Showing posts with label slavery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label slavery. Show all posts

Monday, April 16, 2018

"Everything We Lose" by Annette Oppenlander


REVIEW and GIVEAWAY
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.


Description
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.


Excerpt
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.

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

Links

Friday, March 30, 2018

"The Day I Saw the Hummingbird" by Paulette Mahurin


REVIEW and EXCERPT
The Day I Saw the Hummingbird
by Paulette Mahurin

The Day I Saw the Hummingbird by Paulette Mahurin

Author Paulette Mahurin stops by to share an excerpt from her latest book, The Day I Saw the Hummingbird. You can also read my review.
For more books by this author, please check out my blog post on The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and my blog post on The Seven Year Dress.

Description
On the eve of his tenth birthday, a young slave’s life is turned upside down. The unthinkable events that led up to the day Oscar Mercer saw a hummingbird test the limits of this young boy’s body, mind and soul. Gripped with fear and filled with anger, Oscar faces raw, crushing hatred aimed at him and everyone he loves. In a time when a nation was ripped apart geographically, economically, politically and morally, comes a story of a courageous boy who began life as a slave on a sugarcane plantation in Louisiana and escapes via The Underground Railroad. Through the efforts and good will of kind, brave people determined to free slaves, Oscar faces devastating obstacles and dangers. Struggling with his inner impulse to seek revenge for the injustices and violence levied on his family and friends, he discovers that in bondage you pray to God, but in freedom, you meet Him.
From the award-winning, best-selling author of The Seven Year Dress comes a story that brings another cadre of memorable characters alive on pages that pulse with hatred and kindness, cruelty and compassion, despair and hope. Oscar’s journey on the Underground Railroad is a heart-pounding ride that the reader will remember long after this story ends.

Excerpt
I came to understand that freedom wasn’t just escaping the chains, guns, dogs, and oppressive laws - the institutional barriers that existed for me and people like me. And still do to this day. No! My personal freedom came from inside of me when I realized that, no matter where I am, my thoughts and feelings are the invisible chains shackling me, the master enslaving me. My attitudes shaped my life. And life is too short to harbor bitterness. There is too much to be grateful for to burn daylight on resentment. That was the realization that set me free.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"A superb portrayal of courage and strength of the human spirit. A poignant and unforgettable page-turner. I loved every page." ~ Jan Petken, bestselling author of The Guardian of Secrets
"Riveting must read that presents a deep and textured depiction of slavery and the nightmare to freedom. A story that must be told. A true masterpiece." ~ Ellie Midwood, bestselling and award winning author of The Girl from Berlin and Emilia
"This was a novel I will not forget for a long time, as it depicts not only the evils of slavery and racism, but the solidarity and compassion of friends and strangers who work for good. It is a journey for the reader that is highly recommended." ~ Oregongirl
"Another fine example of history brought to life. The book is filled with words of wisdom about life and endurance - not only for slaves seeking freedom, but also for those never bound by the chains of slavery. In a world filled with hatred, this book gives hope for a way to stop perpetuating the violence. The writing and characters will touch your heart." ~ R3
"Ms. Mahurin's book offers both insights and hope with regard to our past, present, and future." ~ Chris

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


By Lynda Dickson
The book begins and ends in 1914, when Oscar Mercer attends a talk given by Booker T. Washington honoring Harriet Tubman, the woman responsible for coordinating the Underground Railway and, therefore, securing Oscar’s freedom.
Oscar reminisces about his life, from his birth in 1852 into a life of slavery until the time he gains his freedom, aged ten. As a child, he stands by helplessly as friends and family members suffer the cruelty inflicted by the plantation’s foreman. When he is five, the slaves start hearing tales of “a Negro woman who was working with a group to help free slaves.” That woman is Harriet Tubman. We never meet her, but her presence runs through the narrative. Another milestone in Oscar’s life is when he gets the opportunity to learn how to read and write. He is drawn to comment, “Why do learning things feel so good?” Then, on the day he sees the hummingbird in the field, a chain of events is set into motion that ends in tragic consequences but eventually leads to his freedom. Armed with a Bible, a dictionary, and the skills taught to him by “conductors” with the Underground Railway, Oscar finally makes it to freedom. It is a gruelling journey from Louisiana to New York City, during which his faith is tested and he learns the true meaning of freedom.
Throughout, Oscar maintains his spirit and resolve by recalling his mother’s words of wisdom: “My mama’s womb had given me life, but it was her wisdom implanted in my brain that kept me alive.” She imbues in him the belief that “Skin color don’t make us no less a person.” This belief is reinforced when he meets the many (white) people who are willing to help him on his trip along the Underground Railway: “I was overwhelmed with relief when I realized that people are people. Simple as that. And the color of my skin doesn’t make me less of a person. It doesn’t separate or define my humanness. No, what makes some less human is hatred and hateful actions.”
In the Foreword, the author gives us some background into how she came to write this story: “In many southern states, educating slaves to read or write was illegal. […] I incorporated the element of educating slaves into this story and, in particular, with the protagonist and narrator of the story. […] Many of the scenes depicted were adapted from historical notes, letters, and other documentation from slaves who lived to tell their stories.” She succeeds admirably in giving us a look into the psyche of the young slave Oscar and rendering a heartbreaking account of the atrocities committed in the name of greed and prejudice.
Oscar’s story will haunt you for a long time after you have finished reading.

About the Author
Paulette Mahurin
Paulette Mahurin is a best selling literary fiction and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.
Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the top ten bestseller lists on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw the Hummingbird, was released in September 2017.
Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue. Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Links

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"The Day I Saw the Hummingbird" by Paulette Mahurin

EXCERPT
The Day I Saw the Hummingbird
by Paulette Mahurin

The Day I Saw the Hummingbird by Paulette Mahurin

Author Paulette Mahurin stops by today to share an excerpt from her latest book, The Day I Saw the Hummingbird. Keep an eye out for my review, coming soon.
For more books by this author, please check out my blog post on The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap and my blog post on The Seven Year Dress.

Description
On the eve of his tenth birthday, a young slave’s life is turned upside down. The unthinkable events that led up to the day Oscar Mercer saw a hummingbird test the limits of this young boy’s body, mind and soul. Gripped with fear and filled with anger, Oscar faces raw, crushing hatred aimed at him and everyone he loves. In a time when a nation was ripped apart geographically, economically, politically and morally, comes a story of a courageous boy who began life as a slave on a sugarcane plantation in Louisiana and escapes via The Underground Railroad. Through the efforts and good will of kind, brave people determined to free slaves, Oscar faces devastating obstacles and dangers. Struggling with his inner impulse to seek revenge for the injustices and violence levied on his family and friends, he discovers that in bondage you pray to God, but in freedom, you meet Him. From the award-winning, best-selling author of The Seven Year Dress comes a story that brings another cadre of memorable characters alive on pages that pulse with hatred and kindness, cruelty and compassion, despair and hope. Oscar’s journey on the Underground Railroad is a heart-pounding ride that the reader will remember long after this story ends.

Excerpt
I came to understand that freedom wasn’t just escaping the chains, guns, dogs, and oppressive laws—the institutional barriers that existed for me and people like me. And still do to this day. No! My personal freedom came from inside of me when I realized that, no matter where I am, my thoughts and feelings are the invisible chains shackling me, the master enslaving me. My attitudes shaped my life. And life is too short to harbor bitterness. There is too much to be grateful for to burn daylight on resentment. That was the realization that set me free.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"A superb portrayal of courage and strength of the human spirit. A poignant and unforgettable page-turner. I loved every page." ~ Jan Petken, bestselling author of The Guardian of Secrets
"Riveting must read that presents a deep and textured depiction of slavery and the nightmare to freedom. A story that must be told. A true masterpiece." ~ Ellie Midwood, bestselling and award winning author of The Girl from Berlin and Emilia
"This was a novel I will not forget for a long time, as it depicts not only the evils of slavery and racism, but the solidarity and compassion of friends and strangers who work for good. It is a journey for the reader that is highly recommended." ~ Oregongirl
"Another fine example of history brought to life. The book is filled with words of wisdom about life and endurance - -not only for slaves seeking freedom, but also for those never bound by the chains of slavery. In a world filled with hatred, this book gives hope for a way to stop perpetuating the violence. The writing and characters will touch your heart." ~ R3
"Ms. Mahurin's book offers both insights and hope with regard to our past, present, and future." ~ Chris

About the Author
Paulette Mahurin
Paulette Mahurin is a best selling literary fiction and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.
Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the top ten bestseller lists on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw the Hummingbird, was released in September2017.
Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue. Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Links