Blog Tour: Wired by the FBI by Glenn Painter

Cover_Wired by the FBITitle: Wired by the F.B.I.

Author: Glenn Painter 

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense, Thriller

Blurb:

Christian Romano lives his life as a con-artist, burglar, drug dealer, and a ladies’ man, using his good looks to con wealthy women out of jewels and money. When he is arrested and jailed in one of the most violent jails in the U.S. (Cook County in Chicago), a steamy affair begins with a nympho female jail guard. When he loses control of the romance, Christian must end the affair by reporting her to Internal Affairs. It turns out that she is already under suspicion for supplying drugs to various gang members inside the jail. He has to decide if he is “rogue” enough to help set her up for arrest. Meanwhile, the FBI wants to recruit Christian to gather information against a sadist ex-cop, Scott Mason, who has been arrested for murder. The risk? Christian must wear a wire and testify. The reward? Witness protection for Christian and his girlfriend and a modification of his prison sentence. Will Christian risk his life for a chance at freedom? Will the female sheriff “get even” with him? Or will his life end at the hands of the jail’s drug lords or a lunatic former cop?


Review:
fourstars
Not normally a book I would pick up on my own, however, I was pleasantly intrigued by the story, once I started to get into it. Based on true events, Wired by the FBI takes us into the mindset of Christian Romano as he’s jerked this way and that by the legal system and law enforcement. Christian’s straight-forward way of talking reminded me of the film, Blow, with Johnny Depp, in terms of his covert drug empire. The flow of the novel took some getting used to, and this is one for the long-haul readers, covering Romano’s life from beginning to now. I would say that there were a few proofing issues that did take me out of the story occasionally, and missing quotation marks at places, but they were easy enough to decipher based on the dialogue. This is definitely one for true crime fans, and I found myself looking up some of the case information about the man on which the main character is based. A solid four star read.


Excerpt:

U.S.S. Just Kill Me Now

Once we were through that charade, Smith began to explain how it all worked.

“This is a Swiss-made Nagra recorder. It’s a little heavy, but it gets the clearest recording of any machine we have ever used. Once you turn the machine on, you must let it run until the two hours expire, then take the tape out and exchange it with another. We will come by every couple day to bring new tapes and pick up the ones you have recorded. Do you understand everything so far?”

I could feel my mouth go dry as I stared into the case and wondered, What the f*** have I gotten myself into?

Then, the sound of Smith’s voice snapped me back to attention, “Here, get a feel for it.”

I took the silver-cased recorder from him and thought to myself, It’s too heavy and clunky to ever be concealed. The recorder was the size as a Sony Walkman cassette player, but three times heavier. Two wires, four feet each, ran from the machine with white plastic heads attached to each end. I had a bad feeling about the size and shape of this thing. It would be a real concern later.

Then Rogers said, “Because the heads on this machine are so sensitive, we will tape the recorder to your upper thigh and run the wires around your leg until the heads sit directly under the waistband of your underwear.”

Out of frustration, I said, “Great, if I have to piss and someone saddles up next to me and happens to look over at my manhood, they’re gonna get an eyeful of recorder wiring. Chances are I will be beaten to death after that miscue.”

My mind kept going back to the obvious lack of insight these square, fed boys had toward the real life within a jail.

“I’m about to go back to a jail with zero airflow and 100-degree heat. We walk around in our boxers all day.”

It was crystal clear that neither of these agents gave a rat’s ass about my safety.

Smith said, “We’ll just have to tape it higher up your thigh.”

“No, how about we strap it up your ass and let you go up there face-to-face with your boy.”

That was all they wanted to hear of my sarcasm and all hell broke loose as we tried to figure out how this was ever gonna work. The real logistical nightmare hit when I finally dropped my jail uniform pants and pulled up my boxers to see how it would fit on my inner thigh. After several years of martial arts and weightlifting, my thighs were far too big to fit the recorder under my boxers. Two agents played with the leg of my underwear, as they slid the fabric up and down with no success in figuring out how to get the damn machine up under my nut sack. Finally, I had had enough.

I asked, “Does anyone here have a knife with them?” They all stared at me in stunned silence.

Rogers finally spoke up. “I have a pocketknife,” he said as he handed it to me.

I jerked my boxers off and stood there with my dick dangling in the wind for all to admire. I measured the boxers to see where this heavy sack of metal was going to be placed. I began cutting a crude square hole in the upper right leg of my underwear. I was pretty certain the recorder would fit snugly in the hole. I slid my boxers back on and held the recorder where I had just cut the hole. The fit was very good, but now there was a different problem.

The recorder showed, so I had to come up with another way to cover the hole. I decided that if I was gonna pull this off, I would have to wear a second pair of boxers over the first pair. The outer ones had to hang lower on my torso and loosely enough to cover the recorder where it stuck out of my underwear. The hope was that the inner pair would hold the recorder in place well enough so it wouldn’t slip around. If this worked, I might be able to get away with it.

In my mind, I was thinking, what a cluster f*** this operation is. This would soon prove to be the way the F.B.I. does everything. So long as they are getting what they want, all else be damned. But at the moment, I had to wear this heavy chunk of metal under my nuts and hope that it stayed put and didn’t fall from my boxers like the anchor of the U.S.S. Just Kill Me Now.

Rogers wrapped the recorder with the ACE bandage he had brought and stepped back long enough for me to give it a light tug. I tugged on it ever so gently and knew immediately that it was too heavy.

“This thing is not gonna stay on my leg while I spend several hours walking up and down the tier. Are you trying to get me killed?” I asked. “Did either of you think to bring duct tape?”

Barry Smith had the audacity to respond by saying, “I didn’t want to bring any because I did not want to take the chance of it being considered contraband here at the jail.”

“You thought to bring my suicide machine, but you thought duct tape would set off alarms?” I shot back.

By now, Williamson had heard enough and walked back to his office. He reappeared a few moments later with some heavy, clear packing tape. We used that over the ACE bandage that the feds had brought to hold the recorder up. I gave the new configuration another slightly harder tug and everything seemed better. We then moved on to the next logistical nightmare, the swapping out of the tapes. It was actually Walsh that brought it up.

“How can the tapes be retrieved from Christian without stirring up attention?”

I had seen a movie once where a thick book was carved out and contraband was kept in the hollowed-out hole inside.

“Hey, I have one of those super thick books by Michener. I think it is about ancient Israel. I could take a razor blade out when it is time to shave and cut a hole in the center pages of the book to make a cavity large enough for the tapes. What do you guys think?” I asked.

Everyone was nodding their heads in agreement.

“I can put the book in my bars on the rear side toward the catwalk where no one will notice anything different. I have about four or five books back there now. What I can do is reverse this book so that the title faces out. When Sergeant Walsh walks around the tier, that will be his cue to grab that particular book, take the tape out and replace it with a new one.” I suggested.

They all agreed with the plan, so with the tape swap seemingly figured out, I was feeling a little better. I stood up to see how the recorder looked under my pants; and to my surprise, I could not see it through the clothing. I felt ready to go back to the jail and put the second pair of shorts over the first.

Barry Smith handed me a piece of paper and said, “This is a private phone number to our office that we call the ‘Hello’ line.

“When it rings through, it will be at a central desk where all the agents can pick it up. They will only answer by saying ‘Hello.’ When the jail recording announces that it is a collect call, everyone knows to accept the charges. You will then be speaking to one of the agents in our office. If it is after hours, the answering machine will come on, so speak to it as if you were leaving a message for me or Agent Rogers.”

It both surprised and impressed me that he was willing to give me a direct line in case of an emergency. For the first time, I felt a little less like a disposable piece of trash to these people. I took a pen from Buchan and rewrote the number in code so that if it were ever found, no one could access the actual number. When I was done, I stuffed the paper in my sock for safekeeping.

I looked at the two F.B.I. agents and asked, “Am I supposed to steer the conversation toward any certain topics?”

Smith spoke for them. “Since the conversation seems to come out of Mason’s mouth so frequently, just let him go, and see what happens.”

Barry Smith then handed me a second tape to have as a backup for the one that was already in the machine. After stuffing it into my other sock, I walked out with the heavy recorder strapped under my balls.

When I arrived back to my tier, Scott was talking on the phone. I walked past him and headed to my cell to get out of the jail clothes. I stripped down to my boxers to beat the crazy heat that hung over the unit like napalm. I stuck my head out of my cell to make sure the hallway was clear and slipped the second pair of boxers over the first. After pulling the outer pair down a few inches, they seemed to cover the protruding recorder just enough. I looked down and couldn’t tell where the recorder was. Just to be on the safe side, I put on an oversized shirt and let it billow out as I walked; this looked natural for the surroundings. It wasn’t five minutes and Scott was at the bars of my cell.

“You go to the hospital?” he asked.

“Yeah, I had to wait for the MRI machine to empty before I could go in. The radiologist was taking a smoke break between every MRI.”

I walked out of my cell and turned left, away from the guard post and began the ritual of walking from one end of the long hallway to the other.

When I walked away from my cell, I could feel Scott place his hand on my back. I tried not to freeze out of panic, but he had never touched me like that before. I had to wonder, Is he cleverly checking for a recording device? I tried to push the paranoia out of my mind, but it was tough with the stakes this high.


Author PHotoAbout the Author:

Glenn Painter is single and lives in Central Florida.  He became interested in writing at an early age but did not make it his career until 2014 when he published his first book, Beyond the Sentence.

Glenn has written this story from the notes by the man who actually lived it.  However, extensive research was also require in order to make the story factual.

Glenn has also founded a company, ‘Prisoner Civil Right Services.’  He is an advocate for incarcerated individuals who have had their rights violated.  He is in constant contact with these individuals, their families and the council.  Most of his stories are inspired by ‘factual events’ that have happened to these individuals.  This makes his stories both fiction and non-fiction.

Glenn says that writing is very challenging, and you must love the trials and tribulations that come with it.  He believes that patience, perseverance and determination are required essentials to see a book through to being published.  The journey is just as important as the destination.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.gapainter.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Glenn-Painter/e/B00NETNKU6%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9875593.Glenn_Painter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/author2663

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Blog Tour: Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton

jConfidential- Cover Under the Light of the Italian MoonTitle: Under the Light of the Italian Moon

Author: Jennifer Anton

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

A promise keeps them apart until WW2 threatens to destroy their love forever
Fonzaso, Italy, between two wars

Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave.

When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother.

As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…

A gripping historical fiction novel, based on a true story and heartbreaking real events.

Spanning over two decades, Under the Light of the Italian Moon is an epic, emotional and triumphant tale of one woman’s incredible resilience during the rise of fascism and Italy’s collapse into WWII.


Review:

(I had reviewed this novel previously for Readers’ Favorite. While I am unable to post my review on Goodreads or Amazon, due to their reviewer guidelines, I’m happy to present it here.)

Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton is a beautiful historical fiction novel about the life of Nina Argenta. Growing up in a small village in Italy, Nina’s mother is the local midwife, a strong woman who has delivered many babies and overcome many hardships. As Nina grows, Adalaisa, her mother, asks her to stay in the village after her brother goes off to American. Young, at the time, Nina agrees, but then she falls in love with Pietro Pante. He decides America is the future for him, so he leaves, but then ends up returning to marry Nina. Nina, however, knows she must remain for her mother. This, at times heart breaking and hopeful novel spans the course of two world wars as Nina and Pietro struggle with their lives apart, and through many tragedies.

Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton kept me captivated from the first page. Like a slow burning candle, the story of Nina and Pietro is told with skillful prose and historical accuracy to the time. I really loved how Miss Anton presents a realistic narrative, as well as showing how different generations deal with the hardships of war and maintaining relationships from a great distance. My favorite character was Nina and Pietro’s daughter, Laisa. I found her courage and steadfastness a good contrast to Nina’s sometimes instability with all the tragedy befalling her. I would definitely recommend this novel to someone who appreciates a carefully woven story, without rushing to a quick ending.


Buy Links:

Amazon: getbook.at/JAnton

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3n1nDqC​ 

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/under-the-light-of-the-italian-moon/jennifer-anton//9789493231009

Bookshop.org (U.S. only): https://bit.ly/3ofS39T

I am Books Boston: https://bit.ly/2Z0mWUO


Jennifer AntonAbout the Author:

Jennifer Anton is an American/Italian dual citizen born in Joliet, Illinois and now lives between London and Lake Como, Italy. A proud advocate for women’s rights and equality, she hopes to rescue women’s stories from history, starting with her Italian family.


Social Media Links:

Website: www.boldwomanwriting.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/boldwomanwrites

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jenniferantonauthorpage

Instagram: www.instagram.com/boldwomanwriting

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/janton1468/_created/

Book Bub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-anton

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Anton/e/B08RL6HBDN%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2XsHt3F

Youtube: https://bit.ly/3i9XvZA


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Blog Tour: Dawn Empress by Faith L. Justice

Dawn Empress eBook Cover LargeTitle: Dawn Empress: A Novel of Imperial Rome (The Theodosian Women, Book Two)

Author: Faith L. Justice

Audiobook narrated by Kathleen Li

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

As Rome reels under barbarian assaults, a young girl must step up.

After the Emperor’s unexpected death, ambitious men eye the Eastern Roman throne occupied by seven-year-old Theodosius II. His older sister Pulcheria faces a stark choice: she must find allies and take control of the Eastern court or doom the imperial children to a life of obscurity—or worse. Beloved by the people and respected by the Church, Pulcheria forges her own path to power. Can her piety and steely will protect her brother from military assassins, heretic bishops, scheming eunuchs and—most insidious of all—a beautiful, intelligent bride? Or will she lose all in the trying?

Dawn Empress tells the little-known and remarkable story of Pulcheria Augusta, 5th century Empress of Eastern Rome. Her accomplishments rival those of Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great as she sets the stage for the dawn of the Byzantine Empire. Don’t miss this “gripping tale” (Kirkus Reviews); a “deftly written and impressively entertaining historical novel” (Midwest Book Reviews). Historical Novel Reviews calls Dawn Empress an “outstanding novel…highly recommended” and awarded it the coveted Editor’s Choice.


Review:
fourstars
Focusing on a little-known woman in Roman history, Dawn Empress takes us into the life of Pulcheria Augusta, who was co-ruler of Eastern Rome, along with her brother, Theodosius. Initially, I was struck by Pulcheria’s dedication to her faith, as it felt a bit overwhelming, especially when it led to the persecution of others, but I recognize that, at the time, that wasn’t radical in the slightest. There were parts I felt a bit dry and sometimes repetitive, especially when it came to religion, but the conflicts between Pulcheria, her brother, and her brother’s wife made for some interesting reading, as well as learning how the power was balanced between the eastern and western parts of the Roman empire at the time. Understandably, the novel does jump a bit, having to cover over fifty years of history, but it’s clear the author certainly knows her Roman history and has dedicated a great deal of time to be as accurate as possible within the scope of the historical fiction genre. That is something I fully appreciate.


Buy Links:

Print/eBook

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0917053265

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0917053265

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/0917053265

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B089J6R3YZ

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dawn-empress-faith-l-justice/1136976264

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/dawn-empress/faith-l-justice/9780917053146

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dawn-empress-a-novel-of-imperial-rome

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/dawn-empress-a-novel-of-imperial-rome/id1511991657

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1020223

Books A Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Dawn-Empress/Faith-L-Justice/9780917053146

Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/460186605/Dawn-Empress-A-Novel-of-Imperial-Rome

 

Audiobook:

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Dawn-Empress-A-Novel-of-Imperial-Rome-Audiobook/B08WLZ4M28

iTunes: https://books.apple.com/us/audiobook/id1549846649

Nook Audiobook: https://www.nookaudiobooks.com/audiobook/1028557/dawn-empress

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/audiobooks/details/Faith_L_Justice_Dawn_Empress?id=AQAAAEBc9QS1SM

Kobo Audio: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/audiobook/dawn-empress

BingeBooks: https://bingebooks.com/book/dawn-empress

Chirp: https://www.chirpbooks.com/audiobooks/dawn-empress-by-faith-l-justice

Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/audiobook/491435814/Dawn-Empress-A-Novel-of-Imperial-Rome


fljustice_author_picAbout the Author:

Faith L. Justice writes award-winning historical novels, short stories, and articles in Brooklyn, New York where she lives with her family and the requisite gaggle of cats. Her work has appeared in Salon.com, Writer’s Digest, The Copperfield Review, and many more publications. She is Chair of the New York City chapter of the Historical Novel Society, and Associate Editor for Space and Time Magazine. She co-founded a writer’s workshop many more years ago than she likes to admit. For fun, she digs in the dirt—her garden and various archaeological sites.


Social Media Links:

Website: https://faithljustice.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/faithljustice

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/faithljusticeauthor/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/faith-l-justice-53974719/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fljusticeauthor/

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B003FWNP9S

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3268206.Faith_L_Justice


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Blog Tour: A Reckless Heart by Jennifer Wilck

Cover_A Reckless HeartTitle: A Reckless Heart

Author: Jennifer Wilck

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

Meg Thurgood, former society girl, took the blame for her friend and paid a steep price. Now all she wants is solitude and a chance to rebuild her life. She thinks she’s found that in an isolated house she rents from a mysterious stranger.

Simon McAlter has hidden in his house on the coast of Maine since a fire left him scarred. A successful landscape architect who conducts his business and teaches his classes remotely, he’s lost his inspiration and is trying to pretend he’s not lonely.

Simon’s new neighbor is more than he bargained for. When he learns Meg’s secret, will he retreat into the shadows or will he learn to see past the surface and trust in Meg’s love?

Amazon buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Reckless-Heart-Scarred-Hearts-Book-ebook/dp/B08X429BMX/


Excerpt:

“Let’s watch a horror movie.” Meg flopped on the couch and wiggled into the soft cushions.


There was a beat of silence before Simon turned away from her and poked at the logs in the fireplace, sending sparks up the chimney. “I’m not a big fan of horror movies.” 

She liked horror movies because the monsters were obviously fake. You didn’t have to dig deep, to wonder about anything. It was black and white. Meg’s heart constricted. She hadn’t thought about it from Simon’s perspective. Did he consider himself a monster? Could this amazing man see himself in those movies? Her throat thickened. She wanted to run away and cry. But he’d think she ran from him. With a deep breath, she sorted through the list of her favorites in her mind and threw away several until she thought of the perfect one. 

“How about Dracula?” Her voice rasped past the emotion, but she forged ahead. “The old one. It’s totally cheesy, which makes it funny. ‘I vant to suck your blood!’ ” she said with a fake accent. 

“Do you?” he asked. 

Returning the poker to the rack, he walked toward her, and held out his arm, wrist up. She took it in her hand. His skin was warm beneath her fingers, his pulse steady, and the hair on the other side of his arm was wiry. She stroked her thumb along the inside of his wrist. His breath stuttered. She wondered what he’d do if she kissed him. Desire flooded through her. Never mind him, what would she do? 

“Next time,” she said. She was brave, but maybe not that brave, at least not yet. 

Slowly, he lowered his arm to his side, but remained close enough his knees brushed hers. His skin was flushed, his eyes ablaze. Heat pulsed between them. After a moment, he stepped away, as if he wasn’t brave enough either. “Do you want popcorn?”


Review:
fourstars
A heartwarming romance of two people trying to rebuild their shattered pasts, A Reckless Heart will appeal to contemporary romance readers everywhere. I particularly enjoyed the small town beach setting and the gradual transformation of both characters into trusting each other and themselves. Although Meg was the clear main character, and we got small glimpses into her life before Simon, I would have liked there to be more depth to both her and Simon. It felt like key parts of their past lives were missing and only briefly touched on. I would have liked to see them have a final heart-to-heart, just to get all of those emotions out. However, that did not take away from my enjoyment of the novel. I would certainly read more by this author in the future.


Author PictureAbout the Author:

Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate. 

She writes contemporary romance, many of which feature Jewish characters in non-religious settings (#ownvoices). She’s published with The Wild Rose Press, as well as indie, and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.jenniferwilck.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Wilck-201342863240160/

Newsletter: https://www.jenniferwilck.com/contact.html#newsletter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JWilck

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjenniferwilck/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jennifer-wilck

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Blog Tour: Songbird by Karen Heenan

SongbirdTitle: Songbird (The Tudor Court, Book I)

Author: Karen Heenan

Blurb:

She has the voice of an angel…

But one false note could send her back to her old life of poverty.

After her father sells her to Henry VIII, ten-year-old Bess builds a new life as a royal minstrel, and earns the nickname “the king’s songbird.” 

She comes of age in the dangerous Tudor court, where the stakes are always high, and where politics, heartbreak, and disease threaten everyone from the king to the lowliest musician.

Her world has only one constant: Tom, her first and dearest friend. But when Bess intrigues with Anne Boleyn and strains against the restrictions of life at court, will she discover that the biggest risk of all is listening to her own stubborn heart?

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CABarnes and NobleKobo

Audio Buy Links:

Narrated by Jennifer Summerfield

AudibleAuthors DirectNookHooplaApple BooksKoboScribdGoogle PlayAmazon


Review:
fivestars
A beautifully captivating novel of the endurance of love, Songbird encapsulates the life of Bess, a minstrel in the court of Henry VIII. Every word lived and breathed the time, and it was truly an amazing read. I immensely enjoyed watching Bess grow from child to adult, facing and fighting her emotions. I especially liked the focus on Bess solely, whereas some other historical romances of the time tend to encapsulate two points of view. It was lovely to get such an in depth story about the life of one person. Definitely recommend this novel for lovers of historical romance in Tudor times.


About the Author: 

Karen Heenan was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She fell in love with books and stories before she could read, and has wanted to write for nearly as long. After far too many years in a cubicle, she set herself free to follow her dreams—which include gardening, sewing, traveling and, of course, lots of writing.

She lives in Lansdowne, PA, not far from Philadelphia, with two cats and a very patient husband, and is always hard at work on her next book.

Connect with Karen:

WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagramPinterestBook BubAmazonGoodreads


Songbird Tour Schedule

Book Spotlight: Harvest Moon by Jenny Knipfer

HarvestMoon-frontTitle: Harvest Moon

Author: Jenny Knipfer

Blurb: In the wilds of 19th century Ontario, Maang-ikwe, a young Ojibwe woman, falls into a forbidden love, breaks her father’s honor, and surrenders her trust to someone who betrays it. The abuse she suffers divides her from her tribe and causes her to give up what she holds most dear. 

Niin-mawin must come to grips with his culture being ripped away from him. Brought up in a “white man’s” school, he suffers through an enforced “civilized” education and separation from his family. When a man he respects reveals a secret about Niin-mawin’s past, he embarks on a search for the person he hopes can mend the part of his heart that’s always been missing. 

Both Maang-ikwe and Niin-mawin wonder how a harvest of pain and sorrow will impact their lives. Will they find the blessings amongst the hardships, or will they allow the results of division and abuse to taint their hearts forever?

Fans of historical fiction, Native American fiction, Christian historical fiction, clean romance, and literary fiction will be moved by this deep, heartfelt novel.

Praise for Harvest Moon

“A moving and authentic work or historical fiction, while this series is a testament to Knipfer’s skilled and versatile storytelling.” Self-Publishing Review

“Knipfer does an outstanding job of cementing place, time, and culture against the backdrop of evolving relationships.” D. Donavon for Midwest Book Review

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU


Review:
fivestars

I had originally reviewed this novel on behalf of Readers’ Favorite. As per their review guidelines, I’m unable to post my review on Goodreads or Amazon, but I’ve shared it below.

A tale of tragedy and self-discovery, Harvest Moon, the fourth book in the By the Light of the Moon series by Jenny Knipfer, takes the reader on a journey through the life and decisions of Maang-ikwe, an Ojibwe woman living during the 19th century. As a young girl, Maang-ikwe is forced to attend a Jesuit school, a way for the white men to maintain some control over the native populations. There, she meets a young incumbent priest, Ignacio. The pair decide to run away together, but they are thwarted, and the unthinkable happens to Maang-ikwe as she seeks comfort from another man she thought a friend. Paralleled with her son, Niin-mawin, the subsequent years take both on a journey to forgiveness and understanding, but also roots in Maang-ikwe the deep desire not to forsake her people’s ways.

This was certainly an interesting piece of historical fiction. I do find novels written around this time period very interesting because it shows literally how white men wanted to wipe out the culture of an entire people through the use of residential schools and cruel methods against Native American children. I can see why Maang-ikwe struggled with her beliefs throughout, and wanted to keep the Ojibwe way of life alive for future generations. Her son’s experiences were equally heart-breaking as her own. I appreciated the satisfying ending to this novel, and I won’t say too much about that, but it works so well for the story. Harvest Moon, the fourth book in the By the Light of the Moon series by Jenny Knipfer, explores so much about a past I’m sure many would like to forget, but it’s so important we remember what was done to the Native people.


IMG_7988-Edit-2-Edit-2Author Bio:

Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.

Spending many years as a librarian in a local public library, Jenny recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability. Her education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions.

Her By the Light of the Moon series earned five-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, a book review and award contest company. Their praise: Ruby Moon is entertaining, fast-paced, and features characters that are real. Blue Moon continues a well-written and highly engaging saga of family ties, betrayals, and heartaches. Silver Moon is a highly recommended read for fans of historical wartime fiction, powerful emotive drama, and excellent atmospheric writingHarvest Moon is probably one of the best historical fiction novels I have ever read. I have come away deep in thought, feeling somewhat like I’ve had a mystical experience and one I will never forget.”

She holds membership in the: Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, Wisconsin Writers Association, Christian Indie Publishing Association, and Independent Book Publishers Association.

Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set. She is currently writing a new historical fiction series entitled, Sheltering Trees. The first title in that series, In a Grove of Maples,—inspired by the lives of her grandparents in the late 1890’s—is slated for fall of 2021.

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Blog Tour: Ropewalk by HD Coulter

ropewalkebookTitle: Ropewalk; Rebellion. Love. Survival (The Ropewalk Series, Book 1)

Author: H D Coulter

Blurb:

The North of England, 1831. 

The working class are gathering. Rebellion is stirring, and the people are divided. 

Beatrice Lightfoot, a young woman fighting her own personal rebellion, is looking for an opportunity to change her luck. When she gains the attention of the enigmatic Captain Hanley, he offers her a tantalising deal to attend the May Day dance. She accepts, unaware of the true price of her own free will. 

Her subsequent entanglement with Joshua Mason, the son of a local merchant, draws all three into a destructive and dangerous relationship, which threatens to drag Beatrice, and all she knows into darkness. 

Now, Beatrice must choose between rebellion, love and survival before all is lost, and the Northern uprising changes her world forever. 

Buy Links: ROPEWALK IS 99 cents/99p for the duration of the tour! GO GO GO!

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08MKZW4S5

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08MKZW4S5

Universal Link to other bookshops: https://books2read.com/u/bxjlQd

Book 2, Saving Grace; Deception. Obsession. Redemption. is also on preorder.

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08YWBZRQY

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08YWBZRQY

Universal Link to other bookshops: https://books2read.com/u/38QrBV


Review:
fivestars

I am a historical romance/fiction nerd. I admit it, fully. And very rarely do I find a historical fiction novel that I completely gush over. Ropewalk is one of those rare gems of the genre. I love novels that delve deep into the characters, using the historical setting to enhance, not dominate, the story. With every page of this book, I was drawn deeper and deeper into a world of class divides, love, and hardship, but also of hope for a better tomorrow and future. Beatrice blew me away with her perseverance in the face of adversity. You can certainly tell that the author was invested in her characters completely. Please note, there is one scene that may cause distress, but I feel that it was wholly necessary for the storyline, so please don’t let that stop you from picking up the novel! I cannot wait for book two in the series. I HIGHLY recommend Ropewalk to any historical fiction fan.


Author Bio:

Hayley was born and raised in the lake district and across Cumbria. From a young age, Hayley loved learning about history, visiting castles and discovering local stories from the past. Hayley and her partner lived in Ulverston for three years and spent her weekends walking along the Ropewalk and down by the old harbour. She became inspired by the spirit of the area and stories that had taken place along the historic streets.

As a teacher, Hayley had loved the art of storytelling by studying drama and theatre. The power of the written word, how it can transport the reader to another world or even another time in history. But it wasn’t until living in Ulverston did she discover a story worth telling. From that point, the characters became alive and she fell in love with the story.

Social Media Links:

Website: https://hdcoulter.com/

Twitter:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hd.coulter/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hdcoulter


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Blog Tour: State of Treason by Paul Walker

State of Treason audioTitle: State of Treason (Book 1, William Constable Spy Thrillers)

Author: Paul Walker

Narrated by Edward Gist

Blurb:

London, 1578

William Constable is a scholar of mathematics, astrology and practices as a physician. He receives an unexpected summons to the Queen’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham in the middle of the night. He fears for his life when he spies the tortured body of an old friend in the palace precincts.

His meeting with Walsingham takes an unexpected turn when he is charged to assist a renowned Puritan, John Foxe, in uncovering the secrets of a mysterious cabinet containing an astrological chart and coded message. Together, these claim Elizabeth has a hidden, illegitimate child (an “unknowing maid”) who will be declared to the masses and serve as the focus for an invasion.

Constable is swept up in the chase to uncover the identity of the plotters, unaware that he is also under suspicion. He schemes to gain the confidence of the adventurer John Hawkins and a rich merchant. Pressured into taking a role as court physician to pick up unguarded comments from nobles and others, he has become a reluctant intelligencer for Walsingham.

Do the stars and cipher speak true, or is there some other malign intent in the complex web of scheming?

Constable must race to unravel the threads of political manoeuvring for power before a new-found love and perhaps his own life are forfeit.

Buy Links:

Amazon 

Audio: Amazon UKAmazon US


Audio Excerpt:

 


Paul WalkerAbout the Author:

Paul is married and lives in a village 30 miles north of London. Having worked in universities and run his own business, he is now a full-time writer of fiction and part-time director of an education trust. His writing in a garden shed is regularly disrupted by children and a growing number of grandchildren and dogs.

Paul writes historical fiction. He inherited his love of British history and historical fiction from his mother, who was an avid member of Richard III Society. The William Constable series of historical thrillers is based around real characters and events in the late sixteenth century. The first three books in the series are State of Treason; A Necessary Killing; and The Queen’s Devil. He promises more will follow.

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Blog Tour: The Lengthening Shadow by Liz Harris

The Lengthening Shadow Cover LARGE EBOOKTitle: The Lengthening Shadow (The Linford Series)

Author: Liz Harris

Blurb:

When Dorothy Linford marries former German internee, Franz Hartmann, at the end of WWI, she’s cast out by her father, Joseph, patriarch of the successful Linford family.

Dorothy and Franz go to live in a village in south-west Germany, where they have a daughter and son. Throughout the early years of the marriage, which are happy ones, Dorothy is secretly in contact with her sister, Nellie, in England.

Back in England, Louisa Linford, Dorothy’s cousin, is growing into an insolent teenager, forever at odds with her parents, Charles and Sarah, and with her wider family, until she faces a dramatic moment of truth.  

Life in Germany in the early 1930s darkens, and to Dorothy’s concern, what had initially seemed harmless, gradually assumes a threatening undertone.

Brought together by love, but endangered by acts beyond their control, Dorothy and Franz struggle to get through the changing times without being torn apart.

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon US


Review:
fourstars
A beautifully written novel, spanning generations, The Lengthening Shadow mainly focuses on the life of Dorothy, a once-nurse who left her family home and comforts to be with the man she loves, in Germany. But as time goes on and a new war looms, Dorothy must decide where she is safest.

I did very much enjoy reading this novel. It’s well-written and within the historical context of the time. I did find that there were too many storylines going on at once at times, between Nellie, Dorothy, and Louisa, and even with the other family members, and the ending was a bit rushed, however these did not diminish my enjoyment of the novel and I will definitely seek out other novels by Miss Harris.


044 - CopyAbout the Author:

Born in London, Liz Harris graduated from university with a Law degree, and then moved to California, where she led a varied life, from waitressing on Sunset Strip to working as secretary to the CEO of a large Japanese trading company.

A few years later, she returned to London and completed a degree in English, after which she taught secondary school pupils, first in Berkshire, and then in Cheshire.

In addition to the nine novels she’s had published, she’s had several short stories in anthologies and magazines.

Liz now lives in Oxfordshire. An active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Historical Novel Society, her interests are travel, the theatre, cinema, reading and cryptic crosswords.

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Blog Tour: Widow’s Lace by Lelita Baldock

Widow's Lace coverTitle: Widow’s Lace

Author: Lelita Baldock

Blurb:

A hundred year old mystery, the widow left behind, a fallen soldier, the abandoned fiancée, an unnamed body and the young student determined to find the truth.

In 1886 famous English poet Edward Barrington moves from Derbyshire, England to a farm on the Finniss River, in South Australia. Two years later he disappears.

25 years later Archie Hargraves abandons his fiancée Clara and travels from England to meet with Edward’s widow, Rosalind. He plans to write a biography and make a name for himself, independent from his wealthy father. Returning to England in 1914 he abandons his work to join the war in Europe. His journal of notes from Australia is never released.

Ellie Cannon, a young PhD candidate at Sydney University, is writing a thesis on one of Barrington’s last known poems, The Fall. It’s not going well. Struggling with her relationship with her mother and loss of her father, Ellie is on the brink of failure.

Then a body is found by the Finniss River, 130 years after Edward’s disappearance. Could it be the famous poet?

The discovery draws Ellie into the worlds of Edward, Archie and Clara, taking her across Australia and England in her search for the truth.

Covering life in remote South Australia, the social pressures of 1900s Britain and the historical role of women, Widow’s Lace is an historical fiction, mystery cross-over dealing with themes of obsession, fear, love, inner-secrets and regret. But also the hope that can come from despair.

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AUBarnes and Noble


Excerpt:

Part Two: Edward

Chapter 6

I approach. Hesitant step. 

Head too high to see horizon’s future. Gently glowing golden aura.

Port of London, England 1886

The long, loud wail of the ship’s horn blew a second time. Edward, sitting in his carriage on the dock, took a deep steadying breath. It was time. Gripping the carriage handle, he straightened his shoulders and swung out of his seat landing lightly on the dockside. Before him the docks teamed with activity; families of steerage passengers trying to navigate the crowded space while keeping together and managing their luggage; cargo boys hauling barrels and steering groups of pigs and lambs, presumably water and food for the journey; baggage men carting the belongings of the wealthy. Several boats were in port. Large bales of what Edward supposed was wool and barrels of wine were being hauled by dirty, hefty workers. Smoke rose from large chimneys on the deck of one of the cargo ships, creating a hazy shimmer over the dock, its heat and smell permeating the air and mixing unpleasantly with the slimy scent of the fish some men were catching further downstream. 

Despite all the bustling distractions of the port, it was their passenger vessel that dominated the scene. The Orient, her dark steel sides glistening in the morning sun, rose up from the water like a leviathan. Long and sleek, her body would house some 500 hundred souls on her voyage to Australia. She was a combined design, powered by steam on the run through the Suez Canal, then by sail as they surged across the empty oceans of the Southern Hemisphere. 

 Currently, her decks were awash with sailors checking ropes and packing sails or having a final cigarette before official duty began. Edward closed his eyes a moment, gathering himself. You can do this, he told himself firmly. His thundering heart beat a silent retort he resolved to ignore.

Edward scanned the docks for a luggage worker to manage his belongings. 

‘Excuse me, sir,’ a young man clad in tailored trousers and an Orient jacket stood before Edward. ‘Mr Barrington I presume? I’m Mr Davids, here to arrange your luggage, sir.’

‘I am Mr Barrington. Thank you. There is quite a lot I’m afraid, you may need to get some help…’

‘Don’t be worrying yourself, sir,’ the young man grinned up at Edward as he moved towards the luggage strapped to the back and top of the carriage. ‘Cabin 34, am I correct? ‘

‘Yes, thank you.’

‘Course, sir. Leave it to me.’ Mr Davids turned calling out to a group of lads standing off to the side dressed in brown slacks and shirts, not an Orient colour among them. The boys came running over, all pimples and fuzzy beards and began loading themselves up with more bags and boxes than seemed feasible before heading for the ship. Mr Davids swung a smile at Edward and joined them, leaving him adrift in the sea of activity. He strode to the carriage and opened the door once more, ‘Darling, if you are ready to board?’

A white gloved hand appeared from the carriage to grip his own and he gently guided his wife, Rosalind Barrington, down the carriage steps to the dockside.‘

‘Oh!’ The soft sound escaped her lips, but not his notice. Edward gripped her waist quickly, steadying her against the pull of gravity that threatened as her knees wobbled beneath her.

‘I am sorry my love,’ Rosalind breathed, ‘I must have risen too fast from my seat.’

Edward stared hard into her deep green eyes. Grey smudged the hollows beneath them, her skin waxy and pale. ‘Of course,’ he lied and gave her his most reassuring smile.

Rosalind smiled back, transforming her features to those of the healthy woman he married, offering a glimpse of why they were here, his hope and promise. If only for a moment. 

They’d met three years ago at his poetry recital in Manchester’s neo-gothic town hall. Dressed in green silk trimmed with black lace, hair gathered in large cascades, eyes bright with copper tinge, Rosalind had turned every head in the room. Edward could not look away. Showing an uncharacteristic confidence, he’d approached her, dared to touch her arm, invited her to Hathrone to take tea. She accepted. A week later they stood beneath the apple trees, red with winter’s promise and declared their hearts.

‘I love you,’ he had whispered.

‘I love you too. But, I must warn you. I am to be a divorced woman. I will… damage your reputation.’

Edward had laughed. Rosalind’s brutish husband was well known in society, loudly decrying his wife for the absence of an heir, while escorting a series of young women about town.

‘I am overjoyed that you are to be divorced. I do not wish to have you as a mistress. I wish to make you all mine. Now and always.’ 

Overcome, tears limned Rosalind’s eyes. 

Gently Edward wiped them away. ‘Don’t cry my love, not ever again. Until my last breath I will protect you. We will never know loneliness and sorrow again.’

They fell into each other and on a bed of leaves sealed their love, skin to skin, forever.

Straightening her sun hat, Rosalind turned to take in the docks. ‘This harbour is much larger than I expected, there are boats lining the water out as far as I can see.’

Edward leaned in close to her ear and whispered, ‘Follow the inlet with your eyes, where it seems to meet the sky? That is the start of our journey to Australia!’

Rosalind turned to face him, bringing their eyes, their lips closer. He felt a huff of breath as she laughed lightly, ‘What an adventure we are to begin.’

Edward’s heart tightened at the bravery of her words. Throwing social etiquette to the winds, he pecked her on the cheek, her skin warmer than it should be beneath his lips. 

‘Come Mary, it is time we boarded,’ he called back to the carriage.

The older lady, well into her 60s, stepped gingerly from the carriage, the swelling of her ankles and lower legs had been troubling her more as the days cooled into autumn. Her right hand clutched a single satchel, all her worldly possessions. She had been with Rosalind since his wife was a child, it would have been cruel to take a younger maid. Mary had earned this. She looked up at him and nodded stoically. They turned as one and walked to the Orient, their transport to another country, almost another world. And hopefully a new life.


Lelita BaldockAbout the Author:

Lelita has a passion for stories, especially those with a dark undercurrent, or a twist to be revealed. 

She hopes to tell interesting stories that people will find themselves drawn into. Stories that are for entertainment and escape, and hopefully a little thrill of the unexpected. She truly enjoys the experience of writing, exploring human traits and reactions as well as the darkness that can lurk unexpectedly inside anyone.

Born and raised in Adelaide, Australia, Lelita holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and History from the University of Adelaide and a Bachelor of Education from The University of South Australia. During her twenties she worked as an English teacher in both Australia and the United Kingdom, working with the International Baccalaureate curriculum.

Now Lelita and her husband run a web development business, and she makes time for writing after hours and on weekends. It can mean long days and late nights, but she doesn’t mind, stories are her passion.

Lelita’s long term goal as a writer is to be able to publish her stories regularly and hopefully appeal to a wide range of readers.

Lelita currently resides in the United Kingdom with her husband Ryan and beloved rescue-cat, Jasmine.

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