Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Phantom of Oz by Cindy Brown - #review #giveaway

Creepy munchkins. A mysterious phantom. And a real Wicked Witch. Are you ready for it?

Actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows has been hired to uncover the cause of the creepy accidents that plague the roadshow The Wizard: A Space OZpera and find out who dropped a chandelier on the Wicked Witch of the East.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Where Do I Go by Beverly Magid - #review #giveaway

It’s 1908 and Leah and her boys have immigrated to New York’s Lower East Side to live with her brothers after surviving a pogrom in their Russian village. She is determined to find a home in America but the conditions are harsher than she expected. The garment sweat shops are brutal to work in and it’s essential that her son Benny works after school to help with expenses. Unbeknownst to her he runs errands for the local bookie/gangster. Life isn’t what Leah hoped for, but she’s a fighter and not willing to accept the awful conditions at Wollowitz’s Factory. She’s on a journey to find her own voice, to find a place for herself and her sons, to find a little beauty and romance in her life.



I need to keep this book around anytime I feel like my life is 'rough'.  I got to marry for love.  Leah met her future husband maybe once before they were married; they didn't even know each other, let alone know if they loved each other.  My husband is alive, well-ish, and snoring in back of me.  Leah's husband was killed defending their family from soldiers.  Leah's only other relationship with a man ended with a soldier dead, her man going to prison (and eventually dying there), and her fleeing the country with two young sons.  If I am mistreated at work, I have some recourse; Leah had none and had to make her own.

Leah's teenage son had to get a job after school to help his mother and two uncles keep a roof over their heads and buy enough food to survive on.  His take home?  One dollar a week!  (Most people nowadays earn at least that much on a mandated 15 minute paid break!  For further perspective, young Benny would have to work for 1923 YEARS to earn the increase in initial membership fee to Mar-a-Lago since Trump became president.  I checked and $1 earned in 1905 would be like earning $26.05 today, which means it would still be a crappy weekly wage.)

The lives of most immigrants to the US then, well...sucked.  They left war, persecution, famine in their native countries to come to the USA - where the streets were said to be 'paved with gold'.  But 'happily ever after' didn't quite turn out that way.  The strong preyed on the weak.  Immigrants born in another country often had 'differences of opinions' with people who were born in the US, but whose ancestors came from the same country the 'new' immigrants did.  Religion fought against religion, race against race, ethnicity against ethnicity, rich vs. poor...if a line could be drawn between two groups of people it was drawn.  Sadly, many of those same lines still exist today.

Ms. Magid does an incredible job at describing the conditions and privations of immigrants and factory workers at the turn of the 20th century.  And on the flip side, the warmth of family and friends, be it Leah and her brothers and sons, or even Jake and his father Samuel (in their own way) was palpable.

Families and friends had to help each other be strong, because most other social forces were trying to beat each other down and tear each other apart.  For instance, Benny was beaten up by an Irish gang until he 'accepted' a position running numbers for them.  Then he was 'rescued' by Jake, who was also of Jewish extraction ... who ultimately used Benny for assignments of questionable legality.

Now, you may think with my talk of social injustice, that I came away not liking the book.  Oh, that is so far from the truth.  Despite the terrible things that happened (much like in the movies Braveheart or Schindler's List, to name but two), I finished reading Where Do I Go feeling 'lighter' than I did when I started.  

When the opportunity presents itself for me to read another book by Beverly Magid (Flying Out of Brooklyn or Sown in Tears, or some future work), I am jumping on it.



Beverly Magid, before writing her novel, was a journalist and an entertainment and celebrity PR executive, who interviewed many luminaries, including John Lennon, Jim Croce and the Monty Python gang, and as a publicist represented clients in music, tv and film, ranging from Whoopi Goldberg, John Denver and Dolly Parton to Tom Skerritt, Martin Landau, Kathy Ireland and Jacqueline Bisset.

Beverly is a longtime west coast resident who still considers herself a New Yorker. Among the social issues she’s passionate about is literacy and she worked with KorehLA to mentor elementary children in reading. Also she has been an advocate for Jewish World Watch, an organization dedicated to working against genocide and to aid the victims of war atrocities. On a lighter side, she is also a volunteer at the Los Angeles Zoo, monitoring animal behavior for their Research Department.

She is a news and political junkie who supports environmental, animal and human rights issues. She believes most passionately that “We must remain vigilant to the those who would erode the rights of people around the world and work to defeat them.”

For more information, please visit Beverly Magid’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.



Where Do I Go Blog Tour


Click on the banner above to go to the tour page, where you will find links to more reviews of this title.  You can also find out how to become a blog host for future book tours while you are there.

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.)


This book helps me fulfill the following 2018 reading challenges:

52 Books in 52 Weeks v2.0 (book on a topic about which I am passionate - social in/justice)
PopSugar Reading Challenge (book about a problem facing society today - social in/justice)
COYER Winter Switch (free ebook)
Mount TBR

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Natural Thorn Killer by Kate Dyer-Seeley - #bookblast


About the Book

Kensington (March 27, 2018) 
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-1496705136 
Digital ASIN: B073NPHX8Z

Cut down among the flowers . .
Britta Johnston might be a late bloomer, but after leaving her deadbeat husband and dead-end job, she’s finally pursuing her artistic passion at her aunt Elin’s floral boutique, Blooma, in Portland, Oregon. It’s on the banks of the Willamette, in a quaint district of cobblestone paths and cherry trees. The wine bar featuring Pacific Northwest vintages is a tasty bonus, offering another kind of bouquet to enjoy. But things aren’t as peaceful as they look.
For one thing, someone’s been leaving dead roses around—and a sleazy real estate developer who wants the waterfront property has put a big-money offer on the table. Then, after a contentious meeting of local business owners, he’s found on the floor of the shop, with Elin’s garden shears planted in his chest. And before the police decide to pin the crime on her beloved aunt, Britta will have to find out who arranged this murder . . .

About the Author


Kate Dyer-Seeley aka Ellie Alexander writes multiple mystery series, all with a Pacific Northwest touch. She lives in the PNW with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three.

Author Links Facebook * Twitter  * Instagram * GoodReads  
Amazon * B&N * Hudson Booksellers *  IndieBound *  BAM

Monday, January 15, 2018

My 2018 Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (The Original) Sign-up

Robin is hosting the 2018 Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge at its dedicated blog.

The button above links to the sign-up page, and you can find full details, including a tasty-looking assortment of mini-challenges etc to spice things up during the year.

I'm in for the main challenge, at least.  I want to get a few of those books under my belt before I decide if I can tackle any of the extras.

There is also a second RC out there with a 52in52 theme, but that one assigns reading categories.  Since it's my 2nd RC w/that same theme I have called this one "The Original" and the other one, "Part Deux, or v2.0".

So, here's my list:

1.  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo; read 1/1/2018; reviewed 1/2/2018
2.  White Hell by Remington Kane; read 1/1/2018; reviewed 1/2/2018
3.  Above and Beyond by Kathryn Shay; read 1/1/2018; reviewed 1/2/2018
4.  Murder in the Latin Quarter by Susan Kiernan-Lewis; read 1/2/2018; reviewed 1/3/2018
5.  Searching for Gertrude by D.H. Haggerty; read 1/7/2018; reviewed 1/9/2018
6.  Where Do I Go by Beverly Magid; read 1/8/2018; review will post 1/29/2018
7.  The Vanished Bride of Northfield House; read 1/12/2018;
8.  The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde; read 1/13/2018;

Sunday, January 14, 2018

My 2018 Read Harder Reading Challenge Sign-up

  1. A book published posthumously
    1. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  2. A book of true crime
    1. True Detective Stories from the Archives of the Pinkertons by Cleveland Moffitt
  3. A classic of genre fiction (i.e. mystery, sci fi/fantasy, romance)
    1. Partners in Crime by Agatha Christie
  4. A comic written and drawn by the same person
  5. A book set in or about one of the five BRICS countries(Brazil, Russia, India, China, or South Africa)
    1. White Hell by Remington Kane (1 January 2018)
  6. A book about nature
  7. A western
    1. There are boxes and bags of these out in Mamaw's old shed.  I won't even have to look at the titles (until I pick one to read, of course) because they are ALL westerns! *LOL*
  8. A comic written or illustrated by a person of color
  9. A book of colonial or postcolonial literature
    1. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  10. A romance novel by or about a person of color
  11. A children’s classic published before 1980
    1. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  12. A celebrity memoir
  13. An Oprah Book Club selection
  14. A book of social science
    1. The Jungle by Upon Sinclair
  15. A one-sitting book
  16. The first book in a new-to-you YA or middle grade series
  17. A sci fi novel with a female protagonist by a female author
  18. A comic that isn’t published by Marvel, DC, or Image
  19. A book of genre fiction in translation
  20. A book with a cover you hate
  21. A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author
  22. An essay anthology
    1. Essays by David Hume (GR says 85 pg; Amazon says 126)
  23. A book with a female protagonist over the age of 60
  24. An assigned book you hated (or never finished)

I'll add other titles as we go.  Links for the books I have not read and/or reviewed go to Goodreads.  Links for books I have reviewed go to the review post on my blog and are given in strikeover text.

Link to the challenge hub on BookRiot is linked to the graphic above the list.  Any questions, feel free to ask.  Any suggestions for categories not filled already are gratefully accepted!


Have you read any of the books listed above?

Friday, January 12, 2018

Weave a Murderous Web by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks - #review

No good deed goes unpunished. When Jane Larson—a hot-shot litigator for a large firm in New York City—helps out a friend, she is sucked into the unfamiliar world of divorce and child support. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Another One Bites the Crust by Ellie Alexander - #review

Torte―the beloved small-town bakeshop run by Jules Capshaw―is set to hit the stage. But who would have guessed that murder would makes a surprise appearance?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Searching for Gertrude by D.E. Haggerty - #review

While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey. Rudolf, desperate to follow Gertrude, takes a position working at the consulate in Istanbul with the very government which caused her exile. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love. Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Murder in the Latin Quarter by Susan Kiernan-Lewis - #review

In the 7th Maggie Newberry Mystery, Maggie’s much-anticipated Paris holiday takes a dark turn when she ventures into the city’s famed Latin Quarter to visit Laurent’s ailing aunt—only to find a very healthy aunt and a very dead body. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Above and Beyond by Kathryn Shay - #review

A family of heroes, all in dangerous jobs, all irrevocably tied to those they love. Read about the Marino clan in this fast-paced, emotional new series, To Serve and Protect, by NYT bestselling author Kathryn Shay.

White Hell by Remington Kane - #review

Tanner and Sara's small plane crashes into the Siberian wilderness...
...and that's just the beginning of their trouble.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo - #review #firstbook2018

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?