Wednesday, September 28, 2016

They Were Like Family to Me by Helen Maryles Shankman Blitz

They Were Like Family to Me: Stories

Critically praised, beloved by readers, In the Land of Armadillos has an evocative new cover and title, They Were Like Family to Me. Now in Paperback! Available October 4.

1942. With the Nazi Party at the height of its power, the occupying army empties Poland's towns and cities of their Jewish citizens. As neighbor turns on neighbor and survival often demands unthinkable choices, Poland has become a moral quagmire—a place of shifting truths and blinding ambiguities.

Blending folklore and fact, Helen Maryles Shankman shows us the people of Wlodawa, a remote Polish town. We meet a cold-blooded SS officer dedicated to rescuing the Jewish creator of his son's favorite picture book; a Messiah who appears in a little boy's bedroom to announce that he is quitting; a young Jewish girl who is hidden by the town's most outspoken anti-Semite—and his talking dog. And walking among these tales are two unforgettable figures: silver-tongued Willy Reinhart, commandant of the forced labor camp who has grand schemes to protect "his" Jews, and Soroka, the Jewish saddlemaker, struggling to survive.

Channeling the mythic magic of classic storytellers like Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer and the psychological acuity of modern-day masters like Nicole Krauss and Nathan Englander, They Were Like Family to Me is a testament to the persistence of humanity in the most inhuman conditions.

“One of the most original and consistently captivating short story collections to have appeared in recent years…(They Were Like Family to Me) is a singularly inventive collection of chilling stark realism enhanced by the hallucinatory ingredient of top-drawer magical realism, interrogating the value of art, storytelling, and dreams in a time of peril and presenting hard truths with wisdom, magic, and grace.” —Jewish Book Council

“Moving and unsettling…Like Joyce's Dubliners, this book circles the same streets and encounters the same people as it depicts the horrors of Germany's invasion of Poland through the microcosm of one village…Shankman's prose is inventive and taut… A deeply humane demonstration of wringing art from catastrophe.” —Kirkus Reviews

“ turns forthright and tender, oblique and intimate, brutal and ethereal…Though each story stands beautifully on its own, it is the completed tapestry of interwoven details that finally reveals the entire picture and provides the full emotional depth of the collected stories…The author’s greatest accomplishment is in leaving the horror to speak for itself, and instead giving voice to the enchantment.” —Historical Novel Society

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About Helen Maryles Shankman 

Helen Maryles Shankman’s stories have been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. She was a finalist in Narrative Magazine’s Story Contest and earned an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers competition. Her stories have appeared in The Kenyon ReviewGargoyleCream City Review2 Bridges ReviewGrift,, and other publications. 

She is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Color of Light and the story collection They Were Like Family to Me. She lives in New Jersey, with her husband and four children. 

Connect with Helen 
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Last Chance Rebel by Maisey Yates (4 stars)

About Last Chance Rebel

Series: Copper Ridge

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (August 30, 2016)

The prodigal son of Copper Ridge, Oregon, has finally come home 

The man who ruined Rebecca Bear’s life just strolled back into it with one heck of an offer. Years ago, Gage West’s recklessness left Rebecca scarred inside and out. Now he wants to make amends by gifting her the building that houses her souvenir store. Rebecca won’t take Gage’s charity, but she’s willing to make a deal with the sexy, reclusive cowboy. Yet keeping her enemy close is growing dangerously appealing…

He’s the wild West brother, the bad seed of Copper Ridge. That’s why Gage needs the absolution Rebecca offers. He just didn’t expect to need her. After years of regretting his past, he knows where his future lies—with this strong, irresistible woman who could make a black sheep come home to stay…

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Rebecca Bear has lived her life in the shadows of the scars from a car accident and hoping she never had to see the man responsible ever again. But then he waltzes back into town, and instead of avoiding her, he seems intent on lessening his guilt.

Two people in need of healing... can they embrace the future and heal the wounds of the past?

I love to read a good love story, but it has to start with caring about the characters and having a build up that makes sense--no instal-love for me. Rebecca and Gage have depth to them, which makes their growing feelings more intriguing. Love isn't easy, and it's definitely not for the two of them, but two damaged people can work through the pain when their hearts are in it. Their love story is reaffirmation of this kind of hope.

Their story stirred many emotions in me, something I wasn't expecting. To say I was pleasantly surprised by this is an understatement.

If you love a good romance with an added emotional attachment to the characters, then pick up a copy of Last Chance Rebel. And there's plenty of steamy scenes, too... just saying.

Rating: 4 stars

About Maisey Yates

81fGrlUjP2L._UX250_New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

Connect with Maisey 
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own. 
Please visit other stops on the Last Chance Rebel blog tour page.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Surrendered by Case Maynard (4.5 stars)

THE SURRENDERED by Case Maynard is LIVE. You can find out all about this YA dystopian and Vee’s fight against the #taxonkids by following the links below to your preferred retailer. Don’t forget to come celebrate tonight on Facebook, where Case and some other amazing authors will be raffling some awesome prizes.

About The Surrendered

After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.

Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.

Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.

Now available!


Vee Delancourt has a burning desire to be more, to do more. Unfortunately, the world operates under a new set of rules since a devastating financial collapse. Parents are forced to pay fees or turn over their children. Vee and her twin brother, Oliver, are surrendered.

Vee and Oliver live a life of servitude, a fate Vee struggles to accept. When she can't take it anymore, Vee decides to take action... and nothing will ever be the same, especially as unsettling secrets are revealed. 

Nothing makes me happier than reading a strong female character who doesn't have all the answers but trusts her gut to fight for what she knows is right. Vee fits this description perfectly. Twists and turns abound as Vee unearths one secret after another, leading to a captivating conclusion sure to leave you wanting more.

If you love strong characters, fast-moving action, and great storytelling, then take a chance on The Surrendered. You'll be hooked.

Rating: 4.5 stars

About the author:

With over 20 years’ experience in the legal and medical fields, Case Maynard decided to trade in her briefs and reports to write the stories that have been floating around in her head since childhood. She lives with her two teenagers and husband in South Georgia, while maintaining a long-distance liaison with her oldest daughter and partner in crime in Alaska. When not writing, she enjoys reading as often as possible, binge watching anything good on Netflix, and all things NCAA football (Go Noles!). 

You can learn more about Case and her stories on her website.

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Note: I served as Editor through Indie Books Gone Wild. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Being Me by Tricia Copeland (5 stars)

Title: Being Me
Series: Being Me Volume 4 
Author: Tricia Copeland
Genre: Clean New Adult
Release Date: September 20, 2016

“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.”-The Great Gatsby

In attempt to manage her rage and shame after a violent assault, Amanda loses touch with reality. Her spiraling physical state forces her to act or die. To face her demons, she must revisit the emotions she ran from in the first place. Still unsure of what life she wants, but determined to pick up the pieces, she seeks out the right path. Can she mend broken bonds with her friends and family? 

Will her epic love survive? 

Find out in this roller coaster finale of the Being Me series.


Amanda is forced to face her demons after months of walking the edge of keeping it together. To do so, she has to accept some things she can't change and walk away from relationships she holds dear. When someone breaks, you really see the depth of their character. This is especially true for Amanda. And I love a strong female spirit, one that doesn't take the easy way out. And there's nothing easy about Amanda's breaking point and resulting backlash.

All the supporting characters--Doug, Zack, friends, parents, sisters--play a part in Amanda rebuilding her life, and not all of them in the way I thought they would. And as much as a reader might love a main character, it's all the supporting ones that make the whole experience truly memorable. But, in the end, it's about Amanda trusting her own instincts and standing strong without a crutch. 

And let's face it... the final book in the series is what you walk away with, the lasting impression. And Tricia Copeland makes everything worthwhile. Although Amanda's journey has been rocky, it's worth every moment in this satisfying conclusion.

If you are a reader who wants a whole series out before you start, take the time now to invest in Being Me. You'll appreciate the journey.

RATING: 5 Stars

Reviews for the rest of the series:
Tricia Copeland grew up in Georgia and now lives in Colorado with her family and multiple four legged and finned friends. Her new adult Being Me series includes, Is This Me?, If I Could Fly, Thinking You Know Me, and the final installment, Being Me. Drops of Sunshine, released in July 2016, is her first young adult and paranormal book. If she’s not on a trail, you can find Tricia at or on your favorite social media.

Note: I worked as Editor on this novel through Indie Books Gone Wild. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Last Woman Standing by Thelma Adams (4 stars)

About The Last Woman Standing: A Novel of Mrs. Wyatt Earp

Paperback: 298 pages 

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (July 1, 2016) 

Thelma Adams has built a successful career writing profiles of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars. From Julianne Moore and George Clooney to Jessica Chastain and Matthew McConaughey, her portfolio is dazzling and reputation as a film critic in the industry stellar.

Now, Adams shifts from Hollywood to the Wild West with THE LAST WOMAN STANDING (Lake Union Publishing; on-sale July 1, 2016), the first biographical novel about Josephine Marcus, Wyatt Earp’s wife, the gutsy Jewish beauty who captured the lawman’s heart in 1881, the year he fought the legendary Gunfight at the OK Corral. 

In her well-researched and vividly composed novel, Adams doesn’t waste any time proving her talent as a dynamic writer with a cinematic flair. She explores the brief defining period when Josephine comes-of-age on the American frontier, weaving action, wit, and clever introspection. 

The daughter of Jewish immigrants, Josephine shames her tight-knit family (her over-bearing mother begins to sit-shiva the minute Josephine walks out the door) when the 19-year-old follows the smooth-talking and attractive lawman, Johnny Behan, from San Francisco, California to Tombstone, Arizona. Hanging on the slim promise of a wedding, the naïve young woman eventually discovers the older man’s untrustworthy side. She also learns that divided loyalties and corruption plague the silver boom town—with her fiancé at the conflict’s heart. And she can’t pretend she hasn’t noticed the courageous straight-shooter Wyatt Earp who becomes Behan’s sworn enemy. 

When Behan betrays Josephine, she leaves him—and immediately faces the harsh realities of being a woman on her own in the Wild West, a world where a lady’s every action depends on a man’s approval. Adams’s storytelling from a female perspective, and her rich and descriptive style, allow the reader to feel Josephine’s desperation as she realizes the only available options she has are prostitution or returning home. That is—until Wyatt Earp declares his love for her. As their romance blossoms and their bond deepens, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books. 

THE LAST WOMAN STANDING is a compelling novel: both an epic tale of an improbable romance and a retelling of an iconic American legend through a female lens. Josephine is a charismatic, fierce heroine who seeks to reinvent herself—and find her soul mate—in a lawless outpost among cowboys and lawmen, where few people are what they seem on the surface. 

“Adams is that rare, vivid author who brings a cinematic quality to her wildly entertaining fiction.” —Peter Travers, Rolling Stone 
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I jumped at the chance to read historical fiction featuring Wyatt Earp's wife. I've always found the Wild West fascinating. But to read about it from a woman's point of view... I was truly excited.

Josephine falls in love with Johnny Behan and follows him to Tombstone. At first, she clings to her ideas of how their relationship will go and manages to not let him have his way. But soon after giving into his manipulations, she finds herself facing new choices. And Wyatt Earp.

I loved Josephine's spunk and determination. And I found the side cast of females--some strong in nontraditional ways--entertaining. My only complaint was that Josephine really doesn't become involved with Wyatt until too far into the book. I understand that the relationship with Johnny molded who she'd be, but it was when she was with Wyatt that she truly shined.

If you love the Wild West, historical fiction, and great female characters, you'll be thoroughly entertained by this book. Enjoy!

Rating: 4 stars

About Thelma Adams 

Thelma AdamsThelma Adams is an established figure in the entertainment industry. For two decades, she has penned celebrity features and criticism for high-profile publications. Her portfolio of actor interviews includes Julianne Moore, George Clooney, Jessica Chastain, and Matthew McConaughey, among many others. While covering film for the New York PostUs Weekly, and Yahoo Movies, Thelma became a regular at film festivals from Berlin to Dubai, Toronto to Tribeca. She sits on the Hamptons International Film Festival Advisory Board and twice chaired the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle. Her debut novel, Playdate, published by Thomas Dunne Books, won high critical acclaim. Adams is often recognized, as she has been invited to share her expertise on many broadcast outlets, including appearances on NBC’s Today, CBS’s Early Show, and CNN. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a history degree from UC Berkeley and earned an MFA from Columbia University. She lives in Hyde Park, New York, with her family. 

Connect with Thelma 
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own. 
Please visit other stops on The Last Woman Standing blog tour page.