showing up on YOUR dashboard?

Friday, August 30, 2013

My New Postcard

Last year, on election day, matter of fact, I shared with you my collection of Votes for Women Postcards. Click here if you missed them. 

Today I am tickled pink to share my new one with you!

I think it may be rare, as I've never seen it before in all my searching. 

On the back, it is postmarked Chicago, March 12, 1914. It has a message that's rather hard to read...

"Mag you can see ******* girls like this your next birthdayafter they get the voting and get on the Police Force and they can have one for Pity Man of ******"

The asterisks mark words I could not make out.

What I find even more interesting, however, is that apparently 1914 Chicago was still small enough that they didn't have to bother with addresses. It's merely a name. Mrs. Maggie Littell Hudson, Ills.

And it's postmarked and apparently found its way to her!

A Missing Peace by Beth Fred

A Missing PeaceThis is truly a unique premise. Two teenagers, one Iraqi, one American...he believes his dad was killed by an Iraqi terrorist during the war. She saw her father gunned down by an American soldier...

Now imagine those two falling for each other despite their prejudices for each other's people...yea.

I applaud Beth Fred for a unique idea well done. Throughout the story, we're reminded in subtle ways how quick and how wrong we are to judge others based on where they come from, what they wear, how they look.

I also appreciated the theme about how just because we see it on TV, we are not experts on another group of people/culture.

Mirriam hates American soldiers. At first, Caleb hates Iraqis. He wants to enlist, head over there, and take revenge for his father's death, but he has to realize not all Iraqis are bad or terrorists. 

Mirriam sort of comes across as a female dog. She's rude and abrasive, but at the same time I shook my head at her, my lips would also turn up at the corners. Caleb, I had a harder time coming to like. He's the typical jock in the beginning--a playboy who expects women to fall at his feet and a douche who agrees to play with girls' hearts for the sake of a bet...but then fate changes his life real fast and it was interesting watching him change his perspective and attitude as the carpet got pulled out from under him.

One of my quibbles is the car scene. It was weak. I'm purposely trying to be vague here as I'm not sure if this scene would be considered a spoiler or not. It comes perhaps halfway into the book. But the lack of details about the medical something broken? Did they do any surgery? Did he just lay there in a bed for 35 minutes? What exactly is wrong here? The author obviously did her research about the military, so I wonder why so little was done for the medical aspect/hospital stuff. Throughout the novel, I kept wondering what exactly was wrong with the guy. I'm a stickler for details such as that.

My other quibble is...I was disappointed that in the end, it didn't feel like Mirriam had come to respect any American soldiers. She was still very anti-American and as a military wife, this bothered me. I respect that there is indeed some truth in this:

" the end of the day, they're both kids our age with weaponry supplied by some old rich fat man with a belief that what they're doing is right."

But Mirriam's total lack of sympathy for the American soldier...made her no better than the kids calling her a raghead. Not all Iraqis are bad and while there will be some bad apples in the military, not all soldiers are bad either. While Caleb's character evolved to show this, Mirriam's didn't.

Third, I'm pretty sure it's illegal to marry off a 17-year-old, even in Texas. I thought that was pretty drastic. I'm sure a call to social services would have fixed that, though the ending wouldn't have been as dramatic. LOL

But overall, this was very well written and thought evoking. I enjoyed it and appreciated this very unique story line and situations. It's a YA novel that actually makes you think for a change. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Strong is Sexy Heroine of the Week: Abigail Mulholland

Book: Lost in Kakadu 
Author: Kendall Talbot
Heroine: Abigail Mulholland

My heroine is a bitch. A rich pretentious bitch, whose life revolves around saucy gossip and her next social engagement. But money and prestige means nothing when Abigail survives a small plane crash into Australia’s Kakadu National Park with two complete strangers.

It’s a miracle they survive the accident, but things go from bad to downright hellish when rescuers never come. Learning to live in an environment that’s as brutal as it is beautiful takes Abigail to shattering point. But as she gathers the pieces of her sanity she discovers a new woman within her who’s not afraid to wield an axe or eat snails in order to survive.

As the weeks thread into months her Botox fades, her makeup runs out and the physical labour shapes her body into a lean sensual figure that she’s proud of. The old façade disappears and a strong, passionate and resourceful woman emerges with a wicked sense of humour and a fierce determination to live.

Abigail learns to love herself and along the way she’s surprised by her unlikely attraction to one of the other survivors, a younger bisexual man, a man who the old Abigail wouldn’t have been seen dead with. A man she’s willing to change for.

Fate brought them together, but they’ll need more than luck to escape Kakadu alive. Could the letters of a dean man hold the key to their survival?

An action adventure novel set in the Australian jungle where two unlikely people prove just how attractive opposites can be...

It’s pretentious socialite Abigail Mulholland’s worst nightmare when her plane crashes into an ancient Australian wilderness. Things go from bad to downright hellish when rescuers never come. As she battles to survive in an environment that’s as brutal as it is beautiful, Abigail finds herself also fighting her unlikely attraction to Mackenzie — another survivor, and a much younger man.

Mackenzie Steel is devastated by his partner’s death in the crash, the only person with whom he shared his painful past. Now, as he confronts his own demons, he finds he has a new battle on his hands: his growing feelings for Abigail, a woman who’s as frustratingly naïve as she is funny.

Fate brought them together, but they’ll need more than luck to escape Kakadu alive. Could the letters of a dead man hold the key to their survival?

Are you an author with a strong heroine in your book? Want to see her featured? Find out how here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Being Sexy Where It Counts: Resiliency in Action, A Guest Post from Dr. Patricia O'Gorman

Please Welcome Dr. Patricia O'Gorman as she talks about being sexy, being resilient, and "girly thoughts". She has a new book out called The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power. I'll be sharing a blurb and buy links below, but meanwhile, let's permit the doctor to take the stage. 

Dr. Patricia O'Gorman Ph.D is an internationally recognized psychologist, coach, and public speaker noted for her work with women, trauma, children of alcoholics, and substance abuse"It is a painful fact that women who have challenged and overcome their girly thoughts in the boardroom are stymied by them in the bedroom. 

As a psychologist, I am privy to many secrets. Most secrets are wrapped in shame, shared in a low, often choked, voice that indicates the great emotional and physical discomfort of the woman sharing them. But there is one secret I’ve heard for many years that is shared only in hushed tones, the woman’s head down and her face strewn with tears. One woman told me she had other friends who struggled with “this”; they even had a private club so they could talk about it without others knowing. Another shared that she knew her marriage could not last because of this secret. More recently, women are just angry. The secret?

These women were more successful in their careers and were making more money than their husbands, and the power imbalance they felt in their marriages was unbearable. 

So unbearable, in fact, that they felt the need to divorce.

Crazy? Who said our girly thoughts make sense when examined in the clear light of day??

Over the years, the number of women making more than their husbands has steadily risen; it is currently 40 percent, and that is a substantial number. The idea that a woman could be the primary wage earner was almost unheard of a generation ago.

So if 40 percent is such a good number, why don’t women feel empowered by their earning capacity? Why would a woman feel shame that her man is not making more money than she is? Why is she embarrassed, and why does this non-traditional situation create such discord in an intimate partnership that the only solution appears to be a divorce? 

For some of us, the answer lies in our girly thoughts, the unconsciously accepted set of rules by which we live our lives. These girly thoughts tell us that we deserve to be taken care of, that we are only desirable if we are dependent on our husbands. When girly thoughts run the show, we believe there is something shameful in earning more than our husbands earn.

And we believe our girly thoughts, those nasty, sometimes unconscious, standards that we can never meet, even when doing so means we may divorce a man we love.

The painful fact is that women who have challenged and overcome their girly thoughts in the boardroom are often stymied by them in the bedroom. The same women who push to be their best at work, who are willing to risk not being liked because they put their ideas and an important part of who they are “out there” feel unable to do the same in their most intimate relationship.

In my book, The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power, I discuss this particular resilience style, which I term paradoxical resilience. Women who have a paradoxical resilience style function like two different people: they use their resilience clearly in work but not at home. The career woman whose words and actions say “This is who I am; deal with it,” often finds it much more difficult at home to assert the same confidence. “I am a successful woman, and I love you” just doesn’t get shared in the same way.

The results? Poor communication that leads to resentment, and divorce becomes a painful but clear way out.

Change is confusing, particularly when we are altering what we expect from an intimate partner. Change is painful and scary when it occurs within a committed relationship and we are moving and wanting different things. Some of us cover our fear with anger, others with developing a new goal—divorce. But some of us step into the void that change creates and use our resilience to navigate our wants and needs to develop a new and vastly improved model of what we rejected. Rather than a woman’s success being a game ender, this can be a new beginning for a marriage.

The first step toward any change that occurs in our intimate relationships lies within. So dig deep and ask yourself what it is that you want, and know that you can use your resilience to help you get there. Whether that is to end your marriage through divorce or to create a new relationship with your husband—one that bucks current norms—then your resilience is there to support you and help you. The world is changing, and women are responsible for many of these changes. It is now time for each of us to change the unhelpful parts of our thinking—our girly thoughts—so they do not keep limiting us in any part of our lives.

Stay tuned for Part Two . . . Sex and Housework … yes, research show the two are definitely connected!

Women of all ages want to make others happy—it's just in a woman's nature, isn't it? But what happens when that "need to please" goes wrong, and a woman keeps pushing herself harder while simultaneously ignoring her own needs? What happens when a woman begins to think self-sabotaging girly thoughts—thoughts like If only I was thinner . . . younger . . . prettier . . . was into kinkier sex . . . ? What happens when relationships sour and the trauma is carried into subsequent relationships?

Noted psychologist and author Dr. Patricia O'Gorman answers these questions for today's generation of women. This expanded and updated edition of her groundbreaking book Dancing Backwards in High Heels reveals how girly thoughts are just conclusions women reach as a way of making sense of the trauma they've experienced and the resulting codependency issues they grapple with. They need to be reminded from time to time of the saying that while legendary dancer Fred Astaire received top billing, "Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels."

Whether dealing with family members, coworkers, intimate relationships, or a best friend, when a woman feels "less than" she often misses the path toward achieving her true potential. Blaming herself for what someone else has done to her is, sadly, a common theme among women, but Dr. O'Gorman shows how this reaction is merely how women have been conditioned to respond—then provides the tools they need to break the cycle and become more resilient.

Resilience, according to Dr. O'Gorman, is the part of us that celebrates cycles: it looks forward to new beginnings and back to past lessons. Using this life-long lens, readers will learn valuable ways of looking at their interpersonal relationships and will acquire tools to become more resilient, and they will:

Discover the resilience patterns established in childhood
Learn how "girly thoughts" become so powerful and how to neutralize them
Understand issues that are specific to women when dealing with any relationship
Learn to overcome trauma—physical, psychological, and emotional
Discover how to self-motivate by losing the victim mentality
Learn to listen to the inner self and align with personal strengths as a way to tap into personal power
Understand what resiliency is and is not, and how to achieve it
Determine personal resilience patterns

About the Author:
Being a coach, a psychologist, and raising twin sons in a rural community has certainly fostered Patricia O'Gorman's resilience and made her honest in understanding the subtle gender-specific nuances of developing resilience. Internationally recognized for her work on women, trauma, and substance abuse, and at home for her award winning menus, Dr. Patricia O’Gorman also is a recognized public speaker known for her warm, funny, and informative talks. She was one of the first researchers exploring the dilemmas faced by children of alcoholics in the early 1970s and went on to create the Department of Prevention and Education for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. She is cofounder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics and has run a rape-crisis center. In addition to her private practice in Saranac Lake and Albany, New York, she is Chairperson of the Advisory Board of Horses Healing Hearts, Inc., an equine learning program for children of alcoholics. For more information on Dr. O’Gorman’s work or her latest book, please visit:, where you can also find her blog:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Editing Services

With today's self-publishing industry, everyone can make their dreams come true, and I'd like to help you do that. You have a story and the words with which to tell it. I have the skills to make it go from great to fabulous. 

Don't let typos hold you back from the bestseller list.

I'm currently seeking to expand my client list. I have lowered my rate from $3.25 per thousand words to $3.00 per k.

Experience: I have been editing for two years and have completed over a hundred manuscripts in that time period. Genres include nonfiction, fiction, romance, young adult, historical, contemporary, erotic, and more. Authors I have edited for: Lorraine Nelson, Victoria Vane, Megan D. Martin, Laura DeLuca, Lacey Wolfe, and others. I can provide a CV upon request as well as references.

What I do: My above-mentioned fee includes two read throughs of any MS. I do both content and copy. I watch for misspelled or misused words, head hopping, passive voice, comma usage, hyphen placement, dialogue and action tags, telling vs showing, and more. All of my changes are tracked.

Payment: I require half the fee upfront, via paypal. The rest is collected when I have returned your round-one edits.

Contact me --tchevrestt(at)yahoo(dot)com or click on the link to the left-- to discuss dates for editing your manuscript. We'll make it shine.

"I have known Tara for two years. It has been my pleasure to have her edit two of my titles. The experience became a partnership. She impressed me with her willingness to discuss the editorial process beforehand. Her technical expertise and creative solutions helped improve both manuscripts." --Lisa J. Yarde, multi-published author

"Tara is a wonderful editor and quite responsive to your needs and questions. She has a sharp eye for detail and an ear for dialogue. She also knows how to ask the right questions to get your creative juices working in the right direction for your story." --Dahlia DeWinters, multi-published romance author

"Tara has been insightful, encouraging, prompt, and above all, very professional in all her dealings with me. She’s a terrific editor. With her help, we have produced highly saleable novels for readers to enjoy. It was a pleasure to work with her." --Lorraine Nelson, bestselling romance author

*****At this time, I am only booking one client, one book a month, so do contact me in advance. If your book is over 75k, I will need two months. I am now working full time outside of the home. Thank you for your understanding.*****

Hindsight by Sarah Belle

HindsightThis story surprised me. It skillfully address so many issues in a woman's made me laugh and cry and nod and just experience every emotion a woman can feel.

I didn't like it at first--well, I didn't like the heroine. I'm all for women being in positions of power and wholeheartedly agree we shouldn't have to give our lives up just because we have the vaginas...but if you're not going to pay any attention at all to your children--don't have them. This lady has two kids, never sees them, and doesn't know how to change a diaper.

But...therein lies a moral and I discovered it as I kept reading. A woman doesn't have to give up her life...she just has to have different priorities for a while. And some folks have a hard time managing that. But what really drives us to succeed? As with Juliette, is there an underlying issue?

Juliette's current life...she's all work, no play and one could say just leaves everything up to her husband as far as childrearing. It's rather ironic really when she travels back to 1961 when all that was considered "woman's work" and she finds the roles drastically reversed. She realizes how much she's taken for granted and how much she's missed.

I'm not going to recap the entire blurb. It's Australia, time travel back to 1961, motherhood, and marriage. Suffice to say, this is a novel, but I read it in a day--not because it's short, it's just that good. I was on the edge of my seat. I felt as though I was learning things along with the heroine--changing cloth nappies, using a clothing wringer. I fell in love with her 1961 family, friends, and children. I sorta wanted her to stay there, but then that would have left the modern day story unresolved and it would have made it seem like the heroine had time traveled away from her problems.

I burst out laughing so often I'm glad I read this at home. I'm sure someone would have put me in the psych ward that Juliette feared so much.

"As if the undies weren't bad enough, I trip and stagger in the tiny bathroom, trying to outrun the small, furry creature that has crawled onto my lap and decide to live there...Holy mother of God! There's so much pubic hair that it could be braided into dreadlocks. I could shear it like a sheep and make a jumper out of it."

I bit my nails. I honestly wasn't sure things were going to be set right in modern time--after all she'd left behind a husband who'd kicked her out with a "replacement" woman waiting in the sidelines. How was she going to get out of that mess?

The story is incredibly well written. I was shocked to discover (at least I think) that this is her first book. I know authors who have been writing for two years or more (hell, I'm one of them!) who haven't quite achieved this amazing level of storytelling. You may be picking up a digital book, but this is NOT 5th-grade writing.

Beautiful, well done, thought evoking. It made me not only appreciate mothers more--after all, they give up so much, but it made me sit here and think about the differences in our generations and why things have changed so much. As unfeminist as this will sound--sometimes I wonder if eliminating that line between men and women was such a grand idea.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Returned (The Returned #1) by Jason Mott

The ReturnedAll over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

An absolutely fascinating premise. I wish I'd thought of it myself. What if the dead come back to life? The possibilities are endless...I immediately think of widowed people who have remarried...suddenly they have two wives or two husbands. What do they do?

The story is well written. It's different from average literature...more literary in style. The man knows how to write and switch POV smoothly. I felt like I was reading a book along the lines of M. Night Shyamalan. Like..when I watched the movie Signs years ago, I saw the main family on the screen most of the time, but then they'd watch CNN and we'd see what was going on in the rest of the world. This was like that...with the gist of the story on Harold, Lucille, their Returned son, and the town of Arcadia, now like a POW camp for the walking dead. We get these fascinating glimpses at what's going on in the rest of the world here and there...and here is where I have a complaint.

Halfway through the book, I got bored with Harold and Lucille and the small-town life. I was actually more interested in the Nazis hiding in a house. I mean, they'd come back from the dead to discover they were the most hated army in the world...and they're hiding in a Jew's house and he's talking about forgiveness...this was cool and oh, so brief. The artist who came back and married a woman, a former art student who had kept his memory alive when nobody else wished to honor it--fabulous stuff. And so little of it.

The story was too confined, IMO, to Arcadia, to Harold, a grumpy old man (not as interesting as a Nazi or a painter), to Lucille and her cooking obsession, to their son who doesn't know anything...

And above all, I was terribly bothered by a few things...people are coming back from the dead--including a family who was murdered. Why does nobody ever ask them, "Who killed you?" Does nobody think their murderers should be held accountable? That alone would have made a fascinating sub plot. Family announces who murdered them. Murderer's lawyer says there is no case as the family isn't dead after all...

And as I said in the'd think at least one person out of these thousands of Returned, would come back to find their spouse remarried. Also, I was confused.

I saw so much more potential for drama and action than we were given.

But I will say it's fascinating to think about. It's realistic--yes, people are coming back from the dead, but what makes it realistic is how people act. I can see this happening. Half have faith. Half do not. Some may be afraid and fear leads to stupid action like riots... The gov't trying to control the situation and being rather callous about it...I can see it all happening. Very easily.

It's suspenseful, if a bit slow due to the confined town. And above all, it's a brilliant premise. I received this from netgalley.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Returned .5, .6. and .7 by Jason Mott

I began reading The Returned and I was immediately intrigued. 10% into the story, I logged online to see what else this guy had penned. I found these--all free, all prequels promoting the big book. 

The First (The Returned, #0.5)Imagine...the dead come back. They look the same as they did before they died. They haven't aged, time hasn't passed for them as it has for the living...they are just suddenly there again, years later. They show up at work and give people hear Edmund Blithe in The First.

This story was just...a basic setting up of what's to come. We see how the Returned are misunderstood, interrogated, treated, labeled. A special bureau is created to deal with the returning dead. People are shocked. Answers cannot be found. This short story is just what the blurb promises: a man dead a year reunited with his grieving fiancee one year later. It's very simple, not much to it, but as I said, does what it should and that is lays the groundwork.

The Sparrow (The Returned, #0.6)In The Sparrow, book 0.6, there's a lot more going on. I liked this one very much. A girl returns from the dead and a couple finds her. What do they do? What do they believe? This story was about how faith or lack of it can cause a rift between people, how if you have never experienced loss, you may not understand what you've gained. Even the stories the little returned girl tells made me stop and nod my head thoughtfully. "If we have not been sad, then we cannot be happy."

This short had deep meanings within its sentences and I was all set to give it a five but the way it ended was odd. Heather had a question, but never asked it. I feel like I missed something, but maybe I was supposed to feel that way...

In The Choice, an issue that came to the forefront of my mind as soon as I read the premise of these tales finally comes up. The first thing I wondered when I learned of this dead returning thing was "Well, hell, this will make a problem for anyone who's been widowed and remarried..." What are you going to do when a former loved one comes back and you're married to someone else? Be a polygamist? 

The Choice (The Returned, #0.7) Though this man wasn't married to the returned woman, he did love her... I liked the premise and I like how it ended. A father's love for his daughter is strong. I thought this was a sweet one and it made it clear that the dead need to stay...well, dead. But I didn't find it too suspenseful as the Returned is 17 years old and the married, living man is like, 35. No big suspense there. You know that's not going to work out. And just like with the novel...why the heck doesn't anyone ask the girl what the heck happened to her? I mean, she disappeared. Also a tad befuddled that she just jumps in his arms after almost twenty years. He's aged. You'd think she'd notice that. Hum.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Ever-Growing TBR Pile 8/24/2013

Shanghai LoveI decided to read this one because a friend of mine on Goodreads reviewed it on her blog a while back. It caught my interest and just so happened to be free this last weekend. It's on my Kindle now. Shanghai Love by Layne Wong. It promises a forbidden love affair and history.

Shanghai Love is a gripping novel about the unlikely love story that develops between a Chinese herbalist and a Jewish refugee in Shanghai during World War II. Peilin is betrothed to Kwan Yao, the only son of a wealthy pearl farmer. However, months before their wedding, Yao is killed by the Japanese in the Nanjing Massacre. The Kwans insist on proceeding with the wedding and beautiful Peilin is married to a ghost husband. When an uncle passes away, Peilin is sent to Shanghai to manage the Kwan family herbal shop. Meanwhile, in Berlin, Henri graduates from medical school just as Hitler rises to power and unleashes prejudice and violence against the Jewish population. He flees to Shanghai where he's befriended by Ping, a young disfigured rickshaw driver. Ping introduces Henri to his sister Peilin. Through her kindness, Henri becomes fascinated with Chinese herbs as well as the exotic culture surrounding him. Shanghai Love is a classic story of love's triumph over adversity.


A Matter of Trust: Engineers of Flight Series, Book 1Spotted while doing a random search for woman pilots (I actually pulled up book four, but went digging to the previous titles), I found an Inspirational series featuring a woman pilot during WWII. This is book one, in which she first discovers her interest. A Matter of Trust (Engineers of Flight, Book One) is on my wishlist. I do believe the woman becomes an engineer--NOT an easy feat back then! OR a pilot. The author is Sherrilyn Polf.

Stanford University is out of reach for most Colorado teens in 1939. The opportunity to gain an education there is beyond nineteen-year-old Dena Caulter's wildest rural dreams. Yet Uncle Walter, a professor at the prestigious university, extends an open door to his home as well as the Howard Hughes Aeronautics program, and Dena is more than willing to spread her wings. Upon arriving in California, Dena feels her rustic roots showing but easily adapts to a more sophisticated lifestyle alongside her cousins, Emily and Stuart. Life may be offering opportunities and fun Dena never thought existed, but her nave world is about to get a huge dose of reality. Uncle Walter is chosen to work with Howard Hughes in Virginia as part of an elite, top secret team working on NACA technology, and the move threatens to break up the family with the mention of an unfathomable divorce.

Talk of war also breaks up the previously pleasant conversations and laughter that once provided the soundtrack for gatherings between Dena and friends. With opinions voiced, she worries that the boy she secretly has a crush on, Claywill, be whisked away before she gets the chance to truly know him. Even her beloved brother wants to join a war effort she has yet to understand. Studying blueprints no longer offers the intriguing escape it once held for Dena. Struggling to find balance in a life moving faster than one of Mr. Hughes' airplanes, Dena must hold on to the Christian values her mother always instilled in her youth, especially when the bright future of her friends and family begins to dim under the threat of war and A Matter of Trust.


Deadstick DawnAlso on my wishlist: Deadstick Dawn by S.L. Menear. Woman commercial airline pilot that gets herself involved in some risky business.

The Belfast Agreement is about to be shattered by Operation Blue Blood. One young American stands in the way, airline pilot Samantha Starr. She is catapulted into a deadly chess match with police, assassins, and British Special Forces, all who want her dead. The fate of nine noble bloodlines depends on Samantha and a boy whose hero is a wizard. Stranded in Scotland where she is accused of kidnapping and murder, where can she run? When a US Navy fighter pilot and a SEAL join the hunt and every choice can get her killed and start a bloody war in Northern Ireland, on whom should she rely? The line between trust and betrayal is razor sharp, and it is cut at Deadstick Dawn.


Warrior Princess (Warrior Princess, #1)Warrior Princess by Allan Frewin Jones is on its way to my mailbox, having been brought to my attention via Goodreads recommendations. I actually looked at them for a change. LOL

"You can be a warrior, if you choose to be."

It takes just a moment for fifteen-year-old Branwen's life to change forever. In the blink of an eye the Saxons attack and her brother is killed. Almost as quickly, she is sent away from her home to a neighboring stronghold where she'll be safe from harm. Now Branwen lives as a princess should--surrounded by exquisite things and lavish quarters. But
deep down remains the soul of a warrior.

Just when Branwen is sure she has been pushed to her limits, a chance encounter with a mystical woman in white forces her to question everything--and everyone--around her. With no time to lose, Branwen must make a choice: continue in the path her parents intended for her . . . or step into the role of true Warrior Princess.


Kindle freebie that caught my eye and made it on my Kindle: Long Way Home by Cheryl A. Head.

Two, young World War II enlistees-a boy who is a misfit in his own family and a farm girl in search of adventure--discover each other on a segregated military base in a remote Arizona desert. They are two of nearly one million black soldiers who believe their army experience during America’s largest global conflict will gain them their country’s respect and acceptance. But their battles and victories are found far away from the front lines of the war.

The blurb on Amazon is different: 
Georgette Lillian Newton has a predictable future. She will work on the family farm, marry her high school sweetheart and continue the tradition of raising kids and crops in rural North Carolina. But, she yearns to see the exciting places she reads about in Look magazine and infuriates her parents and boyfriend when she joins the exclusive U.S. Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps also known as the WAACS.

LeRoy Dowdell’s sensitive nature makes him a misfit in his family and his community. A brilliant musician, he longs to play in a big band like that of Tommy Dorsey or Duke Ellington. He lies about his age to enlist in the army and escape his disapproving father and the rumors of a small town. He hopes a soldier’s uniform will be his ticket to travel overseas where he can play music and find a place where he feels he belongs.

It is 1943 and America’s involvement in World War II is at its heights.
The paths of these two young dreamers cross at Fort Huachuca a segregated army base near Tucson, Arizona where they fall in love, fight personal battles and complete their journeys of self discovery. Along the way they interact with an array of dynamic characters.


Spotted on Edelweiss and on my wishlist: The Island of Doves by Kelly O'Connor McNees

The Island of Doves
Vivid and enthralling, Island of the Doves tells the story of a courageous woman who is desperate for freedom and of those who will risk everything to help her….

Susannah Fraser lives in one of Buffalo’s finest mansions, but her monstrous husband makes the home a terrible prison. When a local nun offers to help her escape, Susannah boards a steamship headed for Mackinac Island and a chance at freedom.

Magdelaine Fonteneau has seen her share of tragedy—a husband murdered before her eyes, two sisters lost—and she sees offering Susannah refuge in her island home as atonement for her many regrets. This act of kindness changes Susannah in ways she never could have imagined as she finds solace in the company of others who carry their own secrets and scars. Only together can they untangle their pasts—and find a future bright with the promise of new life.

The blurb on Edelweiss said woman  number two was also a fur trader.


The Sleeping Dictionary (Daughters of Bengal, #1)Spotted via Goodreads ad and on my wishlist: The Sleeping Dictionary by Sujata Massey.

In 1930, a great ocean wave blots out a Bengali village, leaving only one survivor, a young girl. As a maidservant in a British boarding school, Pom is renamed Sarah and discovers her gift for languages. Her private dreams almost die when she arrives in Kharagpur and is recruited into a secretive, decadent world. Eventually, she lands in Calcutta, renames herself Kamala, and creates a new life rich in books and friends. But although success and even love seem within reach, she remains trapped by what she is . . . and is not. As India struggles to throw off imperial rule, Kamala uses her hard-won skills—for secrecy, languages, and reading the unspoken gestures of those around her—to fight for her country’s freedom and her own happiness.


Broken Wings, Soaring HeartsSpotted on Harlequin Junkie--a blog I follow--and on my wishlist due to the aviation theme and woman pilot: Broken Wings, Soaring Hearts by Beverly A. Rogers.

Hailey Holman is a woman determined to keep her dad’s memory and his dream of reopening their small-town Texas base station alive. Jack Stinson is looking for a peaceful place to escape the rat race of the big city life and big city business of his own family’s airplane manufacturing business.

What a perfect match. Other than the fact that her mom hates the flying business with a passion and fights Hailey’s every effort, and Jack’s dad fought his every effort to make the break, then disowned him for leaving. Throw in two town bullies who insist on opening a base station of their own and reeking havoc on Hailey’s plans and her own determinatio not to get personally involved with the employees, and it’s anything but smooth sailing.

But these two focused pilots might just be surprised how things can work out with enough stubbornness … and faith.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tip from Tara: Put Your Book On Goodreads!!!

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because Pudgy Pug and I had a tussle over the keyboard. She wanted to post more demands for treats and discuss her latest bowel movement--NOT appropriate content for Book Babe! Anyway, who knows if she got a paw in or not.

I felt it past time to post this. Authors, here is a HOW-TO Guide for putting your books on Goodreads. I'm tired of doing it for you. *insert sweet smile* And truth is, sometimes I see a book on Amazon I want to read and I go to GR to mark it so I don't forget about it...and it's not there, and I just don't bother. That means...I forget about it and that book never gets read. So bookmark this!

First of all, if you haven't already applied for a Goodreads Author Account, you need to do so. First, you need to use Goodreads as a user, just a plain average reader, and once you have 50 books on your shelf, you may email Goodreads and apply for an author account. I advise you to make your plain-Jane account the same name you will be wanting your author account under so the combining of them goes smoothly. As a Goodreads author you will be able to edit your own books, rather than have a librarian do it for you all the time.

Anyone can add a book to the database, to my knowledge. If you are just adding your book for the first time, or even adding another edition of the same book (cover change, publisher change, etc...please put ALL editions on the site. Reviewers like to mark the edition they are reading specifically), this is what you can do:

Do a search in the Goodreads search box at the top. Type in the title of your book, add a comma, your author name.

If the search does NOT pull up your book, then you need to add it. Look to the right of the list...

You'll see this:

Click on the words: Manually add a book.

You will then see this screen:

It is as simple matter of filling out the form. Author name, title, numbers, blurb, language. In the upper right there is a place to upload the book cover. It's best not to swipe it from Amazon but use your jpg.

Click on:

And you are done!!!!!

Now, if you have added another edition of a book already in the database due to cover change, publisher change, etc, this is where you WILL need to enlist the help of a librarian. You can almost always find someone willing to do this as it takes seconds... Often you can go into a Goodreads help group such as: Goodreads Feedback and ask for help. Mention the book title and your author name and ask if someone would combine the editions for you.

BUT, you can EDIT the data on any of your titles. Simply go to the book's page by using the search engine and clicking away--or use your author dashboard--and click edit details in the book's description. Please see what I've circled in the following screen shot. This is pretty tricky to find.

Clicking on that will pull up that same form you saw to first create the book. Change whatever data needs to be changed. Perhaps someone else entered your book and didn't have the ASIN number or something and you need to add that. Be sure to add your reason for changing data.

Click on Save Changes.

I hope this helps.