Monday, June 1, 2020

Murder, Faith, and Love: The Celebrate Lit Blog Tour and Giveaway of Shattered by Death


About the Book

Book:  Shattered by Death
Author: Catherine Finger
Genre:  Thriller/Suspense/Mystery
Release Date: June 2016

When Josie’s abusive soon-to-be-ex-husband had an affair with another woman, Josie could have murdered them. When someone does, Jo is the prime suspect and the only one who can solve the case.



Click here to get your copy!

Book Review


While Shattered by Death was not my favorite mystery I have read, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.
The main character, Jo Oliver, the chief of police, is framed for the murder of her ex-husband and his mistress. She has to find the killer before she’s arrested and the murders start piling up.

While the book is part of a series, it is one that can stand alone. However, I did not read the previous book in the series and I felt like I was missing out on something while reading it. It’s not like I was ever confused about anything in the book itself, I just felt like to be able to enjoy and understand this book more fully, I’d have to read the other one.

Jo Oliver herself is a good character with strong faith, although it does waver throughout the story. Jo’s character was a little too bold for my liking, but I guess someone in her situation would have to be.

The story itself was a little bit predictable for me and the ending seemed to be a little abrupt.

But that being said, there were really good faith lessons throughout the book. And Catherine Finger is a talented writer. And while this book is not one that I would necessarily want to read again, I would recommend this book to anybody looking for a good mystery with strong faith elements.

I had received a copy of this book as part of the Celebrate Lit Blogging Team and was required to give an honest review. 

About the Author


Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Recently retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to choose how to spend her time in a new way during the second half of life. So far, she chooses to write books, ride horses, serve others, and generally find her way into and out of trouble both on the road and at home.  She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.

Capsized by Death, the fourth novel in her Jo Oliver Thriller series, will be released by Elk Lake Publishing in November 2019. Anchored by Death, the third of her Jo Oliver novels, was a Bronze Medal winner at the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards; a 2018 Selah Awards finalist; and a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Awards. Her second Jo Oliver Thriller, Shattered by Death, was a finalist in the International Book Awards and the National Indie Excellence Awards. Catherine and her novels have been featured on radio stations, blogs, and in numerous articles—all posted at www.CatherineFinger.com.

Catherine loves to interact with her readers at www.CatherineFinger.com Follow her on Facebook at Catherine Finger, Author, and on Twitter at CatherineFinger@BeJoOliver.

More from Catherine


“If you could kill someone and get away with it, what would you do? How would you do it?”
Having posed this question over dessert during a really good first date several years ago—to my surprise and delight my date proceeded to share a story about an international cosmetic gone badly awry. I was so taken with this story, that I couldn’t wait to get home and start writing. And I did. That night I sat down to write a scene between two powerful women, intending one to toy with the other by playing with a jar of deadly moisturizer as they interacted.

As I wrote that night, an unexpected scene involving spiritual warfare popped into my head and onto the screen. The edgy, scary, lock-your-doors-before reading story I called Shattered by Death was born.

While the moisturizer scene didn’t ultimately stay in the book, the idea of powerful women pitted against each other did. I strive to create antagonists that are as strong—or stronger—than Jo Oliver. When I feel the tension of wondering whether or not Josie is going to make it out alive—that’s when I know I’m in the middle of a great story.

I hope you think so too.
Enjoy the read!
Catherine

Blog Stops

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Catherine is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

It's Not Always Better To Have Loved: The Celebrate Lit Blog Tour and Giveaway of the Socialite


About the Book

Book:  The Socialite
Author: J’nell Ciesielski
Genre:  Historical Romance
Release Date: April 14, 2020

Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.

As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?



Click here to get your copy!

Book Review

The Socialite is officially going in the top five list of my favorite World War II novels, of which I have read quite a few. I enjoyed pretty much everything about the book-from the characters, to the time period, to the setting, and the overall general plotline. And while the faith aspect of the book is lacking, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Kat is sent to Paris by her father, a powerful man in England with powerful connections, to save her sister, Ellie, from the clutches of her Nazi boyfriend. Ellie had run away from home, seeking freedom and ran into the arms of a Nazi man. She believes him to be the love of her life and throws everything else away to be with him. Barrett is also sent by Kat’s father to watch over the two girls and bring them home safely. He and Kat confide in one another and only have each other. They walk a very fine line as they act in front of the Germans so that they can bring Ellie back. As the two work together, feelings start to grow between them.

This book is filled with drama, unexpected twists and turns, and the frightening experiences that the second world war brought. I especially felt for Ellie. She was naïve and truly believed that she and her boyfriend, Eric, were meant to be together. It was sad to watch her go through the experience, knowing the truth.

I would highly recommend this book. As I said before, there isn’t really a lot of Christian faith in the book, but it still is overall a good story.


I had received a copy of this book as part of the Celebrate Lit Blogging Team and was required to give an honest review. 

About the Author


With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle. Learn more at www.jnellciesielski.com.

More from J’Nell

I blame Pinterest. Too many hours are spent chasing rabbit holes of glorious pictures of fashion from eras gone by, Highlanders in kilts, WWI ambulances, and fairytale castles. One day I was browsing something super important (or possibly escaping from the actual work I was supposed to be doing, er, we’ll never know) and stumbled across a black and white picture of six beautiful girls. Who are these lovely ladies? I wondered. A quick search brought up the Mitford sisters. Six gorgeous daughters born into an aristocratic English family, each girl with a different passion: Diana the fascist, Jessica the communist, Unity the Hitler lover, Nancy the novelist, Deborah the duchess, and Pamela the poultry connoisseur. Whoa. You know dinner time around their family table was interesting. How could such different personalities belong in the same family? What would you do if your sister got moon-eyed over Hitler??

Bam. An idea was born.

In the beginning, my little rebel Ellie was going to be a full-fledged Nazi ideology lover, but she quickly informed me that it wasn’t so much the Nazis or their crazy ideas she loved, but one man in particular. One twisted Nazi who had fallen completely under her spell, and she under his. The ideas of love can often be more difficult to break as Kat finds out when she tries to rescue her naïve sister. Luckily, she has a hunky Sottish bartender to help her while providing a few romantic intentions of his own. With everyone hiding past hurts and true identities, how will they ever hope to find the love they each long for when war rages under the bright lights of Paris? Guess you’ll have to read to find out ;)

Blog Stops

Emily Yager, May 22
Simple Harvest Reads, May 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Livin’ Lit, May 26
Betti Mace, May 27
Genesis 5020, May 28
Remembrancy, May 28
Mia Reads, May 29
Rebecca Tews, May 30
Moments, June 2
Andrea Carmen, June 3
Hallie Reads, June 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, J’nell is giving away the grand prize of a book and a book sleeve!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Update: Reading, Writing, and Online Shopping

Hello everybody! I hope everyone is healthy and safe right now and have stayed sane during quarantine. During quarantine, I finished my last semester at Waubonsee Community College and will be graduating with my associates degree (although there won't be an actual graduation). I will be moving on to get my Bachelor's at Trinity Christian College in English in the fall. After I finished this semester school, however, I have been catching up on some reading! So I'm hoping in the next week or two I will have another book review out. I know I haven't been reviewing a lot of books apart from Celebrate Lit, but I am hoping that will change soon. Celebrate Lit reading has been taking up most of my time, but I also want to crack open this huge book of stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald that's been sitting on my shelf for a few months now.

Also during this quarantine, I have been doing a lot of writing! This previous semester at Waubonsee, I took a creative writing class. That helped me to break down some writing barriers, and now I have been experimenting with different genres and ideas. The class also taught me a lot-and I can already tell that my writing has grown from that experience.

Other than that, I've been hanging out with my friends (virtually) and been spending time with my family. I've also just been trying to stay positive throughout all of this and have been hoping things go back to normal soon. Especially since online shopping is so tempting and I don't have a lot of money to spend. College student problems. 

But to spread some positivity, I am going to list a few things that I am thankful for:

My family and friends. Obviously. 

I've always been thankful for books. But at this time, with everything going on, I am extra thankful for them. For more than half of this quarantine, I've been able to get lost in different worlds and time periods and forget about what is going on in the world around me for just a few hours. But it's sad when I put the book down and have to go back to reality. 

I am also thankful for writing, too. One thing that I love about writing is that I have control over my characters' lives and what happens to them. And even though I don't have control over what is going on around me, I am able to have control in that. Which is so relieving. 

As I said before, I hope that everybody is staying safe and positive and using this time to their advantage. Always remember that God is in control and everything will work out for His glory. 



Sunday, May 24, 2020

Mathematical Equations for Trouble and Love: The Celebrate Lit Blog Tour and Giveaway of Storing up Trouble


About the Author

Book:  Storing Up Trouble
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: May 6, 2020

When Beatrix Waterbury’s train is disrupted by a heist, scientist Norman Nesbit comes to her aid. After another encounter, he is swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract—including the attention of the men trying to steal his research—and they’ll soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.



Click here to get your copy!

Book Review


When I saw that Jen Turano had another book out and that Celebrate Lit was hosting a blog tour for it, I was so excited. And she did not disappoint with Storing Up Trouble. It’s a fun book, filled with interesting characters, who seem to always land themselves in trouble. It’s also filled with plotlines such as crime and the women’s suffrage movement, which I thought was a nice addition.

Norman Nesbit is an eccentric character. A brilliant scientist, he lacks knowledge in the social department as well as in the horseback riding department. To add to his eccentricities, a person will often see him riding on a mule, muttering to himself mathematical equations. Beatrix Waterbury is also an interesting character. While an American heiress and a member of the New York four hundred, she doesn’t always follow the rules of society. She had landed herself in jail-twice-for trying to support the suffragist movement. She is sent to her aunt’s house in Chicago and starts working for Marshall Field and Company. Here, she is able to see how working women are treated and is appalled. Not only that, but Norman, having an enormous crush on Beatrix, visits her at the store often, which ends up causing Beatrix more trouble. Other characters, such as Theodosia and Aunt Gladys, help to make this book even more fun.

 I thoroughly enjoyed going on another adventure with Turano’s characters, and can’t wait to go on more. If you plan on reading this book (which you definitely should), get ready to laugh and stay up all night because you will not want to put it down.


I had received a copy of this book as part of the Celebrate Lit Blogging Team and was required to give an honest review. 

About the Author


Jen Turano, (www.jenturano.com) a USA Today bestselling author, has written four historical romance series. She is a member of ACFW and RWA and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.

 

More from Jen

Thank you so much for visiting me on my Celebrate Lit tour as we celebrate the release of my latest novel, “Storing Up Trouble.” I’m delighted to be here, and I reached out to my street team to help me with the questions you’ll find below. I’m hoping the answers to those questions will allow you to learn just a bit about my new book, as well as allow you to get to know me better. With that said, here we go!

Can you tell us a little about “Storing Up Trouble?”

I’d be delighted to tell you about my latest book. “Storing Up Trouble” is the third book in the “American Heiress” series, but you don’t need to read the first two books in that series (“Flights of Fancy” “Diamond in the Rough” to understand what’s going on. I’ve been writing my books more as stand alone stories, and “Storing Up Trouble” is no exception to that. With that said, this book centers around Miss Beatrix Waterbury and Mr. Norman Nesbit. Beatrix, unfortunately, has annoyed her mother to such an extent that she finds herself banished from New York and on her way to Chicago to spend time with her aunt, a lady Beatrix remembers as being a querulous sort. She, being Beatrix, a lady who lands herself in trouble at the most unexpected of times, soon finds herself a victim of a train heist. An unlikely hero in the form of Mr. Norman Nesbit, a gentleman with a brilliant mind but relatively few social graces, comes to her rescue, and from the moment they disembark from the train, they find themselves thrust into one escapade after another.

In “Storing Up Trouble,” is there a character you’d like to be friends with in real life, or better yet, a character you’d avoid at all costs?

I actually have an answer to both parts of that question. Miss Theodosia Robinson is a lady I would love to count as a friend because she’s loyal to a fault, and is a friend who’ll be there for you, no matter if you want to delve into an unusual scientific experiment, or take a jaunt to your local department store to do a bit of shopping. As for who I’d avoid at all cost – Mrs. George Blossom, who has a very small part in the story, but she’s a customer at Marshal Fields & Company who embraces an air of superiority over the sales girls, and I’ve never been one to enjoy people like that.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

That’s easy. Being Dominic’s mom. He was definitely a handful when he was little, which is why he’s an only child, but it’s been incredibly rewarding to watch him grow over the years. He recently graduated from college with a degree in engineering, and seeing him land a grown up job and begin to embrace the whole adulting thing makes me prouder than any book I’ve written or other job I’ve held.

What was the inspiration behind “Storing Up Trouble?”

There were quite a few things that inspired me to write this book. I’d set another one of my books, “Caught by Surprise” in Chicago, and because of the research I did for that book, research I wasn’t able to fit into that story, I knew I wanted to revisit that city at some point. Beatrix Waterbury gave me the perfect excuse to travel back there. I wanted to take her out of her usual setting of NYC, so off she went to Chicago, on a train ride that definitely turned concerning. I had also picked up a few research books about Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison and I’ve been itching to create a character after those brilliant gentlemen. Norman Nesbit turned into that gentleman, although I have to admit that some of the science Nikola and Thomas used was way over my head. My son, the engineer, tried to explain it to me, but I believe at one point I might have been drooling, and not in the good way, but the bored way. That’s when Norman really began to develop because I thought it would be amusing to have a character who was passionate about his field of study, but most of the people he tried to share that passion with had no idea what he was talking about and always got a bit of a dazed expression in their eyes as he waxed on and on about double-electrical currents.

What fun facts did you uncover while doing research for “Storing Up Trouble” but weren’t able to fit into the story?

There was so much fodder for additional storylines just with the research I did on Marshal Field and his department store. Did you know that the main store in Chicago burned down doing the Great Fire of 1871 and…it burned down several times after that? Who knew? There was also a lot of drama surrounding Marshal and his partner for years, Mr. Levi Zeigler Leiter. They had different ideas about how the store should evolve, which resulted in Marshal forcing Levi to sell his shares of the company to him, at which point the store turned from  Field, Leiter, & Company to Marshal Fields Company. It was also interesting to learn that Mr. Fields was notorious for paying his workers low wages, but those workers accepted those wages because of the prestige that came with working at his store. If you worked at any other store, you were considered common, but to work at Marshal Fields was a feather in your cap, even if you weren’t earning as much as you could have earned at another store.
What are quirky little things you keep on your desk?

At the moment, I have one little pig with googly eyes, one cow with googly eyes, and then another small pig that a reader sent me because she really liked Matilda in “A Match of Wits” and thought this little pig she found at a store was exactly what Matilda would look like.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Oddly enough, no, it never crossed my mind until Dominic was in third grade and we decided to write a book together after finishing this horrible series about this bird. That book was never meant for publication, but it did have me remembering that I had, at one point in time before I became a stay-at-home-mom, enjoyed using my brain. I started experimenting with different genres and learned everything I could about the publishing industry. It took me five years to find an agent, and then she sold “A Change of Fortune” to Bethany House, and I’ve been writing for them ever since.

Any words of advice for aspiring writers?

I get this question a lot, and I always answer by saying “Have an honest talk with yourself about what you really want to achieve with your writing.” It’s perfectly fine to want to write because you’re interested in turning it into a career. However, with that said, a writer needs to understand that writing and publishing are two different creatures. Publishing is a daunting business, and it’ll take a lot of perseverance to find success with it. With that said, if you have raw talent and are a story teller at heart, you should write all the time and do whatever you can to learn how to improve your craft.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a new series right now – “The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency.” The first book, “To Steal a Heart” releases in November, 2020. It’s about Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who spent her childhood living on the mean streets in Five Points. She’s currently living in a boarding house on Bleeker Street in New York City, and when a fellow resident gets unjustly accused of theft, Gabriella, along with the other ladies living in the boarding house, take it upon themselves to try and clear her name. That’s the beginning of the Bleeker Street Agency, and hopefully the ladies will enjoy much success as the series continues.

Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope all of you get an opportunity to read “Storing Up Trouble!”

Wishing you all the best,

Jen

Blog Stops

Rebecca Tews, May 24
Novelscorner, May 24
Simple Harvest Reads, May 27 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Mia Reads, May 29
Betti Mace, May 30
Emily Yager, May 31
Hookmeinabook, June 1
Mary Hake, June 3
amandainpa, June 3
EmpowerMoms, June 4
Hallie Reads, June 5

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the the grand prize package of all three books in the American Heiresses series and a $25 Barnes & Noble eGift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.