A Fist Around the Heart by Heather Chisvin

Overview

The story of Anna Grieve and her fragile older sister, Esther, begins in Russia in the 1880s. The vicious persecution of Jews has come to such a point that the girls’ mother makes the decision to send her children to Winnipeg with her wealthy employers. Her intention is to join them, but the sisters never see their mother again. Frightened and cut adrift, each girl reacts differently to her new family in North America. Esther’s beauty and glamorous lifestyle hide the fact that she may be losing herself to mental illness. Anna, who is the only one who knows that her sister is suffering, spends her life torn between taking care of her and escaping her. As soon as she can, Anna leaves for New York and makes a new life as a women’s rights activist with an illegal contraceptive business in Manhattan, but her bond with Esther never loses its grip.

When Anna receives the unexpected news of Esther’s possible suicide on “If Day”, an unusual day in WWII history when a simulated Nazi attack took place in Winnipeg in order to raise funds for the war effort, she immediately returns to Canada. Only she can piece together what really happened all those years ago in Russia, why their mother never came for them, and what role “If Day” might have played in Esther’s untimely death.

Review

Anna receives a call about her sister. She is dead! Run over by a train. Was she pushed? Was this suicide?

Anna’s sister, Esther, is a damaged soul. Anna and Esther are given, by their mother, to a Count and Countess of Russia to be taken to safety at the beginning of the Russian revolution. Nothing is ever the same. Anna begins to rebel and Esther is prone to bouts of melancholy and mental detachments.

This story is narrated by Anna. And I love her tenacity, her hard work and her politics. Anna is a smart, self sufficient woman in a time period where women are supposed to be homemakers only. She also secretly provides birth control. Keep in mind, this is when it was illegal for women to have birth control. Did I mention Anna is a REBEL?!?

Then there is Esther. Anna and Esther have a strange relationship. They are estranged through part of the story. But, the moment Esther needs her, Anna always comes through.

There is a lot of history and mystery in this book. It does flip flop between Anna’s past and her present. This can get a little confusing in places. But, the story keeps you captivated.

I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.

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Mother’s Day album by Clear Scraps

Well! I have not posted much scrap stuff in a while. But I have been creating! I did want to share this album by Clear Scraps. This album is made out of wood. It is also a shaker album. I used chalk paint and stencils. So fun!

This album is showcasing my favorite twins! Abel and Jack Martin!

Thanks for stopping by!

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The Summer Sail by Wendy Francis

Overview

A trio of college friends who reunite aboard a cruise ship experience an unforgettable vacation in this compelling novel from the author of The Summer of Good Intentions, which was hailed as “everything a summer read should be” by Elin Hilderbrand.

Three college roommates are celebrating a twentieth wedding anniversary by taking a cruise to Bermuda. As the ship pulls away from the pier, everyone is looking forward to lounging by the pool, sipping sunset cocktails, and reminiscing. Abby, the mother hen of the group, will be celebrating her wedding anniversary in style, even as she and her husband keep a secret from the group. Ambitious career woman Caroline happily anticipates several stress-free days away from her magazine job with her boyfriend, Javier, who may or may not be finally inspired to propose. And single mom Lee (annoyingly gorgeous and irresistibly popular in college) hopes she’ll win back the affections of her formerly sweet daughter Lacey, who after her first year in college, has inexplicably become a little bit of a monster.

As the balmy pink shores of Bermuda come into view, tensions simmer, and old jealousies flare, sending the temperature from soothing to scorching in this engrossing tale of three best friends on a vacation they won’t soon forget—but not for the reasons they expect.

Review

Love, love, love this cover. Who does not love a cover which looks like instant relaxation!

Three college friends and their families are setting sail on a cruise to Bermuda, basically to celebrate the renewal of vows for Abby and her husband. This turns into a trip to remember.

This is a quick, good, all around beach read. And to tell you the truth, I have no idea what was so great about it. It really is a normal beach read about life, family, friends. Nothing special. But, I was captivated! All the way through.

Each character brings a different story into the mix. Caroline and her boyfriend Javier..is he going to propose? Single mom Lee and her college aged daughter Lacey…is she pregnant? And then there is Abby with her twins and her great husband…what is wrong with Abby? On top of all these questions, the setting of the cruise ship and Bermuda just kept me glued to the pages.

All the characters compliment each other and really give this story the kick you need to start off BEACH SEASON! HOORAY!

I received this novel from Edelweiss for a honest review

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Don’t Just Travel to Cuba Experience Cuba like a Local by Talek Nantes – Book Spotlight

Don’t just travel to Cuba, experience Cuba like a local: The Ultimate Cuba Travel Guide

By Talek Nantes

Genre: Nonfiction, Travel guide

Want to experience Cuba like a local? This is the guidebook for you. Talek Nantes, Cuban-American author and founder of the travel blog, TravelswithTalek.com, has traveled to Cuba numerous times. Her detailed explanations will guide you through all aspects of travel to Cuba and help you make the most of your time while in this unique and culturally fascinating country.

Talek’s passion for Cuba is evident in every information-packed chapter from the classic Havana itineraries you cannot miss to the little-known gems pulsating under the radar in hidden Havana. Visit colonial military forts in Cuba’s eastern capital, Santiago de Cuba. Experience Cuba’s spectacular biospheres and animal preserves. Explore the French-influenced cities of central Cuba with their graceful architecture reminiscent of southern France. Sail the calm waters of underground rivers. Take salsa lessons, learn Spanish, cook a Cuban meal. It’s all here.

Beyond a mere directory of attractions, this guidebook delves into the history of Cuba from the pre-colonial days through the present. Special focus is given to understanding Cuba’s fight for independence from Spain and the Cuban revolution of 1959 along with its key participants.

This guidebook is packed with useful information, facts, and actionable tips:
•Updated guidelines on travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens.
•All you need to know about currency conversion.
•How to locate and reserve the ideal accommodation in any city.
•How to save money and travel comfortably anywhere within Cuba.
•Where and what to eat in Cuba from street food to top cuisine.
•Highlights of the major Cuban cities from Havana to Santiago.
•Walking maps of the key Havana neighborhoods.
* Directory of restaurants, galleries, attractions and music and dance venues in all key cities.
* Current scams and how to avoid them.
* Budgeting for your Cuba trip
* Over 60 full-color photographs

In addition to key tips and advice, this guidebook provides cultural insight gleaned from conversations with local Cubans from the bici-taxi driver to the attendant at a cemetery gate. Explore places and topics tourists rarely see like religious Afro-Cuban dance performances, the hottest jazz clubs in Havana, remarkable art museums and stunning natural beauty.

This extensive guidebook will save you time and money and help you truly experience Cuba like a local.

About the Author

Talek Nantes is an author, travel consultant and founder of the travel blog, http://www.travelswithtalek.com. She is a passionate travel enthusiast and enjoys sharing her travel experiences with others. In her blog, Talek shares information on unique destinations and provides actionable travel tips and advice to help travelers make the most of their time away from home. Her focus is on cultural immersion and interaction with local people to help travelers create their own unique travel experiences. Her work has appeared in several publications.

Talek’s personal and professional background have led her to travel to over 100 countries. She has lived and worked throughout the world and speaks several languages. Talek is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and lives with her husband in New York City and Miami.

https://www.facebook.com/travelswithtalek/
https://twitter.com/travelstalek

http://www.travelswithtalek.com

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/2GmVRkp

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The Gene Police by Elliott Light – COVER REVEAL

The Gene Police

By Elliott D. Light

Genre: Mystery

Before the words “white supremacy” filled the airways, before we learned of American Nazis and the alt-right, before there was a Muslim ban, before we considered building a wall or knew what DACA stands for, there was eugenics—a pseudo-science that promoted the belief that a race could be improved by controlling who was allowed to mate with whom.

It was eugenics that compelled white doctors to inform Carl and Betty Langard that their new born baby had died.  And it is the cruelest of circumstances—the murder of Jennifer Rice—that fifty years later leads Shep Harrington to search for Baby Langard.

As Shep soon learns, the quest brings him to the top of a slippery slope with an ill-defined edge. Question begets question, and the slide down the slope proves inevitable: What happened to the baby? Who took it? Why was he taken? And who killed Jennifer Rice?

When Shep learns that Baby Langard was born at a hospital run by Alton Nichols, a famous Virginia eugenicist, he is drawn into the dark history of the American eugenics movement and its proponents—the so-called “gene police.”

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smalltownmysteries

Website: smalltownmysteries.com

On Amazon: https://amzn.to/2K78DF8

On B&N: http://bit.ly/2qUf8T7

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I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawton

Overview

Russia, July 17, 1918 Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed.

Germany, February 17, 1920 A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal in Berlin. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia.

Her detractors, convinced that the young woman is only after the immense Romanov fortune, insist on calling her by a different name: Anna Anderson.

As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre, old enemies and new threats are awakened.

Review

Anna is a miserable woman. She is scarred, lost, depressed and damaged in more ways than one. Is she who she says she is? She claims to be Anastasia Romanov. Is she? You need to read this to find out!

I love the history of this book. It has been a while since I visited with the Romanovs. This was a highlight for me but, parts of this novel are so hard to read. The tragedy surrounding the Romanovs’ lives and their deaths are heart wrenching.

The only reason this is not getting five stars from me is because of the time line. It is non linear. This made the story more confusing but, that was the brilliant plan of the author. To keep you off balance, which you will realize when you get to the end of the book. Their is a reason she wants you off balance.

All in all, I enjoyed this book very much. Anna, the Romanovs, and the history really create a wonderful tale.

I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.

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Peachy Flippin’ Keen by Molly Harper

OVERVIEW

A prank war erupts in Lake Sackett, Georgia and coroner Frankie McCready has to turn to the gorgeous but surly new sheriff for help in Molly Harper’s newest Southern Eclectic novella, perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Amy E. Reichert.

The McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop has crickets running rampant in the store and hot sauce in the Snack Shack’s ketchup bottles. But as the county coroner, Frankie has enough on her plate without worrying about the increasingly mean pranks being played at her family’s business. And the arrival of Sheriff Eric Linden, both devastatingly attractive and painfully taciturn, is enough to push her over the edge.

Linden, who didn’t seem to get the memo about men in uniform and Southern charm, is condescending and cold, revealing absolutely nothing about his past as an Atlanta police officer, while also making Frankie’s job as coroner as difficult as possible. And with the town’s Fourth of July celebration coming up, it’s essential for McCready’s to be cricket-free and in good working order. Strangling the sheriff will make her job even harder. Can Frankie hold off the threats to preserve her own sanity?

With her trademark “clever humor, snark, silliness, and endearing protagonists” (Booklist), Molly Harper invites fans to return to the family they first met in Sweet Tea and Sympathy. Y’all sit down and stay a while, won’t you?

Review

There is a prankster on the loose at the McCready Funeral Home and Bait Shop. Enter the new cop in town, Linden. And of course, he is tall, dark, handsome and completely devoid of manners. But sparks do fly! (In more ways than one!).

I just adore this series. The characters are people in my town! I swear….they are real people. I can’t help but laugh at their antics and reactions. Plus….the electric charge between Frankie and Linden just add to this clever tale. If you need a quick, funny story, this whole series is for you!

I read Sweet Tea and Sympathy last summer and fell in love with all the McCreadys. This novella is a perfect dose of southern charm and snarkiness. But! I am ready for a larger version of McCready Funeral Home and Bait Shop. Molly Harper has released two novellas since the release of Sweet Tea and Sympathy and I am ready for a full blown novel.

I received this from Netgalley for a honest review.

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