My interview over at The Art and Craft of Writing Creatively is HERE

Purchase my book Images of America: Detroit Lakes HERE

Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Blast + Giveaway: Curses and Smoke by @valvearshecter

Curses and Smoke 
Publication Date: May 27, 2014 
Arthur A. Levine Books 
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Genre: YA Historical

When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?

TAG is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master's injured gladiators. But his warrior's heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.

LUCIA is the daughter of Tag's owner, doomed by her father's greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she's been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air...

When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them -- to Lucia's father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?



Vicky Alvear Shecter is the author of the young adult novel, CLEOPATRA'S MOON (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra's only daughter. She is also the author of two award-winning biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. She is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta.



Monday, May 12 Bibliophilia, Please bookworm2bookworm's Blog Tuesday, May 13 Broken Teepee Passages to the Past In the Hammock Blog Wednesday, May 14 CelticLady's Reviews The Most Happy Reader I'd So Rather Be Reading History From a Woman's Perspective Thursday, May 15 Kinx's Book Nook A Bibliotaph's Reviews Historical Fiction Obsession Friday, May 16 Booktalk & More The Mad Reviewer Book Lovers Paradise Saturday, May 17 SOS Aloha Reading the Ages Kelsey's Book Corner Sunday, May 18 Giant Squid Books WTF Are You Reading? Monday, May 19 Caroline Wilson Writes So Many Books, So Little Time Tuesday, May 20 West Metro Mommy The True Book Addict The Musings of ALMYBNENR Wednesday, May 21 Book Nerd Tower of Babel Hardcover Feedback Thursday, May 22 Paperback Princess Bittersweet Enchantment Friday, May 23 History Undressed Historical Fiction Connection Saturday, May 24 Literary Chanteuse Just One More Chapter Sunday, May 25 A Dream within a Dream The Little Reader Library Monday, May 26 Pages of Comfort Griperang's Bookmarks Raizza's Book Blogging Adventure Tuesday, May 27 Princess of Eboli Ageless Pages Reviews The Musings of a Book Junkie

To win a copy of Curses & Smoke or a $25 Amazon Gift Card please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on May 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 28th and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. 


Monday, May 12, 2014

Audio Book Review: The Butler: A Witness to History by Wil Haygood @SimonAudio

By: Wil Haygood
Publication Date:August 13, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Source: publisher

The beginning of The Butler had me hook, line and sinker. We get to meet Mr. Eugene Allen, the butler of eight presidents, and his lovely wife, Helene. Will Haygood reflects on how he was invited into their home as they anxiously await the results of the pending election where the first African American could become president.

And that is about where the story ended. What was left was a lot of memories spaced between talk about how African Americans are portrayed in movies. What most people hope for is the gossip of what happened during Eugene’s time in the White House. But Eugene holds to his loyalty to those presidents and doesn’t let those interesting tidbits out.

To sum up my feelings of this audio book is I felt it was a lot of promotion for the movie. There was only a sliver of a story but what was there was good, I just wanted more of that and less of the promotional aspect of it.



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

@hfvbt Virtual Tour + Book Blast: Puritan Witch by @PeniJoRenner 

Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Formats: Ebook, Hardcover, Paperback

On a cold night in 1692, two young girls are caught up in the divining games of a slave woman-and then begin to act very strangely when the game goes wrong. Suddenly, Salem Village is turned upside down as everyone fears that witches may be involved. Six months later, as news of the girls' strange behavior becomes known, fear and suspicion overwhelm a nearby farming community, pitting neighbors against neighbors and turning friends into enemies. When Rebecca Eames makes one careless utterance during a verbal attack on her family, she is falsely accused of witchcraft. After her fate is decided by three magistrates, Rebecca must endure a prison sentence during which she and her fellow captives have no choice but to valiantly struggle to find humanity and camaraderie among dire conditions. In this novel based on a true story, a woman wrongly imprisoned during the seventeenth-century witchcraft trials comes full circle where she must determine if she can somehow resume her life, despite all she has endured.


Peni Renner is the author of "Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames", an award-winning historical novel based on the true-life account of Peni's 9th great grandmother.  The book is Renner's first published work, and follows Eames' life and struggles in 1692 Massachussetts during the Salem Witchcraft Trials.

Writing historical fiction has always been a lifelong dream of mine. I was discouraged for many years after receiving multiple rejection slips, and turned to other creative outlets like crocheting, quilting and cross-stitch for many years. Then I met a 3rd cousin of mine online who is also into geneology and history. She told me we shared a common ancestor who was involved in the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria of 1692, and her story had never been told. My love of writing was rekindled and I began to research this ancestor, Rebecca Blake Eames. In August of 2012 I had the privilege of visiting her grave in Boxford, Massachusetts.

After months and months of research, writing, rewriting and revising, Puritan Witch came into being, featuring a lovely sketch done by my sister-in-law, Jane Sisk.

I have several other story ideas I am working on at the moment, all pertaining to interesting ancestors my 3rd cousin has introduced me to.

For more information please visit the Puritan Witch Facebook Page. You can also follow Peni Jo Renner on Twitter. 

Praise for Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames 

"Puritan Witch: The Redemption of Rebecca Eames is a story of the fear, suspicion, and accusations as they permeate the surrounding communities. The narration was exquisite, really painting a picture in my head and bringing to life the language of the Puritans much better than it usually is done. I loved that it was based on a true story and that the story really expands on a piece of the darkest of American history. Such a cool read!" - Katelyn Hensel, Readers' Favorite

“Elegantly written, meticulously researched, and historically accurate, the author’s work rings true. … Renner’s vast talent as a writer is enhanced by the fact that she’s telling the story of her own family, completely captivating from beginning to end.” - Kelly Z. Conrad, award-winning author of Shaman

“In the colonial-era tale Puritan Witch, the plight of Rebecca Eames and her family plays out against the backdrop of one of the most intriguing periods in American history.” - Julie Castillo, writer and editor