Friday, February 22, 2019

Innocence Lost Blog Tour and Review

Innocence Lost by Sherilyn Decter

Publication Date: February 21, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 339 Pages
Series: Bootleggers’ Chronicles Series, Book One
Genre: Historical Fiction/Crime/Women's Fiction

In a city of bootleggers and crime, one woman must rely on a long-dead lawman to hunt down justice…

Philadelphia, 1924. Maggie Barnes doesn’t have much left. After the death of her husband, she finds herself all alone to care for her young son and look after their rundown house. As if that weren’t bad enough, Prohibition has turned her neighborhood into a bootlegger’s playground. To keep the shoddy roof over their heads, she has no choice but to take on boarders with questionable ties…

When her son’s friend disappears, Maggie suspects the worst. And local politicians and police don’t seem to have any interest in an investigation. With a child’s life on the line, Maggie takes the case and risks angering the enemy living right under her nose…

Maggie’s one advantage may be her new found friend: the ghost of a Victorian-era cop. With his help, can she find justice in a lawless city?

Innocence Lost is the first novel in the Bootleggers’ Chronicles, a series of historical fiction tales. If you like headstrong heroines, Prohibition-era criminal underworlds, and just a touch of the paranormal, then you’ll love Sherilyn Decter’s gripping tale.

Available on Amazon

My Take:

The premise of Innocence Lost is an interesting one - if a bit unusual. Maggie Barnes is a young widow trying to raise her young son on her own in 1920's Philadelphia amidst the violent results of Prohibition - gangsters and bootleggers run the city. Maggie's family does not approve of her choices and she must work to overcome her own rigid and snobbish tendencies which are the result of her upbringing. Her aloofness towards her mostly immigrant neighbors at the beginning of the book makes it hard to really like her very much. But as Maggie gets to know the families who live around her, she soon warms to them and begins to make friends.

In the midst of her struggles to make ends meet and keep her son safe, she encounters an older gentleman who claims to be a former police officer. Strangely, no one else is able to see or hear him. This is Maggie's first encounter with a ghost. While I was not completely sold on the whole ghost aspect of the story, I was able to get beyond it because I was so interested in the other aspects that really drew my interest. I enjoyed that the author paid a lot of attention to the details of the bootlegging industry - the cars, the precautions taken with accounting, bribes, etc -- the kinds of details so often neglected in this kind of novel.

I also appreciated the history that was given to help explain why so many men were willing to work in such a dangerous and illegal situation. The corruption within the Philadelphia police force factors into the history and the story. The reader is introduced to lots of interesting characters, both real and fiction. 

Maggie grows as a person and as an investigator. She learns how dangerous and complicated investigation work can be in the gangster-run city.  I found Innocence Lost to be a fast and entertaining read.  The series, Bootleggers' Chronicles promises to be filled with danger and excitement.

About the Author

Sherilyn Decter is a writer, researcher, and lover of historical fiction. Her work is set in the Roaring Twenties and if you like feisty and determined heroines, complex cover-ups, Prohibition stories about criminal underworlds, police and political corruption, then you’re going to love Sherilyn’s grand gangster tales.

For more information, please visit Sherilyn Decter's website. You can also find her on FacebookInstagram, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, February 15
Review at Passages to the Past
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Saturday, February 16
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Excerpt at Bookish Rantings
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Sunday, February 17
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages
Guest Post at Jennifer Silverwood's Blog

Monday, February 18
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Excerpt at Old Timey Books
Feature at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, February 19
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.
Review at Reader then Blogger

Wednesday, February 20
Interview at The Old Shelter
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, February 21
Review at Macsbooks
Review at The Old Shelter
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, February 22
Review at A Book Geek
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Excerpt at Spellbound by History


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two prize packs of a copy of the book, a set of Paper Dolls, and a Jazz Age Fashion Coloring Book! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

 – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
 – Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
 – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. Innocence Lost

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Cherokee America Blog Tour and Review - includes a Giveaway

Cherokee America by Margaret Verble

Publication Date: February 19, 2019
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover & eBook; 400 Pages
Genre: Literary/Historical Fiction/Native American

From the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Maud’s Line, an epic novel that follows a web of complex family alliances and culture clashes in the Cherokee Nation during the aftermath of the Civil War, and the unforgettable woman at its center.

It’s the early spring of 1875 in the Cherokee Nation West. A baby, a black hired hand, a bay horse, a gun, a gold stash, and a preacher have all gone missing. Cherokee America Singer, known as “Check,” a wealthy farmer, mother of five boys, and soon-to-be widow, is not amused.

In this epic of the American frontier, several plots intertwine around the heroic and resolute Check: her son is caught in a compromising position that results in murder; a neighbor disappears; another man is killed. The tension mounts and the violence escalates as Check’s mixed race family, friends, and neighbors come together to protect their community—and painfully expel one of their own.

Cherokee America vividly, and often with humor, explores the bonds—of blood and place, of buried histories and half-told tales, of past grief and present injury—that connect a colorful, eclectic cast of characters, anchored by the clever, determined, and unforgettable Check.

Praise for Cherokee America

"Highly recommended for readers of literary historical fiction in the vein of Lalita Tademy's Citizen's Creek and Paulette Jiles's News of the World."--Library Journal, STARRED review

"In Verble’s hands, this tale of a mother’s love and her gritty resolve in a shameful era of false promises and broken treaties makes for a rich, propulsive novel."--Publishers Weekly

"An impressive, historical saga of Native American life in the mid-19th century."--BookPage

Cherokee America does what all the best historical fiction does—it vividly captures its particular time and place, yet simultaneously offers valuable insights about our own era. Margaret Verble is an exceptional storyteller, and this novel will enhance her already considerable literary reputation.”—Ron Rash, author of Serena

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo

My Take:

I was very excited to read Cherokee America because I read and loved Maud's Line by this amazing author, Margaret Verble. I grew up in Oklahoma and both sets of my grandparents lived in Indian Territory and/or Oklahoma Territory. Verble's depiction of the area is very accurate and I am always impressed with her ability to evoke what I consider to be very detailed images of the people and the times. Her stories remind me of the tales my grandmother told me about growing up in Indian Territory. 

Cherokee America is such a great character - based on a very real woman, who I would have loved to have had the opportunity to meet. She is so strong and pragmatic and I loved her internal monologue. This is a great example of the women who survived in the harsh land under difficult and unfair situations. I loved that Verble allows Check to be a little flawed and have a understanding of how very complicated the world actually is. Check's world consists of full-blood Cherokee, Creek, mixed-blood, whites, freed Blacks, a dying husband, five sons who need raising - and no one seems to want to do as they are told. She's a tiny woman who is force to be reckoned with. While there is a lot of comedy in the story, there is heartbreak, fear, grief, love, and everything else that makes up life. 

Honestly, I can't recommend this book strongly enough. Check just sticks with you - I can't stop thinking about her and the story. Verble doesn't sugar-coat anything. Life in Cherokee Nation was hard. But there is so much love, strength, compassion, and plain stubbornness  and pragmatism displayed by the characters, especially Check. I would love to read more about this family, this era and this place. Highly recommended

About the Author

Margaret Verble is an enrolled and voting citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a member of a large Cherokee family that has, through generations, made many contributions to the tribe’s history and survival. Although many of her family have remained in Oklahoma to this day, and some still own and farm the land on which the book is set, Margaret was raised in Nashville, Tennessee, and currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Many of the characters of Maud’s Line are based on people Margaret knew as a child and the setting is land she roamed for many years of her life. In part, Margaret wrote this book to keep those people and that land alive in her heart.

Margaret's new novel, Cherokee America, will be released by Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt on Feb. 19, 2019. A prequel to Maud's Line, it is set in 1875 in the Arkansas River bottoms of the old Cherokee Nation West.

Margaret is a member of the Authors Guild and Western Writers of America.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, February 19
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, February 20
Review at A Book Geek
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, February 22
Review at Creating Herstory
Feature at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, February 26
Review at Jennifer Silverwood's Blog

Wednesday, February 27
Review at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, February 28
Review at Tar Heel Reader

Friday, March 1
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Monday, March 4
Review at Amy's Booket List

Thursday, March 7
Review at The Old Shelter
Feature at Donna's Book Blog

Friday, March 8
Interview at The Old Shelter

Monday, March 11
Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, March 13
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, March 15
Review at bookramblings
Review at The Reading Woman


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away five copies of Cherokee America by Margaret Verble! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. Cherokee America

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Weather Menders Blog Tour and Review - includes a giveaway

Weather Menders by Debra Denker

Publication Date: November 10, 2017
Catalyst Artistic Productions
Paperback & eBook; 298 Pages
Genre: Sci Fi/Climate Change Fiction/Time Travel

What if Time Travel were real? What if Time Travelers from 300 years in the future told you that there was a chance that you could prevent catastrophic climate change, plagues, and wars by going back in time to key Pivot Points and ethically altering the outcome of rigged elections? What if failure would result in the destruction of the biosphere? Would you go?

In post-plague 2050 Britain, palm trees tower over the rice paddies of Stonehenge. Tara MacFarlane, a weary 96-year-old anthropologist originally from Taos, New Mexico, longs only to finish out her life in peaceful Buddhist meditation, and rejoin the great love of her later years, the humanitarian Scottish-Afghan doctor Xander, in a future incarnation. Suddenly one stifling autumn day Tara, her great-granddaughter Leona, and Leona’s boyfriend Janus are faced with a trio of Time Travelers from a future alternate Timeline where humanity and the eco-system survived and thrived.

The fate of Earth’s biosphere falls squarely on the shoulders of Tara, Leona, Janus, and Tara’s small gray cat, Georgie, who shows a surprising aptitude for telepathy. Time is short to reverse catastrophe that will bleed through into the alternate Timeline, and the Time Travelers must first determine the ideal Pivot Points by reading Time Code vibrations off the great standing stones of Avebury. Unexpectedly joined by the brave and wise cat Georgie, the six plunge into the Time Circle of Stonehenge on their mission. Where and when will they go, and will they succeed in restoring the Earth and humanity to balance?

"Weather Menders is a pioneering cli-fi novel that combines science fiction with time travel and spiritual fantasy in a unique and captivating way. The message is clear: we must act soon and be woke. Oh, and there's a telepathic time-travelling cat!" -- Dan Bloom, editor, The Cli-Fi Report

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

My Take:

Weather Menders takes it's title from the name of the group of survivors living near Stonehenge in post-plague Britain in 2050. The small group of survivors call themselves the Weather Menders and their goal is to try to somehow mend the damage that has been done to the planet. While the goal is a noble one, the self-proclaimed leader of the group is not exactly the best qualified for such an endeavor.

Tara is the 96 year old Buddhist anthropologist whose story we get to follow from 2017 to 2050 and then into the past as she works with the mysterious travelers from the future to try to alter the path that their timeline has taken. 

In general, I am very interested in both Buddhism and environmental issues, so several of the themes to the novel do appeal to me. There is quite a bit of information about the spiritual path that Tara is on and how she ends up with the Weather Menders. This was pretty interesting and in the process explains somewhat how the plagues and climate issues caused the decimation in the population and the digression in technology. 

I like cats (although I am severely allergic) so I was predisposed to liking Georgie - the cat who can communicate telepathically with his people. Georgie is like many cats - smart, lots of attitude and surprisingly loyal through some pretty harrowing adventures.

I felt that the time travel aspect was a big lacking in explanation. I prefer detail to vagueness when it comes to sci-fi or cli-fi topics. Some of the explanations seemed a little lazy. I also wasn't entirely sold on how the ending worked out -- it just seemed a little too pat.

Having said all that, I was interested in the book and the story line --- I read it quite happily and found several of the scenarios about the path that the timeline took to be very interesting. I feel like we should take any opportunity provided by fiction to contemplate our actions and look at long term repercussions to our current behavior. I feel like Weather Menders does a nice job of bringing this idea to the reader via an entertaining story with likable characters. 

About the Author

Debra Denker has been writing stories since she learned to read. Although novels and poetry were her first loves, she turned her talent to journalism in the ‘70s and ‘80s, writing about Afghanistan and the refugee situation in Pakistan for National Geographic and many leading newspapers. She has specialized in social documentation utilizing journalism, photography, and film to convey the experiences of people in war torn areas, with the intention of stimulating the empathy necessary for humans to stop violence against people and planet.

Denker is the author of two published books, the non-fiction literary memoir Sisters on the Bridge of Fire: One Woman’s Journeys in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, and the novel War in the Land of Cain—a story of love, war, and moral choices set during the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980’s.

Denker now writes for the award-winning conservation media website, Voices for Biodiversity, raising consciousness to help ward off the Sixth Great Extinction.

She currently lives in Santa Fe with her family of cats, Dorjee Purr-ba, Yeshe Gyalpo, and Samadhi Timewalker, but travels frequently in earthly space, and hopes to travel in time and galactic space.

The novel’s website is

Her personal blog explores a range of spiritual, social, and political issues and their intersection with sacred activism.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, January 25
Tuesday, January 29
Wednesday, January 30
Feature at Broken Teepee
Friday, February 1
Guest Post at Maiden of the Pages
Monday, February 4
Tuesday, February 5
Interview at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, February 6
Thursday, February 7
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Friday, February 8
Feature at Cheryl's Book Nook
Monday, February 11
Tuesday, February 12
Thursday, February 14
Review at A Book Geek
Friday, February 15
Review at Umut Reviews
Feature at Coffee and Ink


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two paperback copies of Weather Menders! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US/UK/CANADA.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Weather Menders

A Man of Honor Blog Tour and Review

  A Man of Honor, or Horatio's Confessions by J.A. Nelson Publication Date: December 9, 2019 Quill Point Press Paperback, eBook & ...