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BLOGWORDS – 5 December 2017 – TUESDAY REVIEWS DAY – WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE

TUESDAY REVIEWS DAY – WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE

 

IT’S BLOG VOTING TIME!!

 

Comment on this post for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Each commenter will be entered, and the author of the FAVORITE REVIEW will win one as well.

 

 

I’ve done 36 reviews this year on TUESDAY REVIEWS DAY and it’s time for you, MY READERS, to vote on your favorite. So here, in no particular order—just kidding, in chronological order—are my reviews this year.

 

24-Jan                         Understory by Lisa Lickel

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/blogwords-tuesday-22-january-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-understory/

31-Jan                         Bellanok by Ralene Burke

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/blogwords-tuesday-29-january-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-bellanok-by-ralene-burke/

7-Feb                          Walking on Sea Glass by Julie Carobini

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/blogwords-tuesday-7-february-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-walking-on-sea-glass-by-julie-carobini/

14-Feb                        The Scarlet Coat by Angela K. Couch

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/blogwords-tuesday-14-february-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-the-scarlet-coat-by-angela-k-couch/

7-Mar                         Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/blogwords-tuesday-7-march-28-february-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-brigid-of-ireland-by-cindy-thomson/

14-Mar                       Pages of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/blogwords-tuesday-14-march-28-february-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-pages-of-ireland-by-cindy-thomson/

21-Mar                       That’s When I Knew by Laurie Tomlinson

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/blogwords-tuesday-21-march-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-thats-when-i-knew/

28-Mar                       Falling for the Beast by Victorine Lieske

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/blogwords-tuesday-28-march-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-release-event-falling-for-the-beast-by-victorine-lieske/

4-Apr                          Deep Extraction by DiAnn Mills

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/blogwords-tuesday-4-april-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-release-day-event-deep-extraction/

11-Apr                        Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/blogwords-tuesday-11-april-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-release-day-event-just-the-way-you-are/

18-Apr                        Above Rubies by Keely Brooke Keith

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/blogwords-tuesday-18-april-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-and-release-event-above-rubies-by-keely-brook-keith/

25-Apr                        The Patriot and the Loyalist by Angela K. Couch

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/blogwords-tuesday-25-april-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-release-day-event-the-patriot-and-the-loyalist-by-angela-k-couch/

2-May                         Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/blogwords-tuesday-2-may-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-release-day-event-behind-the-scenes/

16-May                       Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cosette

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/blogwords-tuesday-9-may-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-release-day-event-wings-of-the-wind/

23-May                       Memory of You by Catherine West

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/blogwords-tuesday-23-may-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-release-day-event-the-memory-of-you-by-catherine-west/

30-May                       Promise of Peppermint by Valerie Comer

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/05/30/blogwords-tuesday-30-may-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-promise-of-peppermint-by-valerie-comer/

6-Jun                          Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/blogwords-tuesday-6-june-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-new-release-event-bread-of-angels-by-tessa-afshar/

13-Jun                        Stronger than Mountains by Lynn Dean

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/blogwords-tuesday-13-june-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-new-release-event-stronger-than-mountains-by-lynn-dean/

17-Jun                        Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/06/17/blogwords-saturday-17-june-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-new-release-event-someplace-familiar-by-teresa-tysinger/

20-Jun                        Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/blogwords-tuesday-20-june-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-new-release-event-looking-glass-lies/

27-Jun                        Summer of Deception by Elva Cobb Martin

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/06/27/blogwords-tuesday-27-june-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-summer-of-deception-by-elva-cobb-martin/

5-Jul                           Count Me In by Mikal Dawn

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/07/05/blogwords-wednesday-5-july-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-new-release-event-count-me-in-by-mikal-dawn/

11-Jul                         Acting Married by Victorine Lieske

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/blogwords-saturday-11-july-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-new-release-event-acting-married-by-victorine-lieske/

18-Jul                         With no Reservations by Laurie Tomlinson

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/blogwords-tuesday-18-july-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-new-release-event-with-no-reserations-by-laurie-tomlinson/

25-Jul                         Second Impressions by Pepper Basham

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/blogwords-tuesday-25-july-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-second-impressions-by-pepper-basham/

1-Aug                         A (nearly) Normal Nanny by Krista Phillips

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/blogwords-tuesday-1-autust-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-a-nearly-normal-nanny-by-krista-phillips/

8-Aug                         Mowed Over by Christina Coryell

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/08/08/blogwords-tuesday-8-august-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-mowed-over-by-christina-coryell/

15-Aug                       An Informal Affair by Heather Gray

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/blogwords-tuesday-15-august-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-an-informal-affair-by-heather-gray/

22-Aug                       A Heart Restored by Elizabeth Maddrey

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/blogwords-tuesday-22-august-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-a-heart-restored-by-elizabeth-maddrey/

29-Aug                       Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/blogwords-tuesday-29-august-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-new-release-event-many-sparrows-by-lori-benton/

5-Sep                          Unleashing Love by Jessica R. Patch

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/blogwords-tuesday-5-september-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-unleashing-love-by-jessica-r-patch/

19-Sep                        Rush of Wings by Connilyn Cosette

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/blogwords-tuesday-19-september-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-a-rush-of-wings-by-kristen-heitzmann/

26-Sep                        The Covering by Dana Pratola

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/blogwords-tuesday-26-september-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-the-covering-by-dana-pratola/

10-Oct                        Buying Love by Toni Shiloh

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/10/10/blogwords-tuesday-10-october-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-buying-love-by-toni-shiloh/

17-Oct                        Finding Love by Toni Shiloh

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/blogwords-tuesday-17-october-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-finding-love-by-toni-shiloh/

24-Oct                        The Sorrow Stone by Jane Ann McLachlan

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/blogwords-tuesday-24-october-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-new-release-feature-the-sorrow-stone-by-j-a-mclachlan/

2-Nov                         Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper Basham

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/11/02/blogwords-thursday-2-november-2017-tuesday-thursday-reviews-day-new-release-event-charming-the-troublemaker-by-pepper-basham/

14-Nov                       For Life or Until by Anne Garboczi Evans

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/blogwords-tuesday-14-november-2017-tuesday-reviews-day-book-review-for-life-or-until-by-anne-garboczi-evans/

 

 

I’ll tally the votes after the first of the year and post the results on Tuesday the 9th.

 

 

#Blogwords, Tuesday ReviewsDay, Who’s Your Favorite

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BLOGWORDS – Tuesday 14 November 2017 – TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – FOR LIFE OR UNTIL BY ANNE GARBOCZI EVANS

TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – FOR LIFE OR UNTIL BY ANNE GARBOCZI EVANS

                                                                             

 

When a volatile Celt accepts a proposal from a Roman Tribune, anything but a smooth marriage is on the horizon.

 

Heartbroken and newlywed, Ness leaves her family and all that is familiar for life in Rome. But her husband, Aquilus Paterculi is career driven and Ness soon decides she wants a divorce, something Aquilus won’t even consider.

 

Can love survive the steel will of two opposing partners? Will Ness wear her husband down and gain her freedom? Will Aquilus prevail in subduing his wild Celtic wife? Or will something new evolve from the two of them?

 

 

Ms. Evans weaves a turbulent tale, with tempers and emotions and strong willed characters. I sensed the tenderness of Aquilus’ heart underneath the armor of his Stoic vows. I felt the longing of Ness’ heart to belong and be embraced by a husband who seemed so disinterested. I felt his conviction of what is right and his confusion of his heart demands. I felt Ness’ homesick longing and her fight to keep her hold on her independence.

Ms. Evans brought to light a culture previously unknown to this reviewer, with characters who came to life on every page. The story comes to life with realistic and genuine storyline and settings.

 

 

 

I received a free copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 

 

Anne is a mental health counselor, military spouse, and mama to an opinionated preschooler named “Joe-Joe” and a very dramatic baby named “Chip.” Reading Rosemary Sutcliff as a middle school student and taking Latin in college instilled in her a love of the Roman Empire, leading to her Love & Warfare series. Moving to the CO Rockies inspired her to write the Lawmen & Suffragette series, romantic comedies set in the Old West. Working in mental health got her interested in writing women’s fiction.
When not writing or reading, you can find Anne introducing her boys to the outdoor wonders of colorful Colorado.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, For Love or Until, Anne Garboczi Evans, Love and Warfare Series, When Gambling

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 2 November 2017 – TUESDAY THURSDAY REVIEWS-DAY – NEW RELEASE EVENT – CHARMING THE TROUBLEMAKER by PEPPER BASHAM

TUESDAY THURSDAY REVIEWS-DAY – RELEASE DAY EVENT – CHARMING THE TROUBLEMAKER by PEPPER BASHAM

When Dr. Alex Murdock is demoted to a university in rural Virginia, the last thing he expects to find is a future. But country charm never looked as good as it did on Rainey Mitchell.

Rainey Mitchell does not need a high-class flirt in her wounded world, but trouble and temptation wafts off the new professor as strong as his sandalwood-scented cologne.

When circumstances thrust them together to save her tutoring clinic, can the troublemaker find the hero inside and encourage the reticent Rainey to open her heart again?

 

She growled and slowed her run, glancing back the way she’d come. Oh no!

Alex was headed directly toward Old Man Spencer’s and the ferocious pack of dogs. She hesitated, a little fight-or-flight mamba dancing through her mind, then sprinted up the hill.

“Alex,” she called to him, but he didn’t turn. Against the burn in her legs, she pushed harder up the hill toward him.

Misty morning woods framed the road on both sides, and Rainey’s attention honed in on her target. He had a nice stride in his run, solid and smooth, accentuating the tight shape of his backside in those sweats.

Oh, for heaven’s sake! She groaned at her own mental plummet, and the image loosened in her mind. “Alex.”

He turned his head, plucking one of his earbuds out as he slowed. “Miss me?”

“I’m being neighborly.” She jogged to him, the two of them moving in place. “A pack of unfriendly dogs live at the top of the hill, so unless you want to get a rough country greeting, you’ll turn at the top of the hill and head back down.”

“You warned me? I figured you’d rather feed me to the dogs.”

Rainey opened her mouth to respond and then snapped her lips closed, the uneasy flicker of shame flaming to life in the warmth on her face. She tugged both of her earbuds out and worked up a smile, maybe. It didn’t feel very friendly. “No one deserves that kind of fate.”

“Wow, must be pretty bad.”

“Midas is the worst. He’s a boxer with jaws the size of … of…”

“Jaws?” His lips tilted with his stupid grin, and hers twitched in response.

“Something like that.” She shook her head. “Anyway, just thought you ought to know.” She turned back toward the hill, and within seconds he was beside her, his smile beaming too brightly for  anyone pre-coffee.

“So … you run?” He fell in stride beside her.

Every fiber of her being wanted to bathe him with her most obvious ‘duh’ look, but her devotions from the morning pricked at her annoyance like a seven-year-old with a scab. “I started in college. Mornings are my favorite time.”

Oh great, why did she admit that to him?

“Mine too. You can watch the world wake up.”

She turned to look for a sarcastic expression but found none. Why did she get the weirdest vibes around him? Half the time she wanted to slap the smile off his face, and the other half left her wondering if something much … more was going on behind those seafoam-colored eyes.

 

rem:  Hullo Pepper and congratulations on your newest book baby! If you could live in the era and setting of any one of your books (past, present, or future) which one would it be and why?

PEPPER:   Well, I really love England so the Derbyshire countryside would be super. I also love history, particularly the Edwardian era, but I’d only want to live in that era if I could be in the upper class 😉

rem:   I think I’m with you on that one! Where did you find this story idea?

PEPPER:   While writing A Twist of Faith something about Alex Murdock pinched at my heart. I started asking questions about why he acted the way he was and…well, this story came to life.

rem:   Ya, something about Dr. Alex pricked my heart too… Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

PEPPER:   Actually, this book was full of characters who were just FUN to write. Alex was probably the easiest. Once I figured out his personality, his quips would just jump onto the page and surprise me. Sarah was also really easy (and fun) to write. I guess Rainey might have been the most difficult, but I feel like I’ve known her for two books now, so that helped in writing her.

rem:   Don’tcha just love it when they do that? Jump onto the page like that? What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

PEPPER:   I NEED to munch on something healthy and sometimes I will munch on Veggie Straws. I usually have some sort of tea along with me, but my love is chocolate. Especially kisses and hugs chocolate 😊 (Maybe they inspire me)

rem:   Well, yeah, ya gotta have the chocolate!! #kissykissy  #huggyhuggy What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

PEPPER:   I usually take a writing break for a week or two. Distance myself from the story and little before going through it again. And I usually bake something I love in celebration 😊

rem:  Baking is good! Distance, too, so the new peeps can percolate, right??  Thanks so much for being part of my blog today, Pepper!

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus. Her debut historical novel, The Thorn Bearer, released in May 2015 and has garnered awards such as Reader’s Favorites Award, finalist in the Grace Awards, shortlisted for the Inspy Awards, and a finalist in ACFW’s Carol Awards. Her second historical novel, The Thorn Keeper, released in Feb 2016 and her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, released in April 2016 with a 4 star review from Romantic Times. In December 2016, her third historical in the Penned in Time series, The Thorn Healer – released with a 4 1/2 star review from RT and a Top Picks rating. You can get to know Pepper on her website, http://www.pepperdbasham.com, on Facebook, or over at her group blog, The Writer’s Alley.

 

www.pepperdbasham.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pepper-D-Basham

https://twitter.com/pepperbasham

https://www.pinterest.com/pepperbasham/

 

They fit together, not quite like biscuits and gravy, but a solid shrimp and grits.

 

 

Ms. Basham has done it again! Sweet and swoony, Charming the Troublemaker will tickle your funny bone and warm the cockles of your heart.

 

Rainey Mitchell fell hard—and was betrayed, leaving deep wounds and deeper scars. Now she’s  raising a five year old as a single mom, and romance is the last thing on her mind. Especially if it involves the arrogant and pretentious Dr. Alex Murdock.

Alex Murdock is hiding his own deep wounds and scars. And hides behind a mask of humor and arrogance.

Then they’re forced to work together. As Rainey and Alex spend more time in one another’s company, they begin to let their own guard down to discover truth of the person behind the mask.

 

The Queen of Swoony doesn’t disappoint with her newest release. The emotions are real, and the heart both warns and shies away—and plunges deep into the danger zone. As each layer of Alex’s shell fell away, this reviewer sympathized with him more and deeper. I fought with him as he struggled to find a true sense of worth, and rejoiced as that began to break through. I felt Rainey’s hurt and distrust as it began to dissipate, and I swooned my own self as love rushed in and enveloped her.

Ms. Basham knows her characters well, and portrays them and their personal fears and angst most realistically. Her prose is elegant and her dialogue crisp and sparkling, with scenarios that leap off the page, after page after page.

 

 

I received a free copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 

 

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, New Release Event, Charming the Troublemaker, Pepper Basham, Mitchell’s Crossing, A Twist of Faith

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BLOGWORDS – Tuesday 24 October 2017 – TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – NEW RELEASE FEATURE – THE SORROW STONE by J.A. MCLACHLAN

TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – RELEASE DAY FEATURE – THE SORROW STONE by J.A. MCLACHLAN

                                                                             

What if you could sell your sorrow?
During the middle ages, a mother mourning the death of her child believed she could “sell her sorrow” by selling a nail from her child’s coffin to a traveling peddler.
Lady Celeste is overwhelmed with grief when her infant son dies. Desperate to find relief, she escapes the convent where her husband has sent her to recover and begs a passing peddler to buy her sorrow. Jean, the cynical peddler she meets, is nobody’s fool; he does not believe in superstitions and insists Celeste include the valuable ruby ring on her finger along with the nail in return for his coin.
When Celeste learns that without her wedding ring her husband may set her aside, she determines to retrieve it—without reclaiming her sorrow. But how will she find the peddler and convince him to give up the precious ruby ring?

 

The thud of stones meeting flesh filled his ears. He felt, in his own body, the hot, burning pain as each one hit, tearing the thin fabric of her shift, digging into her bruised and bleeding flesh. It should be him there, not her. He could not move, speak, breathe…

Something shoved up against his leg. His breath emerged in a gasp.

“Mama!”

A girl of five or six squeezed past him. She pushed her way through the crowd till she reached the front, crying all the while, “Mama! Mama!”

The woman’s face was hidden, covered by her hair. The air was thick with stones. Again and again they struck her, but still she did not cry out.

“Mama!” the child screamed again.

The woman looked up.

“Mama!” She sprinted across the open ground. A stone whizzed past her ear. A second hit her back, flinging her to the ground.

The woman cried out then, a wild, animal shriek. It echoed, hideous and compelling, across the square.

She would be killed! The horror of it swept over Jean as he stared at the fallen child. No! He could not bear that! He shoved his way through the crowd, unable to look away from the woman, unable to escape the terror in her eyes as she strained against her bonds, struggling to reach the child sprawled on the ground. She shrieked again, a high, keening noise. Jean gritted his teeth to keep from screaming with her.

At the edge of the crowd he stopped. What was he doing? What in the name of Heaven had come over him?

Then the child moaned and the woman screamed again and Jean ran forward, unable to stop himself. The little girl tried to roll over as Jean reached her. He was no longer looking at the woman, but he felt her strain toward him as he bent down and scooped up the child.

A stone struck the side of his head as he straightened. He staggered, almost dropping the child. He regained his footing and turned to race back to the safety of the crowd.

“The adulterer!” a man cried.

Other voices took up the cry. He stepped forward, but the gap in the crowd where he had pushed through to get to the child had closed against him. A second stone hit his arm. There could be no mistaking that this one was meant for him. He saw the metal smith among the crowd, his arm drawn back, aiming. As Jean watched, he flung his stone.

It hit Jean’s shoulder with a stinging blow that took his breath away. He crouched over the child, holding her tightly to him, more aware of the woman’s anguished cries behind him and the child’s terror than his own pain. Two more stones came flying at him; one missed its mark but the other hit the child’s leg. She screamed and twisted, trying to burrow into him. A third stone hit her cheek, drawing blood. He wrapped both arms around her, leaving his own head exposed as he searched for an opening in the crowd.

 

 

rem:   Hullo Jane Ann, and congratulations on your new story! If you could live anywhere in any time period, where would you go?

JANE ANN:  If we’re talking “live”, I’d stay right here. I think we have it pretty good right now in Canada, and besides, all the people I love are here. I write very realistic, researched historical fiction of the Middle Ages. No one who is used to 21st Century comfort, health care, and hygiene would want to live there. But I wouldn’t mind a short visit to any number of eras.

rem:   Yes, you DO write very realistic and authentic fiction! And I’m with you, I’ll go visit most anywhere, any time, but wouldn’t want to live there! Where did you find this story idea?

JANE ANN:   I first heard the folk lore it’s based on at a lecture given by a midwife about pregnancy and childbirth in the Middle Ages. I knew I wanted to write about it right away. But it took years of research before the story emerged.

rem:   Again, yes, the depth of authenticity in your story doesn’t come quick—or easy or cheap! And your writing shines for it. Who was the easiest character to write and why? The most difficult?

JANE ANN: Gilles. He’s a minor character who doesn’t show up until the end but when I started writing from his POV, the chapter just leaped off the page with life.

Celeste was the most difficult because when she sells her sorrow, she loses her memories (if she remembered she’d be sad all over again) and she loses her ability to feel emotions. It was very hard to write an unfeeling (literally) character and still make her sympathetic. She wants both back, but at the same time she doesn’t want them back, because her grief for her son was crippling. She’s a very complicated character, and it took a lot of rewrites to get her right.

rem:   And you pulled it off, too, Jane Ann. I ached for her. Well, I wanted to flog her for running, too, but totally understand why she felt the way she did. What do you munch on while you’re writing / researching / editing?

JANE ANN: I chew gum. If I’m out of gum (and I try not to be) I chew my fingernails. When I have no more fingernails, I chew on a pencil. Once I chewed on a pen but I got a mouthful of ink. You can see why I try to never be out of gum.

rem:   Note to self: send Jane Ann some chewing gum… What do you do to recover once you’ve typed “THE END?”

JANE ANN:  I sew a quilt. Or go to a movie. Or read a book. But designing a quilt is best because it satisfies my urge to create something without requiring the mental focus of writing a novel.

rem:   No kidding re the mental focus! I’d love to see some of your quilts sometime! What a lovely outlet for your creativity. Jane Ann, congratulations again, and thank you for taking time to visit with me on the blog today.

 

  1. A. McLachlan was born in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of a short story collection, CONNECTIONS, published by Pandora Press and two College textbooks on Professional Ethics, published by Pearson-Prentice Hall. She has been reading literary fiction, science fiction and historical fiction in equal measure all her life. Walls of Wind was her first published Science Fiction novel. She has two young adult science fiction novels, The Occasional Diamond Thief and The Salarian Desert Game, published by EDGE Publishing. And her first historical fiction, The Sorrow Stone, set in the 12th Century, is now available. She is represented by Carrie Pestritto at Prospect Agency.

 

http://www.janeannmclachlan.com

https://www.facebook.com/janeann.mclachlan

 

  • At first he did not know it was a human being. She lay crumpled on the ground like a bundle of dirty rags tossed aside by some trader.
  • She held out her closed left hand. “Buy it! For the love of God, buy my sorrow before I go insane!” Slowly she opened her fingers. A long black nail, slightly bent near the flattened head, lay across her small white palm.
  • “I cannot remember,” she said. She had had this problem yesterday, but she had been certain a night of sleep would resolve it.
  • Celeste’s eyes widened. She covered her mouth with her hand to prevent herself crying out. Was it true? She remembered the ring, the physical weight of it on her finger, knew it to be her husband’s marriage token. But she could not remember receiving it. She knew her husband’s name but could not visualize his face. He was like a silvered image in her mind, flat and cold, without any distinguishing features.
  • Jean’s wife, Mathilde, had sewed a dozen silk handkerchiefs and embroidered crosses on them. They could sell profitably in their own right, but Jean tripled their value by claiming that they had been blessed at the Saint’s shrine in Santiago.
  • She must confront the peddler alone when she found him. If Lord Bernard learned she had willingly given away her marriage ring, it would not matter that she had later retrieved it.
  • “Lady Celeste? Do you believe God did not hear you?” Celeste looked up, shaken. Father Jacques was watching her, waiting for her answer.
  • The door opens slowly, the quiet scrape of its movement ominous in the darkness. Her feet are frozen to the cold stone floor; she cannot even raise her hand to cover her face, although she cannot bear to see inside the room. The door is fully open now; she cannot breathe, her terror is so great. How small it is, so small it makes her ache. It only covers half the bench it rests on.  She steps through the doorway, stretching her hand toward the little wooden casket—
  • The donkey woke him, braying and surging to its feet. Jean was up almost as quickly, straining to see in the darkness.  Several murky shadows crept between the trees, slightly darker than the surrounding gloom. He swung his staff up as the first one came at him, and heard a satisfying CRACK!
  • Her memory was sparse and fragmented, like a length of cloth after the dress pieces have been cut away from it.
  • It was one thing not to care for people; quite another not to care for God.
  • They passed their sorrow onto others, the nobility. They shed suffering as a snake sheds its skin.

 

  1. To get the setting and period right in The Sorrow Stone, I flew to France and travelled the entire route Jean and Celeste take, including the Cluny Monastery. I drove local guides and historians crazy asking “Was this castle/monastery/building here in the 12th Century? What trades were practiced here then? What was the climate and vegetation like here in the 12th Century?”
  2. When I first heard the folk superstition about selling your sorrow, I was writing speculative fiction at the time, so I tried using the idea in a story, and it totally failed. A publisher, who liked the concept also, asked me, “Why don’t you just write it in the Middle Ages, where it came from?” (Duh, right?) It took years of research to do that, but I’m glad I did. (rem: me too!) Meanwhile, I changed the original story, got rid of all references to sorrow, rewrote it and found a publisher for it. Can you guess which of my novels it is?
  3. After I wrote Gilles’ chapters, I realized I really liked writing young adults, so I wrote three more novels with young adult protagonists. I still find teens the most fun age to write about.
  4. After reading The Sorrow Stone, a reader told me “You do tortured souls really well.” I don’t know if that’s a compliment or a personality flaw, but I realized that I have always been drawn to complex, conflicted characters and the authors who portray them. Here’s my list: The Idiot by Dostoyevski, The Chosen by Chaim Potok, Hamlet and King Lear by Shakespeare, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, The Gold Finch, The Hunger Games… I just realized this list could go on for ten pages.
  5. I once read every novel in my seven preferred genres at the local library, and had to find something else to do till they got more in.
  6. My seven preferred genres (not in any order) are: science fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, fantasy, young adult/coming of age fiction.
  7. I started out writing poetry, and had several of my poems published in anthologies while I was in university.
  8. I once wrote a story which my older sister accused me of plagiarizing from a picture book from the library. I was, like, 8 years old. It was unintentional, but true. I was so mortified at being accused of “cheating” that I quit writing prose altogether. Then, in grad school, I realized that ALL Shakespeare’s dramas and historicals were re-tellings of popular tales or histories. It’s not the tale but how you spin it that makes it original.
  9. Every author has favorites from among their novels. For me, it’s a tie between The Sorrow Stone and Walls of Wind. I’m not sure I’ll ever love another story of mine as much as I love those two.
  10. I love teaching and speaking, no matter the size of the audience. But there was a time I was so nervous about it, a friend asked me whether she should warn my audience to wear raincoats. It wasn’t my voice I was afraid of projecting.

 

Sorrow is a dark companion, a tormenting thing, driving us sometimes to madness.

 

Churning thoughts and vague memories torment Lady Celeste, pushing her to madness in her grief. Selling her sorrow, though, does not bring the relief she so desperately seeks.

 

The peddler, Jean, has no scruples and doesn’t believe the superstition. But his fate seems inexplicably tangled with the Lady whose sorrow he bought—and whose ring he helped himself to.

 

The conflict and agony that drives Lady Celeste is dark and frightening, and very real. The sense of dread—and guilt—that plagues her drives her away from the very place she would be safest. I longed for her memory to surface, no matter how horrible the thing she hid from herself. I longed for the peace of knowing, and accepting, what could not be changed. I fought with her against shadowed memories, and fought with her to cling to the sweet ones.

 

I wanted to throttle the peddler, while feeling an element of sympathy for him, for the life he lived, cruel and crude and harsh. I longed for his peace as much as for Lady Celeste.

 

 

Ms. McLachlan’s storytelling is impeccable, her details and knowledge of life in 12th century France evident on every page. The terminology and vernacular put the reader right on the road with the peddler, or in the abbey with Lady Celeste. The sights and sounds—and smells—come alive as the characters move through their paces. And the story, so tightly woven, compels the reader to keep turning the page.

Both main characters have their storyline, and Ms. McLachlan has interwoven them skillfully into one intricate story, bringing it to a gripping climax and fitting resolution.

 

 

 

I received a free copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own free will. The opinions expressed in my review are my honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 

 

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, New Release Event, The Sorrow Stone, J.A. McLachlan

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BLOGWORDS – Tuesday 17 October 2017 – TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – FINDING LOVE by TONI SHILOH

TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – FINDING LOVE by TONI SHILOH

                                                                             

 

Accepting the unacceptable, consenting to that which was a deal breaker, loving what was deemed off limits.

 

When a young Army widow finds herself falling for another man in uniform she fights it til she can fight it to more. But can Delaney Jones, truly give her heart to Luke Robinson?

 

Luke is on a mission, a mission of repentance and restitution. He never meant to fall for the widow of his former buddy in arms. Will he choose a life with her? Or will he return to his life in service? Or, is there middle ground for them, accepting the past and looking to the future? Can they trust the hand of God in the midst of their burdens?

 

 

Ms. Shiloh does not disappoint with this story. Intense emotions, real and raw, foil with a love that is just as intense and real and raw. As both Delaney and Luke wager their own personal battles, each must face their own personal demons, and Ms. Shiloh portrays this very well, and very true. No battle is easy, nor is it pretty, and this story exposes the ugly that we each must face before the beauty of victory can emerge.

 

 

 

I purchased this book on Amazon. I offer my review of my own free will, and the opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 

 

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the president of the ACFW Virginia Chapter.

 

https://tonishiloh.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorToniShiloh/

https://www.pinterest.com/tonishiloh/

https://www.instagram.com/tonishiloh/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ToniShiloh

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13656663.Toni_Shiloh

https://www.amazon.com/Toni-Shiloh/e/B00UITVEDA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1507481333&sr=8-1

 

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, Finding Love, Toni Shiloh, Buying Love

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BLOGWORDS – Tuesday 10 October 2017 – TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – BUYING LOVE by TONI SHILOH

TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – BUYING LOVE by TONI SHILOH

                                                                             

 

A topic I’ve not seen in Christian Fiction before, an orphan finding—and accepting—love.

 

Nina Torrenton is an orphan, and as a successful CPA, finds her body clock ticking. She does what she knows to do—she places an ad.

 

Dwight Williams is one who answered that ad. Though hesitant to go about marriage as a business arrangement, and after the detailed and in-depth application process, he is more than intrigued.

 

Will the dowry money Nina offered tilt the arrangement in her favor? Or work against her?

 

 

Ms. Shiloh has instantly become a must-read author for me. Her authentic characters walk their roles in true-to-life form. Heart and faith come face to face, especially for Nina as she sees true faith and Christian love played out. Letting Father’s love truly seep into layers of dust is no easy task (I know, I’ve been there) and Nina does well to move beyond her safe boundaries.

 

 

I purchased this book on Amazon. I offer my review of my own free will, and the opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 

 

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.

She spends her days hanging out with her husband and their two boys. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the president of the ACFW Virginia Chapter.

 

 

 

 

https://tonishiloh.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorToniShiloh/

https://www.pinterest.com/tonishiloh/

https://www.instagram.com/tonishiloh/

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ToniShiloh

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13656663.Toni_Shiloh

https://www.amazon.com/Toni-Shiloh/e/B00UITVEDA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1507481333&sr=8-1

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, Buying Love, Toni Shiloh, Finding Love

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BLOGWORDS – Tuesday 26 September 2017 – TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – THE COVERING by DANA PRATOLA

TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – THE COVERING by DANA PRATOLA

                                                                             

Sometimes faith and life collide. Sometimes life is messy and painful, and faith pushes us from our safety net.

 

Tessa Silano prayed faithfully, sometimes for people she didn’t know. But Holy Spirit does, and she is obedient to His leading.

 

Gunnar Mason is living death. He can’t be saved and he knows it. His days are filled with idle busyness and toxic self-loathing.

 

When Tessa and Gunnar’s paths meet, she is repelled by him and he distances himself from her. And yet, they are drawn to one another. As the spiritual battle mounts, will Gunnar lose his life? Or will her faith—and her love—be sufficient to cover him with Divine protection?

 

 

A powerful story skillfully written. Ms. Pratola brings to life the reality of the Christian life. Prayers of faith, and obedience in the face of questions. Love that tugs the heart beyond the bounds of preconceived limits. I know Tessa’s fear and insecurity all too well. And as I read, I silently urged her to trust. I am well acquainted with Gunnar’s self-image also, and begged him to learn to love himself—and let himself be loved. I cried and I read with baited breath, and I may have prayed for fictional characters. (wink wink) I cheered and scolded them, and wept with joy at their victories. Outstanding job by a new-to-me author.

 

 

This book was given to me as a gift. I offer my review of my own free will, and the opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.
 

 

God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and three dynamic children, all of whom are destined to make wide, colorful splashes in this world. We share our New Jersey home with three dogs. I have no hobbies to speak of, unless you include writing. I don’t.

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/DanaPratolaAuthor

www.twitter.com/danapratola

www.danapratola.webs.com

http://www.goodreads.com/danapratola

https://www.amazon.com/Dana-Pratola/e/B005G40TAQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

https://www.pinterest.com/danapratola/

 

“It’s not your mother’s Christian Fiction.”

 

 

#Blogwords, Tuesday Reviews-Day, #TRD, Book Review, The Covering, Dana Pratola

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