Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict


From the author of The Other Einstein comes the mesmerizing story of love, power, and the woman who inspired an American dynasty

In the industrial 1860s at the dawn of the Carnegie empire, Irish immigrant Clara Kelly finds herself in desperate circumstances. Looking for a way out, she seeks employment as a lady’s maid in the home of the prominent businessman Andrew Carnegie. Soon, the bond between Clara and her employer deepens into love. But when Clara goes missing, Carnegie’s search for her unearths secrets and revelations that lay the foundation for his lasting legacy. With captivating insight and stunning heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one lost woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist.

Carnegie Library

We actually visited the lovely city of Pittsburgh this summer. So, this book hit the spot for me. We visited Carnegie’s Library which the author talks about in the prologue. It is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside.

I love “Free To the People” on the front of the library.


Set in the late 1800 in Pittsburgh, this book takes you back in time when the rich had maids and servants, when they traveled in private train cars and made an obscene amount of money.

Clara is fresh off the boat. She lies her way into a position as Lady’s Maid for Mrs. Carnegie, Andrew Carnegie’s mother. Clara is smart and quick on her feet. She must be to create the life her parents intended. However, she has an attraction to Andrew Carnegie as a mentor. This attraction grows stronger the more they are together and could possibly bring down Clara’s house of cards.

The setting of the book is fabulous. The wealth, the poverty and the struggle to survive life, I felt like I was inside the pages with Clara. I also loved how much I learned reading this tale. I was researching Carnegie, Pittsburgh and NYC. I love historical fiction because I always learn something.

I am having trouble with this review. Basically, because I enjoyed the book so much, but there are some problems. I think the author glorified Carnegie a little too much. She created a very sincere and kind man and I am not sure he was as kind as she made him out to be. He did make his fortune on the backs and deaths of many workers. This is briefly touched on but I felt it should be expanded on more. Yes, it is a fiction book and he was a great philanthropist, but he also treated his factory workers poorly.

Marie Benedict is an expert on research. Her stories are vivid and memorable. I do love this book, I just felt it could have been more realistic.

Check out my post about the author’s other book The Other Einstein.

I received this novel from the publisher via Netgalley for a honest review.

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By DS Kane

Genre: Thriller

The eighth book in the gripping technothriller series, Spies Lie, perfect for fans who love Robert Ludlum, Lee Child, and Barry Eisler.

When Stanford University sophomore and budding computer hacker Ann Sashakovich meets senior Glen Sarkov, the CEO of a budding new startup, she is smitten. Glen is young, bright, and going places, and his innovative tech startup is seeking money to get them off the ground. But when Glen and his team find a venture capitalist willing to give them money, the offer turns out too good to be true. Worse, it seems the strings attached to the funding are tangled in a conspiracy deadlier than they can imagine…

Meanwhile, the world’s intelligence services have all been looking for a less-obvious way to fund weapons development, reaching out to entrepreneurs to help them create new tech. When they find tech capable of being weaponized, they have the creators murdered before taking control of the company for their own use. Now the lives of hundreds of the world’s brightest entrepreneurs hang in the balance, and Glen Sarkov is next on the list to die. Can Ann, Cassandra Sashakovich, and Jon Sommers figure out who at the CIA is ordering these killings, or will the CIA’s contract assassins wipe them off the Earth?

Author Bio

DS Kane worked in the field of covert intelligence for over a decade. During that time, his cover was his real name, and he was on the faculty of NYU’s Stern Graduate School of Business. He traveled globally for clients including government and military agencies, the largest banks, and Fortune 100 corporations, and while in-country, he did side jobs for the government. One of the banks DS Kane investigated housed the banking assets of many of the world’s intelligence agencies and secret police forces, including the CIA and NSA. Much of his work product was pure but believable fiction, lies he told, and truths he concealed. Secrets that–if revealed–might have gotten him killed. When his cover got blown, he fled the field and moved 3,000 miles.

Now, DS Kane is a former spy, still writing fiction. Through his novels, he exposes the way intelligence agencies craft fiction for sale to sway their countries and manipulate their national policy, driving countries into dangerous conflicts.

To learn more about DS Kane and his books, visit or join him on Facebook for book giveaways and details on espionage at


The author is giving away an ebook copy of MindField to one lucky reader!


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40 Tips on Creative Writing by Dan Buri – Spotlight and Guest Post

Writing a book is hard. If you’ve written a book before, you know this. If you’re dreaming to write a book, you have a mountain to climb and you should understand that before you begin. But that doesn’t mean you can’t write your first novel! Or your second novel! Or third! If your book is good, it should be hard to write. That’s not something from which shy away. Most things in life that are worth doing are hard.

I’ve found with anything in life that’s difficult, the best way to approach it is to break it into pieces. Figure out how to write your book in steps. You can’t tackle everything at once, so break it up into actionable pieces that you can accomplish. Soon, as you complete one step after another, you will be holding your own book in your hands.

If you’ve read my first book, Pieces Like Pottery, you’ll recall one of the lead characters found a list of forty life tips from his former high school teacher, Mr. Smith. I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from readers on these forty life tips. They seem to resonate deeply with people. In my blog ( and in my new book on writing—an inspirational guide for indie authors on their writing journey—I’ve applied each of the forty life tips to writing and how they can help you write, market, and sell your book.

Here is a sneak peek into a few truncated versions of those tips from 40 Tips on Creative Writing:

1) Life’s too short to not seize the opportunities with which we are presented. Always take the chance to do what you love when it comes along. Write that book! Start now! Do you have thirty minutes today? Sit down and start writing.

2) Question authority. Don’t take the status quo as a requirement. Don’t look at how you think everyone else is writing and try to copy it. Find your own voice. Write in your own style, no one else’s.

3) Question those who question authority. Drink in the knowledge of as many authors as you can. Read as much as you can. Take their advice to heart. Be yourself and be inquisitive. Inquisitiveness is a gift of the writer.

4) Don’t be afraid to see dinosaurs even when everyone else around you doesn’t. Anyone who has ever tried to write anything of worth, and for that matter any creative type who has ever tried to make something out of nothing, knows how exciting and scary that can be at the same time. Take that excitement and fear and use it. Don’t worry about how others say you’re supposed to write. Write the way that you want to write. Sure, soak in all the advice and feedback from writing experts and amateurs alike. Take it all to heart. Let it wash over you. Then filter it through that beautiful brain of yours and write the way you feel called to write.

5) Be kind. Kindness can change things far beyond your wildest dreams. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it’s kindness that makes the heart grow softer. Every author would love an ever-growing readership and hundreds of positive book reviews, but recognize that people may not want to read your book. It’s not an attack on you or your book. They are busy, with a lot of interesting things competing for their attention. I know it hurts that someone wouldn’t want to read something that you spent years of thought, pain, and sacrifice in creating, but that hurt is yours not theirs. Simply processing this will do wonders for you in being kind. It doesn’t help anyone if you project that hurt onto your potential readership.

I know writing a book (or another book) can be difficult, but there is a huge author community out there ready to support you. Let me help you get your book finished and increase your sales. Let 40 Tips on Creative Writing be your inspirational guide to a successful book!

Seize the day you have in front of you. You are strong.

You are kind. You are wonderful. Don’t forget it.

― Dan Buri

40 Tips on Creative Writing is currently available in ebook and print. Dan Buri (@DanBuri777 on Twitter) is a trusted resource for writers to gain insight into the difficult world of indie publishing. His first collection of short fiction — Pieces Like Pottery — which has been recognized on multiple Best Seller Lists, is an exploration of heartbreak and redemption. His nonfiction works have been distributed online and in print, in publications including Pundit Press, Tree, Summit Avenue Review, American Discovery, and TC Huddle. Dan is a founding member of the Independent Writers Guild, a worldwide organization of writers and publishing professionals dedicated to promoting the interest of indie writers by encouraging public interest in, and fostering an appreciation of, quality indie literature. He is an active attorney in the Pacific Northwest, and lives in Oregon with his wife and two young children.

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The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey


The lead homicide investigator in a rural town, Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock is deeply unnerved when a high school classmate is found strangled, her body floating in a lake. And not just any classmate, but Rosalind Ryan, whose beauty and inscrutability exerted a magnetic pull on Smithson High School, first during Rosalind’s student years and then again when she returned to teach drama.

As much as Rosalind’s life was a mystery to Gemma when they were students together, her death presents even more of a puzzle. What made Rosalind quit her teaching job in Sydney and return to her hometown? Why did she live in a small, run-down apartment when her father was one of the town’s richest men? And despite her many admirers, did anyone in the town truly know her?

Rosalind’s enigmas frustrate and obsess Gemma, who has her own dangerous secrets—an affair with her colleague and past tragedies that may not stay in the past.


Gemma is a detective on the murder case of an old high school acquaintance. This leads her down the trail of her past.

This book just did not do it for me. The story is just ok. It’s a little long and round about. To be honest, I started skimming toward the end. Lots of junk in this book. For instance, there are several chapters on whether Gemma knew the victim more than she should. She is from a rural town…of course she knew the victim. Also, whether Gemma is going to have another baby. Who cares…related to the murder..NO!

To say I disliked Gemma is an understatement. She is very selfish, secretive and she is having a affair with her partner. It is very difficult to enjoy a book when the lead character is as unappealing as Gemma. I don’t think I found anything about her to like.

I will be honest, I thought this book would never end. I hate to write bad reviews. I do not want to damage the author’s hard work based on my opinion and it is just MY OPINION.

I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.

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By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

Lulu loves this cover!


An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.

Anne Corey is about to get schooled.

An English professor in California, she’s determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.

Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.

Funny, smart, and full of heart, this modern ode to Jane Austen’s classic explores what happens when we run into the demons of our past…and when they turn out not to be so bad, after all.


Anne is a professor at Fairfax College. She is struggling to get published so she can be on the tenure track. However, there is a little snag. Her ex-fiancé is now the president of her college.

First off…COVER LOVE!

This supposed to be a story about second chances. But the love story revolves more around Anne and Rick instead of Anne and Adam. My feelings are all over the place on this book. I enjoyed i, but the story itself is slow moving. I read the book fast because it is an easy read. But it is really not a fast paced story line. It drags in places and I just wanted to kick some of the characters to get them out of their rut. So, it was frustrating. Then toward the end, it really picks up the pace and takes off. Just took too long to get there.

The characters are pretty good. Anne is supposedly intelligent but sometimes her decisions do not reflect that. Ditto for Adam. Rick is a total jerk! But, Larry is a super character. I love Larry. He makes you burst out laughing in many places. Larry made the whole book for me.

I enjoyed all the book and author references. Took me back to my college literature days. This is not a bad book at all. I just felt like it was missing something.

I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.

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The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg


A moving novel about three people who find their way back from loss and loneliness to a different kind of happiness. Arthur, a widow, meets Maddy, a troubled teenage girl who is avoiding school by hiding out at the cemetery, where Arthur goes every day for lunch to have imaginary conversations with his late wife, and think about the lives of others. The two strike up a friendship that draws them out of isolation. Maddy gives Arthur the name Truluv, for his loving and positive responses to every outrageous thing she says or does. With Arthur’s nosy neighbor Lucille, they create a loving and unconventional family, proving that life’s most precious moments are sweeter when shared.


Well!! This book hit the spot! It is an absolutely charming read and gives you all the feels. I fell so hard for Arthur. He is a joy. He visits his wife’s grave every day at lunch, which is where he meets Maddy. Maddy is a unique and sad young lady. Her mother passed away when she was young and her father is not much of a father. She and Arthur develop a relationship and it is just exactly what each of them need. Throw in a pesky neighbor named Lucille and you have a perfect family.

Did I mention I love this book. One of the reasons is the chemistry between ALL the characters. Each bring something special into the relationships, plus all have some baggage or hang up. Maddy is a heartbreaking teenager. She does not fit in anywhere, school or home. She is bullied and even has thoughts of suicide. Arthur is her saving grace. (Like I said, HE IS ADORABLE!).

This is the perfect book if you are looking for a heartwarming, delightful read. Plus, you may shed a tear or two if you are not careful.

I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review

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Forks, Knives and Spoons by Leah DeCesare


There are three kinds of guys: forks, knives, and spoons. That is the final lesson that Amy York’s father sends her off to college with, never suspecting just how far his daughter will take it. Clinging to the Utensil Classification System as her guide, Amy tries to convince her skeptical roommate, Veronica Warren, of its usefulness as they navigate the heartbreaks and soul mates of college and beyond. Beginning in 1988, their freshman year at Syracuse University, Amy and Veronica meet an assortment of guys from slotted spoons and shrimp forks to butter knives and sporks all while trying to learn if the UCS holds true. On the quest to find their perfect steak knives, they learn to believe in themselves and not to settle in love or life.


This book begins with Amy and Veronica starting their freshman year at Syracuse. Before Amy left home her father gave her some advice about boys. Veronica and Amy dub this unique advice the UCS. The Utensil Classification System.

This story follows Amy and Veronica as they navigate the dating scene through college and beyond. Their decisions and actions cause a domino effect on their lives and others. I enjoyed these young ladies. Both seem to have a good head on their shoulders, even though they sometimes make a few stupid decisions. I chalk that up to youth.

I love how the author sprinkles in many details from the 90’s, especially the music. I found myself singing songs from my past! She even mentions Danielle Steele….oh my, she was a staple for me during the 90’s.

There are a lot of characters to keep up with and it can be overly dramatic in places. But the funny wit and the grand time had by all as they struggle to find the perfect steak knife, is such a treat. This is a heart warming read about relationships and life changing decisions. A real joy!

“Be sure you know yourself and what’s in your heart. Remember, you have to value and love yourself first.”

I received this novel from the author for a honest review.

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