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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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 ~

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Review of Linda’s Midlife Crisis, by Toni Pike

I’ve been absent on the blogosphere lately, my apologies to everyone who’s posts I’ve yet to read. I promise that I will
catch up. Between starting a new job, an online course, writing, and well, everything else, time is a precious commodity.

Today I have the pleasure of reviewing, Linda’s Midlife Crisis, by Toni Pike. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

What’s it about?

How does a fifty-year-old woman start a new life?

Meet Linda Lockwood: fifty, fat, frumpy and bullied by her horrible husband Ron and the vile students and principal at the school where she teaches English. But her life is about to undergo a total transformation.

Linda suffers a breakdown after a traumatic classroom incident, and that brings out the worst in Ron and devious principal, Wayne Forsythe. Then she is rocked to discover her husband has a shocking secret.

With her own determination and the help of friends and family, she starts to turn her life around. She begins to succeed, but there are still some more surprises in store Linda.

My View:

This is a classic, “rags to riches,” tale that does a wonderful job of creating sympathy for our down and out protagonist.

Though her circumstances have never been ideal, the bullies in Linda’s life push her to the edge with a series of offenses ranging from indifference to downright abusive. Battered and bruised (figuratively), Linda’s self esteem slides to a new low. The future is bleak.

Fortunately, she’s blessed with a strong cast of supportive family and
friends. They lift her up, infusing her with the courage to rise before the
bell rings. Linda begins to take calculated risks and discovers a new life that
she’d never dreamed was possible. When the past raises an ugly head, she
quickly banishes it with her newfound confidence.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who relishes stories about overcoming
massive obstacles to win a second chance.

Meet Toni: 

Toni Pike is a multi-genre author who enjoys writing page-turning fiction for adults, hilarious books for children, and non-fiction. She also loves travelling and being with family and friends. She lives in Australia and firmly believes that coffee and long walks are an essential part of any day.

Do you like books that you can’t stop reading? Pike is the author of LINDA’S MIDLIFE CRISIS, DESOLATION BLUFF, DEAD DRY HEART and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series: THE MAGUS COVENANT, THE ROCK OF MAGUS, THE MAGUS EPIPHANY and HOLY SPEAR OF MAGUS.

The Brody Cody Series is for children aged 6-9: BRODY CODY AND THE STEPMOTHER FROM OUTER SPACE and BRODY CODY AND THE HAUNTED VACATION HOUSE.

She’s also the author of two non-fiction books. THE ONE WAY DIET is a no-nonsense guide to losing weight. HAPPY TRAVELS 101 is a short book of travel tips with advice for anyone who wants to travel overseas.

Connect with her and grab your copy:

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Review of Life Is Like A Bowl Of Cherries, by Sally Cronin @sgc58

It’s the start of another weekend and in the early hours of Saturday morning, my thoughts turn to current events. In a previous blog, I mentioned the light verus the dark side of life, and encouraged my readers to watch for the helpers of this world. These people go above and beyond, to serve others and make this world a brighter place.

Today, I have the prvilege of reviewing and introducing such a person. Though, I suspect, she needs no introduction to most. 🙂 Meet Sally Cronin.

Here’s what Amazon says:

Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet is a collection of short stories with scattered poetry, reflecting the complexities of life, love and loss.

The stories in the collection dip into the lives of men and women who are faced with an ‘event’ that is challenging and in some cases life changing.

Even something as straightforward as grocery shopping online can be frustrating, and a DNA test produces surprise results, the past reaches out to embrace the present, and a gardening assistant is an unlikely grief counsellor. Romance is not always for the faint-hearted and you are never too old for love. Random acts of kindness have far reaching consequences and some people discover they are on a lucky streak. There are those watching over us who wish us well, and those in our lives who wish us harm.

My Turn:

The full name of this book is actually, Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet. I had to shorten it, because when I put this on my website blog, it limits title lengths.

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of short stories, sprinkled with meaningful poetry, each pertaining to the pervious story.

Flipping the pages into each new chapter, was to be whisked into another era, another life, a 180 degree ‘about face’ into vastly different circumstances; some good, others, less than stellar.   

What remained constant, was the quality of connection I had with every character. They were real people to cheer on, pity, dislike, and congratulate. Valuable life lessons were skillfully interwoven in the fabric of every tale.

I deal with certain faulty world views, due to past experiences. When I first began to read this book, and things were going right for the character, I honestly waited for the other shoe to drop.

 I was pleasantly shocked and pleased when the footwear remained firmly affixed and tied! My thought, Is this all there is? The question was posed in a positive and grateful way. I was very pleased. Why shouldn’t life be like that? Such a refreshing change!

I finished this book with a feeling of happiness and peace. There is still good in this world.

Thank you, Sally, for the salve. I would highly recommend this book to everyone. This is what the world needs.

There is no question that this book deserves FIVE STARS!

Meet Sally Cronin:

I have enjoyed a nomadic existence living in eight countries including Sri Lanka, Malta, South Africa, USA and Spain, before settling back here in Ireland. My work, and a desire to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world in the last forty years, has taken me to many more incredible destinations around Europe and Canada, and across the oceans to New Zealand and Hawaii. All those experiences and the people that I have met, provide a rich source of inspiration for my stories.

After a career in customer facing roles in the hospitality, retail, advertising and telecommunications industry, I wrote and published my first book in 1999 called Size Matters, about my weight loss journey, losing 150lbs in 18 months. This was followed by 11 further fiction and non-fiction books, including a number of short story collections.

My first book release resulted in a radio interview in Spain that led to four years as a nutritional consultant for an English language station, and this was followed by four years with my own health show and Sunday morning show on local radio station in the UK and then as station director, newsreader and presenter for an online television station.

As a writer I know how important it is to have help in marketing books and from 2002 I have been working with authors on their book launches and publicity. At that time it was very much physical book launches and press coverage locally to stimulate national interest.. Today it is very different with a global market via the worldwide web.

As important as my own promotion is, I believe it is important to support others within our community. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog, linked to my social media. If you are an author who would like to be promoted to a new audience of dedicated readers, please contact me via my blog. All it will cost you is a few minutes of your time. Look forward to hearing from you.

Connect with Sally and purchase her books:

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