Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Monday, April 16, 2018

"Everything We Lose" by Annette Oppenlander

Everything We Lose
by Annette Oppenlander

Everything We Lose by Annette Oppenlander is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Make sure you grab your copy for only $0.99 during the tour (ends 16 April). The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Two friends--one black, one white.
Torn apart by an attack gone wrong.
One escapes into war, the other is sold into slavery.
Told from alternating viewpoints, one black and one white, Surviving the Fatherland author Annette Oppenlander delivers another stunning historical tale set against the epic backdrop of the American Civil War--a breathtaking examination of the power of hope and friendship, and the endurance of the human spirit to find a way home.
Tennessee, 1861. Fifteen-year-old farm boy Adam Brown would do anything to protect his friend Tip, a slave at the neighboring plantation - even if it means fighting Nathan Billings, the rich and obnoxious landowner’s son. But when it seems his attack has killed Nathan, Adam has no choice but to run away and join the Union Army under an assumed name. Together with Wes, a chatty soldier with a few secrets of his own, Adam embarks on a traumatic odyssey through the war-torn Midwest. As his soul darkens with the atrocities of war, all he wants is to go home. But in order to do that - if he survives - he must face his past.
Unbeknownst to Adam, sixteen-year old Tip is sold to a farmer who takes drunken pleasure in torturing his slaves. Tip quickly realizes that if he wants to survive he must run. Ahead lie hundreds of miles of unknown country, infested by slave owners, traders, starvation and cold. And so begins a journey of escape and recapture, of brutal attacks and unexpected kindness. When a rescue by the Underground Railroad goes terribly wrong, Tip finds himself caring for a pregnant runaway, his journey seemingly at an end. They have reached the Ohio River, a vast watery expanse impossible to cross. It is only a matter of time before roaming slave traders will pick them up - he will never see his mother and his best friend again.

His attention returned to the path winding its way through the patch of woods. Just like Adam, he loved the quiet, the rustling of birds and squirrels, and the coolness of the trees. The shadows were long and he knew he was late—later than he’d wanted to be. His stomach hitched with worry as he pushed his legs to go faster. He’d skipped the dinner hour to be with his friend and make it less obvious that he’d left. He was supposed to ask permission, but when Mama Rose had come running into the vegetable garden with the news about Adam’s Pa, he’d not thought twice.
At last he slowed down. In the dusk, the lights of the kitchen glowed softly, reminding him that he hadn’t eaten. This was his mama’s domain where she ruled and created her famous dishes. He was proud of what she’d accomplished and wanted to do just as well.
No, better. He pressed his lips together. For now he’d stay quiet. No point in talking about it with his mama and downright dangerous to mention it anywhere else.
“Where have you been, boy?”
Tip froze. Master Billings had an uncanny way of appearing out of nowhere. Despite his massive frame, he walked silently, reminding Tip of a stalking cat, ready to pounce and devour.
Billings senior twirled his cane, ready to spear a beast. “I was looking for you earlier. About that porch…”
“Yessir,” Tip said, bowing low. “I see Adam, just for an hour. He lost his Pa in the war and—”
“You left without permission? Wilkes said he didn’t know where you were.”
“Yessir. Sorry, Sir,” Tip stammered. “I meant to ask but Adam my friend and…” He cringed, knowing what was going to be next.
“And though you are clearly not allowed to leave the plantation, you left anyway?” Billings came to a stop next to Tip. “Bend over.”
His gaze on the kitchen window, Tip crouched low, hurrying to cover his head with his arms and hoping his mama wouldn’t glance outside as the walking stick crashed on his shoulder blades.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“I fell in love with this book.” ~ Our Town Book Reviews
“Annette has done it again! She has written another great book one that will stay with me for a long time to come if not forever. If you are looking for a great book about the civil war and slavery that is right up there with Roots or Gone With the Wind then look no further as I think Everything We Lose will fit that category to a tee.” ~ The Avid Reader Blog
“This book is well researched, an easy read and covers the key opposing themes one wants to see in a Civil War novel - hope vs despair, love vs hate, friendship in the face of adversity, the importance of home and the need to journey away in order to really appreciate it. If you are a history lover, a Civil War buff, or just want to read a really good story, go for it!” ~ William C. Oris
“The author does a wonderful job describing actual events and brings reality to both characters. I strongly recommend this book …” ~ Scott Arquilla
“A compelling story set in the midst of the American Civil War. The author does not gloss over the horrors of war or the inhumanity of slavery. This is a story of faith, hope, and determination. Of coming of age during the most troubled time in American history. And most of all, it's a story of love and friendship that transcends race, politics, and distance. Annette Oppenlander has once again given us a historical page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat.” ~ jo

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
Beginning in August 1861 and ending in November 1865, we follow the lives of Adam, a fifteen-year-old farm boy, and his friend Tip, a slave on the neighboring Billings plantation. An incident causes Adam to run away and join the Union Army, while Tip tries to escape to freedom. Each action has a consequence, and the decisions the boys make will affect their own lives and those of everyone around them.
The story is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Adam and Tip, providing two vastly different perspectives. The narrative is full of rich details about the homes, food, and lifestyles of the time. Through the story, the author highlights the terrible conditions, the inhuman treatment of slaves, and the horrors of war and makes it all the more real by incorporating actual historical figures and events into the plot. She doesn't assume any prior knowledge of the Civil War or of slavery and does a good job of explaining without lecturing. However, she does provide some background information at the end of the book. It’s interesting to note that, even though the war was fought over slavery, the soldiers themselves were considered the property of the army.
Terribly depressing throughout, it’s a good thing the story ends on a positive note.
Warnings: graphic violence, sodomy, animal cruelty, rape.

About the Author
Annette Oppenlander
Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past.
Oppenlander’s bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, was elected to IWIC’s Hall of Fame, won the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award and is a finalist in the 2017 Kindle Book Awards. Her historical time-travel trilogy, Escape from the Past, takes readers to the German Middle Ages and the Wild West. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story. Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she recently returned to her home, Solingen, Germany where she lives with her husband and old mutt, Mocha.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $15 Amazon/B&N gift card.


Friday, April 6, 2018

"From Little Houses to Little Women" by Nancy McCabe

From Little Houses to Little Women:
Revisiting a Literary Childhood
by Nancy McCabe

From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting a Literary Childhood by Nancy McCabe

From Little Houses to Little Women by Nancy McCabe is currently on tour with Reading Addiction Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review and an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Nancy McCabe, who grew up in Kansas just a few hours from the Ingalls family’s home in Little House on the Prairie, always felt a deep connection with Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House series. McCabe read Little House on the Prairie during her childhood and visited Wilder sites around the Midwest with her aunt when she was thirteen. But then she didn’t read the series again until she decided to revisit in adulthood the books that had so influenced her childhood. It was this decision that ultimately sparked her desire to visit the places that inspired many of her childhood favorites, taking her on a journey that included stops in the Missouri of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Minnesota of Maud Hart Lovelace, the Massachusetts of Louisa May Alcott, and even the Canada of Lucy Maud Montgomery.
From Little Houses to Little Women reveals McCabe’s powerful connection to the characters and authors who inspired many generations of readers. Traveling with McCabe as she rediscovers the books that shaped her and ultimately helped her to forge her own path, readers will enjoy revisiting their own childhood favorites as well.

Book Video

Excerpt from Chapter 4
The healing powers of girls’ book heroines, the dazzling competence of Pa Ingalls, combined anew in the character of Nancy Drew.  Nothing fazed her. If someone at a neighboring table choked on raw steak, she paused from tracing clues to administer the Heimlich, add a delicious marinade to the meat, and fire up her portable grill to ensure that it was fully cooked. If Nancy’s boyfriend Ned discovered a message in Hieroglyphics, Nancy darted over to translate it—into French by way of Swahili. If her car overheated, Nancy purchased a new thermostat and installed it herself, substituting roadside sticks and rocks for more conventional tools. If Nancy’s slacks ripped while she was camping on a mountainside, she whipped out her sewing kit and stitched up a pair of new pants from tent cloth. So maybe these are exaggerations of Nancy’s prowess—but not by much.
Nancy was the original Barbie, thin and stylish and endlessly versatile, capable of assuming a new role with each new outfit, a short cultural leap to Newborn Baby Doctor Barbie, Aerospace Engineer Barbie, Sea World Trainer Barbie, and Beach Party Barbie. [Nancy] was effortlessly attractive, kind, and skillful, and we were repeatedly told how modest she was, even though she was always introducing herself by saying things like, “I’m Nancy Drew. My father is Carson Drew, the attorney.” Those words smacked to me of privilege and entitlement, an expectation that everyone should have heard of and been impressed by her father.
Sharing her first name called attention to all that I could not live up to. In contrast to the young sleuth, I was shy and awkward, and my world felt out of my control. In real life, modesty and shyness came down to the same thing, rendering me invisible. Nancy got away with so much; it wasn’t fair. She observed the faint sound of crickets on a pirated recording and concluded that it had been made at Pudding Stone Lodge because you could hear crickets there at night. I railed at this ludicrous deduction: where couldn’t you hear crickets at night?
My concept of how the world worked, with God in his heaven, the righteous vindicated, and truth and justice prevailing, was beginning to erode.
[Want more? Click below to read another excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
From Little Houses to Little Women brings a refreshing new thoughtfulness to the familiar, comforting act of revisiting our favorite childhood books. McCabe’s insightful readings and wryly observed travelogue make this an essential book for any classic children’s literature fan.” ~ Wendy McClure, author of The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie
From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting a Literary Childhood is a triple delight. Nancy McCabe takes her readers on nostalgic journeys back into those books that she and many of us read as children, as well as on literal journeys to the settings of those stories and the homes of their authors. At the same time, she presents her childhood responses to works by Wilder, Montgomery, Dickinson, Lovelace, and others, as well as her skillful assessment as an English professor. This layered approach to the literature is both provocative and satisfying. From Little Houses to Little Women is beautifully written, and McCabe is a frank, enlightening, down-to-earth, and immensely likeable traveling companion.” ~ Lisa Knopp, What the River Carries: Encounters with the Mississippi, Missouri, and Platte
“As a practicing writer of fiction, I cannot over-emphasize the importance of childhood reading. How enlightening it has been to read Nancy McCabe's account here, to share and compare both our childhood experiences and adult ruminations! Nancy's account of her car tour with her daughter inspired me to make my own visit to Mansfield, MO, where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote the Little House books. Childhood reading did more than delight; it resonates in who we are today.” ~ Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab's Wife; Abundance, a Novel of Marie Antoinette; The Fountain of St. James Court, or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman
“As McCabe’s literary journeys unfold, she explores the duality of rereading favorite childhood titles, shifting back and forth in time between her initial memories and experiences with these books, and her more informed perceptions as a critical adult reader. She also examines the contrast between real and fictional places, lingering on the sometimes disturbing gulf between the two and the more fascinating intersections where fiction and reality overlap.” ~ Pamela Smith Hill, Missouri Historical Review, July 2015 (Vol. 109, No. 4)

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
When her adopted daughter Sophie is a toddler, the author tries to recapture some of the magic of her own childhood by rereading some of her favorite childhood books. Unfortunately, she is no longer affected emotionally by them as she was as a child. Nancy recalls when, aged thirteen, she traveled with her aunt and cousin to Minnesota and South Dakota, the places where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived and wrote her Little House series. So, Nancy decides to take Sophie (starting when she is nine) on similar road trips. They travel to Pepin, Wisconsin, the site of Laura’s birth; Independence, Kansas, the site of the original Little House book; Mankato, Minnesota, the setting for Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy books; Walnut Grove, Minnesota, and Burr Oak, Iowa, sites of more of the Ingalls cabins; De Smet, South Dakota, and Mansfield, Missouri, settings for later Little House books; Prince Edward Island, the territory of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables; Concord, Massachusetts, the setting of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women; and Amherst, Massachusetts, the home of Emily Dickinson. Along the way, the author mentions such classic characters as Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy, Eunice Young Smith’s Jennifer Books, Lenora Mattingly Weber’s Beany Malone series, Elizabeth Enright’s Melendy books, and authors such as E. B. White and Noel Streatfeild. The book concludes with an extensive list of footnotes, a list of books mentioned, a complete bibliography, and even an index.
This is a well-written, engaging, and insightful book, part memoir, part travelogue, part literary criticism. It’s interesting to see how the author’s perceptions of her favorite books change over time, how some of her life choices have been influenced by these books, and how Sophie has difficulty relating to the books but learns to appreciate them by seeing them through her mother’s eyes. After reading this, I don’t think I’ll revisit my favorite children’s books; I’ll just leave my childhood memories intact.

About the Author
Nancy McCabe
Nancy McCabe is the author of four memoirs about travel, books, parenting, and adoption as well as the novel Following Disasters. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Prairie Schooner, Fourth Genre, and many other magazines and anthologies, including In Fact Books’ Oh Baby! True Stories about Conception, Adoption, Surrogacy, Pregnancy, Labor, and Love and McPherson and Company’s Every Father’s Daughter: Twenty-Four Women Writers Remember their Fathers. Her work has received a Pushcart and been recognized on Notable lists in Best American anthologies six times.


Monday, April 2, 2018

"The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder" by Cookie O'Gorman

The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder
by Cookie O'Gorman

The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder by Cookie O'Gorman

The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder by Cookie O'Gorman is due for release 4 April but is currently available for pre-order. This tour is brought to you by YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

In the south, everyone has a secret - and murder is served with sweet tea.
The word's out: Ethan Wilder’s coming back to town, and the people of Bowie, Georgia are in a southern tizzy. Everyone knows the story. He shot and killed his sister four years ago, and people say his father, Jim Wilder, the biggest holy roller this side of the Mississippi, sent him packing for just that reason. Even if her death was unofficially ruled a suicide, Ethan’s return has everybody talking.
Seventeen-year-old Delilah Doherty can’t go anywhere without hearing his name. Born and raised in Bowie, Delilah knows firsthand about the gossipmongers and how they love a good scandal. The daughter of a wild child and niece of the local psychic, she’s also the only one who doubts Ethan’s guilt.
After Ethan saves her life, the two start a slow and steady burn neither can deny. But when Bowie's spiritual leader is nearly murdered, it rocks the small southern town to its core. Delilah and Ethan are caught in the crossfire, their relationship threatened before it's even begun. Someone has it out for Ethan's family. With everyone convinced of Ethan's guilt, it's up to Delilah to unravel the mystery before someone else gets hurt or worse ... dead.

Just as I turned, a dark figure stepped out of the shadows.
“Oh,” I said, releasing a breath. “It’s just you.”
“Hmm,” Wilder said. “Relief. That’s a new one.”
Realizing how I must look, I dropped my hands. They’d flown to my chest in fear before I’d realized it was him. “What’re you doing back here? Do you smoke or something?”
“No,” he said. “Do you?”
“No,” I said incredulously.
He studied my face so long I began to blush.
“Tell your boyfriend not to bring his football into the music store anymore. It’s strange.”
“And lurking in shadows isn’t?” I crossed my arms. “Bruce isn’t my boyfriend.”
He scoffed quietly, which automatically got my blood up.
“What?” I said again.
His eyes went to mine. “You let just any guy touch you like that?”
“Sure, why not?” I said not missing a beat. “Haven’t you heard, Wilder? I’m a Doherty. Everyone gets a free ride. You want yours now?”
It was his turn to blush, but he didn’t. The jerk. The only reaction I perceived was a slight clenching of his jaw.
“No?” I pushed. “Had enough this morning, did you? Who was that girl anyway? A few things about her aren’t genuine, that’s for sure.”
He smiled a slow smile, and I bit my cheek. Where the heck had that come from?
“She’s just a girl,” Wilder said, still wearing that annoying smile.
“Then why was her tongue shoved down your throat?”
My eyes went wide. Holy crap, was that my voice?
Shaking his head, Wilder walked a few steps closer.
“It was only a kiss,” he said, stopping right in front of me.
“Yeah, right,” I muttered, though it was hard to say anything with him so close. My throat had gone dry, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t seem to swallow.
He leaned in until we were nose to nose then paused.
For one insane second, I thought: Good Lord, Ethan Wilder is going to kiss me.
Instead, he lifted his hand, ran two fingers lightly under my jaw. I shivered as the tips came away white, covered in powdered sugar.
“You know, you’re kind of cute when you’re jealous.” Rubbing the sugar away with his thumb, he straightened, turned and walked through the back door to the music store.
My face was a permanent shade of red, somewhere close to fire brick and flaming. Jealous? Me? Yeah right, I scoffed though it was too late for him to hear. It wasn’t like I cared who Ethan Wilder kissed. Nope, not me.
The heck with curiosity, I’d seen more than enough.

Praise for the Book
“O’Gorman has penned another winner. With the addition of a mysterious death, she turned the typical contemporary into something deeper, more thought-provoking, and fun. It has plenty of humor. Compelling characters. Wit and snark are also definite highlights. Ethan Wilder is perfect for those who like their contemporary reads with a bit more spunk.” ~ Kelli Spear
“I had fun trying to solve the mystery. After I finished reading the book, I had an ‘Aha’ moment. Everything just fell together and clicked. ‘I knew that,’ I said. No, I really didn't. Sometimes it takes me a bit to figure out a puzzle. I'm beginning to love Cookie O'Gorman's writing.” ~ Haddie Harper

About the Author
Cookie O'Gorman
Cookie O'Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her debut novel Adorkable is out now. Her second book, Ninja Girl, was released March 2017. The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder is due for release 4 April 2018.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.