Jul 012018
 

Three Shoeboxes

by Steven Manchester

July 1-August 31, 2018 Tour

 

Three Shoeboxes by Steven Manchester

Synopsis:

Mac Anderson holds life in the palm of his hand. He has a beautiful wife, three loving children, a comfortable home, and a successful career. Everything is perfect—or so it seems. Tragically, Mac is destined to learn that any sense of security can quickly prove false. Because an invisible enemy called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has invaded Mac’s fragile mind and it is about to drop him to his knees. He does all he can to conceal his inner chaos, but to no avail. Left to contend with ignorance, an insensitive justice system, and the struggles of an invisible disease, he loses everything—most importantly his family.

One shoebox might store an old pair of sneakers. Two shoeboxes might contain a lifetime of photographs. But in Three Shoeboxes, a father’s undying love may be just enough to make things right again.

 

Details

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Published by: The Story Plant

Publication Date: June 12th 2018

Number of Pages: 285

ISBN: 1611882605 (ISBN13: 9781611882605)

Purchase Links:   AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, & Goodreads

 

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW

I wanted to share my review again because I feel it has such an important message

5 stars

He has done it again! Steven Manchester, as I have said in the past, is the master storyteller in matters of the heart. But this time, he raised the bar even higher.

THREE SHOEBOXES is a raw and emotional read, of a family that is dealing with P.T.S.D, depression, anxiety and severe panic attacks, and how it not only affects the person afflicted but those that love and care for him. A realistic look at the struggle and the power to overcome.

Mac Anderson, husband and father of 3, starts having intense episodes of anxiety but not sure why. These episodes begin to increase not only in severity but also in frequency until they are totally consuming him. As he turns inward, he starts to self-medicate, which results in angry outbursts, alienating his wife and children and jeopardizing his job. And to the lowest point of being arrested for domestic assault.

A story that will have you so frustrated with Mac one minute and rooting for him the next. A somber realism of the effects of mental illness that still holds a stigma today.

What’s in those THREE SHOEBOXES? You will have to read this exceptional novel to find out. But a warning, have the tissues close by.

An intense and compelling read of a serious disease and the triumph of faith, will, determination and love.

Having read many of Steven Manchester’s books, I truly believe his writing is like a fine wine. It only gets better with age.

Steven Manchester brings home the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for THREE SHOEBOXES.

I can’t stress enough what an extraordinary and powerful book this is!!!!!! Highly recommend!!!!

Check out my reviews on his previous books:
TWELVE MONTHS, GOODNIGHT, BRIAN, THE ROCKIN’ CHAIR, PRESSED PENNIES, ASHES, and THE THURSDAY NIGHT CLUB

Stop by tomorrow for my interview with Steven Manchester

 

Pre-publication endorsements:

“Compelling and emotional, Three Shoeboxes takes readers on a heart-wrenching journey through some of life’s toughest challenges, always with the ever-present sense of the transforming power of love and hope. Three Shoeboxes is Steven Manchester at his finest.” – Carla Neggers, NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author, Harbor Island and Echo Lake

Raw, moving and brutally honest—Steven Manchester takes you on an emotional rollercoaster. Grab your tissues for this heart-wrenching story—better yet, grab a box full!” – Tanya Anne Crosby, NYT & USA Today Bestselling Author, The Girl Who Stayed "

Three Shoeboxes is a compassionate, accessible portrait of a vitally important topic, PTSD, how it affects the sufferer and the family—and how to find hope and healing." – Jenna Blum, NYT & International Bestselling Author, Those Who Save Us and Storm Chasers

Three Shoeboxes is terrific writing. Manchester’s protagonist’s life becomes nightmarish, his rage palpable, and his ultimate redemption breathtaking. It was enough to bring this reader to tears.” – John Lansing, #1 Bestselling Author, The Devil’s Necktie

 

Read an excerpt:

Mac jumped up, panting like an obese dog suffering in a heat wave. His heart drummed out of his chest. Startled from a sound sleep, he didn’t know what was wrong. He leapt out of bed and stumbled toward the bathroom. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t think. There’s something wrong, he finally thought, I…I need help. He searched frantically for an enemy. There was none. As he stared at the frightened man in the mirror, he considered calling out to his sleeping wife. She has enough to worry about with the kids, he thought, but was already hurrying toward her. “Jen,” he said in a strained whisper.

She stirred but didn’t open her eyes.

The constricted chest, sweaty face and shaking hands made Mac wonder whether he was standing at death’s door, cardiac arrest being his ticket in. I have to do something now, he thought, or I’m a goner. “Jen,” he said louder, shaking her shoulder.

One eye opened. She looked up at him.

“It’s happening again,” he said in a voice that could have belonged to a frightened little boy.

Jen shot up in bed. “What is it?”

“I…I can’t breathe. My heart keeps fluttering and I feel…”

“I’m calling an ambulance,” she said, fumbling for her cell phone.

“No,” he said instinctively, “it’ll scare the kids.”

She looked up at him like he was crazy.

“I’ll go to the emergency room right now!” Grabbing for a pair of pants, he started to slide into them.

Jen sprang out of the bed. “I’ll call my mom and have her come over to watch the kids. In the meantime, Jillian can…”

Mac shook his foggy head, halting her. “No, I’m okay to drive,” he said, trying to breathe normally.

“But babe,” she began to protest, fear glassing over her eyes.

“I’ll text you as soon as I get there,” he promised, “and then call you just as soon as they tell me what the hell’s going on.”

Jen’s eyes filled. “Oh Mac…”

He shot her a smile, at least he tried to, before rushing out of the house and hyperventilating all the way to the hospital.

I’m here, Mac texted Jen before shutting off the ringer on his phone.

The scowling intake nurse brought him right in at the mention of “chest pains.” Within minutes, the E.R. staff went to work like a well-choreographed NASCAR pit crew, simultaneously drawing blood while wiring his torso to a portable EKG machine.

As quickly as the team had responded, they filed out of the curtained room. A young nurse, yanking the sticky discs from Mac’s chest, feigned a smile. “Try to relax, Mr. Anderson. It may take a little bit before the doctor receives all of your test results.”

For what seemed like forever, Mac sat motionless on the hospital gurney, a white curtain drawn around him. I hope it isn’t my heart, he thought, the kids are still so young and they need…

“Who do we have in number four?” a female voice asked just outside of Mac’s alcove.

Mac froze to listen in.

“Some guy who came in complaining of chest pains,” another voice answered at a strained whisper. “Test results show nothing. Just another anxiety attack.”

No way, Mac thought, not knowing whether he should feel insulted or relieved.

“Like we have time to deal with that crap,” the first voice said. “Can you imagine if men had to give birth?”

Both ladies laughed.

No friggin’ way, Mac thought before picturing his wife’s frightened face. She must be worried sick. But I can’t call her without talking to the doctor. She’d…

The curtain snapped open, revealing a young man in a white lab coat with a stethoscope hanging around his neck.

This kid can’t be a doctor, Mac thought, the world suddenly feeling like it had been turned upside down.

“Your heart is fine, Mr. Anderson,” the doctor quickly reported, his eyes on his clipboard. “I’m fairly certain you suffered a panic attack.” He looked up and grinned, but even his smile was rushed. “Sometimes the symptoms can mirror serious physical ailments.”

Mac was confused, almost disappointed. So, what I experienced wasn’t serious? he asked in his head.

The young man scribbled something onto a small square pad, tore off the top sheet and handed it to Mac. “This’ll make you feel better,” he said, prescribing a sedative that promised to render Mac more useless than the alleged attack.

“Ummm…okay,” Mac said, his face burning red.

The doctor nodded. “Stress is the number one cause of these symptoms,” he concluded. “Do you have someone you can talk to?”

Mac returned the nod, thinking, I need to get the hell out of here. Although he appreciated the concern, he was mired in a state of disbelief. I’m a master of the corporate rat race, he thought, unable to accept the medicine man’s spiel. If anyone knows how to survive stress, it’s me.

“That’s great,” the doctor said, vanishing as quickly as he’d appeared.

My problem is physical, Mac confirmed in his head, it has to be. He finished tying his shoes.

Pulling back the curtain, he was met by the stare of several female nurses. He quickly applied his false mask of strength and smiled. A panic attack, he repeated to himself. When put into words, the possibility was chilling.

The nurses smiled back, each one of them wearing the same judgmental smirk.

With his jacket tucked under his arm, Mac started down the hallway. Sure, he thought, I have plenty of people I can talk to. He pulled open the door that led back into the crowded waiting room. That is, if I actually thought it was anxiety.

Mac sat in the parking lot for a few long minutes, attempting to process the strange events of the last several days. Although he felt physically tired, there weren’t any symptoms or residual effects of the awful episodes he’d experienced—not a trace of the paralyzing terror I felt. And they just came out of the blue. He shook his head. How can it not be physical? He thought about the current state of his life. Work is work, it’s always going to come with a level of stress, but that’s nothing out of the ordinary. He shook his head again. I just don’t get it. He grabbed his cell phone and called Jen. “Hi, it’s me.”

“Are you okay?” she asked, the worry in her voice making him feel worse.

“I’m fine, babe.”

“Fine?” she said, confused. “What did the doctor say?”

“He said it’s not my heart.”

“Oh, thank God.”

Her reaction—although completely understandable—struck him funny, making him feel like the boy who cried wolf.

“So what is it then?” she asked.

He hesitated, feeling oddly embarrassed to share the unbelievable diagnosis.

“Mac?”

“The doctor thinks it was a…a panic attack.”

This time, she paused. “A panic attack?” she repeated, clearly searching for more words. Then, as a born problem solver, she initiated her usual barrage of questions. “Did they give you something for it? Is there any follow up?”

“Yes, and maybe.”

“What does that mean?”

“He gave me pills that I’d rather not take if I don’t need to. And he suggested I go talk to someone.”

“Talk to someone? You mean like a therapist?”

“I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant.”

“Oh,” she said, obviously taken aback. “Then that’s exactly what you should do.”

“I don’t know…”

“Is there something bothering you I don’t know about, Mac,” she asked, “because you can talk to me, too, you know.”

“I know, babe. But there’s nothing bothering me, honest.” He took a deep breath. “For what it’s worth, I don’t buy the anxiety attack diagnosis.”

“Well, whatever you were feeling this morning was real enough, right? I could see it in your face. It wouldn’t hurt anything for you to go talk to someone.” She still sounded scared and he hated it.

“Maybe not,” he replied, appeasing her. In the back of his head, though, he was already contemplating how much he should continue to share with her—or protect her from. “I need to get to work,” he said.

“Why don’t you just take the day off and relax?” she suggested.

Here we go, he thought. “I wish I could, babe,” he said, “but we have way too much going on at the office right now.”

“And maybe that’s part of your problem,” she said.

“I’ll be fine, Jen,” he promised. “We’ll talk when I get home, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Love you,” he said.

“And I love you,” she said in a tone intended for him to remember it.

***

Excerpt from Three Shoeboxes by Steven Manchester. Copyright © 2018 by Steven Manchester. Reproduced with permission from The Story Plant. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Steven Manchester

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin’ Chair, Pressed Pennies, and Gooseberry Island, the national bestseller Ashes, and the novels Goodnight, Brian and The Changing Season. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning, and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Connect with Steven at: stevenmanchester.com | Twitter – @AuthorSteveM | Facebook – @AuthorStevenManchester

 

Tour Host Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

 

ENTER TO WIN:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Steven Manchester. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and 3 winners of one (1) print copy of Steven Manchester’s ASHES. The giveaway begins on July 1, 2018 and runs through September 1, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

Oct 272017
 

A Daughter’s Promise
by Fran Lewis
on Tour October 1 – December 1, 2017

 A Daughter’s Promise by Fran Lewis

Synopsis:

This story is about a promise I made to my mother to take care of her through her Alzheimer’s disease nightmare. The book includes my mother’s own thoughts from her journal about her ordeals with the various stages of this debilitating and dehumanizing condition. Her outlook on life was remarkable, and although her mind began to wander, she never lost sight of who she was, her sense of humor, or her family. This is the story of someone whose courage went beyond what most people could endure, and whose never-dying zest for life kept her alive. I hope our story will help others in coping with this difficult and demanding affliction.

Read my review and enter the giveaway HERE

Book Details

Genre: Memoir

Published by: Edit Pros

Publication Date: July 2017

Number of Pages: 147

ISBN-10: 1937317404

ISBN-13: 978-1937317409

Purchase Links: Title on Amazon Title on Barnes & Noble Title on Goodreads

Author Bio:

Fran Lewis

Fran Lewis is the author of the Bertha and Tillie Series, Faces Behind the Stones series and a series of books on Alzheimer;s and Caregiving. She has three master’s degrees, worked as the reading and writing staff developer and dean of a NY CITY PUBLIC SCHOOl for over 36 years and remains in touch with her students. She is an avid reader and reviewer and has her own show on blog talk radio: Literary Viewpoints with Fran Lewis. Fran created her own Magazine MJ magazine in memory of her sister Marcia Joyce and her radio network too: MJ network.

Fran’s Website | Fran’s Twitter | Fran’s Facebook

Guest Post

What is one bit of advice that you would give someone that is the caretaker of a parent with Alzheimer’s?

Being a caregiver is a full time responsibility and the person that you are caring for needs full time help with just about every personal, physical need that is required on a daily basis.

You as the caregiver must understand that a person with Alzheimer’s goes through many phases or stages and at times will say and do things that are inappropriate. You cannot get angry. Most of the time I just smiled or laughed at my mom’s words and she did too. As a caregiver you cannot forget that you are entitled to free time too and your family needs to help out at times if you want to just go out for breakfast with a friend or get your hair and nails done.

Choosing the right person from an agency to help you required research, planning and someone that is trained in working with people with Alzheimer’s. The one thing I did do when I realized my mom was losing her memory is label things around the house and ask her to read what they are and show me what it was that she read. I took photos of family and friends and asked her to help me place them in albums and I told her to tell me who she thinks the person is or was. This helped keep her mind active. When asking her what she wanted to eat I along with the home health aides would give her two choices, boot up pictures on our phones and she would decide for herself. This worked most of the time. She went out daily with the aides and I would often accompany them on their journey around the area. She would remember where she lived and when we went into a store it was hysterical she would pick out what I should buy for myself and dared me to choose something else. She was tough, she was smart in her own way she was the glue that held us together until she fell apart.

Before you even think or decide to place a person in a facility you need to visit every one of the homes closest to where you live at different times and observe the residents. Some that are just there because they are in assisted living are aware of their surroundings and can take care of themselves. You need to visit all of the floors that have patients with Alzheimer’s and see the different levels of care. You won’t believe what you will see and you might decide to make the same promise I did Never to put my mom in any facility. If you choose an agency and have aides at home you need to monitor them, make sure they are vetted and have background checks and put a nanny cam in every room to monitor them.

I am also going to include my kindness tips:

Discussions and Tips

a. I find that speaking slowly and softly in a calm voice does help to calm the person down.
b. Speaking in simple sentences and short phrases does help
c. Repeating something in different ways sometimes helps her to understand what she needs to do: It is a simple as saying Open or Open your mouth instead of eat this or trying to explain to her that she needs to eat.
d. I always call her by her first name or of course Mom to get her attention: at this point she still knows who she is when you call her. She does not always say her name or respond verbally when asked who she is.
e. Always be positive and smile at the person. Do not let them think that you are angry with them. They are not at fault and cannot control or help their behaviors.

Kindness Tips

1. Always say good morning when entering a patient’s room
2. Address the patient by name and tell the patient your name
3. SMILE!
4. Explain the task you are going to perform before you do it and explain the task as you are performing. Patients are often leery or afraid of strangers and need to feel confident and safe with you.
5. If a patient needs assistance bathing, eating or walking help them and do not leave them before they complete the task.
6. Patients that need help eating: You need to make sure that person eats and are fed. Make sure that you do not leave the tray untouched and if you have to feed the patient you need to do it with kindness and patience.
7. Ask the patient if they need help dressing or assistance going to breakfast or any other area of the home or hospital
8. If you are bringing magazines or books allow the person to choose
9. Never speak to a patient as if they were a small child
10. Speak to people with respect and as an adult
11. Making sure that the person’s environment is safe
12. Make sure you have a list of things that need to be done for that person and complete them

1. Meet with other volunteers and discuss their successes
2. When you speak to a patient make sure that you make eye contact and have their attention
3. Speak at eye level and speak clearly
4. Use simple and direct statements
5. Never raise your voice
6. Include the person in your conversation: Talk to the person not at the person
7. Never speak to them as if they are a third party and not in the same room
8. Speak to them as an adult not a small child
9. Listen to their concerns and show a lot of understanding
10. Never leave a patient in distress

Read an excerpt:

Part One

A Daughter’s Promise

Reading has always been the way for me to escape to other worlds, learn about many different places, and expand my knowledge of so many subjects. With a notepad in hand and several pens at the ready, I begin reading the many books that authors send me each day. Detailing the plot, the characters, and taking notes throughout, I create a perfect analysis of the book.

Remembering what my mom had told me, to always look for that special message in the book and create that first paragraph to stimulate reader interest, I begin my review. Perfection: that’s what she always told me. Each piece of writing, each assignment had to be done to the standards set by my teachers and professors, and then pass the highest test: mom’s. I remember coming out of school one night, and she stuck her hand out waiting to see what I’d gotten on my midterm in one of my graduate courses in administration. I still smile when I remember what happened. I left out one question and got a 98, and I told mom what I did wrong and the right answer. But, the professor was so frustrated with most of the other students that she had to revamp the scores by adding ten points to everyone’s test scores just to have more students pass, so mom was satisfied with my 108. And, of course, on the final I did get 100 and an A in the class, because it was what was expected of me by myself, and of course, mom.

Till this day I still create my reviews, my schedule for my radio show, and anything else that I decide to venture into, like the MJ magazine in memory of my sister Marcia Joyce, with the understanding that my work has to stand up to the highest standards. The articles, reviews, stories, and issues that are published should be equal to those of any credible magazine on the newsstands.

So, mom, it’s been five years and it seems like yesterday. I hope I will continue to make you proud of me. You taught me well. Yes, I never leave the house without looking my best. You were my mom, my mentor, and my best friend. You will always be here for me in spirit.

Today you would have celebrated your 89th birthday with a special red rose and your favorite chocolate cake. Your blue eyes and your great smile would light up the room, and of course the presents we would give you would make you proud. You taught us never to give up on our dreams, nor settle for less than we want in our lives. You made sure that you listened when we felt down and needed a guiding hand to rise back up. You never faltered and never passed judgment. You were our mother, our guide, and our best friend. Rules were made and enforced, but never with an iron hand. Explanations were given for your requests, and we all followed suit and showed you the respect you deserved.

When you became ill we all rallied together as a family to make sure you remained at home and received great help. We were truly blessed to have Joyce, Joan, Laurel, Pat, Tessa, Loretta, and Getty to take such good care of you and, of course, someone we all miss and loved, Veronica Collins, your case manager, who made sure that you were safe and protected by the best aides in the world from Partners in Care. So, mom, happy birthday, and let the sun shine tomorrow so we know that you are still watching over us and protecting Marcia, who is with you now. We miss your wisdom, your guidance, the huge grey mobile that you drove anywhere you were needed, as the taxi driver for your friends, and the orange mobile that my reading students loved when you picked me up or drove me to school. I made a promise and vowed that I would do everything in my power to care for you, keep your mind and body active, and never even consider the one thing so many others do—placing you in a nursing home.

The circle of life begins on the day you are born and ends when you close your eyes for the last time and take your last precious breath.

Ruth Swerdloff started her life on November 22, 1927, and became a part of a loving, nurturing family that would remain intact for the first two years of her life until the loss of her mother, when things would change. But, Ruth was special from the start, and although facing her first obstacle at the age of two, losing a parent, she somehow learned to accept the change with the help of her sister, Tova, and three brothers, Kenny, Irving, and Harry. This is her story. This is where her circle of life begins.

Excerpt from A Daughter’s Promise by Fran Lewis. Copyright © 2017 by Fran Lewis. Reproduced with permission from Fran Lewis. All rights reserved.

Tour Host Participants:

Stop by these other great sites for more reviews, interviews, guest posts, & giveaways!


Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Fran Lewis. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of A Daughter’s Promise by Fran Lewis. The giveaway begins on October 1 and runs through December 3, 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find Your Next Great Read at Providence Book Promotions!

Oct 262017
 

A DAUGHTER’S PROMISE by Fran Lewis
GenreMemoir
Published by Edit Pros
Publication Date:July 2017
ISBN-10: 1937317404
ISBN-13: 978-1937317409
Pages: 147
Review Copy From:Author
Edition: Kindle
My Rating: 5

**Tomorrow Interview with Fran Lewis-Don’t miss it!**

Synopsis:

This story is about a promise I made to my mother to take care of her through her Alzheimer’s disease nightmare. The book includes my mother’s own thoughts from her journal about her ordeals with the various stages of this debilitating and dehumanizing condition. Her outlook on life was remarkable, and although her mind began to wander, she never lost sight of who she was, her sense of humor, or her family. This is the story of someone whose courage went beyond what most people could endure, and whose never-dying zest for life kept her alive. I hope our story will help others in coping with this difficult and demanding affliction.

My Thoughts and Opinion:

A poignant, heartbreaking, and at times emotionally raw, memoir of the devastating disease of Alzheimer’s affecting both the patient and family that love her.

This book touched me to the core in more ways than one, in the different roles of my life. A daughter, having been the sole caretaker of my own mother several years ago and as a retired nurse, caring for patients afflicted by the disease.

A once vibrant, independent and active woman, Ruth Swerdloff, starts to realize that she is starting to forget the little things in life. And then the shattering diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. It also tells of the stages of this cruel disease, and what it robs the patient of, that has it.

The story is told in both Ruth’s and her daughter’s, as the caretaker, perspectives. How it destroys the mind of the patient and the emotional and physical toll it takes on the caretaker.

It is a book, that I feel should be read by everyone, because I believe a reader may, unfortunately, could find themselves in either situation.

A touching and tragic story of a daughter’s love and a beautiful legacy to her mother Ruthie!!! A must read and highly recommend!

Purchase Links:   Title on Amazon Title on Barnes & Noble Title on Goodreads

REVIEW DISCLAIMER

This blog was founded on the premise to write honest reviews, to the best of my ability, no matter who from, where from and/or how the book was obtained, and will continue to do so, even if it is through PICT or PBP.
DISCLAIMER

I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review.
No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
ADDENDUM

I do not have any affiliation with Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.

Oct 232017
 

7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner Banner

7th Grade Revolution
by Liana Gardner
on Tour October 23 – November 27, 2017

7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner

WHEN UNEARTHING A NATIONAL TREASURE BECOMES A NATIONAL INCIDENT.

Inspired by True Events

Dennis Alexander: Washington Academy Middle School promises to be another in the long line of boring schools he has been expelled from.

Rhonda Snodgrass: Although trained from childhood in survival tactics, she tries to stay off the radar of the “cool” kids who think she’s weird.

7th grade turns out to be anything but normal when teachers announce the students’ bloodless revolution succeeded and they are now in charge. After conducting a secret-ballot vote on policy, the 7th graders emerge to find the school evacuated and the FBI lurking outside with the task of unearthing a treasure of national importance.

The students’ mission is clear—discover the treasure before the FBI locks down the building. Dennis and Rhonda lead the revolt and must work together to follow century-old clues left by a crazy Revolutionary War buff.

To stay one step ahead of the FBI, they must delve into history and amass an arsenal to defend their school … because this is WAR!

Book Details

Genre: Middle-Grade Detective Mystery
Published by: Vesuvian Books
Publication Date: October 24th 2017
Number of Pages: 299
ISBN: 1944109463 (ISBN13: 9781944109462)
Purchase Links: 7th Grade Revolution on Amazon 7th Grade Revolution on Barnes & Noble 7th Grade Revolution on Goodreads

Author Bio:

Liana Gardner

Liana Gardner is the two-time teen choice award-winning author of the Misfit McCabe series. Daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana Gardner combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface. Born in Seattle, WA and raised in southern California, Liana is definitely a west coast girl, but loves to travel.

She fostered her love of writing after reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and discovering she had a great deal in common with the character Jo. The making up of stories, dramatic feelings, and a quick temper were enough for her to know she and Jo would have been kindred spirits.

Liana volunteers with high school students through the International Trade Education Programs (ITEP). ITEP unites business people and educators to prepare students for a meaningful place in the world of tomorrow. Working in partnership with industry and educators, ITEP helps young people “think globally and earn locally.”

Check out Liana Gardner on lianagardner.com, Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram!

INTERVIEW

Welcome!

Writing and Reading:

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
It depends on the book. As far as personal experiences are concerned, I’d say I draw from emotional depth of experiences I’ve had where the character is experiencing something similar rather than actual occurrences.

As far as current events are concerned, 7th Grade Revolution sprang from an article I saw floating past in my Twitter stream. It described a classroom experience where the teachers at Exploris Middle School told the 7th Graders there had been a bloodless revolution over the weekend, the students won, and now they had to create the policies and schedule to run the school by. I loved the idea and immediately followed it with a “what if” scenario and as a result we have true events blended with fiction and history.

I also have a series I am working on which started from an article, though not a current event as the article was published in 1997.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Most of the time, a story springs into my mind where I know the beginning and the end. Then I write a loose bare bones outline to connect the two, put the outline to the side and start writing. In almost every book I’ve written, I have deviated from where I thought the book was going because the characters insisted on a different path than the one I had planned. The characters are always right.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
I can honestly say none of my characters have ever been based on me. Nor do I ever plan to write a character based on myself. As far as basing characters on people I know, I don’t usually do so. Characters come to me and I see them as individuals, as fully rounded as the people I meet in person. I have two exceptions to this, one of which occurred in 7th Grade Revolution. I mentioned the book being inspired by an actual classroom experience. The teacher who developed the teaching module gave me some invaluable assistance by providing some of the background information and as a way of honoring her, I made her a character in the book—with her permission. But even that was more of a “in name only” because I really didn’t know anything about her as a person, only that I wished I could have had her as a teacher when I was in 7th Grade.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I’m not sure you could class anything with my writing as a routine. I used to write by starting at the beginning and writing until I reached the end, so everything was written in book chronological order. But I have since learned that honoring the scenes I’m being given by the characters when they are presenting them works better. So sometimes I do write out of sequence, though most is still chronological.

The only drafting idiosyncrasy I have is that I listen to music while writing, but the POV (Point of View) character picks the playlist. If they pick the list instead of me, the writing goes MUCH more smoothly.

Editing idiosyncrasies abound. To share one, I do a round (or two) of editing that I call confetti vomit because I highlight the manuscript based on keywords needing to be dealt with, like that, just, was, could, it, and sense words (see, feel, taste, smell, hear)—anything I use on an over repetitive basis which can be made stronger. I highlight the document with different colors for each type so I am able to see each instance. Authors become blind, especially to their own foibles, so I force myself to look at them. When all the colors have been added, it looks like someone threw up confetti all over the manuscript.

Tell us why we should read this book.
It’s inspired by true events that made me want to go back to 7th Grade just so I could participate. And honestly, I never thought anything would make me want to go back in time for school. And the novel is part adventure and part history, so not only educational, but most importantly, it’s fun to read.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
I have eclectic tastes, so it would take me a really long time to list them all, so I’ll pick a few. As a kid, I devoured Louisa May Alcott, Carolyn Keene, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Beverly Cleary, Louise Fitzhugh, E. L. Konigsburg, and Agatha Christie. One of my favorite Gothic novels was by Barbara Michaels, and later I fell in love with Elizabeth Peters work and was delighted to find out they were one in the same. JK Rowling, PD James, Dick Francis, Rita Mae Brown, Dr. Suess, and Dean Koontz.

What are you reading now?
Much of my reading these days is on books which have not been released as yet. Current book is The Royal Order of Fighting Dragons by Dan Elish which will be out Spring/Summer 2018. A fun, action-filled Middle Grade.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I am currently alternating between two projects, something I normally don’t do, but I have producers waiting for both books, so need to get them done.

The first is the third book in the Guardian Angel Animal series (Children’s Chapter Books) called Luna and the Sloth in Shining Armor. The Guardian Angel Animal Series is a forthcoming illustrated chapter-book series that introduces rare and endangered animal “angels” into the lives of children who are experiencing emotional or physical challenges. The issue faced by Luna is autism and her hero is Sergio, a pygmy three-toed sloth.

The other book is the first book in the Homeless Myths Series called The Star Warriors and the Secret of the Red Key. Five homeless kids struggle to survive the streets of Los Angeles and unwittingly wind up as key players in a life and death struggle to give humanity a second chance.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

Believe it or not, this is a hard question for me. When I wrote the book in 2012, I did have a few kids in mind as far as casting goes, but as twelve is a very specific age, those kids I would have cast are now too old for the parts and I haven’t recast it recently and I have been so busy, I’m out of the loop with the latest crew of child actors. But there is Hollywood interest in the property, so that question may come up sooner than I expected.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
Singing. Karaoke will do, but there is nothing better than getting on stage with a live band and belting one out.

Favorite meal?
Wow. The fun questions are the hardest. 🙂 Most of the things I really enjoy, I cannot have anymore, so while these aren’t a meal the things I enjoy eating the most are watermelon, Rainier cherries, and dark chocolate.

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

Read an excerpt:

A ghostly moaning carried to them across the water, along with clanking chains.

Selena smacked Spencer’s shoulder. “Knock it off. This isn’t time for any of your stupid pranks.”

Spencer shook his head. “It’s not me. I swear.”

Dennis believed him because he wouldn’t have had time to set up something so elaborate and he’d lost his cocky attitude.

Selena raised her finger and stuck it in Spencer’s face, but before she had a chance to say a word, more chains rattled followed by even louder moans.

Brooke squealed and scuttled backward until she hit the wall surrounding the grotto, hard. Stones cascaded down as the wall behind her crumbled from the impact. She held her head where she’d banged it.

Brooke sagged against the wall causing it to disintegrate a bit more. A bony hand flopped out onto her shoulder. She screamed.

“Get it off me. Get it off.” She bounced on the balls of her feet.

Spencer ran to Brooke and lifted the skeleton hand, but it was caught in Brooke’s hair. “Stand still for a minute so I can get it untangled.”

Dennis joined Spencer and helped pull the strands of hair from the joints. Behind Brooke’s head, a skull was partially visible. How long had the poor guy been walled up in the cavern lake? Well, he didn’t know guy or girl, but one thing was sure—this wasn’t some prank.

***

Excerpt from 7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner. Copyright © 2017 by Liana Gardner. Reproduced with permission from Liana Gardner. All rights reserved.

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Oct 122017
 

The Sullivans Boxed Set Books 1-3 by Bella Andre Tour Banner

The Sullivans Boxed Set Books 1-3
by Bella Andre
on Tour September 1 – October 31, 2017

The Sullivans Boxed Set Books 1-3 by Bella Andre

More than 6 million readers have already fallen in love with the Sullivans! Now get ready to meet your new favorite family in Bella Andre’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romances with the first three books in the #1 hit series.

“Not since Nora Roberts has anyone been able to write a big family romance series with every book as good as the last! Bella Andre never disappoints!” ~ Revolving Bookcase Reviews

THE LOOK OF LOVE

Chloe Peterson is having a bad night. A really bad night. The large bruise on her cheek can attest to that. And when her car skids off the side of a wet country road straight into a ditch, she’s convinced even the gorgeous guy who rescues her in the middle of the rain storm must be too good to be true. Or is he?

As a successful photographer who frequently travels around the world, Chase Sullivan has his pick of beautiful women, and whenever he’s home in San Francisco, one of his seven siblings is usually up for causing a little fun trouble. Chase thinks his life is great just as it is–until the night he finds Chloe and her totaled car on the side of the road in Napa Valley. Not only has he never met anyone so lovely, both inside and out, but he quickly realizes she has much bigger problems than her damaged car. Soon, he is willing to move mountains to love–and protect–her, but will she let him?

FROM THIS MOMENT ON

For thirty-six years, Marcus Sullivan has been the responsible older brother, stepping in to take care of his seven siblings after their father died when they were children. But when the perfectly ordered future he’s planned for himself turns out to be nothing but a lie, Marcus needs one reckless night to shake free from it all.

Nicola Harding is known throughout the world by only one name – Nico – for her catchy, sensual pop songs. Only, what no one knows about the twenty-five year old singer is that her sex-kitten image is totally false. After a terrible betrayal by a man who loved fame far more than he ever loved her, she vows not to let anyone else get close enough to find out who she really is…or hurt her again. Especially not the gorgeous stranger she meets at a nightclub, even though the hunger – and the sinful promises – in his dark eyes make her want to spill all her secrets.

CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE

Gabe Sullivan risks his life every day as a firefighter in San Francisco. But after learning a brutal lesson about professional boundaries, he knows better than to risk his heart to his fire victims ever again. Especially the brave mother and daughter he saved from a deadly apartment fire…and can’t stop thinking about.

Megan Harris knows she owes the heroic firefighter everything for running into a burning building to save her and her seven-year-old daughter. Everything except her heart. Because after losing her navy pilot husband five years ago, she has vowed to never suffer through loving – and losing – a man with a dangerous job again.

**Read my Review and enter the Giveaway HERE**

Author Bio:

Bella Andre

Bella Andre is the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of “The Sullivans”, “The Maverick Billionaires”, “The Morrisons”, and the NYT bestselling “Four Weddings and a Fiasco” sweet romance series written as Lucy Kevin.

Q&A with Bella Andre**

Welcome to CMash Reads
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

Inspiration is everywhere! My friends, my family, my pets, and—of course—my readers all inspire me on a daily basis. <3

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
Each book is different! Sometimes it starts with character, sometimes it starts with story. I work so hard on my stories to make sure they’re emotional and fun and sexy and that they take my readers out of their lives for a little while. I don’t wait for inspiration or a muse to come calling. Fortunately, my favorite thing is writing. In fact, today as I was sniffling over my keyboard during a really emotional scene between my hero and heroine, I was thinking how very happy it made me to be able to write books all day…and to know that I have the best fans in the world waiting to read them!

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I can write anywhere, anytime. I’m a big believer in revising my books until they’re the best they can possibly be, which means that I can sometimes spend as much time rewriting as I do getting the first draft down. It helps to know that there truly are no wasted words.

Is writing your full time job? If not, may I ask what you do by day?
It is! When I first got started, I was simply excited about the chance to write and release the books that my loyal readers had been asking for. I honestly had no idea that everything would go as stupendously well as it did, allowing me to become a full-time author! It’s been a thrilling journey every step of the way, and I absolutely adore meeting so many new readers and fans every single day.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m currently heading toward “The End” on You Do Something To Me, which will be the third book in my New York Sullivans series! Alec Sullivan has become something of a reader favorite (he’s certainly one of my favorite Sullivan heroes) and I can’t wait for everyone to read his book. He’s so romantic!

Who are some of your favorite authors?
There are so many wonderful authors out there, it’s hard to name just a few! Some of my all-time favorites include Barbara Freethy, Tina Folsom, Christie Ridgway, and Jami Alden. They write such sexy, memorable characters, and their books just keep me turning the pages!

What are you reading now?
I’ve been re-reading my favorite Tasmina Perry books this summer. She’s a fantastic UK author and also a wonderful friend!

Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
I would love to see the Sullivans on the big screen! My street team often has casting parties to pick the actors and actresses they think would do the best job portraying the Sullivans. At present, they’ve decided that Chase Sullivan from THE LOOK OF LOVE should be played by Matt Bomer and Marcus Sullivan in FROM THIS MOMENT ON by Joe Manganiello. What do you think? Hopefully we will be able to get the Sullivans made into a movie or TV show soon! And, I do have some exciting news that my Lucy Kevin “Four Weddings and a Fiasco” series has lots of TV/Film interest right now too! I’ll have more news hopefully about that soon!

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
I love taking walks with my husband around the vineyards that surround our neighborhood and holding his hand the whole time. We do this every single day and people in our town have even taken to calling us the “Happy Hiking Couple”. We’re a bit famous for this innocent loving gesture, and I love that!

Favorite meal?
I’ve been really into chick peas this summer! And cashews too. 🙂

Sign up for Bella’s newsletter at www.BellaAndre.com/Newsletter
Visit Bella’s website at www.BellaAndre.com
Follow Bella on twitter at www.twitter.com/bellaandre
Join Bella on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bellaandrefans

Having sold more than 6 million books, Bella Andre’s novels have been #1 bestsellers around the world and have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists 32 times. She has been the #1 Ranked Author at Amazon (on a top 10 list that included Nora Roberts, JK Rowling, James Patterson and Steven King), and Publishers Weekly named Oak Press (the publishing company she created to publish her own books) the Fastest-Growing Independent Publisher in the US. After signing a groundbreaking 7-figure print-only deal with Harlequin MIRA, Bella’s “The Sullivans” series is being released in paperback in the US, Canada, and Australia.

Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly), her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine “Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into ten languages. Winner of the Award of Excellence, The Washington Post called her “One of the top writers in America” and she has been featured by Entertainment Weekly, NPR, USA Today, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and TIME Magazine. A graduate of Stanford University, she has given keynote speeches at publishing conferences from Copenhagen to Berlin to San Francisco, including a standing-room-only keynote at Book Expo America in New York City.

If not behind her computer, you can find her reading her favorite authors, hiking, swimming or laughing. Married with two children, Bella splits her time between the Northern California wine country and a 100-year-old log cabin in the Adirondacks.

Read an excerpt:

THE LOOK OF LOVE

Chase almost missed the flickering light off on the right side of the two-lane country road. In the past thirty minutes, he hadn’t passed a single car, because on a night like this, most sane Californians—who didn’t know the first thing about driving safely in inclement weather—stayed home.

Knowing better than to slam on the brakes—he wouldn’t be able to help whomever was stranded on the side of the road if he ended up stuck in the muddy ditch right next to them—Chase slowed down enough to see that there was definitely a vehicle stuck in the ditch.

He turned his brights on to see better in the pouring rain and realized there was a person walking along the edge of the road about a hundred yards up ahead. Obviously hearing his car approach, she turned to face him and he could see her long wet hair whipping around her shoulders in his headlights.

Wondering why she wasn’t just sitting in her car, dry and warm, calling Triple A and waiting for them to come save her, he pulled over to the edge of his lane and got out to try and help her. She was shivering as she watched him approach.

“Are you hurt?”

She covered her cheek with one hand, but shook her head. “No.”

He had to move closer to hear her over the sound of the water hitting the pavement in what were rapidly becoming hailstones. Even though he’d turned his headlights off, as his eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness, he was able to get a better look at her face.

Something inside of Chase’s chest clenched tight.

Despite the long, dark hair plastered to her head and chest, regardless of the fact that looking like a drowned rat wasn’t too far off the descriptive mark, her beauty stunned him.

In an instant, his photographer’s eye cataloged her features. Her mouth was a little too big, her eyes a little too wide-set on her face. She wasn’t even close to model thin, but given the way her T-shirt and jeans stuck to her skin, he could see that she wore her lush curves well. In the dark he couldn’t judge the exact color of her hair, but it looked like silk, perfectly smooth and straight where it lay over her breasts.

It wasn’t until Chase heard her say, “My car is definitely hurt, though,” that he realized he had completely lost the thread of what he’d come out here to do.

Knowing he’d been drinking her in like he was dying of thirst, he worked to recover his balance. He could already see he’d been right about her car. It didn’t take a mechanic like his brother, Zach, who owned an auto shop—more like forty, but Chase had stopped counting years ago—to see that her shitty hatchback was borderline totaled. Even if the front bumper wasn’t half smashed to pieces by the white farm fence she’d slid into, her bald tires weren’t going to get any traction on the mud. Not tonight, anyway.

If her car had been in a less precarious situation, he probably would have sent her to hang out in her car while he took care of getting it unstuck. But one of her back tires was hanging precariously over the edge of the ditch.

He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “Get in my car. We can wait there for a tow truck.” He was vaguely aware of his words coming out like an order, but the hail was starting to sting, damn it. Both of them needed to get out of the rain before they froze.

But the woman didn’t move. Instead, she gave him a look that said he was a complete and utter nut-job.

“I’m not getting into your car.”

Realizing just how frightening it must be for a lone woman to end up stuck and alone in the middle of a dark road, Chase took a step back from her. He had to speak loudly enough for her to hear him over the hail.

“I’m not going to attack you. I swear I won’t do anything to hurt you.”

She all but flinched at the word attack and Chase’s radar started buzzing. He’d never been a magnet for troubled women, wasn’t the kind of guy who thrived on fixing wounded birds. But living with two sisters for so many years meant he could always tell when something was up.

And something was definitely up with this woman, beyond the fact that her car was half-stuck in a muddy ditch.

Wanting to make her feel safe, he held his hands up. “I swear on my father’s grave, I’m not going to hurt you. It’s okay to get into my car.” When she didn’t immediately say no again, he pressed his advantage with, “I just want to help you.” And he did. More than it made sense to want to help a stranger. “Please,” he said. “Let me help you.”

She stared at him for a long moment, hail hammering between them, around them, onto them. Chase found himself holding his breath, waiting for her decision. It shouldn’t matter to him what she decided.

But, for some strange reason, it did.

**

Excerpt from THE LOOK OF LOVE by Bella Andre. Copyright © 2017 by Bella Andre. Reproduced with permission from Bella Andre. All rights reserved.

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