Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The Thread Collectors by Shaunna J. Edwards, Alyson Richman


 

“An unforgettable story of female strength, hope and friendship. This collaborative work is magnificent—a true revelation!” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman with the Blue Star

“A brilliant story brimming with unexpected friendships and family ties. Historically sound and beautifully stitched, The Thread Collectors will stay with you long after the last page is turned.” —Sadeqa Johnson, international bestselling author of Yellow Wife  

1863: In a small Creole cottage in New Orleans, an ingenious young Black woman named Stella embroiders intricate maps on repurposed cloth to help enslaved men flee and join the Union Army. Bound to a man who would kill her if he knew of her clandestine activities, Stella has to hide not only her efforts but her love for William, a Black soldier and a brilliant musician.

Meanwhile, in New York City, a Jewish woman stitches a quilt for her husband, who is stationed in Louisiana with the Union Army. Between abolitionist meetings, Lily rolls bandages and crafts quilts with her sewing circle for other soldiers, too, hoping for their safe return home. But when months go by without word from her husband, Lily resolves to make the perilous journey South to search for him.

As these two women risk everything for love and freedom during the brutal Civil War, their paths converge in New Orleans, where an unexpected encounter leads them to discover that even the most delicate threads have the capacity to save us. Loosely inspired by the authors' family histories, this stunning novel will stay with readers for a long time.



The Thread Collectors 

Authors: Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman

ISBN: 9781525899782

Paperback Original 

Publication Date: August 30, 2022

Publisher: Graydon House


Buy Links:

HarperCollins.com 

BookShop.org

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

McNally Jackson


Excerpt:


New Orleans, Louisiana March 1863



She opens the door to the Creole cottage just wide enough to ensure it is truly him. Outside, the pale moon is high in the sky, illuminating only half of William’s face. Stella reaches for his sleeve and pulls him inside. 


He is dressed to run. He wears his good clothes, but has chosen his attire thoughtfully, ensuring the colors will camouflage in the wilderness that immediately surrounds the city. In his hand, he clasps a brown canvas case. They have only spoken in whispers during their clandestine meetings about his desire to fight. To f lee. The city of New Orleans teeters on the precipice of chaos, barely contained by the Union forces occupying the streets. Homes abandoned. Businesses boarded up. Stella’s master comes back from the front every six weeks, each time seeming more battered, bitter and restless than the last.


William sets down his bag and draws Stella close into his chest, his heartbeat accelerating. He lifts a single, slim finger, slowly tracing the contours of her face, trying to memorize her one last time.

“You stay here, no matter what…” he murmurs into her ear. “You must keep safe. And for a woman like you, better to hide and stay unseen than venture out there.”

In the shadows, he sees her eyes shimmer. But she balances the tears from falling, an art she had been taught long ago—when she learned that survival, not happiness, was the real prize.

Stella slips momentarily from William’s arms. She tiptoes toward a small wooden chest. From the top drawer, she retrieves a delicate handkerchief with a single violet embroidered in its center. With materials in the city now so scarce, she has had to use the dark blue thread from her skirt’s hem to stitch the tiny flower on a swatch of white cotton cut from her petticoat.

“So you know you’re never alone out there,” she says as she closes William’s fingers around the kerchief.

He has brought something for her, too. A small speckled cowrie shell that he slips from a worn indigo-colored pouch. The shell and its cotton purse are his two most sacred possessions in the world. He puts the pouch, now empty, back into his pocket.

“I’ll be coming back for that, Stella.” William smiles as he looks down at the talisman in his beloved’s hand. “And for you, too… Everything will be different soon.”

She nods, takes the shell and feels its smooth lip against her palm. There was a time such cowries were used as a form of currency for their people, shells threaded on pieces of string exchanged for precious goods. Now this shell is both worthless and priceless as it’s exchanged for safekeeping between the lovers.

There is no clock in her small home. William, too, wears 

no watch. Yet both of them know they have already tarried too long. He must set out before there is even a trace of sunlight and, even then, his journey will be fraught with danger.

“Go, William,” she says, pushing him out the door. Her heart breaks, knowing the only protection she can offer him is a simple handkerchief. Her love stitched into it by her hand.

He leaves as stealthily as he arrived, a whisper in the night. Stella falls back into the shadows of her cottage. She treads silently toward her bedroom, hoping to wrap herself tightly in the folds of the quilt that brings her so much comfort.

“You alright?” A soft sound emerges in the dark.

“Ammanee?” Stella’s voice breaks as she says the woman’s name.

“Yes, I’m here.” Ammanee enters the room, her face brightened by a small wax candle in her grip.

In the golden light, she sits down on the bed and reaches for Stella’s hand still clutching the tiny shell, which leaves a deep imprint in her palm.

“Willie strong,” Ammanee says over and over again. “He gon’ make it. I know.”

Stella doesn’t answer. A flicker of pain stabs her from the inside, and she finally allows her tears to run.

 

 

About The Authors



 

 

SHAUNNA J. EDWARDS has a BA in literature from Harvard College and a JD from NYU School of Law. A former corporate lawyer, she now works in diversity, equity and inclusion. She is a native Louisianian, raised in New Orleans, and currently lives in Harlem with her husband. The Thread Collectors is her first novel. Find her on Instagram, @shaunnajedwards.

Alyson Richman - Author Website 

Twitter: @alysonrichman

Facebook: Author Alyson Richman

Instagram: @AlysonRichman

Goodreads

 

 

SHAUNNA J. EDWARDS has a BA in literature from Harvard College and a JD from NYU School of Law. A former corporate lawyer, she now works in diversity, equity and inclusion. She is a native Louisianian, raised in New Orleans, and currently lives in Harlem with her husband. The Thread Collectors is her first novel. Find her on Instagram, @shaunnajedwards.

Facebook: Author Shaunna Edwards

Instagram: @shaunnajedwards

Goodreads

 

 

My Review


An eye opening novel written from two points of view and melded beautifully.
We are gifted with a read about the Civil War, not the usual read, and I really didn't know of the small Jewish population in this country and their involvement, and then then how the black soldiers, on both sides were treated.
This is a story of family, and survival, and a gift of music. So many sad happenings, and again brother against brother, but the olive branch of forgiveness resonates.
This is a book that will linger long after the last page is turned, and be sure to read about the authors in the notes at the end of this read.
I loved how the title of this book plays out in a way I didn't expect, but so beautifully!
I received this book through the Publisher Harlequin Trades, and was not required to give a positive review. 


Take My Husband by Ellen Meister

 


 

 

n this darkly comic novel about a wife whose rope is so frayed it's about to snap, Laurel gets a call that her husband has been in an accident. She imagines the worst. But as she is on the way to the ER, another emotion seizes her. Relief. Doug's death could solve all her problems. No more catering to his incessant demands. Then there's the insurance money. Laurel's dreams seem so close. There's just one problem: Doug is very much alive. Now Laurel has to decide if she is going to do something about it.

Subversive, irreverent and surprisingly poignant,
Take My Husband probes the deep corners of a marriage and emerges to find the light. For anyone who's spent a little too much time with a significant other and thought, One of us has got to go.

Amazon 

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/take-my-husband/9780778309871 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Take-My-Husband-Ellen-Meister/dp/0778309878/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= 

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/take-my-husband-ellen-meister/1140181424?ean=9780778309871 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/take-my-husband-by-ellen-meister-paperback/-/A-84659735#lnk=sametab 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Take-My-Husband/Ellen-Meister/9780778309871?id=8292090795540 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778309871 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/take-my-husband 

Apple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/take-my-husband/id1589056452 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Take_My_Husband_A_Novel?id=s-NGEAAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&gl=US 

 

 

Excerpt:

Laurel Applebaum heard a familiar ringtone as she shuffled toward the lockers at Trader Joe’s, tired and spent after a full day on her feet. Was that her phone? Her first instinct was to rush, but she stopped herself. It was probably her husband, Doug, with one of his inane emergencies, like running out of chocolate-covered almonds. God forbid he should go ten minutes without a snack.

The phone rang again, but still Laurel didn’t pick up her pace. She could have—there was always a little reserve left in the tank—but she decided to indulge in her end-of-the-day crankiness, even though she might pay for it later, when Doug started whining about his deprivations. For now, for this one moment she had to herself, it felt like a miniature vacation.

Sometimes, Laurel told herself she should get a job where she could sit all day, like her sister-in-law, who answered phones in a doctor’s office. Then Laurel would look at her co-worker Charlie Webb, who was more than twenty years her senior and the fastest cashier they had. Always smiling, he was beloved by staff and customers, and Laurel thought of him as a cross between Kris Kringle and the philosophical deathbed guy from Tuesdays With Morrie. He made her laugh. And want to be better.

By the time Laurel opened her locker, the ringing had stopped and started up again. She pulled her purse from its hook and fished out her phone. Sure enough, DOUG was on the caller ID.

“Hi,” she said wearily, hoping she conveyed enough pathos with the single syllable to elicit some sympathy.

“Laurel Applebaum?” said a woman’s voice.

A chill swept through her. Something was wrong.

“Yes?”

“I’m so glad I finally reached you. I’m calling from Plainview Hospital. Are you Douglas Applebaum’s next of kin?”

“That’s my husband,” she said, her scalp prickling, her whole body suddenly alert. An instinctive chill had her in its grip. “Is he okay? What’s wrong?”

“He was brought in by ambulance after a motor vehicle accident. We’re still assessing his condition, but he’s unconscious. Right now the doctors—”

“I’m not far,” Laurel said. “I’ll be there in ten minutes. Less.” She dropped her phone into her purse and grabbed her jacket. Dear god, was this really happening? And why did it take a near tragedy for her to remember how much she loved him?

I have to do better, she thought, a lump taking shape in her throat. I have to.


About The Author


Ellen Meister's newest novel, TAKE MY HUSBAND (HarperCollins/Aug. 2022), is a darkly comic take on a modern suburban marriage, and received starred review from Booklist. It follows her other critically acclaimed books, including THE ROOFTOP PARTY, which was called "wickedly entertaining" by BookReporter and was selected by Long Island Woman Magazine as Summer Pick of the year, as well as LOVE SOLD SEPARATELY (Mira 2020), DOROTHY PARKER DRANK HERE (Putnam 2015), FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER (Putnam 2013), THE OTHER LIFE (Putnam 2011), THE SMART ONE (HarperCollins 2008) and SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA (HarperCollins 2006). She is also the author of SPARKS: 500 Writing Prompts to Ignite Your Imagination. In addition to being a novelist, Ellen is an editor, screenwriter, book coach, creative writing instructor, and ghostwriter.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author Website: https://ellenmeister.com/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ellenmeister/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EllenMeister 

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/24843.Ellen_Meister?from_search=true&from_srp=true 

 

 

 

My Review


 This is a very dark humor read, and the author had way to much fun writing this, and I enjoyed all of it!
Laurel starts to think about how her life would be if her husband Doug dies, or maybe is already deceased, she could collect his life insurance, get a dog, go out to eat with her mother, etc.
We get to feel sorry for Laurel, and her depressing life, and then we meet Doug, ugh!
As we journey from point A to point B and all the ramifications, and wanting things to get better Laurel, but what about Doug.
You will be looking for answers here, and they do come, along with many surprises.
Actually, I would love to continue with in the lives of these characters!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher MIRA, and was not required to give a positive review.

Yesterday's Gone by Cindy Woodsmall, Erin Woodsmall

 

Eliza Bontrager and Jesse Ebersol have fallen in love and are determined to marry, despite the belief of their Amish community and respective families that there’s a hidden curse—one that only shows up when an Ebersol and Bontrager marry.

Before the ceremony on the day of the wedding, Eliza’s great-aunt Rose gives her a family heirloom quilt and tells her that she may use it to change one event in the past. Eliza appreciates the woman’s heart, but she dismisses the strange conversation while keeping the beautiful quilt.

Several years later, mourning the loss of their third child, Eliza discovers her inability to deliver a healthy baby is genetic. Remembering her great-aunt’s strange words, she decides that if she can go back in time and reject Jesse’s proposal, she can save him the heartache of a childless marriage. Her sacrifice will allow him to marry someone else and raise a family. But once she puts her plan into action, she discovers the true impact of her decision—on Jesse and so many others within their community.

Amazon 

 

About The Author
 


 

Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times, CBA, ECPA, and USA Today best-selling author who has written twenty-two (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. Cindy has been featured on ABC Nightline and on the front page of the Wall Street Journal,and has worked with National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as the one of the top three most popular authors of Amish fiction.

She's won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer's Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings' Best Books of the Year. She's been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards.

Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn't realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn't allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy's house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them--afraid that if they didn't, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann's because her family didn't own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults' disapproval and the obstacles in each other's lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy's family moved to another region of the US.

As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities--from the most conservative ones to the most liberal.

Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.

If you'd like more information or to contact her, you can go to her website: http://www.cindywoodsmall.com or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorcindywoodsmall

 

My Review


 
I usually do not like to read fantasy, but this one was an exception! The pain of loss, the ache of not having a live baby, and Eliza decides to change the past, and thus affecting the future. The saying "be careful what you wish for" she shows itself here.

Yes, we all have things that if we could go back in time, we would do differently or change, but we never think that the changes we make in our lives has ramifications on others.

This is an Amish story that is so very different, and we journey with Eliza and Jesse, but there are other couples involved here, and decisions change their lives too.

This quickly became a page turner for me, I had to know how things were going to turn out! Now I wish I could continue on in the lives of these folks that I now care about!

I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Tyndale House, and was not required to give a positive review.

The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman


 Sage Winters always knew her sister was a little different even though they were identical twins. They loved the same things and shared a deep understanding, but Rosemary—awake to every emotion, easily moved to joy or tears—seemed to need more protection from the world.
 
Six years after Rosemary’s death from pneumonia, Sage, now sixteen, still misses her deeply. Their mother perished in a car crash, and Sage’s stepfather, Alan, resents being burdened by a responsibility he never wanted. Yet despite living as near strangers in their Staten Island apartment, Sage is stunned to discover that Alan has kept a shocking secret: Rosemary didn’t die. She was committed to Willowbrook State School and has lingered there until just a few days ago, when she went missing.
 
Sage knows little about Willowbrook. It’s always been a place shrouded by rumor and mystery. A place local parents threaten to send misbehaving kids. With no idea what to expect, Sage secretly sets out for Willowbrook, determined to find Rosemary. What she learns, once she steps through its doors and is mistakenly believed to be her sister, will change her life in ways she never could imagined.

Amazon 

 

About The Author


 A first-generation German American, Ellen Marie Wiseman discovered her love of reading and writing while attending first grade in one of the last one-room schoolhouses in NYS. She is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels have been translated into twenty languages. Her debut novel, THE PLUM TREE, is loosely based on her mother’s stories about growing up in Germany during the chaos of WWII. Bookbub named THE PLUM TREE One of Thirteen Books To Read if You Loved ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE. Ellen’s second novel, WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND, was named a Huffington Post Best Books of Summer 2015. Her third novel, COAL RIVER, was called "one of the most "unputdownable" books of 2015" by The Historical Novel Review. THE LIFE SHE WAS GIVEN, was named A GREAT GROUP READS Selection of the Women’s National Book Association and National Reading Group Month and a Goodreads Best Book of the Month. THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR was an instant New York Times Bestseller. Ellen lives on the shores of Lake Ontario with her husband and a spoiled Shih-tzu named Izzy. When she’s not busy writing, she loves spending time with her children and grandchildren. Find Ellen on Facebook at: www.Facebook.com/EllenMarieWisemanAuthor

 

My Review


 A story that is fiction, but touches on fact. Yes, parents were encouraged to send their children to places such as Willowbrook, and yes, it really existed on Staten Island NY.
The author gives us a story that makes you want to yell "No", when Sage enters the facility to look for her sister Rosemary.
Yes, I was able to figure out whom the killer was ahead of time, but it took a bit, and this will keep you holding your breath as you turn the pages for answers.
Reads like this help us to remember that this horrible treatment of people should never happen again!
If you like suspense, this one will keep you guessing, and changing your mind, and waiting for more surprises!
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Kensington, and was not required to give a positive review.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Concession Stand Crimes: The Ballpark Mysteries by Nicole Asselin

 


Concession Stand Crimes: The Ballpark Mysteries
by Nicole Asselin

About Concession Stand Crimes 


Concession Stand Crimes: The Ballpark Mysteries
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Abington, MA
Pandamoon Publishing (June 22, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 190 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1950627519
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1950627516
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09VGHRQYP

HOTDOG, CRACKERJACK, BEER, and MURDER. PLAY BALL!

 

MADELINE BOUCHER is still reeling from her first few weeks of working for her family’s Independent League Baseball Team, the Abington Armadillos. She found a dead body and survived a kidnapping before finally clearing her brother of a murder. She didn’t think anything could be as dramatic as that, but she was wrong.

 

Her parents have given her more responsibility in running ballpark events in the hopes that they could retire and leave the team in her hands. Her brother is moving on to the big leagues, so this is her time to shine. Her first task? Deal with a concession stand kerfuffle. Redmond Brewery heiress, Alaska Redmond, storms her way into the ballpark making demands.

 

The next day, the son of the concession’s manager finds Redmond’s body in one of the beer stands along the ballpark concourse. Again, Madeline finds herself immersed in an investigation. While the suspects start piling up, including a promising young player on the team, Madeline knows she must get involved. With the help of Davis, her new love interest and head of the security department, she delves deeper into the death of the heiress.

 

Trying to run team events, solve a murder, and have a normal life take their toll as Madeline comes to depend on those in her baseball-loving community, including Bronia, her old family friend who runs a garden center and helps her make sense of things. She even chances a psychic for advice while at a Salem Warlock’s away game. Will anyone help her untangle the mess of suspects including the victim’s family?

 

Can she clear the name of the Abington Armadillos and start focusing on the season?

 

About Nicole Asselin

Nicole Asselin spent her formative high school years in the middle of Pennsylvania but always identified with her New England roots. Nicole’s family is originally from Connecticut, and her Grandpa Asselin introduced her to the Red Sox nation where she has been a member for her whole life and her Grandma Asselin introduced her to the world of mystery novels. Now those two loves are combined into her new Ballpark Mystery series.

Nicole graduated from Curry College in Milton Mass with a degree in English/Creative Writing, minoring in Dance in 2004. She also attended George Mason University and received a Master’s in Arts Management. She worked in the Government sector for over ten years before transitioning to Healthcare. Now working just outside of Boston as a Technical Writer, she lives on the South Shore of Massachusetts with her three cats Julia, Jacques, and Madeline (no relation to the main character of her book).

Purchase Links: Amazon –  Nicole Asselin Writer 

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Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Presents: Cowboys and Chaos: Magical Mystery Book Club by Elizabeth Pantley

  Cowboys and Chaos: Magical Mystery Book Club by Elizabeth Pantley About Cowboys and Chaos Cowboys and Chaos: M...