Friday, April 30, 2021

When I Last Saw You by Bette Lee Crosby

Margaret lost her husband and needed to find at least one of her many siblings to be added as a beneficiary for her estate.​

Finding her siblings was quite difficult because they all were sent to different homes since their father abandoned them and their mother couldn’t take care of them.​​

While cleaning out her husband’s desk drawers, Margaret finds the name of an investigator, Tom Bateman, who did some work for Albert twenty-four years ago.  Little did Margaret know that he had hired Mr. Bateman to look for Margaret's family.

Tom agrees to continue looking for Margaret’s family after all these years even though it is something Margaret is worried about.​​

Margaret is reluctant to go back to Coal Creek because of her horrible childhood and possible secrets that were never revealed.​​

Tom turned out to be a wonderful companion and investigator.  Margaret had some hope that he would help her find her siblings especially since he found Caldonia who was like a second mother to Margaret and her siblings.​​

I couldn’t stop reading because I wanted to find out what Tom and Margaret would uncover and if they would find any of her siblings.​​

WHEN I LAST SAW YOU is another gem from Bette Lee Crosby.

It is a beautiful read filled with the love of family and hope, but some heartbreaking situations as well.​​

You will not be disappointed in Ms. Crosby’s WHEN I LAST SAW YOU.

If you need something cozy and comforting, make this book your next read.  

The characters and the story stayed with me long after I was done reading.  5/5

​​This book was given to me by the author via Book Funnel in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Spotlight of Eat Your Words by Isabel Chiara





Wyrd & Wyld Publishing; March 29, 2021; 326 pages; 978-1735072654

EAT YOUR WORDS is a mostly-fictional story that follows the history of Giana Giovanni, a first-generation American Italian girl whose early curvaceous entry into womanhood and hearty Italian appetite make for a complex-carb tale about the depth of our relationship with self-nourishment.



Giana Giovanni wants you to know you’re not alone. If you’ve ever found your heart racing, fingers fumbling to rip open a bag of something crispy, salty, sticky or sweet; if you’ve ended one reckless night swearing off a corner store the way some women attempt to swear off a bad romance, Giana wants you to know, she’s been there, too.

EAT YOUR WORDS (Wyrd & Wyld Publishing; March 29, 2021) by Isabel Chiara is a mostly-fictional story follows the history of Giana Giovanni, a first-generation American Italian girl whose early curvaceous entry into womanhood and hearty Italian appetite make for a complex-carb tale about the depth of our relationship with self-nourishment. 

Often self-derogatory, and certainly comedic, readers can fall in love with Giana as they relate to her often awkward and outlandish process, simply trying to find herself in the land of milk and honey. 

Nearing her 6th decade, join Giana as she realizes it is never too late to gain a sense of self-compassion and confront issues of body-image, or attempt to modify outworn behaviors.



“Over the years, I’ve found it better to keep my dietary tendencies to myself rather than get a sore neck from nodding absently in response to others’ clich├ęd insights, suggestions bulleted into easy adages. It’s simple, professed books, diet gurus, workshop giants, my sister, my mom, and even an occasional girlfriend I’d confided in.

Just eat in moderation. Chew. Just abstain from eating at night. Always stop when you’re full. Pause between bites. Put your fork down. (People, what fork?)

I have a whole programming language of eating vernacular. My Eating Words are anything but easeful—and definitely not enviable. They arrive curtly, bluntly, front and center. Without question, they are the star of the show, but they are more than just the star. My Eating Words infect the stage, stain the curtain, consume the cast, shred the playbill, and undermine the script.

Bitch, you’re going to eat the whole thing anyway, so just eat it. Eat it all fast. You can’t stop. You can’t put it down. You have to buy it all. I want it all, as much as I can have. I can’t do anything else until I get it. And get both kinds because who are you to choose? You don’t choose. I don’t care. You don’t care. There’s nothing else. Go to the store, then go home catatonically, watch
a Hallmark movie, and pass out. That’s what I want to do.

For two-thirds of my life, I’ve returned to this ceremony, living out the yin and yang of being cognizant, ambitious, committed to the exercise plan, the workshop, the healing path, the therapist certification and then camouflaging in cookies, checking out in chocolate, turning off with tuna. I know I pushed it to
the limit; I learned in the last years of that existence that the time had come. I took it to the very end, like a drag race, right to the edge of the cliff. I’d lived out this body response too long. I had no choice but to attempt to gain real insight, to make actual change.” (excerpt from Isabel Chiara’s new memoir-meets-novel “Eat Your Words”)

Get the entire first chapter of Isabel Chiara’s debut novel for free and journey with Giana Giovanni, who traces her Italian farmland heritage to her New England fast-food affliction in the book Eat Your Words, available in ebook and hard-copy spring 2021. 



Isabel Chiara, creator of “The Life Actualization Process,” has been a guide, mentor, and leader throughout her entire life, studying and working in transformational energy modalities, serving others, whether through entrepreneurial work, culinary prowess, or her professional intuitive guidance. 

With dedication, Isabel activates unlimited potential and empowerment for her clients, helping them to ignite their full passion and align with their most authentic life path, masterfully supporting the liberation of constricting beliefs, definitions, and self-limitations. 

As a result, her clients are able to access a deeper wisdom and joy within their lives and experience a world of prosperity, miracles, and magic. 

Isabel spends her time exploring her backyards in Connecticut and New York City in addition to connecting to her deep roots in Italy. 

She can often be found traveling the globe, whether leading a retreat or on a personal pilgrimage. 

When at home, Isabel is busy with her career as the owner of multiple businesses.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Spotlight of Dead In The Water by Jeannette de Beauvoir

Dead In The Water

by Jeannette de Beauvoir

April 27, 2021 Book Blast

Dead In The Water by Jeannette de Beauvoir


Book Details:

Family Can Be Murder

Sydney Riley's stretch of planned relaxation between festivals is doomed from the start. Her parents, ensconced at the Race Point Inn, expect her to play tour guide. Wealthy adventurer Guy Husband has reappeared, seeking to regain her friend Mirela's affections. And the body of a kidnapped businessman has been discovered under MacMillan Wharf!

Sydney is literally at sea (by far not her favorite place!) balancing these expectations with her supersized curiosity. Is the murder the work of a regional gang led by the infamous "Codfather" or the result of a feud within an influential Provincetown family? What's Guy Husband's connection, and why is it suddenly so important that her boyfriend Ali come for a visit—especially while her mother is in town?

Master of crime Jeannette de Beauvoir brings her unique blend of irony and intrigue to this humorous—and sometimes horrendous—convergence of family and fatality.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: HomePort Press
Publication Date: May 1st 2021
Number of Pages: 309
ISBN: 9781734053371
Series:Sydney Riley Series, Book #8 | Each is a stand alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt from Dead In The Water:

Chapter One

It was, I told myself, all my worst nightmares come true. All at once.

I may live at Land’s End, out at the tip of Cape Cod where the land curls into itself and for centuries foghorns warned of early death and disaster; I may have, yes, been out on boats on the Atlantic waters, laughably close to shore; but no, I’d never gotten used to any of it. I like floors that don’t move under my feet. I like knowing I could conceivably make it back to land on my own steam should something go wrong. (Well the last bit is a fantasy: without a wetsuit, the cold would get me before the fatigue did. But the point still stands.)

I was having this plethora of cheerful thoughts for two reasons. I had allowed myself to be persuaded to go on a whale watch. And the person standing beside me on the deck was my mother.

Like all stories that involve me and my mother, this one started with guilt. I’d had, safe to say, a rough year. I’d broken my arm (and been nearly killed) at an extremely memorable film festival here in Provincetown in the spring, and then during Women’s Week that October had met up with another murderer—seriously, it’s as if my friend Julie Agassi, the head of the town’s police detective squad, is right, and I go looking for these things.

I don’t, but people are starting to wonder.

Meanwhile, my mother was busily beating her you-never-call-you-never-write drum and I just couldn’t face seeing her for the holidays. My life was already complicated enough, and there’s no one like my mother for complicating things further. She’s in a class by herself. Other contenders have tried valiantly to keep up, before falling, one by one, by the wayside. Not even death or divorce can complicate my life the way my mother manages to. She perseveres.

On the other hand, circumstances had over the past year given her a run for her money. My boyfriend Ali—who after several years my mother continued to refer to as that man—and I had become sudden and accidental godparents to a little girl named Lily when our friend Mirela adopted her sister’s unwanted baby. And the godparents thing—which I’d always assumed to be a sort of ceremonial role one trotted out at Christmas and birthdays—had become very real when Mirela was arrested, incarcerated, and investigated as to her parenting suitability last October, and suddenly we were in loco parentis. I took the baby to Ali’s Boston apartment and we holed up there for over a month. Mirela had joined us for the last week of it and I can honestly say I’ve never been more relieved to see anyone in my life.

I was trying, but motherhood was clearly not my gig. Maybe there’s something to that DNA thing, after all.

What with one thing and another, it was this January before I was thinking straight. I’d gone back to my life in P’town and my work—I’m the wedding and events planner for the Race Point Inn, one of the town’s nicer establishments, though I do say it myself—and really believed I was finally feeling back to what passes for normal again when my mother began her barrage of guilt-laden demands. Had I forgotten I had parents? I could travel to Boston, but not to New Hampshire?

It hadn’t helped that, because there was absolutely nothing on the inn’s events calendar for February, Ali and I decided to be the tourists for once; we’d taken off for Italy. Okay, let’s see, the short dark days of February… and a choice between snowy New Hampshire and the charms of Venice. You tell me.

Which was why I’d run out of excuses by the time my mother started taking about being on her deathbed in March. (She wasn’t.) And that my father had forgotten what I looked like in April. (He hadn’t.)

I couldn’t afford any more time off—Glenn, the inn’s owner, had already been more than generous as it was—and there was only one thing to do. I had a quick shot of Jameson’s for courage and actually called my mother, risking giving her a heart attack (the last time I’d called was roughly two administrations ago), and invited her and my father to come to Provincetown.

Which was why I now found myself on the deck of the Dolphin IV, looking for whales and listening to my mother read from the guide book. “The largest living mammal is the blue whale,” she reported.

“I know,” I acknowledged.

“The humpback whale doesn’t actually chew its food,” she said. “It filters it through baleens.”

“I know,” I replied.

She glanced at me, suspicious. “How do you know all this?”

“Ma, I live in Provincetown.” It’s just possible one or two of the year-round residents—there aren’t that many of us, the number is under three thousand—don’t know about whales, but the possibility is pretty remote. Tourism is our only real industry. Tourists stop us in the street to ask us questions.

We know about whales.

She sniffed. “You don’t have to take an attitude about it, Sydney Riley,” she said. Oh, good: we were in full complete-name reprimand mode. “You know I don’t like it when you take an attitude with me.”

“I wasn’t taking an attitude. I was stating a fact.” I could feel the slow boil of adolescent-level resentment—and attitude, yes—building. I am in my late thirties, and I can still feel about fifteen when I’m having a conversation with my mother. Breathe, Riley, I counseled myself. Just breathe. Deeply. Don’t let her get to you.

She looked around her. “Are we going to see sharks?”

I sighed. Everyone these days wants to see sharks. For a long time, the dreaded story of Jaws was just that—a story, something to watch at the drive-in movie theatre in Wellfleet (yeah, we still have one of those) and shiver deliciously at the creepy music and scream when the shark tries to eat the boat. But conservation efforts over the past eight or ten years had caused a spectacular swelling of the seal population around the Cape—we’d already seen a herd of them sunning themselves on the beach today when we’d passed Long Point—and a few years later, the Great White sharks realized where their meals had all gone, and followed suit.

That changed things rather a lot. A tourist was attacked at a Truro beach and bled out. Signs were posted everywhere. Half-eaten seal corpses washed up. The famous annual Swim for Life, which once went clear across the harbor, changed its trajectory. And everybody downloaded the Great White Shark Conservancy’s shark-location app, Sharktivity.

The reality is both scary and not-scary. We’d all been surprised to learn sharks are quite comfortable in three or four feet of water, so merely splashing in the shallows was out. But in reality sharks attack humans only when they mistake them for seals, and usually only bite once, as our taste is apparently offensive to them. People who die from a shark attack bleed out; they’re not eaten alive.

“We might,” I said to my mother now. “There are a number of kinds of sharks here—”

The naturalist’s voice came over the loudspeaker, saving me. “Ah, so the captain tells me we’ve got a female and her calf just up ahead, at about two o’clock off the bow of the boat.”

“What does that mean, two o’clock?”

He had already told us. My mother had been asking what they put in the hot dogs in the galley at the time and hadn’t stopped to listen to him. “If the front of the boat is twelve o’clock, then two o’clock is just off—there!” I exclaimed, carried away despite myself. “There! Ma, see?”


The whale surfaced gracefully, water running off her back, bright and sparkling in the sunlight, and just as gracefully went back under. A smaller back followed suit. The denizens of the deep, here to feed for the summer, willing to show off for the boatloads of visitors who populated the whale-watch fleet every year to catch a glimpse of another life, a mysterious life echoing with otherworldly calls and harkening back to times when the oceans were filled with giants.

Before we hunted them to the brink of extinction, that is.

“This is an individual we know,” the naturalist was saying. “Her name is Perseid. Unlike some other whales, humpbacks don’t travel in pods. Instead, they exist in loose and temporary groups that shift, with individuals moving from group to group, sometimes swimming on their own. These assemblages have been referred to as fluid fission/fusion groups. The only exception to this fluidity is the cow and calf pair. This calf was born eight months ago, and while right now you’re seeing her next to Perseid, she’s going to start straying farther and farther away as the summer progresses.”

Now that my mother was quieter—even she was silent in the face of something this big, this extraordinary—I recognized the naturalist’s voice. It was Kai Bennett, who worked at the Center for Coastal Studies in town; he was a regular at the Race Point Inn’s bar scene during the winter, when we ran a trivia game and he aced all the biology questions. “And we have another one that just went right under us… haven’t yet seen who this one is,” said Kai.

The newcomer spouted right off the port side of the boat and the light wind swept a spray of fine droplets over the passengers, who exclaimed and laughed.

“I wish they’d jump more out of the water,” my mother complained. “You have to look so fast. and they blend right in.”

My mother is going to bring a list of complaints with her to give to Saint Peter when she assaults the pearly gates of heaven. I swear she is.

Kai’s voice on the loudspeaker overran my mother’s. “Ocean conservation starts with connection. We believe that, as we build personal relationships with the ocean and its wildlife, we become more invested stewards of the marine environment. Whales, as individuals, have compelling stories to tell: where will this humpback migrate this winter to give birth? Did the whale with scars from a propeller incident survive another year? What happened to the entangled whale I saw in the news?”

“Look!” yelled a passenger. “I just saw a blow over there! Look! I know I did! I’m sure of it!”

Kai continued, “For science, unique identifiable markings on a whale's flukes—that’s the tail, folks—and on the dorsal fin allow us to non-invasively track whale movements and stories over time. By focusing on whales, we bring attention to the marine ecosystem as a whole and the challenges we face as a global community.”

“He sounds like a nice young man,” my mother remarked. “He sounds American.”

Don’t take the bait, I told myself. Don’t take the bait.

I took the bait.

“Ali is American,” I said. “He was born in Boston.”

“But his parents weren’t,” she said, with something like relish. “I just wish you could find a nice—”

I cut her off. “Ali is a nice American man,” I said.

“But why would his parents even come to America?” my mother asked, for possibly the four-thousandth time. “Everyone should just stay home. Where they belong.”

Breathe, Riley. Just breathe. “I think they would have liked to stay home,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady. “There was just the minor inconvenience of a civil war. Makes it difficult to enjoy your morning coffee when there’s a bomb explosion next door. Seriously, Ma, don’t you hate it when that happens?”

“You’re taking a tone with me,” my mother said. “Don’t take a tone with me.”

Kai saved me yet again. “That’s a good question,” his voice said over the loudspeaker. “For those of you who didn’t hear, this gentleman just asked how we know these whales by name. Of course, these are just names we give to them—they have their own communication systems and ways of identifying themselves and each other! So as I said, these are whales that return to the marine sanctuary every summer. Many of them are females, who can be counted on to bring their new calves up to Stellwagen Bank because they can feast on nutritious sand lance—that’s a tiny fish humpbacks just love—and teach their offspring to hunt. Together with Allied Whale in Bar Harbor at the College of the Atlantic, the Center for Coastal Studies Humpback Whale Research Group runs a study of return rates of whales based on decades of sighting data. So, in other words, we get to see the same whales, year after year. The first one ever named was a female we called Salt.” He didn’t say what I knew: that Allied Whale and the Center for Coastal Studies didn’t always play well together. For one thing, they had totally different names for the same whales. I managed to keep that fact to myself.

“Your father will wish he came along,” my mother said.

My father, to the best of my knowledge, was sitting out by the pool at the Race Point Inn, reading a newspaper and drinking a Bloody Mary. My mother was the dogged tourist in the family: when we’d gone on family vacations together, she was the one who found all the museums and statues and sights-of-interest to visit. She practically memorized guide books. My father, bemused, went along with most of it, though his idea of vacation was more centered around doing as little as possible for as much time as possible. Retirement didn’t seem to have changed that in any significant way.

“You’re here until Sunday,” I pointed out. “You can take him out.”

She sniffed. “He doesn’t know anything about whales,” she said.

“Then that’s the point. He’ll learn.” Okay, come on, give me a little credit: I was really trying here.

“Maybe,” she said darkly. “What are those other boats out there?”

I looked. “Some of them are just private boats. And a lot of the fishing charters come out here,” I said. “And when there are whales spotted, they come and look, too. Gives the customers an extra thrill.” I knew from Kai and a couple of the other naturalists that the whale-watch people weren’t thrilled with the extra attention: the private boats in particular didn’t always maintain safe distances from the whales. Once a whale was spotted and one or two of the Dolphin Fleet stopped to look, anyone within sight followed their lead. It could get quite crowded on a summer day.

And dangerous. There had been collisions in the past—boats on boats and, once that I knew of, a boat hitting a whale. Some days it was enough to despair of the human race.

Kai was talking. “Well, folks, this is a real treat! The whale that just blew on our port side is Piano, who’s a Stellwagen regular easy to identify for some unfortunate reasons, because she has both vessel propeller strike and entanglement scars. This whale is a survivor, however, and has been a regular on Stellwagen for years!” Amazing, I thought cynically, she even gave us the time of day after all that.

“I didn’t see the scars,” said my mother.

We waited around for a little while and then felt the engines start up again and the deck vibrate. I didn’t like the feeling. I knew exactly how irrational my fear was, and knowing did nothing to alleviate it. I’d had some bad experiences out on the water in the past, and that vibration brought them all back. I’d tried getting over it by occasionally renting a small sailboat with my friend Thea, but—well, again, I always thought I’d be able to swim to shore from the sailboat if anything went wrong. Not out here.

And then there was the whole not-letting-my-mother-know side to things. If she did, she’d never let me hear the end of it.
At least when we were talking about whales we weren’t talking about her ongoing matrimonial hopes for me, the matrimonial successes of (it seemed) all her friends’ offspring, and the bitter disappointment she was feeling around my approaching middle age without a husband in tow. That seemed to be where all our conversations began… and ended.
And I wasn’t approaching middle age. Forty is the new thirty, and all that sort of thing.

“The captain says we have another pair coming up, folks, off to the port side now… I’m just checking them out… it’s a whale called Milkweed and her new calf! Mom is traveling below the surface right now, but you can see the calf rolling around here…” There was a pause and a murmur and then his voice came back. “No, that’s not abnormal. The baby’s learning everything it needs to know about buoyancy and swimming, and you can be sure Mom’s always close by. We’re going to slowly head back toward Cape Cod now…” And, a moment later, “Looks like Milkweed and the baby are staying with us! Folks, as you’re seeing here, whales can be just as curious about us as we are about them! What Milkweed is doing now—see her, on the starboard side, at three o’clock—we call it spyhopping.”

“Why on earth would they be curious about us?” wondered my mother.

“That,” I said, looking at her and knowing she’d never get the sarcasm, “is a really good question.”

Just breathe, Riley. Just breathe.


Excerpt from Dead In The Water by Jeannette de Beauvoir. Copyright 2021 by Jeannette de Beauvoir. Reproduced with permission from Jeannette de Beauvoir. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Jeannette de Beauvoir

Jeannette de Beauvoir didn’t set out to murder anyone—some things are just meant to be!

Her mother introduced her to the Golden Age of mystery fiction when she was far too young to be reading it, and she’s kept following those authors and many like them ever since. She wrote historical and literary fiction and poetry for years before someone asked her what she read—and she realized mystery was where her heart was. Now working on the Sydney Riley Provincetown mystery series, she bumps off a resident or visitor to her hometown on a regular basis.

Catch Up With Our Author:
BookBub: @JeannettedeBeauvoir
Instagram: @jeannettedebeauvoir
Twitter: @JeannetteDeB
Facebook: @JeannettedeBeauvoir

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!




This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeannette de Beauvoir. There will be two (2) winners who will each receive one (1) Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 27, 2021 and ends on May 5, 2021. Void where prohibited.

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Monday, April 26, 2021

Spotlight of From Ashes to Song by Hilary Hauck



Inspired by true events, From Ashes to Song is a story of unconventional love, hope, and the extraordinary gifts brought to America by ordinary people in the great wave of immigration.

"From Ashes to Song by Hilary Hauck is a gorgeous story inspired by true events. Gifted musician, Pietro, and beautiful Assunta wander the world, hearts closed and hard, each marred by pain, making choices out of uncertainty and grief. Their paths cross then join as the two grope for the next right thing to do. It’s nearly too late when they finally recognize the love right in front of them. Hauck’s exquisite prose calls on the beauty of music to illuminate the harsh, dark world of coal mines and company towns. The immigrant population fuels an industry but as individuals they wield little power over their daily obligations. Luckily, they carry with them dreams for better lives, affection for family, the seeds of good wine, and the strains of enchanting music—an invitation to share in the magic of love in all its forms."—Kathleen Shoop, Award-winning, bestselling author of historical fiction, women's fiction, and romance

"From Ashes to Song enticed me with its pleasurably beautiful prose. Pietro tries to perfect a song for his grandfather Nonno as he gazes over the family vineyards in Piedmont, Italy. The musicality of the story kept me enthralled from the beginning. The love story of talented Pietro and honey voiced Assunta, inspired by true events, is a quintessential immigrant story. But it is also the tale of two lovers who cross paths only to be separated again and again against the backdrop of hard life of coal miners of Pennsylvania. The “land of milk and honey” is beyond their reach but they overcome their day-to-day struggles and frustrations with fond memories, newly forged relationships and dreams for a better life. Pietro’s melodies for Assunta kept me magnetized as much as their love amidst scarcity. At the end the musical threads coalesced into one poignant and powerful scene like the crescendo of an unforgettable symphony.”—Madhu B. Wangu, award-winning author and founder of Mindful Writers Groups and Retreats

"From the vineyards of Piedmont to the coal mines of southwestern Pennsylvania, From Ashes to Song by Hilary Hauck poignantly captures the challenges and triumphs of the Italian immigrant experience at the turn of the century. Based on real-life events, the characters at the center of this big-hearted and beautiful debut, Pietro and Assunta, find love in the face of devastating loss. Their story of resourcefulness, resilience and the power of music to inspire and to heal is one to savor. Like the long finish of a fine wine, From Ashes to Song will linger in the mind long after the last page has been turned.”—Meredith Mileti, author of Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses


It’s 1911 in Italy, and Pietro’s life on the family vineyard is idyllic. He has at last captured the melody of the grape harvest on his clarinet and can’t wait to share his composition with his grandfather, but before he can play, news arrives of a deadly disease sweeping the countryside. They have no choice but to burn the vineyard to stop its spread. The loss is too much for Pietro’s grandfather, and by morning, Pietro has lost two of the most precious things in his life—his grandfather and the vineyard. All he has left is his music, but a disastrous performance at his grandfather’s funeral suggests that music, too, now seems beyond his reach. 

Adrift with grief, Pietro seeks a new start in America. He goes to work in a Pennsylvania coal mine where his musician’s hands blister and his days are spent in the muffled silence of underground. 

When the beautiful voice and gentle heart of a friend’s wife stirs a new song in him, Pietro at last encounters a glimmer of hope. From a respectful distance and without drawing the attention of her husband, Pietro draws on Assunta for inspiration and soon his gift for music returns. But when grief strikes in Assunta’s life, Pietro is to blame. When Prohibition steals Pietro’s last pleasure, he has to do something before Assunta’s grief consumes them both.



Hilary Hauck is the author of From Ashes to Song, her debut novel. A writer and translator, her work has appeared in the Mindful Writers Retreat Series anthologies, the Ekphrastic Review, Balloons Lit. Journal, and the Telepoem Booth.
She moved to Italy from her native UK as a young adult, where she mastered the language, learned how to cook food she can no longer eat, and won a karate championship.
After meeting her husband, Hilary came to the US and drew inspiration from Pennsylvania coal history, which soon became the setting for her debut novel. Hilary is Chair of the Festival of Books in the Alleghenies, past president of Pennwriters, and a graduate of RULE.
She lives on a small patch of woods in rural Pennsylvania with her husband, one of their three adult children, a cat with a passion for laundry, and an oversized German Shepherd called Hobbes—of the Calvin variety.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Spotlight of Strongheart by Jim Fergus



The Lost Journals of May Dodd and Molly McGill (on sale April 6, 2021). The final installment of Jim Fergus’ One Thousand White Women trilogy, STRONGHEART is a fiercely empowering tale of grit, womanhood, and the will to survive. 

"It's a gripping tale, a history lesson infused with both sadness at the violence perpetuated against the Cheyenne and awe at the endurance of this remarkable group of women."—Booklist, starred review on The Vengeance of Mothers

"Fans of One Thousand White Women will not be disappointed with this sequel: the intricately-plotted narrative—which takes the form of the wives’ journal entries—offers a vivid and emotionally rich account of a little-known episode in American history."—Arizona Daily Star on The Vengeance of Mothers  

"Fans looking for adventure during the time of the Oregon Trail will find...thrills."—Publisher's Weekly on The Vengeance of Mothers 



In 1873, a Cheyenne chief offers President Grant the opportunity to exchange one thousand horses for one thousand white women, in order to marry them with his warriors and create a lasting peace. 


These women, "recruited" by force in the penitentiaries and asylums of the country, gradually integrate the way of life of the Cheyenne, at the time when the great massacres of the tribes begin. 


After the battle of Little Big Horn, some female survivors decide to take up arms against the United States, which has stolen from the Native Americans their lands, their way of life, their culture and their history. 


This ghost tribe of rebellious women will soon go underground to wage an implacable battle, which will continue from generation to generation. In this final volume of the One Thousand White Women trilogy, Jim Fergus mixes with rare mastery the struggle of women and Native Americans in the face of oppression, from the end of the 19th century until today. With a vivid sense of the 19th century American West, Fergus paints portraits of women as strong as they are unforgettable.



Photo Credit:  Stephen Collector, at

JIM FERGUS is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in numerous national magazines and newspapers. He is the author of several fiction and nonfiction books. Jim divides his time between southern Arizona, northern Colorado, and France.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone

Your twin sister that you hadn't seen in 20 years is missing?

Cat couldn't believe it, but she headed to Scotland to the family home even though she didn't want to.

When she arrived, she was very uncomfortable, and she could just feel that her sister was not missing or dead.

Could a twin know that?  If so, how could she know that for sure?  The boat and El had been gone for four days.

We go back and forth in time as we follow Cat and El in their childhood and during the search.

Cat stays in the family home with El's husband Ross - not sure that was a good idea. 

Too many memories and ghosts along with the odd things that are happening while she is in town and in the house.

The house seemed to be a character as you hear about all the rooms and Mirrorland the girls had when they were young.  Mirrorland was actually pretty creepy and wasn't my favorite part of the book.

It took time to connect with the story, but it will have you wondering just what is going on so you will keep reading.

The writing is very descriptive with a creative story line but a little too out there for me. 3/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The Social Graces by Renee Rosen

How can you get yourself into the upper crust of society?

We find out, and we find out it isn't always the best place to be.

Those in the upper social circles must follow all the social rules and proper etiquette.

You can't marry who you love if they aren't in the social status deemed appropriate.

You can’t visit unless you have left a calling card.

We meet Caroline Astor and Alva Vanderbilt - one woman who has control of society, and  the other trying to get invited into society.

Both women went to great lengths to be on top and in the right circles. They also suffer personal tragedies along the way.

All the properness wasn't for me and the societal competition was intense as they tried to outdo each other with lavish homes and parties.

I couldn’t imagine following all those social protocols or those arranged marriages.

I actually chuckled at some of the “rules” they had to follow.

I did love the talk of fashions and gowns.  I looked up Worth gowns...gorgeous. 

I also looked up the Petite Chateau that was built by Alva Vanderbilt on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to outdo Caroline!!

Ms. Rosen once again brought the characters and how things were during this time to life.

Ms. Rosen’s as-always wonderful writing style and marvelous research will keep your interest as you read of the antics of these women and these times.  

If you enjoy the Guilded age and seeing how the mega wealthy lived, you will enjoy SOCIAL GRACES.  4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Last Night In London by Karen White

We meet Precious in 1939 as she and Eva are making their way to becoming famous models. 

We meet Precious again in 2019 at ninety-nine years of age and willing to tell her story.

We meet Maddie in 2019 as she has been chosen to write Precious's story.

Going back and forth in time and seeing the characters come to life in both periods is marvelously done by Karen White.
I always enjoy dual timelines and especially when the earlier time has fashions from another era, WWII stories, endearing friendships, and characters you will love.

The friendship between Precious and Eva is the main focus of the story as we follow them as war breaks out and then when they lose touch.

I really enjoyed seeing the lives of Precious and Eva during the war and was looking forward to seeing what Maddie was able to find out about Eva since Precious said she just disappeared one day.

We live through the Blitz with them, and we get to share their lives, their happiness, their fears, and their sorrows. Of course there is an evil character to spoil things.

You won't want to stop reading because you will want to know what secrets Precious has as well as what secrets Maddie is keeping.

THE LAST NIGHT IN LONDON has another wonderful story line written in Karen White's pull-you-in, won’t-let-you-go style.

Don’t miss this one. 5/5

This book was given to be by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Perfect Daughter by D. J. Palmer

Penny, Eve, Chloe, or Ruby....which person was she today and which personality murdered her birth mother?

Penny was abandoned by her mother when she was five, and Grace and her husband adopted her.

She was the sweetest child, but she did suffer from the trauma of her years with her birth mother. This caused mental issues called DID (dissociative identity disorder) which caused Penny to have multiple personalities.  

What a devastating illness.

We follow the attorney Grace hired and the doctor from the hospital where Penny was until the trial as they try to put a case together.

While awaiting the trial, Grace tried to carry on, but things happened and the cost of the attorney was quite expensive.

As the trial approaches, everyone is doing his/her best to find anything that could help Penny.

As the trial gets even closer, dangerous men tried to keep Grace quiet.

Will these men get charged with intimidation? 

What will happen next?

Will Penny be acquitted?

We find out the answer to all these questions in the surprise ending.
Mr. Palmer did extensive research on this mental health topic and will keep you on your toes.

I have to say THE PERFECT DAUGHTER could have been shorter, but it is very enlightening. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 19, 2021

The Kew Gardens Girls by Posy Lovell

All the men are gone and no one is left except women to tend to the Kew Gardens in London during WWI.

Can women really do this job?  Of course!!

Louisa and Ivy certainly can.  They form a wonderful friendship that neither ever had, but then something happens that pulls them apart.

We also meet adorable, helpful Lady Winifred and Bernie who is a Quaker and trying to avoid conscription.

Ivy is an endearing character and my favorite. She and her boyfriend, Jim, were the sweetest couple.

Louisa had troubles of her own and caused trouble for Bernie which upset me because Bernie was another wonderful, caring character.

You will love the friendships that develop and the support and forgiveness everyone eventually gave each other.

This book is a very enjoyable read telling of real-life events that happened at the Kew Gardens.

It also touches on a suffragette event that got pay equality for the women working in the Kew Gardens, but most importantly it addresses the beauty of friendship and love.

If you need a book that is going to lift your spirits, a book that will teach you the meaning flowers have, and a book that will have you take a look at the wonderful friendships these characters have and that you hopefully have, you won't want to miss THE KEW GARDENS GIRLS.  

It is the most heartwarming book I have read in a while. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

This Week At Silver's Reviews


Reviews are blooming this week.

Hope you can stop by.

Have you read any of these books?