Baby Girl

By Bette Lee Crosby

Baby GirlBlurb

When young Cheryl Ann leaves home, she thinks her path is straight…until she’s forced to make a choice she could never have imagined. The man in her life makes it clear: either pick your baby or pick me, he says. Suddenly, Cheryl finds herself at a crossroads. She makes a decision that will change her life forever, and that decision causes a chain of events that will lead Cheryl to a completely unexpected place.

Baby Girl is a mother’s story. It’s about the greatest sacrifice a mother can make when she wants only the best for her child. It’s about falling in and out of love, of losing and finding one’s self. It’s about the perilous journey from passionate young love to happy true love and understanding the differences between the two.

Baby Girl is a book that readers won’t want to miss because it’s a story they won’t forget.

From the AuthorBette Lee Crosby

This book is based on a true story…a story that is heartbreaking at times but will leave readers with a better understanding of what a woman will do to protect her child. When I first heard this birth mother’s story I was touched by it, so much so that I needed to know more. When I knew more, I knew I needed to write my novel. The result is Baby Girl.

My Review

Baby Girl is Cheryl Ann’s story about growing up with a mother who seemed incapable of loving anyone, even her daughter and husband.  When her father died, Cheryl Ann became more lonely than ever. Then things changed when Ryan Carter moved into her neighborhood.  Though still in her teens she and Ryan set out on their own, and complications in their relationship set in when Cheryl Ann became pregnant. Ryan did not want a baby, and Cheryl Ann was put in a situation of choosing Ryan or the baby she was expecting.

At times, this was a difficult read because Cheryl Ann was emotionally abused causing her to make decisions she didn’t want to make.  Eventually, she finds the strength to move out and on, but her troubles didn’t end.  The author created a complex character in Cheryl Ann. She was weak and easily led, but adversity is an unyielding teacher, and Cheryl Ann found her strength and determination to make a good life for herself and her children.

Reading this book, you will laugh, and you will cry. You will be angry, and yet be overjoyed. It is a heartwarming novel based on a real person’s story – her growth, her weakness, and her strengths and resolve. This is a book you don’t want to miss.

Baby Girl is the fourth book in the Memory House series. I have read all of them and you can find my review of Book 1 Memory House, Book 2 The Loft, and Book 3 What the Heart Remembers by clicking on the title of each book.  It is not necessary to read them in order, but some of the characters are presented in the previous books, and, therefore, enhances your reading and enjoyment if read in order.

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

To find out more about Bette Lee Crosby, please go to her webpage or read about her on one of my previous links listed above.

Order BABY GIRL on

iBOOKSBARNES & NOBLEAMAZONKOBO, or GOOGLE PLAY

 

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s website, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-feb-2016

 

Children’s Books by Ali Pfautz

Smiles and WigglesSmiles and Wiggles
By Ali Pfautz
Illustrated by Sara Grier

BLURB

Need some brain break ideas for the classroom? Want your kids to be active, but spend some time reading, as well? In SMILES AND WIGGLES: A YEAR OF IMAGINATIVE FUN, Ali Pfautz – The Story Lady shares some of her best poems and songs that encourage kids to use their imaginations. They might pretend to be falling leaves, firefighters going to a rescue call, or baby birds in spring. It’s a book for kids, teachers and parents, anyone looking for get up and move, creative, rhyming fun.

MY REVIEW

Smiles and Wiggles is a delightful book of poetry divided into five chapters of the four seasons and anytime.  The poems are accompanied by suggestions and movement.  The suggestions include activities that relate to and enhance the meaning of each poem. Movement explains optional motions to accompany the poems. This book has fun written all over it.

Author Ali Pfautz has a winner with Smiles and Wiggles. Parents and educators are encouraged to bring the poems to life by initiating play based on the suggestions and movements. Planning a party or playdate of any size with groups of young children?  Smiles and Wiggles will keep children entertained while learning.

Do I recommend Smiles and Wiggles?  Absolutely!

BOOK TYPE – Print – Paperback

PUBLISHER – Artistic Endeavors Press  (2015)

PAGES – 42

GENRE – Children’s Poetry Book/Teacher Resource Book

 

 

No More Slooping, Sara Sue!No More Slooping, Sara Sue!
By Ali Pfautz
Illustrated by Carolyn Schallmo

 

BLURB

Sara Sue’s favorite food is soup. She eats it every day and she makes a loud slurping noise with every bite. The sound bothers her friends and family so much that they make up a word to describe it, slooping! Can Sara Sue solve her slurpy slooping problem? Find out in this playful story that mixes a dash of silly words with a pinch or two of tongue twisters. Plus, inside this Special Edition, you’ll find two of Sara Sue’s favorite soup recipes that you can make at home.

MY REVIEW

Sara Sue loves soup, any kind of soup, but her slooping is getting on everyone’s nerves.  One day Sara Sue’s mother and father told her it had to stop! Sara Sue’s mother told her she had five days to learn to eat soup without slooping or her mother would never make soup for her again.  How will she ever learn to eat her soup quietly!

Ali Pfautz knows how to keep a child’s attention and uses this silly made-up word as she tells the story. Sloop! Slooping! Just the sound of it will set off the giggles.

I highly recommend this five-star book.

BOOK TYPE – Print – Hardcover Edition

PUBLISHER – Artistic Endeavors Press (2014 original printing – 2015 hardcover printing)

PAGES – 40

GENRE – Children’s Picture Book

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORAli Pfautz

Ali Pfautz is a storyteller, teacher, and author known as The Story Lady. When she tells a tale everyone gets involved, becoming characters or providing sound effects. Ali encourages kids of all ages to move around and explore their imaginations. NO MORE SLOOPING, SARA SUE! her first picture book, now has a hardcover, special edition with soup recipes in the back. Ali also has a poetry compilation, SMILES AND WIGGLES: A YEAR OF IMAGINATIVE FUN, that is a great resource for teachers and parents. The book has 30 poems to encourage imaginative play in the classroom and at home. Ali’s latest project is a picture book celebrating the bravery of her little buddy, Ella, who suffers from a rare skin disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa, or EB. Watch for BUTTERFLIES KEEP FLYING in late winter 2016.

WEBSITEthestoryladyva.com

SOCIAL MEDIAfacebook.com/AliPfautzTheStoryLady and pinterest.com/thestoryladyva/

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.
“Sarah?”
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

Twitter

Goodreads

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: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-sep-2015

Ten Days in Paradise

By Linda Abbott

 

Ten Days in ParadiseBook Blurb

Vacationing on beautiful Sanibel Island off Florida’s Gulf Coast, Ellen Bennett has never felt so guilty—or more alive.

This wasn’t the way things were supposed to turn out. The 45-year-old successful career woman, wife and mother traveled to the island paradise for solitude and a much-needed break from her family. But a chance encounter with a fellow traveler sparks a powerful attraction, forcing Ellen to make a decision that could change her life forever.

Against an idyllic backdrop of white sand beaches, azure waters and lush palms, Ellen struggles to subdue a firestorm of emotions. David, the father of three young children, confronts the fault lines in his own marriage that lead to a stunning revelation.

Their relationship unfolds as David’s family gathers on Sanibel to celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Tensions are running high. David’s mother is worried about her husband’s strange behavior and inexplicable memory lapses. His sisters, Julia, an over-achieving corporate exec, and Maggie, a hard-partying renegade who just announced she’s gay and leaving her husband, haven’t spoken for months.

On the island, a small congregation battles to save a beloved seaside chapel to make room for a lavish oceanfront mansion. Ellen takes up the cause when she meets 76-year-old Liz Taylor, a vivacious widow with a sparkling wit and a secret passion of her own.

Linda Abbott’s love for Sanibel Island shines throughout Ten Days in Paradise, a compelling and heartfelt novel that masterfully explores the inner landscapes of marriage and family relationships.

My Review

TEN DAYS IN PARADISE is Linda Abbott’s debut novel.  Uncharacteristically for me, I found it difficult to “get into” the book. It took about until about chapter 39 (half way through the book) before I felt connected to the story.  However, I am happy I stayed with it, because the second half was a very enjoyable read.

What I liked – The story centered on David’s family gathering to celebrate his parents’ 50th anniversary on Florida’s Sanibel Island. Even though there were differences between David’s sisters Julia and Maggie, David played mediator all the while he and his wife Marianne were at odds over how to raise their children. There was also a huge amount of personal time given by Ellen using her resources and knowledge to help save the chapel.  When the story came together, I found that the characters had found a way to resolve their challenges, though you may be surprised at the outcome.

What I didn’t like – I felt there were too many characters and subplots, and I would have preferred to concentrate on fewer people and fewer issues.  With so much going on, it would have been better for me, if the author had concentrated on just a few of the subplots, and saved the rest for development in another book.

Since my likes outweigh dislikes, I am giving this book three and a half stars.

White Birch Publishing (indie published)

Publication Date: December 3, 2014

344 pages, available as a paperback, Kindle eBook, audio book

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

To read a sample chapter, click on the following link:

http://www.tendaysinparadise.com/assets/ten-days-in-paradise-first-chapter.pdf

About the AuthorLinda Abbott, author, Ten Days In Paradise

Linda Abbott’s love for Sanibel Island shines through her debut novel, Ten Days In Paradise. Though she worked for many years as a professional writer–first as an award-winning journalist and then in public relations–Linda is a late bloomer to fiction. She found the muse while vacationing on Sanibel, where she wrote the opening chapters of her novel. Linda’s writing career took another turn last year when she founded Never Forget Legacies & Tributes to write life storybooks for individuals and families. She feels blessed to have two new careers and can’t wait to get started on her next novel. A Chicago native, she lives in Middleton, Wisconsin with her husband.

Author Links

Website: www.TenDaysInParadise.comTwitterLinkedIn

To purchase the book: Amazon