Your Own Kind

By Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas


Your Own KindBook Blurb

If Kareem had not found the photo of Sarah, there never would have been that explosion at the gas station and Alexandros wouldn’t have fled, but life is full of “if-onlys,” especially for seventeen-year-old Sarah Petit.

It is 1974 and Sarah finds herself alone in East End. She’s become involved with Andreas, a troubled young man with a drug problem; and with Kareem, a lovesick newspaper boy; and with Alexandros, a new immigrant who barely speaks English but clearly knows what he wants.

All four have grown up in drastically different worlds, but they’ve somehow been thrown together, and with one misguided decision after another, they set in motion a series of unstoppable events that lead to violence and heartbreak. Maybe life would be easier if people would just stick with their own kind. But what does that really mean?

This is a story of yearning and desire, of the basic need to connect with others and the expectations of culture and tradition that sometimes keep us from real love, a love that is truly with someone of our “own kind.” 

First Chapter of Your Own Kind

Everyone was asleep when the Turk’s son came looking for Sarah that morning. With a thick willow branch tucked under his arm, he walked on the edge of the dirt road with long angry strides. The sun had just become a thin red line in the east and the bitter smell of wet reeds was coming off the marsh near the lake as he rounded the corner and made his way to the front of the Middleground Boarding House. Mrs. Middleground was the first to hear the commotion, awakened by the thuds of the branch hitting the windshield of the red car. As the shards of glass fell against the metal hood, she raced to the window, her sluggishness momentarily forgotten. She’d fallen asleep in the chair the night before. The magazine she’d been reading had slid to the floor and lay with its spine open—the cover showing its beaten state—torn and creased, last year’s edition of The World in Pictures:1974. Ordinarily she wouldn’t have thought much about seeing the Turk’s son outside her window, especially in the morning. That was the boy’s usual routine after his newspaper deliveries. He always appeared on foot at the front of the boarding house, meeting with Sarah to do whatever it was they did together. And then they’d drive off in that blue Impala of hers. Well, in Mrs. Middleground’s opinion—and she had many of them—he was much too young for Sarah. Three or four years can be an enormous difference in age, especially at that time of life. She peered through the lace curtains and shook her head. That boy couldn’t have been more than thirteen or fourteen.

Mrs. Middleground was a woman with many philosophical principles for life, though they changed more often than her boarders. The fishermen were her steady renters but the young people who were there to work during the summer season would come and go like a stubborn rash. They all seemed to follow the same foolish path—living an entire lifetime in that short three month period before leaving East End with nothing to show for it. Or at least that’s how Mrs. Middleground saw it, and she figured the reason the Turk’s son was hanging around that year, was because he’d just gotten old enough to know there were girls at her boarding house. But now as she held open the curtain in her trailer window, watching him swing the branch at the red car with such venom, she was caught between intrigue and genuine fear.

Sarah was lying in bed, suspended between a dream and reality when the noise started. She heard the shuffle of feet in the hallway and opened her eyes to see Alexandros fighting to get his arms into a tee shirt. In an instant she was behind him, following him out to the yard. She pushed her hair away from her face but it fell back into her eyes as she came up next to him and saw his damaged red car.

“Kareem, What are you doing?” she cried.

Sarah was the only boarder who knew the Turk’s son by name. To the others, Kareem had always been no more than a moving piece of the background, an early morning paperboy who threw rolled up newspapers onto lawns while balancing on his bicycle seat. It wasn’t until he’d started coming around the boarding house that they’d heard Mrs. Middleground refer to him as The Turk’s Son. And there he was, on that unusually warm spring morning, having fully emerged from the scenery with all the fire and rage of a real live person.

Kareem’s insults hit Sarah like a blow to the head and it took her a second to realize that the crumpled paper he was thrusting into Alexandros’ hand was actually a photo, her heart pounding into her ribs as Alexandros looked at it and then at her—his expression impossible to read. By then, the sun was already sitting on top of the boarding house, its heat pushing through the elm branches and burning holes into her back. She wanted to grab the photo from Alexandros and explain, but there were no words and then Kareem was gone, disappearing into the brush around the lake and a police car was pulling up onto the dirt.

It was all a mistake—a terrible misunderstanding, but how could she stop the movement of a boulder falling from a cliff? She knew—though she tried to convince herself otherwise—if she hadn’t stayed in East End, none of this would be happening. Those were the thoughts that pushed her as she ran to the blue Impala and got in, hoping to get to Kareem before the police. She at least owed him that, and she made it half way to Main Street before the vibrations hit the side of her car and a deafening blast slapped against her face through the open window. Her body went ice cold, the chill starting at the base of her spine, running up her back and stopping at the nape of her neck. She knew—without knowing—it was over. Nothing would be the same after this.

She pulled to the side of the road when she saw the line of police cars blocking the intersection, and she left the Impala to join a small group of onlookers moving toward the ocean, toward the tower of black smoke that was billowing above the dunes. As her pace quickened and she broke from the group, a cop with a walkie-talkie grabbed her by the elbow, the static buzzing from his hand and voices spitting commands out of the small gray speaker.  His thick fingers pushed against her skin, but she’d already gotten as far as the IGA and there was something lying in the street—something that made her want to yank her arm from his grasp and run to it. But his grip was too tight.

“Move back.  Crime scene.”

He ordered her back to an invisible line where others had gathered.

“Move back. C’mon, move!”

The smoke was starting to turn a light gray; a strong sea breeze smeared it across the cloudless sky, shading the sun with an artificial twilight. Sarah listened to the hum of conversation around her, not really hearing it until a hand on her shoulder startled her.
It was Oscar. So much time had passed since the last time they’d seen one another, she almost didn’t recognize him with his crew cut. But with Karen Marie there, standing beside him, Sarah knew who he was, and in a flood of relief, she folded herself against his chest and let the tears come. Karen Marie put her arms around them, so Sarah was in the center of the embrace and couldn’t see the red car parked across the street with its front wheels sunk into the sand or Alexandros, who had been running toward her, suddenly stop. She simply closed her eyes, willing herself to be back in time, back in Owl’s Head with her family, back in the general store. But the past is a closed door, though Sarah longed for it anyway, pressing her eyes tightly together until she could see herself sitting on the stool behind the dated wooded counter beside the old brass resister. And she was home again.

Type of Book: Paperback and ebook

Publication Date:  May 2, 2015

Publisher: Self-Published

Word Count:  84,200 of literary fiction

My Review

I fell in love with the story of Your Own Kind immediately.  It is one of relationships between parents, parents and their children, neighbors, people of different nationalities. It is about finding love where we least expect it.  Your Own Kind explores the ins and outs of relationships where all is not as it seems.

There is a lot of backstory to explain how the characters got to where they were. For the most part this was helpful, but at times, it was perplexing. There was also a lot of jumping around from one period in the characters’ lives to another (past and present). This too, was a cause for some confusion.  There were a number of supporting characters, and I feel it would have helped move the story along if the author had narrowed down the characters to those with the most significant roles.

With all of this in mind, my original statement stands. I absolutely enjoyed the story. Even though I felt there were issues with the structure,  I would recommend Your Own Kind to anyone who enjoys fiction with well-defined characters, and a strong believable story.

About the AuthorLinda Fagioli-Katsiotas

Linda Fagioli-Katsiotas lives on Long Island with her husband, Nick. She teaches English to newly immigrated English language learners at her local middle and high school. This is her first work of fiction, though she has also written a memoir entitled, The Nifi, which inspired her creation of a blog with the same name.

To Find Out More About the Author, click on these links:

Author’s Blog



To Buy Your Own Kind:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Canada

Barnes and Noble

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here:

Who says you can’t?


A wonderful post about making choices and having the confidence to see them through by Sue Vincent,

Originally posted on The Silent Eye:

“Wanted: Experienced male window-dresser. 20+, full clean driving licence. Must be prepared to travel.”

Back in the days when one could advertise for precisely the staff member you wanted without the risk of appearing politically incorrect, that was the advert that caught my eye. To be fair, at just 16, with examination results still months away and no possibility of staying in education, I was looking at anything and everything, applying for jobs as varied as dental nurse and milkmaid. In spite of the expectations a Grammar School education might have raised, the family couldn’t afford for me to stay on at school. I needed a job. Any job. Even then, I was aware that probabilities were a numbers game; the more I applied for, the more chance I had of getting at least as far as an interview.

By this time, I had only a couple of months left…

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Josie Is 2 Years Old Today!

Today, I am turning my blog over to my little granddaughter.

Hi! I am two years old today, and have I had a busy year!  Here are some of the things I’ve done this year.


I organized Mommy’s kitchen drawers…

Helping Mommy and Daddy clean the storage room 4-13-15

Mommy's little helper 10-14-14


My mommy needed help wrapping my Christmas presents last Christmas…

Helping Mommy wrap presents 12-6-14


Mom never gets things put away the way I want them…

Rearranging the playroom 11-17-14


I sorted the clean laundry for Mommy…

This is how Josie helps fold her clean clothes 11-11-14


Mommy and I made pizza bagels…

Josie helping make pizza bagels 9-5-15


Josie is shopping for a bike 8-9-15

Our shopper and her new sunglasses 6-4-15

Thomas Towel 9-7-15



At Coney 8-30-15


Choo-Choo Jammies 8-6-15

Cutie 8-3-15

Daddy missed this little girl so much 6-29-15

Josie at Thomas 8-21-15

Our little diva 4-18-15

Josie and Brynn ride Thomas 8-21-15



My dog Riley…
Best Friends 11-30-14

Josie and her dog 7-13-15


My cousin Brynn…

Brynn and Josie - besties 5-19-15

With Brynn - best friends 5-9-15


My Mommy and Daddy…Family photo - Gatlinburg - on the ferris wheel 7-10-15




Josie is so excited to see the big moving truck 4-29-15



Clown Cake

Happy Birthday to you, Josie.


Josie and Brynn with their cupcakes and ice cream





Everyone needs a break occasionally, and nothing is more relaxing than visiting beautiful seascapes, especially when a visit with family is included in your plans.

This year our vacation took Northeast with a stop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for lunch at Sander’s Fish Market. We had tuna sandwiches made of fresh caught tuna. Never has a tuna sandwich tasted so good.  Portsmouth was an interesting city with beautiful old homes nestled along the Piscataqua River.

Sanders Fish Market - Portsmouth NH -a

Sanders Fish Market - Portsmouth NH

From Portsmouth went on to Portland, Maine. From our hotel room, we had gorgeous views of the port.  We watched as the seagulls swooped in on the fishing boats unloading the day’s catch.

Portland, MA -a


A short trip Southeast of Portland to Portland Head Lighthouse at Cape Elizabeth was a dream come true. My husband George and I love lighthouses and this one has long been our favorite.  It is more beautiful in person, but George’s photos are fantastic and they will give you a sense of the beauty that awaited us here.






Our next destination was Bar Harbor, Maine.  Bar Harbor is a quaint seaside town with all the shops, restaurants, and cute little houses you would expect to find there.  We had a lunch of lobster rolls on the waterfront while enjoying the unusually warm weather.


Lobster Roll in Bar Harbor, MA

Acadia National Park was spectacular! I can’t begin to describe it, so I will let George’s photos speak for themselves.






In the photo below (an enlargement of the one above) you can see hikers making their way to the top.

IMG_0102 - Copy







Our next stop as we headed south was Kennebunkport, Maine.  This little town offered so much in the way of souvenir shops where you can purchase George Bush memorabilia or other keepsakes.  No, we did not seek out a peek at the Bush home there.






Our final destination, as we headed down the coast to Boston, Massachusetts (Needham, to be exact) included a stop for lunch and some shopping in my favorite town of all – Newburyport, Massachusetts. Situated near the mouth of the Merrimack River and the Atlantic Ocean, Newburyport is a picture-perfect waterfront town. Surrounding a town square are quaint shops and restaurants with a short walk to the boardwalk along the river where there are more sailboats than you could count.








Our final stop was the best stop of all. We spent several days with our son Todd, daughter-in-law Tricia, and grandsons Tyler and Taylor. Each time we visit, we try to see different sights.  This year we went to Lexington, Massachusetts.  The towns surrounding Boston abound with historic sites, and Lexington did not disappoint us. The area is rich in Revolutionary War history.  No matter what we do or where we go while visiting, the important thing is, we have a chance to enjoy our time with family.


Me with Tricia


Tyler and Taylor


Tyler and his cat Taney

Todd and Dad 9-6-15

Todd and George


Lexington, Massachusetts

Lexington, MA -c

Lexington, MA -b

Lexington, MA -a

Tricia, Tyler, Taylor, Todd at Lexington, MA 9-6-15

Tricia, Tyler, Taylor, and Todd

No matter how long we visit, it is never long enough. Time flies and before we can blink, we are back home again.

The Lives Between Us

By Theresa Rizzo

The Lives Between UsBlurb

How far would you go to save the one you love?

Reporter Skylar Kendall has run from commitment all her life, pushing people away before they leave her, until her niece worms her way into Skye’s heart and settles in tight. Skye relaxes into a career she enjoys and relishes being a doting aunt.

Then her niece becomes gravely ill. Unable to bear yet another loss, Skye is determined to find a cure, but the girl’s only hope lies in the embryonic stem cell therapy Michigan Senator Edward Hastings repeatedly opposes. When Skye fails to find alternative treatment in time, she vows to end the senator’s political career.

Curious about the woman behind the scathing articles on his best friend, Mark Dutton pursues Skye. Dating Mark gives her access to Hastings’s life and secrets that would launch Skye’s career and satisfy her need for retribution… Only she hadn’t counted on falling in love.

Can she avenge the lives lost to politics at the expense of her new love and friends?

Editorial Review

This charming novel gracefully addresses embryonic stem cell research and garnishes it with a powerful, tender romance… The author handles the complexities of science and morality with tremendous care and nuance; there are no hypocrites or villains here, only loving people doing their best in terribly difficult situations. Contemporary romance readers of all political leanings will be enthralled.” ~ Publishers Weekly

My Review

The author researched the controversy surrounding stem cell research. She presented both sides of the controversy through the characters of Skye, Mark, and Edward Hastings, a US senator. This book explores how much one will do for family, especially when the stakes are high. It is a highly emotional story.

The story and the characters were well developed and thought-provoking. In the beginning I didn’t like Skye because she seemed immature and extremely annoying at times. As I watched her grow up throughout the book, I saw her mature into a caring and warm individual. At times, I felt the story had too much going on with the death of Niki, Skye’s niece, Skye’s on-again-off-again relationship with Mark, her hatred-turned-to-friendship and respect for Edward Hastings, the accident, a troubled teen, all the privacy issues that surrounded Senator Hastings, and indiscretions by one of Mark’s key employees.  However, in the end, the author pulled it all together beautifully.

Because The Lives Between Us crosses several genres, I believe it would appeal to a wide range of readers.  I give The Lives Between Us 4 stars.

About theAuthorTheresa Rizzo

Theresa Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and families through real-life trials. Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her husband of thirty-two years. She’s raised four wonderful children who are now scattered across the country.

Find Theresa on the web at,

Or connect with her on Facebooktwitter or Amazon, and Goodreads.

Buy The Lives Between Us


Barnes & Noble

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review

Michelle Clements James ©


By Catherine McKenzie


SmokeBook Blurb (from Goodreads)

From the internationally bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes an evocative tale of two women navigating the secrets and lies at the heart of a wildfire threatening their town.

After a decade-long career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in for a quieter life with her husband. Now she works as the local arson investigator in a beautiful, quaint town in the Rockies. But that tranquil life vanishes when she and her husband agree to divorce, and when a fire started in nearby Cooper Basin begins to spread rapidly. For Elizabeth, containing a raging wildfire is easier than accepting that her marriage has failed.

For Elizabeth’s ex-friend Mindy, who feels disconnected from her husband and teenage children, the fire represents a chance to find a new purpose: helping a man who lost his home to the blaze. But her faith is shattered by a shocking accusation.

As the encroaching inferno threatens the town’s residents, Elizabeth and Mindy must discover what will be lost in the fire, and what will be saved.

My Review

The characters in Smoke are as vividly depicted, as they are in McKenzie’s other novels.  I loved Elizabeth.  Her life is complex, and yet she yearns for a simple life with the man of her dreams, a home to love, and the children she thus far had been unable to have.  Her life seems to be a train wreck.  She tells Ben she wants a divorce, and she has been unable to forgive her good friend Mindy.  Liz quit her job as a firefighter and now works as a fire investigator. Just as her life is spinning out of control, a wild fire is bearing down on her home and the town she loves.

Ben is somewhat of a mystery to me.  He loves Liz but is complacent about the divorce. He was a sea of calm in the midst of the travesty of his marriage and the fire that threatens everything he holds dear.  I kept waiting for Ben to explode in anger.

Then there is Mindy.  We all know a Mindy, the person, who on the outside seems so organized and self-confident, but whose life is in shambles.  She tries to do everything right, but lacks the confidence to carry through.  She wants to be the perfect wife, mother, everything and worries that she is not.

The story is one of friendships, misunderstandings, mistrust, and lies.  With all that is going on, is there a chance for forgiveness? Did the fire start by accident or arson? If it is arson, who started it? Why? There is so much action going on at any one time, there is plenty to keep the reader’s attention.  Rest assured the author ties all of the story threads together in the end.

I’ve read every book Catherine McKenzie has published, and I can say unequivocally that Smoke is her best so far.  If you enjoy a bit of romance, mystery, and a great storyline, Smoke is the book for you.  I have to give this book 5 stars.

About the Author

Saturday, August 8, 2009. Photo/Robert J. Galbraith).

A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine practises law in Montreal, where she was born and raised. An avid skier and runner, Catherine’s novels, SPIN, ARRANGED, FORGOTTEN and HIDDEN, are all international bestsellers and have been translated into numerous languages. Her most recent release is SPUN – a novella sequel to her first novel, SPIN. HIDDEN was also a #1 Amazon bestseller and a Digital Bookworld bestseller.

Her fifth novel, SMOKE, will be published by Lake Union on October 20, 2015.

And if you want to know how she has time to do all that, the answer is: robots.

Visit her online at

Facebook at

Twitter at @cemckenzie1

Preorder SMOKE at


Amazon Canada

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Michelle Clements James ©



Are You Letting Your Blog Get Out Of Control?


Is your blog controlling your life? Hugh has some terrific tips for narrowing down the number of people you follow.

Originally posted on Hugh's Views & News:

If I had children I would do all I could to make sure they never got out of control.  I do the same with my dog, Toby.  When he was a puppy I took him to training classes and, on the odd occasion when he does disobey me, I put what I learned at those classes into place to make sure he behaves.  Fortunately, I’m pleased to say that he behaves most of the time.

If we can do this with our children and pets, then shouldn’t we also do the same with our blogs?

Occasionally I hear other bloggers say they feel guilty because they do not have enough time in the day to read all the newly published posts of the blogs they follow.  This is also true of myself.  It’s impossible to read every single new post published by the bloggers I follow.  There is just not…

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