Review of, The Sons and Daughters of Toussaint, by Keith Madsen

First off I want to start out by saying we had crazy weather last evening. I’m talking a major snowstorm and a thunderstorm at the same time! It’s called ‘Thundersnow’ and this is the first time I’ve personally witnessed it. Nothing like the sight of a blizzard backdropped by flashes of lightning, let me tell you.

But now I’m moving on to discuss a place that never sees snow, and a story that will nest in your heart forever.

Interested? Please read on!

Here’s the Gist:

In this commercial fiction novel with an historical backdrop, The Sons and Daughters of Toussaint, Isaac Breda seeks to renew the revolution of his famous forefather, Toussaint Louverture. He is depressed that a revolution which had so much potential, and which had cost so much, seemed to have so little to show for it. He resolves to start a non-violent revolution to make their freedom real. In the first half of the novel, the story is told by alternating chapters between historical sections, telling the story of Toussaint and his compatriots, and contemporary sections, where Isaac seeks to renew Toussaint’s spirit in his people. Isaac’s story intersects with that of his best friend’s beautiful sister, Marie-Noëlle. At first she is mainly focused on moving to the United States and making her fame and fortune in modeling. But her character develops into a powerful agent of change herself. When Isaac dies at the hands of entrenched interests in Haiti, the revolution falls on her shoulders. The immense challenge transforms both her and her country.

My Thoughts:

When I was a kid, my dad went to Haiti several times to help with a number of construction projects. While he often told me stories about his experiences, two things stick out in my memory. The photos of treeless and eroding mountainsides, with small shanties built at their bases, and the resilience of the people.

This is exactly what I found on the pages of this inspiring novel. A nation that has struggled to gain a foothold in the climb towards democracy, despite being under constant assault by dictators, gangs, and natural disasters.

Madsen paints a vivid and accurate picture of the trials and triumphs of a land under constant pressure, and it starts with the historical revolution led by Toussaint Louverture. As a student of history, I appreciated the switching perspectives between Toussaint’s day and the twenty-first century revolution led by Isaac. Bravery in the face of tremendous danger is realistically tempered with the protagonist’s bouts of self doubt and discouragement.

Buoyed by the courageous support of the people, his closest allies, and the love of his life, Marie-Noelle, Isaac finds the strength to face the monsters. With an eye towards changing the national political landscape and Haiti’s global reputation, Isaac learns to savour the smaller victories. One scene depicts him standing beside a litter free river that had once been choked with garbage. The locals had banded together for the clean up. He smiles even though his ultimate goal remains distant.

But this is about more than just one man, and the hearts of the people continue to beat strongly long after he’s gone. Marie continues what Isaac began as she lives up to the bold statement, “Nou pa pè!”

Meet Keith:

I am a retired minister, living in East Wenatchee, Wa., who teaches chess to children, works for AmeriCorps, teaching about the Opioid Pandemic, AND writing fiction!

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Review of, Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth (5 book series), by Cassidy Salem

Happy Sunday morning! We’re covered in the white stuff again after a major snow fall that kept the kiddos home on Friday. Oh, by the way, if you’re planning on sending any Christmas cards this way, you might want to hold off until I replace our mailbox.

Looks like we forgot to tip the snowplow driver. 😊 He got three of our neighbor’s mailboxes as well.

Thank goodness for the internet, because I can still post reviews, like this one today.

I know that some of you have taken some time off for the Holidays, so for you and everyone here, I wish you all the best for the Holiday Season!

Here’s the story:

Discovering the body of a friend and colleague was not what Adina Donati had in mind when she moved to Washington D.C. in search of excitement. An administrative assistant at a prestigious think tank, Adina is drawn into the middle of the murder investigation. The police don’t seem to be making much progress until Adina stumbles onto important clues and discovers just how dangerous life in the nation’s capitol can be.

I’m Thinking:

This is the first of a series of five murder/mystery books that feature Adina Donati as the main protagonist. It wasn’t fast paced, more of a gentle story flow with the occasional burst of action. I’d categorize it as a semi-cozy fiction. Not really a thing, I know.

But I’m not always about the action and I really enjoyed the plot and the whodunnit style. There was a fun quality about it; the enticement of two possible romance partners and some office drama. Perhaps many who’ve worked in this type of environment might relate. There’s a good chance I’ll read more of this series.

I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a good mystery, spearheaded by a workaday protagonist.  

Meet Cassidy and grab a copy:

Cassidy Salem has always been an avid reader. She is especially fond of mysteries (both cozy and traditional) and police procedurals. Over the years, her favorite mystery authors have included Agatha Christie, Kathy Reichs, Mary Higgins Clark, and John Grisham. When she’s not reading, she enjoys music and spending time with family and friends, and travels with her husband and son whenever possible. Her travels have taken her to destinations throughout the United States, Europe, and Scandinavia.

A member of Sisters-in-Crime, Cassidy is the author of the Adina Donati Mystery Series, which includes Think Murder, Dying for Data, and Killer Reputation. Cassidy co-authors, together with Christa Nardi, a YA mystery series, which includes The Mysterious Package, Mrs. Tedesco’s Missing Cookbook, The Misplaced Dog, and Malicious Mischief.

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Man-i-tasking!

Hey blogger buddies! Today we’re delving into a hot topic (well, maybe not so hot) about multitasking. We all know the research behind women as capable multitaskers, but what about us dudes?

My friend Ted thinks so. He calls it man-i-tasking. Why don’t we peek in and see how it’s working for him?

Bollock’s Pet Supplies

December 13, 2022

7:56 AM

Bae: Can’t wait for dinner! Where r u taking me?

Ted: Fuhgeddaboudit!

Bae: Botticellis! I nu it! Luv the Ribollita! Yummee! Tiramisu for dessert!

“Morning Ted. Hey, did you remember to restock the dog food yesterday, before you left?”

“You bet your ah . . . great hair, I did.”

“Hey, I know you’re not on the clock yet, but I’ve got a video call in a few moments. Do you think you can send a quick text for me?”

“Um, on my phone?”

Bae: Hello?

Ted: Txt u in a sec.

“Wouldn’t dream of asking that. Use the one we gave you, the one sitting on the desk by your elbow.”

“Sure, no prob, Susan. I’m just finishing up with Bae, I mean Jen. What’s it about?”

Bae: Why? Watz up?

Ted: Just a sec

“The Christmas Party tonight. There’s been some last-minute changes. I need to let everyone know the details, ASAP. We open in less than five, can you send it now? There’s a lineup at the door already, so I don’t want it forgotten.”

“Okay . . . shoot, Boss Lady. I can man-i-task like the best!”

“Um okay. Here goes. We regret to inform you that due to a kitchen fire last night at Chichi Piquant, we’ve had to change venues. We’ve leased plenty of . . .

Bae: Why u ignoring me? Tell me watz up!

“yxvy hjklmnohhhh invgep dklwpoub

Ted: It’s Boss Lady. K?

Bae: So? U got 4 mins.

“qzxxy ahnghh for . . .

Bae: Tell her!

Ted: She’s Boss!

“6 pm. Remember to bring  . . .

Bae: I gotta’ come down there and do it?

Ted: Just a sec!

Bae: U txtin’ wat she says rite now! On the work phone! Pussy!

Ted: It’s not like that!

“exysty. Oh, and . . .

Bae: Hollow back man!

Ted: I ain’t no!

Bae: Gwen Stephanie forever! Ya!

Ted: ROLF!

“You got all that, Teddy? Good. Gotta’ go! Be sure to clean the gerbil cages at some point today.”

Ted: U got it, Boss Lady!

Bae: Huh? Oh ya! U rite about that!

“Right on it, Boss Lady Susan. Just hitting the old group chat ‘send’ button.”

Ted: Bae, I gotta’ go open up shop.

Ted: Bae?

Ted: Bae? I mean it, some kid’s kicking the door.

Bae: Um, u sent this to everyone at our work?

Ted: Ya, why?

Bae: Read it and remember what I said about man-i-tasking.

Ted: Not a thing, got ya. 😉

 “Hey, Ted, can I see you in my office?”

“Susan! Hey, I was just about to open up. I thought you had a meeting.”

“I did, I do, but something’s come up. Just a quick chat. Okay? Hey Mike, can you take a break from stocking shelves and open up? Great, thanks.”

“That’s it, Ted, come in and close the door.”

“What’s this about? I sent the text like you asked. I know, I should have stopped talking to Jen. But you know how she is.”

“I do, she’s worked here for a long time. But you’re right, you should have stopped. One thing at a time, remember? Man-i-tasking is a myth.”

“Prove it.”

“Okay. Here’s what I asked you to send: ‘We regret to inform you that due to a kitchen fire at Chichi Piquant, we’ve had to change venues. We’ve leased plenty of space for the kid’s Santa party, as this will keep things orderly.

It’ll be at Crème Emporium for 6pm. Remember to bring a pet toy donation. Rawhides are always a chewy favorite! Oh, and dress up as your favorite Holiday character! Susan will be going as Dotty Elf. Yes, she’s a bit sass!’

“Dotty was a favorite character in a book I used to love, by the way.”

“So, what the problem?”

“Here’s what you texted not only the entire store, but the entire chain. My bosses were a bit ‘curious’ to say the least.

 ‘We regret to inform you that due to a kitchen fire at Chichi Piquant, we’ve had to change venues. We’ll leash all the kids for the Santa Party, it’ll keep them orderly.  It’ll be at the Crematorium for 6pm. Remember to bring your chewy hides, as they’re a favorite. Huh? Dunno’ about that one, but Susan’s telling me what to type. Anyways, she’s going as Naughty Elf because she’s a bad ass.’ ”

“Am I fired?”

“Is man-i-tasking a myth?”

“Er . . .”

“Is it?”

“Yes, if I can keep my job.”

“Done.”

Bae: Told you so!

Spotlight #NewRelease and #Giveaway “Saddled Hearts” by Jan Sikes

Yes, we all know what today is, but in this post, I want to highlight another big event. I have the privilege of spreading the word about a new novel! Saddled Hearts, has just been released by good friend, and fellow author, Jan Sikes.

It has a paranormal twist, perfect for a late night read, once the miniature goblins and ghouls have finished their visitations. All you have to do is click on the link below to purchase.

Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to enter for the chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

A Word From Jan Sikes

Thank you, Mark, for offering to host me on this blog tour to promote my new book, Saddled Hearts! I am deeply grateful!

Every story has side characters, and in Saddled Hearts, one of the most loved is Hank Griffin, the Double L Ranch foreman.

There is an air of mystery surrounding Hank, and Colt finds himself wondering if Hank is even his real name. I enjoyed creating Hank and could visualize him as a grizzled cowboy, maybe in his early fifties. He is loyal and trustworthy, but he has secrets, something he’s running from.

I’ll share a couple of short excerpts:

The men made small talk as they covered the miles. Colt knew very little about Hank. He’d showed up a few months back with calloused hands and chaps thrown across his shoulder, asking for work. Said he had experience with ranching. He hadn’t lied about that. And he’d stuck around. Colt made him foreman after a few weeks and trusted him to keep things running smoothly.

His many years on the rodeo circuit taught Colt not to ask too many questions. As long as Hank did the work, he didn’t pry.

A man’s business was his own.

***

Hank fell in beside him while Mattie and Sheila ran ahead.

“There’s a man in town I need to pay a visit, and I hate to ask, but would you mind riding along with me? I’d feel better if I have a witness in case he tries anything.”

“That Tompkins fellow?”

“Yeah. That’s the one.” Colt related the diner incident.

Hank let out a whistle. “Sounds like some dirty shit going on, for sure. I’ll ride along, but I can’t afford to get in any trouble.”

Colt studied his foreman’s set jaw in the dim light emanating from the barn. Hank had secrets. No doubt about it. “There won’t be any trouble. You have my word. I just want to get to the bottom of this and move on.”

***

Hank pulled to a stop in front of the ranch house and got out, tossing Colt the keys. “Again, I’m sorry, boss. If you want me gone, just tell me.”

Colt stared at the cowboy before answering slowly. “No, Hank. I don’t want you gone. I need you here. Don’t worry. I won’t say anything.”

Hank scuffed the toe of his boot in the dirt. “Thanks.”

“Goodnight.”

The cowboy trudged toward the bunkhouse, his shoulders sagging. Hank had troubles, and Colt hated that he’d brought it all to the forefront.

Universal Purchase Link HERE!

Let’s go on a scavenger hunt! Hidden within the blog posts are clues you will need to look for.

The theme is “Things You’d Find On A Ranch.”

When you find these clues, email your answers to me at

SaddledHearts@gmail.com

With CONTEST

In the subject line.

The person with the most correct entries will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

The runner-up will receive an eBook of Saddled Hearts!

It Pays To Play!

Connect with Jan Sikes here ~

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | BookBub | Instagram | Amazon Author Page

Review of, Veteran (Book Two of City Streets Trilogy), by Susanne Perry

As Fall settles in and with it, the cooler weather, I can’t help but think of those who lack the basic need of shelter. The book I’m reviewing today, though a work of fiction, touches on this wide-spread issue.

What’s the gist?

A Gulf War veteran haunted by his past and living on the street, is accused of a vicious crime. Although the evidence points in his direction, he claims to be innocent. Why does he refuse to aid in his own defense? Lieutenant Liz Jordan and Officer Kyle Connors want to believe him, but their hands are tied. Horrors from the past, social injustice, and political conspiracy come into play as the police try to vindicate a former soldier who remains true to his code of honor. Veteran is the second novel in the City Streets Trilogy.

Here’s My Take:

Book number two of the City Streets Trilogy, I highly recommend reading, Runaway, the first of the series. Veteran, has the same main cast of characters, all proficiently crafted with a fitting balance of flaws, quirks, and redeeming qualities.

While I appreciated the murder/mystery aspect of this tale, what stuck with me are the choice of salves that each character chose to apply, in response to the fires they walked through. While some chose to anoint their wounds with kindness, working tirelessly to make life better for the most vulnerable, others chose a toxic topical that they smeared liberally for their own gain. As in the everyday world, consequences or rewards were there to greet all in the end.  

Here’s an excerpt that sums it up. The guilty is being counselled by the detective after the arrest. Quinn and the guilty grew up on the street together. “Quinn had a lot to say about the hell that some street kids go through, how they have often been abandoned before they end up on the street. The street becomes a refuge for them. She talked about blame, blame and anger. How reactions can destroy a person. That’s why she does what she does with kids; she doesn’t want any kid to blame themselves for what the adults in their lives do to them. It’s not their fault. She’s doing great, by the way. And she wanted to let you know that we spoke. She’s not averse to talking with you, if you should want that.”

Veteran is more than a ‘who-dun-it.’ It’s a statement about rising from the ashes and channeling your emotions into a positive outlet that can benefit so many. Yes, even for the lost, there can be redemption.

I recommend this book for those who are concerned with social issues and enjoy a well-choreographed plot guided by characters who will leave a lasting impression.  

Here is a link to my review of, Runaway, the first of this series. Review of Runaway

Meet Susanne and grab your copy:

 Perry is the author of The City Streets Series–three mysteries set within the street community of the Pacific Northwest. An avid reader of mysteries, Perry chose to write in that genre, combining love of “who-dun-its” with experience working with people. Runaway, Veteran and Gutter Punk, the three titles in the series, include references to history, places, and culture specific to their Pacific Northwest settings. Perry is a native of Washington state and worked for a variety of non-profit programs serving children and families. Perry resides with her husband in Arizona.

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