Monday, March 31, 2014

Running by Patrice Fitzgerald

RUNNINGI was drawn to this story because it's about a woman running for president of the United States. In this story, she's already a Vice President, so she's pretty darn close, and as a woman in the White House is something I'm dying to see in my lifetime, I was eager to read this.

I will say that even though I liked it for the most part, it wasn't what I was hoping for. It's more of a suspense type thing, not a political story. It's a story of secrets, blackmail, betrayal, and high-speed chases, with lots of people trying to turn things to benefit them. Anyway, when the president gets ill and the heroine is asked to take over the office while he recuperates, we don't see her implementing any important changes or doing anything remotely interesting. All she does is go to fundraisers. I was hoping for more serious stuff.

The most it delves into real politics is by showing us what the TV networks do. It really brought to light how much control the television and newscasters have over public opinion. It made it all seem so ridiculous, and it is. I also appreciate how this story really hit home the fact that some behavior is totally acceptable for men, but not for women. We're still living by the double standard.

"The public allows men to have a sexual appetite. It's still shocking in a woman."

The story also reminds us what should really take priority when selecting someone into office. Can they lead us? Can they make the right decisions? That's what it should be about, not who they slept with 20, 30 years ago or how many children they may have.

"A little sex scandal is nothing compared to sending soldiers to die."

I did like it, but I have some quibbles. I knew who the blackmailer was asap. I also figured out who the daughter was too soon too. I'd have liked to be have been left in suspense a bit longer. The blackmailer's scenes became annoying too. I would have toned this person's parts back a bit, though I do appreciate the other moral/theme here, about how drug addiction can take a decent, well-educated, successful person, and just make them a monster. I also had some trouble with the "scandal", well, with how the heroine handled it when she was young. I thought her reasons for doing what she did lame and it kind of made me lose respect for her. I mean, my personal opinion: the country handles interracial children a lot better than they would ever handle a woman president.

"Sometimes the best man for the job is a woman."

I nabbed this on Amazon a while back.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Because Two Feminists Are Better Than One: Please Welcome Shomeret

Naw, naw, naw *pffft*
Image from stock.xchng
Book Babe has changed a lot since it first started. It was at one time only book reviews. Then it grew to include author interviews, Strong is Sexy posts, and soon, guest posts. For a brief period, I harassed you all about my own darn books. Now, you're even seeing movie reviews on here, movies I feel you'd all be interested in too, featuring strong or amazing women.

It's my blog and I can do what I want to. *see dog blowing raspberry to the left*

It's been fun, hasn't it?

Today I want to share something else exciting and new to Book Babe. I'd like you all to welcome a new reviewer. She's not NEW to the review industry. She's had a Goodreads account for a long time and has been my friend on there for years. I've asked her to join me on here because I love her reviews. She has such great insight and every one of her reviews is interesting. She always backs up her POV with research and I always look forward to her thoughts and opinions on a book.

from stock.xchng
Please welcome Shomeret, an aspiring writer who loves all things historical and quality fiction that is original in some way. She inhabits the borderland called liminality by anthropologists. She rides a leopard in her imagination.

Shomeret will be posting reviews on Book Babe when she feels like. She also loves strong heroines and to quote her when I invited her to join me, believes, "two feminists are better than one." So you can see why I like her. :)

You may see something from her once a week, twice a week, once a month; it's up to her. We sometimes read the same books and have differing opinions, so sometimes you'll see double reviews. We are occasionally going to read the same novel and post both our reviews here on the same post and let you all decide for yourself if the book is for you.

I hope you all show her the same enthusiasm you do me... Actually, no, please show her more. LOL. (Sometimes I wonder where you're all at. *smh*)

For those wondering, she does have a blog, but it's down at this time. When it is back up, she will be informing you all. You can follow her on Goodreads though.

I'll be making tiny changes around here; My Reading Radar will become OUR Reading Radar and so on, but everything else will stay the same. I should change the banner to Book Babes. Heck, I should have changed my banner to Books & Movies Hits & Misses & More, but that takes money and I love my banner as is. LOL

But you will know. It's Book BABES now.

Thanks, everyone, and have a great Sunday, and OH---period drama fans, don't forget tonight is two season premieres one after the other: season three of Call the Midwife and season two of Mr. Selfridge, both on PBS.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Forgotten Pharaoh by Laura DeLuca Release Party #Giveaway


Julie Gerber isn't thrilled to be pulled out of school her senior year to follow her parents halfway around the world to unearth a lost pyramid. However, when the cute British guy and the mysterious financier of their project both fight for her attention, things start to get interesting.

The pharaoh known as Djedefre was cursed for the murder of his eldest brother. The work of the archaeologists brings new secrets to light, ones that prove the fallen god-king wasn't the villain history had
painted him to be. Can they prove his innocence?

As the team digs deeper into the mystery, members of the party vanish or end up dead. Someone is determined to keep the truth hidden at all costs, even 4,500 years later.

 Be sure to add The Forgotten Pharaoh to your to-read list on Goodreads and check it out on Manic Readers!

 About the Author

Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children.  In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the editor of a popular review blog called New Age Mama.  Her works include
romantic thrillers, paranormal fiction, contemporary romance, and young adult.

  Follow the author
Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Pinterest

The Giveaway

Author Laura DeLuca has put together a selection of prizes that go along with the story. All the prizes are Egyptian themed. Prize pack includes a decorative wall plague, oil diffuser, incense, book mark, collectible pens, necklace, scarab bead, real papyrus bookmark, pin, and ankh charms. ACV is around $100.

Our friends from Magical Monk Bags have also created a one-of-a-kind Egyptian style handbag depicting a scene of the Great Pyramids. The bag was hand-embroidered and is absolutely beautiful. AVC - $40.

Finally, The Whimsical Pixie has contributed a handmade dowsing board complete with blood stone pendulum valued at $45.99.

One lucky winner will walk away with all these prizes! Total value is over $180. To enter, simply fill out the rafflecopter form below. Giveaway will end on 4/29/14 and is open to the US only.

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Disclosure: Host blogs are not
responsible for prize delivery. Facebook, pinterest, and twitter are in no way associated with this giveaway.

My Reading Radar (3/29/2014)

Charming The DukeSpotted on my friend's blog and now on my wishlist. Charming the Duke by Holly Bush.

1849 . . . Matilda Sheldon, the middle daughter of the sixth Earl of Bisset, has never been interested in the fashionable society events that so preoccupy her parents and siblings. Her loving, albeit, daft family cannot understand why. But Matilda has little use for silly rules and dramas. She would rather occupy her time with a worthwhile cause such as opening The Sheldon Home for Orphans, much to the chagrin of her mother and grandmother. They are quite certain a venture of this nature will discourage suitors. Matilda is quite certain that if suitors are discouraged it is because she is clever, plain, a bit clumsy, and inevitably compared to her beautiful sisters.

The Duke of Thornsby is in tight spot. After receiving the title on the death of his father, he discovers the inheritance is to be gifted elsewhere if he does not marry before his thirtieth birthday. Unfortunately, our man-about-town is embroiled in a scandal, not of his own making, and the marriage mamas won’t let any eligible misses anywhere near him. What’s a Duke to do? Get invited to a house party hosted by the notoriously absent-minded Earl of Bisset, who just happens to be Papa to some young ladies of marriageable age!

Thornsby finds himself fascinated, not with the two Sheldon debutantes actively seeking a husband, but rather with the ‘brown wren’ he first mistakes for a servant. Matilda is counting the hours until the house party ends when the necessity of conversing with the guests will be over, and ridiculously handsome men go far away. Can a worldly Duke convince a sensible girl to accept his court? Find out in Charming the Duke.


The Temptations of Anna Jacobs (Dangerous Liaisons, #2)Nabbed on Netgalley because it reminds me of the recent Mary Hart Perry book, The Shadow Princess, The Temptations of Anna Jacobs by Robyn DeHart is on my kindle. It seems I cannot resist books featuring women going after the Ripper.

When Drew Foster is released from prison, he doesn't much care about salvaging his soiled reputation. Though he's working undercover, everyone in Victorian London believes him guilty of the Jack the Ripper murders and that his brother paid for his "innocence."

Despite her genteel upbringing, Anna Jacobs is intent on finishing medical school and becoming a physician. Society's ridicule has never bothered her, but when her brother, the Yard's best detective, is scorned for letting Drew go, she confronts the one man who can set the record straight at a ball. She certainly doesn't count on the rogue being dashing and handsome, nor on him stealing a passionate kiss.

Anna's brazen contempt for his dangerous reputation captivates Drew, but he is harboring secrets that make him unfit to court any proper woman. As he finds himself an outsider among his colleagues at Scotland Yard, the feisty beauty offers up her medical knowledge to assist him on the case. But when the real killer returns to London to continue his reign of terror, can Anna find safety in Drew's arms?


The Butterfly and the Violin (Hidden Masterpiece, #1)Spotted on NG. I'm not normally into strong religious themes, but this story is drawing me. The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron.

And then came war . . .

"Today." Sera James spends most of her time arranging auctions for the art world's elite clientele. When her search to uncover an original portrait of an unknown Holocaust victim leads her to William Hanover III, they learn that this painting is much more than it seems.

"Vienna, 1942." Adele Von Bron has always known what was expected of her. As a prodigy of Vienna's vast musical heritage, this concert violinist intends to carry on her family's tradition and play with the Vienna Philharmonic. But when the Nazis learn that she helped smuggle Jews out of the city, Adele is taken from her promising future and thrust into the horrifying world of Auschwitz.

The veil of innocence is lifted to expose a shuddering presence of evil, and Adele realizes that her God-given gift is her only advantage; she must play. Becoming a member of the Women's Orchestra of Auschwitz, she fights for survival. Adele's barbed-wire walls begin to kill her hope as the months drag into nearly two years in the camp. With surprising courage against the backdrop of murder and despair, Adele finally confronts a question that has been tugging at her heart: Even in the midst of evil, can she find hope in worshipping God with her gift?

As Sera and William learn more about the subject of the mysterious portrait--Adele--they are reminded that whatever horrors one might face, God's faithfulness never falters.


Bird's Eye ViewSpotted on Edelweiss and on my wishlist. You all know I can't resist a woman in aviation story. Bird's Eye View by Elinor Florence.

Rose Jolliffe is an idealistic young Canadian when she joins the British Royal Air Force in World War II as an aerial photographic interpreter. Working with intelligence officers at the Danesfield mansion in England, Rose spies on the enemy from the sky, watching the war unfold through her magnifying glass. When her commanding officer, Gideon Fowler, spots potential in Rose, her prospects look bright. But can he be trusted? Rose's path is a painful one, paralleled by the progress of the war and Canada's emergence from Britain's shadow.


She Wrote on ClayAfter reading a fascinating guest post from this author, I've added her book to my wishlist too. She Wrote on Clay by Shirley Graetz.

3,800 years ago, in the city of Sippar, on the banks of the Euphrates, lltani dreams of becoming a female scribe, a profession dominated by men. In order to fulfill her destiny, she enters the gagu to become a nad tu, an elite class of monastic women. But life is not so simple and misfortunes threaten her goal. On the verge of despair, it takes all her strength to continue the difficult journey.

Friday, March 28, 2014

10 Interesting Things About Shattered Embrace: Guest Post & Giveaway

1 – Author P.R. (Piper) Newton is an adoptive mother with a background in psychology, her experiences in both of these areas inspired the writing of this story.

2 – Shattered Embrace is told from the perspective of both the mother and daughter, which provides a special insight into the dynamic of adoption.

3 – Bethlehem Lily’s perspective is not shown through part of the story. This was done intentionally to reflect the fight or flight state that she was in during that time due to stress and trauma. Life for Bethlehem would have been so overwhelming during that transition, higher level processing would have been difficult.

4 – Many scenes throughout the book were inspired by real events in the adoption community, yes even the worm scene. Thankfully that one is not very common.

5 – Although this novel has been “in the works” for six years (from the very first idea of writing), the bulk of the story was actually written over a six week period. Once the words started flowing it was hard to stop them!

6 – After writing the story, it went into storage for over a year. That much time was needed before Piper could view it with fresh eyes.

7 – While writing the scenes about Ernest, Piper was in the public library and started crying. She saved the tougher scenes for private writing moments after that.

8 – The first chapter of Shattered Embrace was written on check out slips at the library while her kids played in the children’s section. Piper had to keep checking out more books to get more paper.

9 – As a devout geek mom, Piper slipped in references to two of her favourite shows, Doctor Who and Firefly.  She is curious to see how many readers find them.

10 – Shattered Embrace is written by a Canadian, about Canadians, so the story uses Canadian spellings and grammar. Canadians love the letter ‘u’!


Bethlehem took her first breath as her mother took her last.

Left to survive in overcrowded Ethiopian orphanages, she developed survival skills rivaling a warrior - a fierce, independent fighter before she could walk or talk. As she approached her second birthday, Bethlehem lived her days guided by two rules: everyone leaves and trust no one.

A world away in Canada, Tory Witcraft is trying to adopt from Ethiopia with her husband, Matt, when her adoption agency goes bankrupt, threatening her dreams of becoming a mother. Against the advice of many, including government officials threatening to revoke the adoption, she goes to Ethiopia, and her new daughter, Bethlehem.

When they finally meet, both mother and daughter struggle to connect, each trapped by their own fears and demons. Emotions and tempers run hot. Hearts and dreams collide, shattering a family before it could fully form.

The adoption journey was difficult, but no one expected the hardest part of the journey would begin once they met.


P.R. (Piper) Newton is a proud geek mom of two little boys, one through birth, one through adoption. She has a background in psychology and continues to take post-grad courses in childhood trauma and development. In her writings she loves to explore the human mind, putting her characters through unthinkable things, just to see how they react. She is a full-time author, who believes in the magical, creative inducing powers of arm warmers and stripy socks.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Strong is Sexy Heroine of the Week: Jet Tetsuo

Book: The Culling (Slave Girl Chronicles #1)
Author: JC Andrijeski
Heroine: Jet Tetsuo

Jet Tetsuo, the 19-year-old heroine of The Slave Girl Chronicles novels, grew up in a post-apocalyptic version of earth that's now being run by an alien species known as the Nirreth. Jet grew up protecting her mother and brother with her Japanese-style sword, Black, which she learned how to use after being trained by her ex-rebel uncle and his ex-rebel wife. She's spent the vast majority of her life hiding out underground from the Nirreth, in the skag pits outside of Vancouver, BC, which exist in the dead zone well away from the furthest edges of Nirreth society. From there, she and her friends and family hunt for food, grow what they can in the changed atmosphere, and fight off animals and human bandits, as well as the Nirreth themselves.

Jet's tough and sexy because she's totally her own person, self-reliant and unafraid to make her own way in the world, despite all of the obstacles in front of her. While she's a survivor and will cut corners when she has to, to protect the ones she loves, she never loses her sense of who she is...even after she gets picked up by one of the infamous "culling" ships of their Nirreth overlords. The Nirreth bring Jet to one of the Nirreth Green Zones to fight in the Rings, their version of the Colosseum, only populated mainly by human slaves, and while they try to wear her down and make her "obedient," they never truly succeed, even when she has to compromise with them to stay alive.

Jet is a 19-year-old skag, one of the humans still living free on Earth following an invasion of creatures called the Nirreth. Squatting in the ruins of Vancouver, Canada, Jet and her family eke out an existence underground, hiding from the culler ships. No one knows where the ships take the people they grab, but they never return. When a culler finds Jet, she may discover the truth the hard way.

Jet landed hard on a metal deck. It felt as if she’d been thrown there bodily by two large men, each holding one half of her arms and her legs.

For a long-seeming second, she sat on the ridged metal floor, panting, gripping the wall with one hand. She gripped the hilt of her sword in the other.

The instant she could focus her eyes, blinking back the tears from the wind and her screaming as she rose in the air, Jet lurched drunkenly to her feet, holding the sword in front of her. Both of her hands gripped the hilt as soon as Jet pushed off from the wall.

She could barely see the creature in front of her, but she heard a hiss as it backed off. She stepped towards the lit hatch door, moving sideways so that her eyes never left the tall, midnight blue-skinned shape in front of her. When she finally chanced a glance down, her heart sank. The hovercraft stood at around the fifth story of the nearest building.

If she jumped, she’d die. And she didn’t see a ladder, or even the vine-like rope they’d used to haul her up.

“Let me down!” she shouted, taking a step towards the creature with the sword.

He slid gracefully back, moving with an incredible lightness for such a tall creature.

“Let me down!” she insisted, louder. “I’ve broken no laws!

Which wasn’t true of course. Just living underground, squatting in caves and growing their own food was technically against the law. Much less the poaching they did, or the bartering with others, including black marketeers. Really, the only way to live outside the Nirreth cities and not break the law was to work for the Nirreth directly and live in their assigned settlements, what humans called the ‘Hamster Cage.’ Even those people starved unless they cut corners.

Jet knew that because her settlement traded with them for some of the staples they had no other way to get locally. Like rice. Flour. Even sugar on occasion.

But the laws were just an excuse. The Nirreth must know just like we did that everyone broke them, pretty much every day. They picked up skags because they could.

“Let me down!” Jet yelled again. “You have no right to keep me!”

She tensed when the creature met her gaze with its large, black eyes. It gestured towards her, in one of the few Nirreth signs she knew.

It was a peace gesture, an offering to parlay.

“No,” she said. “No parley! Let me down...right now!”

Purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Omnilit, Drivethru

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ten Questions from Tara: Interview with John A. Heldt, author of The Mine

Tara: You’re here to promote The Mine and the Northwest Passage series. What was the inspiration behind this story? How did it come to you?

The Mine (Northwest Passage #1)John: I wrote The Mine shortly after reading and watching The Time Traveler's Wife in July 2011. Back to the Future was also an influence, as were A Walk in the Clouds, From Here to Eternity, The Time Machine, Racing with the Moon, The Notebook, and the short story, "A Sound of Thunder." I was also inspired by stories I had read about the attack on Pearl Harbor. One of my uncles, a construction worker in Honolulu who later served in the Army Air Corps, witnessed the whole thing from his car. The attack was, in my opinion, the most pivotal and defining event of the past hundred years. After watching many of the movies above, I wanted to write about 1941 but not in the usual way. I wanted to cover the months leading up to December 7 and do so from the perspective of a civilian time traveler who knew war was coming and wasn't all that thrilled about jumping into it. My protagonist wrestles with difficult decisions, the kind that can only confront someone with knowledge of things to come.

Tara: We focus a lot on heroines here on Book Babe. Tell me what makes your heroines strong.

John: There are several heroines in the Northwest Passage series, but none are more prominent than Grace Vandenberg Smith. As the protagonist of The Show and the girlfriend and mother of the protagonists of The Mine and The Mirror, respectively, Grace is the most important female character in the series and arguably the most sympathetic. She faces excruciating personal trials in three of the books after she is suddenly and unexpectedly separated from loved ones. In each instance, she adapts to her new circumstances and bravely carries on.

Tara: Did any particular woman in your family or life help inspire some of her traits?

John: Yes. Grace was inspired in part by my wife Cheryl.

Tara: What makes her sexy?

John: There are several things. Like most of the heroines in the Northwest Passage series, Grace is physically attractive. She is a slender platinum blonde, a classic 1940s beauty. She is also kind, compassionate, and extraordinarily resourceful. She's the shy young woman everyone underestimates in the beginning in the book but can't appreciate enough in the end.

Tara: Where do you see your heroine ten years from now? What will she be? What do you predict she’ll accomplish?

John: Grace will be what she's always wanted to be – the matriarch of a large family. She will also enjoy a second life as a public school teacher, a career she gave up when World War II intervened.

Tara: What kind of research did you do when you penned this novel? Did anything surprising come up in your search?

John: I did extensive research for four of the five books in the series. The exception was The Journey. I lived in eastern Oregon in 1979 and 1980, so I was well versed in the place and time. One thing I noticed in researching all of the novels is that young people in 1941, 1979, 1918, 1910, and 1964 behaved pretty much the same. Only the music, cars, and fashions changed.

Tara: What would you like readers to gain from reading your book? Is there a strong moral? Do you hope they will laugh, learn something, or ponder a point?

John: The Northwest Passage series is, in many respects, a collection of five morality plays. My protagonists travel to the times of their not-so-distant ancestors and constantly weigh the consequences of their actions. I want readers to ask what they would do if they faced similar challenges. Would they use their knowledge of the past to enrich themselves? Better the lives of others? Change fates? Or would they resist the temptation to mess with history and leave well enough alone? I want readers to laugh and cry – hopefully in the right places – but I also want them to think about things like courage, honor, and sacrifice.

Tara: Now let’s talk about your hero. What draws the heroine to him?

John: Grace is drawn to Joel Smith in The Mine not only because he is handsome and charming but also because he is different than the typical college guys from her time (1941). He is intelligent and confident. He talks about things she has never even thought about – like time travel – which is perfectly understandable for someone who has traveled from a high-tech future to a simpler past.

Tara: Your book takes place in Seattle. If I were a tourist, what would you recommend I see there?

I would recommend that you see the Pike Place Market, a Mariners game, and the EMP Museum.

Tara: A more personal question. What’s the one thing you hope to accomplish before you die? Your main goal?

John: I can't narrow it down to one, buy I can whittle it down to three. I want to walk one of my daughters down the wedding aisle, hold a grandchild, and see one of my novels turned into a movie.

Tara: I’m a dog mom, so I always ask this. Do you have pets? If so, tell me about them and do provide pictures.

John: I'm a dog lover of the first order and have a mutt named Mocha. I also have a cat, Charlotte. Both are easy going and have a lot of personality.


About The Mine: In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.

About John:
John A. Heldt is a reference librarian and the author of the critically acclaimed Northwest Passage time-travel series. The former award-winning sportswriter and newspaper editor has loved getting subjects and verbs to agree since writing book reports on baseball heroes in grade school. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the University of Iowa, he is an avid fisherman, sports fan, home brewer, and reader of thrillers and historical fiction. When not sending contemporary characters to the not-so-distant past, he weighs in on literature and life at

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hidden in Silence: A Movie About the Podgórski Sisters

I recently watched this gem from 1996. Many of you have probably seen it, but some of you may not have.. The sad thing is with every generation, WWII grows further and further away and fewer people are interested or don't care.

But if you forget risk repeating it, and we certainly don't want a repeat of that time.

Hidden in Silence takes place in Poland during the war and it starts when Germany invades. We see it through the eyes of a Catholic friend of a Jewish family. She's also betrothed to their son. The movie shows us at first a gorgeous day in Poland, with girls dreaming of waltzes, and suddenly, it call comes to an end. The Germans invade, randomly shoot women walking their dogs, and the Jews are gathered and sent to the ghetto to await massacre.

This incredible woman, Fusia is her name in the movie, at first visits the ghetto nearly every day to sneak food. She even stands up and screams at a Nazi. It's amazing she doesn't get caught. I truly had my doubts and scoffed until I realized this was based on a true story. The real woman was only 16 at the time (I think the chick in the movie is older) and she not only cared for her sister but harbored 13 Jews for 2 and a half years (with German nurses and officers right there in the apartment!) while working in a munitions? factory.

Way to work it. LOL. I thought that was a cool twist--and it's true--her working for the Germans and taking their money home to buy food for the Jews. Very cool.

In the movie we see the cruelty of the Nazis, the conditions of the camps, and the insanity that can result from being cooped up in a dark room forced to be silent for so long.

But this is truly an amazing woman. Was an amazing woman and it makes for a great movie. I became very engrossed in this, to the point I was actually yelling at the screen. "No! Don't do that. What are you? Stupid??" My heart even stopped beating when an officer went to check the attic. The ending had tears in my eyes.

Great acting and I'm not even a fan of Kellie Martin. The movie does have that "nineties" look about it. No HD here, but we've gotten spoiled, haven't we?

I watched this on Amazon Prime.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Red Skies (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters) by Kay Bratt

Red Skies (Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters)This is a story of three incredible brave strong heroines.

Mari, the adult, learns to stand on her own two feet when she doubts she can do so and struggles through loss and blame. An Ni, a pre-teen, has strength to survive all kinds of pain--both physical and emotional. Part of a street gang, she faces difficulties many of us can barely imagine, and never gives in to defeat. Mei, an even younger girl, despite the trauma she's been through, not only has the strength to carry on, but also to carry the other two emotionally and when An Ni needs help, Mei is there for her and shoulders responsibilities no little girl should.

They are so amazing and each one pulled on my heartstrings. We could all learn something from these heroines.

But something else I loved about this book....let me find the words. Okay, I thought at first from the blurb, that this would be a romance. Most blurbs tell you a little something about the heroine and then a little something about the hero and you know they'll get together in the end and live HEA, right?

I wondered how Ms. Bratt was going to go about this with the heroine being married.

Boy, was I surprised. First of all, it's not a romance. It's a story of amazing friendship--you could even call it life-saving friendship--between two people who have a common goal of doing right by two little girls. They don't know it, but they've been brought together for a reason, and together, they must also learn a few life lessons: don't blame yourself and let go of bitterness.

Through all this: Max's depression, Mari's shocking life changes, An Ni's pain and doubt, and Mei's struggle to keep it all together, we also learn about China and some of its culture--their funeral customs, the government's twisting of facts and manipulation of journalism, the tension foreigners face if they ask too many questions. More than one journalist had been detained or jailed and charged with illegal activity for simply interviewing everyday people.

I appreciate this. I recently watched a dance show called Shen Yun and the performers and their agenda made me aware that there are problems in China today, that it didn't stop with Mao's reign--I credit Ms. Bratt's stories for educating me on that as well.

With this tale taking place in the big city, I saw and felt the tension between the lines--people's reluctance to involve the authorities, the government trying to twist the trafficking facts, silencing Max when they could...

This story also reminded me more than once of all I have and take for granted.

It wasn't easy to watch people going by on their way to protective and loving homes as you scurried into a dark hole somewhere, searching for warmth never to be found.

And as odd as this will seem, after reading this, I vow to be a better tourist!

Most of the foreigners she dealt with got frustrated and short tempered when they couldn't be understood or things didn't go their way. She'd seen more than one stomp away, cursing to themselves that they'd ever come to China, reactions usually brought about after they'd become winded while walking along the wall, or when too many souvenir hawkers had pushed them past their limits. What some didn't understand was the difference between selling five postcard packets or none might mean the difference between feeding family that night or going hungry.

I also loved and appreciated the underground tunnel bits. Fascinating!

Long review short: This is probably Ms. Bratt's finest book to date and considering I loved every single one of the Scavenger Daughter stories thus far, that's a compliment. You'll smile, cry, chew your fingernails with worry, and walk away more educated and enlightened than when you first started.

"They do realize, don't they, that they wouldn't be here if not for some little girl that grew up to be their mother?"

I received this from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

My Reading Radar 3/22/2014

The Mine (Northwest Passage #1)Let's see...what hit the list this week...first of all, I have decided to finally read The Mine by John A. Heldt. I've seen many good reviews about it and its sequel, The Show. I'm told you can't read one without the other, so I'm going to read this one first. I'm interested in the fact it takes in Montana.

In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground. But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity. He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way. Stuck in the age of Whirlaway, swing dancing, and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war. With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books. But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever. THE MINE follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.


The New ColossusThe New Colossus by Marshall Goldberg was spotted on Netgalley and found its way to my kindle. It's about Nellie Bly!

Greed. Corruption. Murder. New York in 1880 is a hell of a place to make your living.

Nellie Bly arrives at age 24 in Manhattan, lacking connections and money, but blessed with an abundance of courage and a skill for reportage. Within ten months she lands two front-page stories on the country’s most widely-read newspaper, Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World.

The pugnacious and voluble Pulitzer is so impressed that he assigns her to get to the bottom of a murder that has confounded the police—the untimely death of his friend Emma Lazarus, the controversial poet and activist. Her investigation leads to tense encounters with some of the most powerful and ruthless men of the time, in an era where elected officials are bought and sold, and where greed runs rampant on an unregulated Wall Street. Outgunned and ignoring her contemptuous all-male colleagues, Bly has only two real allies: a doctor who uses scientific techniques to establish criminal behavior, and a theater critic with unlimited access to underground New York. As the pieces fall into place Bly uncovers layer after layer of corruption, getting closer to a dangerous core—and to the truth.


Kindred SpiritsIt had me at bi-plane, stunt pilot, and well..just read the blurb. From NG and on my Kindle: Kindred Spirits by Beth Ciotta and Cynthia Valero.

Amazing Grace...What kind of paranormal prank is this, anyway?

Shoved from the tower of the haunted Van Buren mansion, 21st century chick magnet Rufus Sinclair wonders how in Hades he’s landed in Atlantic City in the Roaring Twenties. Why does he have to be the one to help wayward flapper Izzy Van Buren find redemption? Worse, why does he have to go and fall for flirtatious Izzy’s best friend, daredevil barnstormer Grace LaRue? Even in her tomboy togs and aviator goggles, needs-a-man-like-bees-need-knees Grace instantly kindles his erotic interest—then hijacks his love-proof heart. It’s almost as if he’s lived—and loved her—before. She Dubbed Him Ace . . .

Who is this sheik-sexy stranger who appears out of nowhere, claiming amnesia and wearing pilot’s wings? A gift from above, sent to help restore her stunt pilot reputation? Or a Federal agent intent on bringing down her scandalous friends? All Grace knows for sure is that the zing-zap electricity shooting between her and Ace threatens to short-circuit her self-control.

Kindred Spirits? . . . With the friction between them mounting, Rufus risks life and limb to wing-walk on Grace’s Word War I biplane . . . slow dances and swills bootleg hooch with her in an all-night speakeasy . . . and creates a media frenzy guaranteed to restore her rep as the East Coast’s best aviatrix. Together, they generate enough sexual heat to melt Grace’s fear-driven defenses and his no-strings-attached armor. But his panic grows by the hour. He dreads he’ll be blown back to the future, failing to save Izzy . . . and leaving his amazing Grace—and his heart—behind.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The White Queen Season One

You could say I'm a fan of Philippa Gregory. It was her The Other Boleyn Girl that introduced and hooked me on historical fiction. But this series, about the York wars, didn't interest me much. But I've been known to enjoy the movies made from books more than the books themselves at times, so I was eager to watch this. I also love a good period drama.

The costumes, the acting, the twists, did not disappoint.

The first two episodes, two or three hours, I think, tells about the Rivers woman of the Lancanshires. Old King Henry has been pushed aside and the throne taken by force by a York named Edward. Behind is Warwick, the "Kingmaker". These episodes chronicle his rather short reign. 'Cause let's be realistic here...once the throne is taken by force and the anointed king thrown in the tower...well, you've give people ideas and shown how very easy it is... As I said at the end of watching this bit, to the rather dumb Elizabeth, "What did you expect? Duh, lady."

After fending off her rapist, suddenly she's in love with this brute?What I hated about this: The sex. It was GROSS. And the romance between Edward and Elizabeth, while def better than what goes on between the Kingmaker's daughter and George, was yuck! Oh, they were passionate enough about each other later, but their first stages of "love" made me literary gag. He sees her ONCE and makes it clear, by saying it repeatedly, he must have her, that's he's desperate and even goes so far as to attempt to rape her.

Something totally flew over my head here. I didn't get it. From that point on, every time I saw them embrace, kiss, couple--and the show made it quite often. We weren't ever to forget they wanted each other's bods, badly--I cringed.

Just YUCK.

But all that aside, the court intrigue, the moving around of lands to those Elizabeth favors, the witchcraftery, and then a young Henry's mother keeps the pace moving and kept me intrigued. 

Margaret, Henry's mother....what a horrid character. I liked her better in the book, whereas the Rivers women, I liked them better in the movie. The magic was cooler in the movie too, whereas it felt out of place in the novel. Especially liked the storm...

While Margaret is super irritating, her young Henry stole my heart. But then the show had to ruin that by impression by showing an older Henry "going at" a woman from behind. What's with all the sex and nudity? I think we can get the idea without it being so vulgar.

You either love the characters or hate them, with passion. Great acting. They really sucked me into the tale. Oh, I wanted to slap Anne Neville.

It seems to me, however, that they pretty much summed up all three of PG's books, so what's going to be covered in season two? Are they just going to continue until they cover her Tudor series too?

I liked it, didn't LOVE it, but liked it. I would watch season two if it came my way, but I don't think I'd pay for it.

I received the DVDs via Amazon Vine.