Saturday, October 25, 2014

Three Strikes and You're Dead by Michael Draper Spotlight!!

Book Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: XLIBRIS (July 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1499049307
  • ISBN-13: 978-1499049305

Baseball goes on strike. As following baseball is the main avocation of many people, there is a great deal of discontent.

A chat group is formed: Friends against the baseball strike.

One member is a terrorist wannabe and he is able to manipulate a gullible man who has no life to obey his wishes. He tells the man, who takes on the name, The Vindicator, he should strike back against the sport. Baseball used to be the sport of the common man but now with the multi-million-dollar contracts, regular people can't afford the price of admission. It can cost hundreds of dollars for a man and wife to bring their children to a baseball game and get some food.

The gullible man uses the name The Vindicator on the chat site. The other man uses the name The Advocate. No one has paid much attention to him (The Vindicator) in the past so he wants to please The Advocate. He decides to take action and kill the highest paid player on each team. Each killing will be in a different way and there will be a message to end the strike.

After the first killing, the FBI becomes involved and the Baseball Commissioner's Office hires a group of private investigators to show they are proactive. The group consists of a young woman and two men who are being trained by a retired state trooper.

As more ballplayers are killed, the trio of private investigators decides to challenge the killer using social media. They put a notice on Facebook to see if they can get the killer to go after one of them, who will be armed.

The private investigators are working with the FBI and able to get video surveillance tape from the hotel where the first killing took place. Together with the tape from the airport car rental, there is enough for facial recognition but it is hazy. The photo is placed in the newspapers and the private investigators get a lead.

There is a major confrontation at the Union Station in Washington. This is between the killer, the man who manipulated him, a man with a bomb and the FBI and private investigators.

About the Author

Michael A. Draper holds a master's degree in teaching from Saint Michael's College in Vermont. He spent four years in the Air Force, achieving the rank of captain. Currently agent emeritus in the field of life insurance and retirement planning, Mr. Draper found a great deal of inspiration for this novel while working with law enforcement personnel.

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Floats the Dark Shadow by Yves Fey Review!

Publication Date: August 5, 2012
BearCat Press
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audio

Genre: Historical Mystery
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Young American painter Theodora Faraday struggles to become an artist in Belle Époque Paris. She’s tasted the champagne of success, illustrating poems for the Revenants, a group of poets led by her adored cousin, Averill. When children she knows vanish mysteriously, Theo confronts Inspecteur Michel Devaux who suspects the Revenants are involved. Theo refuses to believe the killer could be a friend—could be the man she loves. Classic detection and occult revelation lead Michel and Theo through the dark underbelly of Paris, from catacombs to asylums, to the obscene ritual of a Black Mass. Following the maze of clues they discover the murderer believes he is the reincarnation of the most evil serial killer in the history of France—Gilles de Rais. Once Joan of Arc’s lieutenant, after her death he plunged into an orgy of evil. The Church burned him at the stake for heresy, sorcery, and the depraved murder of hundreds of peasant children. Whether deranged mind or demonic passion incite him, the killer must be found before he strikes again.

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Praise for Floats the Dark Shadow

“Yves Fey writes with the eye of an artist, the nose of a perfumer and the nerves of a hardened gendarme in this chilling tale of love and love’s perversion. Not for the faint of heart!” — Cuyler Overholt, award-winning author of A Deadly Affection
“Fey’s writing is gorgeous: she evokes the sights and smells of Paris and poetically presents the darkness and horror that plague tormented souls.” — Historical Novel Society

“Paris is painted with uncanny realism, using masterful splashes of descriptive color against a somber backdrop … The characters develop as their entwined relationships become ever more enmeshed in the dark plot woven around mysticism, Satanism, and sadistic murders…” — Kirkus Reviews

“Yves Fey delves into the dark well of occult, violence and eroticism lying just beneath the surface of fin-de-siècle Paris. The valiant heroine, American artist Theo Faraday, confronts the ultimate evils of child torture and murder as the serpentine page-turning plot unfolds. Beware! It’s strong stuff.” — Barbara 
Corrado Pope, author of Cézanne’s Quarry and The Blood of Lorraine

“This dark, gothic tale will delight fans of decadent, sensuous, fin-de-siècle Paris.” — Kenneth Wishnia, award-winning author of 23 Shades of Black and The Fifth Servant

“Yves Fey recreates the haunting world of absinthe, of the Symbolist poets, of Salomé, of the Golden Dawn, and of darker, more unfathomable forces, that was Paris in 1897. This well-researched thriller offers satisfyingly complex characters. Powerful, violent, elegant.” —Beth Tashery Shannon, Pushcart Prize winner, author of Tanglevine

Buy the Book

About the Author

Floats the Dark Shadow, Yves Fey’s debut mystery set in the dynamic and decadent world of Belle Époque Paris, has won the Silver Medal “IPPY” Independent Publishers Award in mystery, and both the Mystery and Historical Finalist Awards from the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. It’s also nominated for ForeWord’s Independent Publishers BookTwitter of the Year Award in the Mystery Category.
Yves has an MFA in Creative Writing from Eugene Oregon, and a BA in Pictorial Arts from UCLA. She has read, written, and created art from childhood, and is an ardent movie buff. In her varied career, she has been a tie dye artist, go-go dancer, baker, creator of ceramic beasties, illustrator, fiction teacher, and now, novelist. A chocolate connoisseur, she’s won prizes for her desserts. Her current fascination is creating perfumes inspired by her new novel.
Yves has traveled to many countries in Europe and lived for two years in Indonesia. Currently, she resides in the San Francisco area with her husband and three cats, Marlowe the Investigator and Charlotte and Emily, the Flying Brontë Sisters.
Writing as Gayle Feyrer and Taylor Chase, she previously published four unusually dark and mysterious historical romances, The Prince of Cups, The Thief’s Mistress, Heart of Deception and Heart of Night. She plans to rerelease these with her own cover designs in the coming year. Her fantasy, House of the Twin Jewels, appears in Erotic Interludes.
For more information please visit Yves Fey’s website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitter,Pinterest, and Goodreads.

My Thoughts

Floats the Dark Shadow is a historical novel in the late 1800's Paris. It is about the decadent art world that includes artists, poets and the dark arts. The background of the story features "Baron de Rais, who was a lord from BrittanyAnjou and Poitou, and a companion-in-arms of Joan of Arc in the 1400's. When Joan of Arc was burned to death it seems that Gilles de Rais loses it and turned to the occult and is later convicted as a  serial killer of children, poor peasant children that the police don't think are important enough to even search for. 

In this novel it appears that there is someone who is emulating Gilles de Rais and children turn up missing, most not found, but there is one little girl who is found in a cemetery. Theodora Faraday is a struggling American artist who is living with an aunt and uncle in Paris. She is in the same circle as writers, poets and artists in a time in Paris history that it was en-vogue to be in the circles of these people and their lifestyles. Most of these people are dark and brooding and living inside their heads so that their writings reflect their inner torments. Theo's cousin Averill is one of these tortured souls. She finds herself very attracted to Averill. Others in their circle include 'revenants' who Inspecteur Michel Devaux thinks is involved in the disappearance of the children, but which one? Michel Devaux has his own demons to fight along with searching for this despicable killer, but between the efforts of him and Theo hopefully the killer can be found.

I found this story to be well researched and told in such a descriptive way that it was easy to imagine how life was within the artist community. Dark and brooding for the most part but I think that when the occult is involved it certainly isn't rainbows and sunshine. The chapters that involved the killer, I found to be exceptionally chilling and scary. I love scary though so reading this book of a bygone era for me was exceptional. Doesn't hurt that I love reading about the occult either. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the cover of the book is gorgeous and mysterious. I highly recommend it!

I received a copy of this book for review and was not monetarily compensated for my review. 

Floats the Dark Shadow Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 13
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, October 14
Spotlight & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, October 15
Review at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, October 16
Review & Giveaway at Beth’s Book Reviews
Friday, October 17
Review at Just One More Chapter
Monday, October 20
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Tuesday, October 21
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Wednesday, October 22
Review at Historical Tapestry
Thursday, October 23
Review at Brooke Blogs
Friday, October 24
Review at The True Book Addict
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Hagridden by Samuel Snoek-Brown Spotlight!


Book Description: 
As the Civil War winds violently down, fears of the South’s uncertain future fuse with its unraveling traditions. Against the backdrop of this post-apocalyptic landscape, so littered with corpses and mythology and desperation, two women, stranded and alone in the Louisiana bayou, fight to survive.

Author Bio:

Samuel Snoek-Brown is the author of Hagridden, a Civil War novel from Columbus Press, and Box Cutters, a fiction chapbook from sunnyoutside press.

His short fiction has been published inAmpersand ReviewBartleby SnopesEunoia ReviewFiction CircusFried Chicken and CoffeePrick of the SpindleRed Fez,WhiskeyPaper, and others. He also works for Jersey Devil Press. 

He was shortlisted as a finalist in the 2010 and 2011 Faulkner-Wisdom competitions; his novella also was a semi-finalist in the 2010 Faulkner-Wisdom competition. He was a finalist for the 2013 storySouth Million Writers Award.
He is the recipient of a 2013 Oregon Literary Fellowship. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and their two cats, Ibsen and Brontë.


"I’ve seen what we truly are in this war. You haven’t. You think you know what’s happening from what stragglers and deserters come through here, what news you read what’s written by folks ain’t even in this war. Some fancy writer out on a hill scribbling away, some special drawing a pretty picture. They haven’t stabbed a man through the heart. They haven’t shot a man knowing they’re about to be shot themselves. I’ve seen death in front and behind me, I’ve seen death inside me. I and I alone know what living is, and what it’s worth."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Confessions of a Self-Help Writer by Benjamin W. DeHaven Spotlight and Giveaway!


A ghost, a philanthropist, a con man, a devout Catholic, a gigolo, a savior, an heir, a common man, and an addict are just some of the words used to describe Michael Enzo, who some sources credit with ghost-writing more than 108 self-help books on behalf of celebrities, politicians and business leaders. After failing to make what he considered to be a positive impact on society he began to destroy those closest to him including Benjamin DeHaven, the author of this book, and former collaborator. Defrauding an industry for almost 20 years by exploiting people's insecurities and profiting from them, more than likely these friends contributed more to the field of self-help, while profiting from it, than they will ever know. Believing they could only understand people's problems by suffering along with them, they lived on the razor's edge. If you've ever picked up a tell-all biography of a celebrity or a title from the self-help section at the bookstore, certainly you would question the source.This is an inside look at the mind of Michael Enzo and it is the author's hope that people will start helping themselves again after reading it. Discover what turns someone from preaching salvation towards seeking its destruction. You won't believe this could be true.


 AUTHOR Bio and Links:

 A Graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, Benjamin DeHaven keeps his heart in Chicago and his soul in New Orleans. He holds a MBA from Tulane and a film degree from Columbia. Once ejected from a community college for arguing Frost cried out for acceptance in Birches, he has since written screenplays, traded futures in Madrid, and was Editor in Chief of the Nola Shopper Newspaper, a free art newspaper and the 2nd largest monthly paper in the New Orleans, MSA. . He also has a "shout out" in a Jay "Z" Song.

DeHaven, who currently resides in Las Vegas began his writing career with Stone United, a Chicago based Film Company, which works primarily in independent film. As an unknown fiction writer, he feels the best description of himself, is a sarcastic one and is as follows:

Benjamin W. DeHaven was born on a pool table after a Waylon Jennings' concert in 1977. His personal success is outweighed only by his stunning good looks and adherence to unwritten moral guidelines. He has been described as a thinking man's Tucker Max as well as an idiot's Hunter S. Thompson. His goal is to die from an unwavering commitment to be more like Hemingway.

He and Michael Enzo were friends.


Meet Me in Barcelona by Mary Carter Virtual Book Tour.

Title: Meet Me in Barcelona
Author: Mary Carter
Publisher: Kensington
Pages: 352
Genre: Mainstream fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle/MP3 CD, Audiobook, MP3 Audo, Unabridged
A surprise trip to Barcelona with her boyfriend, Jake, seems like the perfect antidote to Grace Sawyer’s current woes. The city is dazzling and unpredictable, but the biggest surprise for Grace is discovering who arranged and paid for the vacation.
Carrie Ann wasn’t just Grace’s foster sister. Clever, pretty, and mercurial, she was her best friend—until everything went terribly wrong. Now, as she flees an abusive marriage, Carrie Ann has turned to the one person she hopes will come through for her. Despite her initial misgivings, Grace wants to help. But then Carrie Ann and Jake both go missing. Stunned and confused, Grace begins to realize how much of herself she’s kept from Jake—and how much of Carrie Ann she never understood. Soon Grace is baited into following a trail of scant clues across Spain, determined to find the truth, even if she must revisit her troubled past to do it.
Mary Carter’s intriguing novel delves into the complexities of childhood bonds, the corrosive weight of guilt and blame, and all the ways we try—and often fail—to truly know the ones we love.

Mary Carter is a freelance writer and novelist. Meet Me in Barcelona is her eighth novel. Her other works include:  Three Months in Florence,The Things I Do For You, The Pub Across the Pond, My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues,She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged.  In addition to her novels she has written six novellas: Return to Hampton Beach in the anthology, Summer DaysA Southern Christmas in the upcoming 2014 anthology Our First ChristmasA Kiss Before Midnight in the anthology, You’re Still the OneA Very Maui Christmas in the New York Times best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the New York Times best selling anthology Almost Home. Mary currently lives in Chicago, IL with a demanding labradoodle. She wishes she could thank her gorgeous husband, but she doesn’t have one. In addition to writing she leads writing workshops.

For More Information
My Thoughts:
They say that you can run but you can't hide. Secrets do surface when you least expect it. That is what is happening to Grace Sawyer. Her boyfriend, Jake, of five years, supposedly "wins" a trip to Barcelona. Seem kind of mysterious as to why this would happen. Grace is reluctant to go at first, thinking that this is very strange. She agrees to go so along with Jake, when they get to their hotel find mysterious clues as to what they should do. Grace finally realizes that is is her foster sister Carrie Ann who sent them on this trip. Why?? Well that is the mystery of the story.

As we read further into the story we find out more about their relationship and what the big secret is and if it comes out, could cause problems. I love Mary Carter's books and this one was no exception. When I read her books I always get engrossed in the story from start to finish. The descriptions of what ever country her books take place in, Ireland, Italy or Spain, you may as well be there as the writing is so descriptive. Each of Mary Carter's are stand alone books but I think starting with Pub Across the Pond and then to Three Months in Florence and then Meet Me in Barcelona will give you a great idea on the kind of writing and stories this author creates. Another wonderful book!

I received a copy of this book for review and was not monetarily compensated for my review.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Reluctant Jesus by Duncan Whitehead Spotlight!

Book Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing (March 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1457527049
  • ISBN-13: 978-1457527043

Initially convinced that his parents are crazy, his thoughts of their committal to a suitable care facility are superseded when he receives an unsolicited telephone call from God himself. With Armageddon fast approaching, and due to some poor editing and proofreading of the Bible, Seth must assume the role of Christ and fight God's corner in the 'Final Conflict' between good and evil. Despite his initial reluctance and attempts to shirk his new responsibilities, God is insistent and Seth is cajoled into undertaking the role of Messiah. 

With his best friend, and chief follower Bob Nancy, Seth embarks on a calamitous sequence of miracle doing and disciple gathering, all of which fail to inspire the legions of followers expected by God, but leads to a bout of food poisoning for a troop of visiting boy scouts and a suspected attempt on the life of Mayor Giuliani. 

God, a somewhat nonchalant character, is far more preoccupied by the lack of IT and administrative support he is receiving in heaven, than actual events on Earth; and is already planning to move on to other planets that he and Lucifer are in the process of developing for 'future projects'.

Enter Maggie De Lynne, as Seth's second disciple and love interest, who adds her own perspective to Seth's predicament; which is only compounded when a just as unsuitable anti-Christ, suffering from IBS and with a penchant for dressing up as cartoon characters, visits his apartment. 

Throw a 'gangsta' rapping guardian angel and Walter the talking cat - who used to be quiet as a mouse - into the mix, and the scene is set for a hilarious tale of one man's reluctance to save the world and join the family business.


About the Author

Duncan was born in England in 1967. 

After a successful career in the military where he served in British Embassies throughout South America and saw service in the Gulf War he joined the world of super yachts as a Purser aboard some of the world’s largest private vessels, working for many high profile individuals, being fortunate enough to visit some of the world’s most luxurious and exotic places. 

Eventually retiring to Savannah, Georgia, he began to partake of his greatest passion, writing. Initially writing short stories he finally put pen to paper and wrote The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club, inspired by the quirky characters and eeriness of his new environment, the book, a thriller, which boasts an assortment of characters and plot twists, set in the leafy neighborhood where he lived. 

His passion for comedy saw submissions to The Onion and a stint performing as a stand-up comedian.

He is a former boxer, representing the Royal Navy and an English under 19 team as an amateur and is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language as well as a former accomplished children’s soccer coach.

In 2011 Duncan returned to South America, spending six months in Brazil and a few months in Paraguay before travelling to the Middle-East and Europe before returning to the United States. 

He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, gets by with Russian and Arabic and lists his hobbies and passions as cooking, the Israeli self defense art of Krav Maga, Esgrima Criolla (The South American Art of knife Fighting)and the deadly pressure point martial art Dim-Mak.

Duncan has written over 2,000 spoof and comedy news articles, under various aliases, for an assortment of web sites both in the US and UK. 

As well as his other activities he performs volunteer work, as a hospice visitor.

He has penned a further novel; a comedy set in Manhattan, The Reluctant Jesus, as well as drafting the sequel and second book in The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club trilogy.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Enchantress by Maggie Anton Book Blog Tour Spotlight!!

Publication Date: September 2, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 400

Series: Rav Hisda’s Daughter
Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Fantasy

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Fantastic tales of demons and the Evil Eye, magical incantations, and powerful attractions abound in Enchantress, a novel that weaves together Talmudic lore, ancient Jewish magic, and a timeless love story set in fourth-century Babylonia.
One of the most powerful practitioners of these mysterious arts is Rav Hisda’s daughter, whose innate awareness allows her to possess the skills men lack. With her husband, Rava–whose arcane knowledge of the secret Torah enables him to create a “man” out of earth and to resurrect another rabbi from death–the two brave an evil sorceress, Ashmedai the Demon King, and even the Angel of Death in their quest to safeguard their people, even while putting their romance at risk.
The author of the acclaimed Rashi’s Daughters series and the award-winning Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Apprentice has conjured literary magic in the land where “abracadabra” originated. Based on five years of research and populated with characters from the Talmud, Enchantress brings a pivotal era of Jewish and Christian history to life from the perspective of a courageous and passionate woman.

Praise for Apprentice (Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Book I)

“A lushly detailed look into a fascinatingly unknown time and culture—a tale of Talmud, sorcery, and a most engaging heroine!” —Diana Gabaldon, author of the bestselling Outlander series
Anton, the author of the acclaimed “Rashi’s Daughters” trilogy, has penned her best book to date. Using her extensive knowledge of the Talmud and other historical Jewish writings, she immersed herself in the tractates to uncover a marvelous heroine for this historical novel… Complex discussions of Jewish law and tradition as well as detailed description of the culture and customs of the times enhance truly wonderful storytelling. VERDICT This absorbing novel should be on everyone’s historical fiction reading list.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Fascinating reading await those who dive into the vividly depicted world of Babylonian Jewry … Anton succeeds brilliantly in drawing us into the formative period leading up to the Talmud … what we have is the work of a master craftswoman set upon repairing a major gap in Jewish literature —Philadelphia Jewish Voice
“Rav Hisda’s Daughter provides a wealth of historical detail about Jewish life in Babylon and Israel in the 3rd century CE. It depicts the daily life and coming of age of a prominent rabbi’s daughter rather than propelling its reader through a traditional arc of action with a crisis and resolution. Its interest lies in its portrayal of the sorcery, incantations, and women’s customs in this exotic, faraway period of time and place, sometimes against the backdrop of war.” —Historical Novel Society

Praise for the Rashi’s Daughters Trilogy

“Anton delivers a tour de force . . . [Readers] will fly through the pages and come away wishing for more.” –Library Journal (starred review)
“A compelling combination of drama, suspense, and romance.” –Lilith magazine

Buy the Book

About the Author

Maggie Anton was born Margaret Antonofsky in Los Angeles, California. Raised in a secular, socialist household, she reached adulthood with little knowledge of her Jewish religion. All that changed when David Parkhurst, who was to become her husband, entered her life, and they both discovered Judaism as adults. That was the start of a lifetime of Jewish education, synagogue involvement, and ritual observance. In 2006, Anton retired from being a clinical chemist in Kaiser Permanente’s Biochemical Genetics Laboratory to become a fulltime writer.
In the early 1990’s, Anton learned about a women’s Talmud class taught by Rachel Adler, now a professor at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. She became intrigued with the idea that Rashi, one of the greatest Jewish scholars ever, had no sons, only three daughters. Slowly but surely, she began to research the family and the time in which they lived. Much was written about Rashi, but almost nothing of the daughters, except their names and the names of their husbands. Legend has it that Rashi’s daughters were learned in a time when women were traditionally forbidden to study the sacred texts. These forgotten women seemed ripe for rediscovery, and the idea of a trilogy of historical novels about them was born.
After the success of “Rashi’s Daughters” Anton started researching the lives of women in 4th-century Babylonia, where the Talmud was being created. Surprised by the prevalence of sorcery among rabbinic families, she wrote “Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Bk 1 – Apprentice,” which was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award Fiction finalist and a Library Journal pick for Best Historical Fiction.
For more information please visit Maggie Anton’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook,Twitter, and Goodreads.

Enchantress Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 6
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Book Drunkard
Tuesday, October 7
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Wednesday, October 8
Review at A Dream Within a Dream
Thursday, October 8
Guest Post at Bookish
Friday, October 9
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Monday, October 13
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Tuesday, October 14
Review at leeanna.me
Spotlight & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Wednesday, October 15
Review at Based on a True Story
Thursday, October 16
Review at Mari Reads
Friday, October 17
Interview at Layered Pages
Tuesday, October 21
Review at History From A Woman’s Perspective
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, October 22
Guest Post at History From A Woman’s Perspective
Thursday, October 23
Review at Layered Pages
Spotlight at A Book Geek
Friday, October 24
Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf
Saturday, October 25
Review & Interview at A Cup of Tea & A Big Book
Monday, October 27
Review at TeacherWriter
Tuesday, October 28
Review at My Book Addiction and More
Spotlight at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, October 29
Review at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, October 30
Review at Book Nerd

Shadow of a Smile by Valerie Joan Connors with Giveaway!

Praise for Shadow of a Smile
"…Valerie Joan Connor's writing is so vivid, so intimate, that Meredith's travails and triumphs become your own. I miss her already, now that she's gone on with her life and I must go back to my own…"—Linda Hughes, author of Becoming Jessie Belle and What We Talk About
"Shadow of a Smile examines the large price paid for secrets and cover-ups, not just by the perpetrators but also by generations before and after them. Ms. Connors has written a novel for anyone who likes family and relationship stories that are emotional, complex, and altogether satisfying."—George Weinstein, author ofHardscrabble Road and The Five Destinies of Carlos Moreno
About the Book

Following the untimely death of her mother in 1992, thirty year-old Meredith Springfield learns the shocking truth about her origins, the father she never knew, and the mother whose life was very different than it appeared. When the attorney who prepared her mother’s will delivers Anastasia’s personal journals along with the keys to a trust fund Meredith never suspected she had, she and her boyfriend Derek embark upon a journey from Chicago to Los Angeles in search of answers, and to carry out Anastasia’s wish to have her ashes scattered in the Hollywood Hills. 

In 1960, at twenty years old, Anastasia left her parents and the cold mid-western winter behind in Milwaukee and drove her powder blue Ford Fairlane down Route 66 all the way to Los Angeles, certain that’s where all her dreams would come true. Just two years later, Anastasia is forced to retrace her steps, traveling back to Milwaukee with her dreams already shattered, a broken heart, and a daughter she would have to raise alone. 

Shadow of a Smile takes the reader on two journeys across historic Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles, and back. The first follows Anastasia to 1960 Los Angeles and the beachfront hotels where she would meet the man of her dreams and take to the stage for the first time. The second, thirty-two years later, takes Meredith and Derek on a journey of discovery that has a greater impact on their lives than they could ever have imagined. 

Once Anastasia is gone, and her carefully hidden secrets are revealed, Meredith gains a new perspective on her own choices, and must come to terms with the grey area between what our hearts desire and what is right. Shadow of a Smile is a story about family secrets, the choices we let our hearts make, and living with the consequences.

About the Author

Valerie Joan Connors is the author of three novels.  Her first, Give Me Liberty, was self-published in 2010.  In 2013, Bell Bridge Books published her second novel, In Her Keeping, and in 2014, Deeds Publishing released her latest novel, Shadow of a Smile.

Give Me Liberty is a historical novel, set in New York City just after World War II.  It’s the story of a courageous woman who breaks away from her abusive husband and moves to New York with her three year old son to start a new life, at a time in our history when women rarely did that sort of thing.

In Her Keeping is a story about a tiger sanctuary, set in the North Carolina Mountains, whose protagonist finds both meaning for her life, and an outlet for her maternal instincts, when she finds herself caring for a tiger cub.

Her most recent release, Shadow of a Smile, is about a woman who, upon the untimely death of her mother, embarks upon a journey to discover the truth about the father she believed had been dead for thirty years.

Valerie is currently the President of the Atlanta Writers Club, an organization that has been in existence for a hundred years, and has approximately 700 active members.  She has a B.S. in Business from Portland State University.

During business hours, Valerie is the CFO of an architecture, engineering and interior design firm.  She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two dogs, and is working on her next novel.


The Giveaway is for one (1) copy of Shadow of a Smile for US and Canada only. Please leave a comment below with your email so you can be contacted should you win. Thank you and Good Luck!!

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