On Barb’s Bookshelf: This Dread Road

Barb's Book shelf blog title

An intriguing tale of two young women, a generation apart, who must learn to live with the consequences of romantic choices they make–and one man who figures prominently in both their lives. This Dread Road, Olivia Folmar Ard’s latest novel, is the third in the Bennett Series, but it works as a standalone novel (that said, I highly encourage you to read the other books in the series as well! You can get the whole Bennett Series for less than $7 on Kindle.)

Annemarie, a college freshman far from home and the reach of her overbearing mother’s attempts to set her up with every eligible bachelor in the region, falls hard for a man her parents certainly wouldn’t approve of. Her immaturity leads her to handle all of this the wrong way, with results that prove disastrous for her family relationship, her mental health and her love life.

50 years later, that same man mentors Claire, an heiress trying to escape her own mother and her own past.

In this parallel tale, you see young people making bad decisions–often due to immaturity and a lack of communication. Ard’s focus on the two young women, years apart, proves the old adage that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

this-dread-road

Release Date: February 14, 2017
Published by: Three Amigas Press
Genre: Historical Romance, Women’s Fiction

Available from: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Createspace

tdr-quote-3

Click to Tweet

tdr-quote-4

Click to Tweet

Enter to win your copy! a Rafflecopter giveaway

– Summary –

It’s September 1968, and Howard Knox freshman Annemarie Vanderhorst is happy to be free of her controlling mother’s societal expectations. She vows to spend her time at college wisely in pursuit of her own dreams. But before she can figure out what she wants from life, Henry Eden, the dark and handsome stranger in her philosophy class, takes over every waking thought.

Nearly half a century later, Claire James returns to Bennett after leaving her fiancé, determined to be independent for once in her life. After convincing her father to let her work for the family business, she soon realizes being a responsible adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Loathed by her coworkers, neglected by her best friend, and held captive by a terrifying secret, she doesn’t know how much more she can take.

The lives of these two women, decades apart but uncannily similar, finally intersect one fateful night. With broken hearts and hope for the future, will they find the answers they’re looking for?

This Dread Road (The Bennett Series #3)

– About the Author –

Olivia started writing creatively at eight years old. During middle and high school, she attended several writing conferences. Her short story “By Its Cover” placed first in its divisi15800522_10209756472760857_6955444529121609696_oon in the 2008 District III Alabama Penman Creative Writing Contest. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Montevallo in 2012, married in 2013, and published her first novel in 2014. She received a Readers Favorite five-star review for her holiday novella, ‘Tis the Season, in 2016.

Olivia lives in central Alabama with her husband JD and their cats, Buddy and Lafayette. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys watching quality television, teaching herself how to cook, and playing Pokémon GO.

– Connect with the Author –

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Pinterest

– Advance Praise for This Dread Road

review-1

review-2

This post contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchase through these links helps support this blog. Thank you! I was given a free review copy of this book, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

Copyright 2017 Barb Szyszkiewicz

On Barb’s Bookshelf: I Believe You plus GIVEAWAY!

Barb's Book shelf blog title

David Majek and his sons are still finding their way 6 months after his wife was killed by a hit-and-run driver who was never apprehended for the crime. Then strange things start happening: a man in a fedora is watching the house, David’s bank account is drained of funds overnight, and as David struggles to maintain his household, run the family business and untangle these mysteries, details come to light that threaten to tear the family apart.

I don’t usually read suspense novels, preferring fare that is more character-driven. But I found that David Majek’s character was quite well-developed in Jeanne Grunert’s novel I Believe You, and it didn’t take long for me to get drawn into the story. The various mysteries come to be connected in a plausible way, and the pacing was not so fast that you couldn’t get acquainted with the characters.

David runs an investment firm, aided by his more-volatile younger brother Constantine. Irregularities at the company  prove to be a concern, and while some detail was given, there wasn’t too much financial “inside baseball” that would distract from the story.

More than just a thriller, this novel deals with complicated family relationships. David’s youngest son, Eddie, is deaf, and nuances of communication become a problem, especially when it becomes evident that Eddie is hiding something.

It may take some help from beyond the grave to solve the mysteries in this story. Chopin’s Polonaise in F# minor figures prominently in the plot, and the music sets the tone for the novel.

 

Enter to win a copy of I Believe You to read for yourself. The prize is a paperback first edition of the novel. There are errors in the first-edition copies, but they don’t impact the plot, so enjoy the book and consider it a collector’s item.

HOW TO WIN: Leave a comment on this post.

i-believe-you-by-jeanne-grunert

 

Giveaway closes at 11:59 PM on Monday, October 31, and one winner will be chosen by random drawing on Tuesday, November 1. Winner will be contacted via email (so please make sure you check the email you use to comment here!) Winner will have 48 hours to reply to email notification before an alternate winner is chosen.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchase through these links helps support this blog. Thank you! I was given a free review copy of this book, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

Barb's Book shelf blog title

###

This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

On Barb’s Bookshelf: Ornamental Graces

Barb's Book shelf blog title

Released today at Amazon.com: Carolyn Astfalk’s latest romance, Ornamental Graces!

This is no Harlequin/gothic/bodice-ripper/shades-of-grey novel. That’s not Carolyn’s style. Ornamental Graces, like Carolyn’s previous novel, Stay with Me, is a Catholic romance with Theology of the Body underpinning the story.

og-front-cover-final

I’m going to be hosting Carolyn (more accurately, I’ll be hosting some characters from the novel) during her book tour next month. But as a “beta reader” (someone who reads a draft or two of a novel and offers feedback to the author on whether a plot point comes out of the clear blue sky, if something a character says doesn’t sound like something that character would say, if canaries are native to western Pennsylvania or if hemorrhoid cream needs to be mentioned at all–I voted NO on that one), I couldn’t resist telling you a little about the book today, on its “birthday!”

Ornamental Graces tells the story of the on-again, off-again romance between Emily, a young teacher obsessed with all things French, and Dan, whose wounds from a past relationship make him wary of starting over. There are some terrific peripheral characters as well; you’ll want to adopt Grandma. Will Dan be able to finally put his past behind him and open up to new love?

Join the Party!

Author Carolyn Astfalk is hosting a book launch party on Facebook tonight (October 11, 2016) at 7:30 PM Eastern. Everyone is invited; come on over, learn more about this book and some other terrific books by Carolyn’s friends, play some fun party games and even participate in the Selfie Scavenger Hunt! If you want to get a head start on the selfies, here’s the info you need.

Courtesy of Carolyn Astfalk. All rights reserved.
Courtesy of Carolyn Astfalk. All rights reserved.

I look forward to sharing more about this novel during the book tour, and giving you a behind-the-scenes look at some of these great characters! But you don’t have to wait until the book tour to read and enjoy Ornamental Graces.

Barb's Book shelf blog title

###

This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links; your purchase through these links helps support this blog. Thank you! I was given a free review copy of this book, but no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone.

On Barb’s Bookshelf: Nameless

Barb's Book shelf blog title

Did you read Jane Eyre in high school, like I did, and conclude that it’s a snoozer?

That’s not the case with Erin McCole Cupp’s futuristic sendup of the story. It’s divided into three parts, each novel-length on its own (but you definitely need to read the series in order), and reading this series will keep you up at night.

Nameless, the second novel in The Memoirs of Jane E, Friendless Orphan series, releases today!

unnamed-9

As the author indicated when the first book in the series was released, this series is a re-release of a novel written ten years ago. Pay close attention to the technology as you read; more and more of it is a reality now–or will be soon! The e-reader is foreshadowed in this series, smart houses are definitely a thing, and items such as perks rings appear to be coming down the pike.

In Nameless, Jane_E is now employed as a live-in tutor for her employer’s young ward, and works there several weeks before meeting her employer. Once she does, though, sparks begin to fly! As Jane_E is convinced of her own ugliness, awkwardness and unworthiness, she questions Thorne’s motives and doubts his sincerity. Inevitably, romance ensues–but then the mysterious source of strange household events is revealed, and this threatens Jane_E’s integrity as well as her relationship with Thorne.

Author Erin McCole Cupp estimates that the final installment in the series will be released in early December, so you won’t have to wait too long for that cliffhanger to resolve!

Read my review of Unclaimed, the first novel in the series. You need to read that book first anyway!

Barb's Book shelf blog title

###

This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

The fine print: Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. Your purchase through these affiliate links helps to support this website. Thank you! I was given an advance copy of this novel for the purposes of my review, but no other compensation, and all opinions expressed here are mine alone.

On Barb’s Bookshelf: Dying for Revenge by Dr. Barbara Golder Plus a GIVEAWAY!

Barb's Book shelf blog title

Sometimes it pays off to go a little outside your comfort zone when you choose a new book to read. I don’t normally pick up medical thrillers, fearing that they might be too scary and/or gory for me. For that reason, I hesitated a  bit when I was invited to participate in this book tour.

It turns out that I had nothing to worry about when it came to Dr. Barbara Golder’s novel, Dying for Revenge. It’s heavy on the suspense with none of the blood and guts. In other words, it kept me turning pages (and pages and pages), but I was still able to sleep without nightmares and I didn’t lose my appetite.

Dying for Revenge Final Front

I can’t watch shows like CSI on TV, but the detective work connected with forensic pathology is fascinating. In Dying for Revenge, the main character is a pathologist/investigator haunted by her own grief and desire for revenge. There’s much more than a mystery in this thriller; it’s the story of a soul in torment. And I stayed up way too late reading it.

I was happy to learn that there are 10 novels planned for the Lady Doc Murders series (this is the first). I’ll be eagerly awaiting the next installment!

Here’s the synopsis of the novel, courtesy of FQ Publishing: 

Someone is killing the rich and famous residents of Telluride, Colorado, and the medical investigator, Dr. Jane Wallace, is on a collision course with the murderer. Compelled by profound loss and injustice, Jane will risk her own life to protect others from vengeful death, even as she exacts a high price from those who have destroyed her world. Dying for Revenge is a story of love, obsession and forgiveness, seen through the eyes of a passionate, beautiful woman trying to live her life — imperfectly but vibrantly — even if she won’t survive.

Who wants to win a copy of this novel? Simply leave a comment on this post to enter (yes, “Pick me!!!!!” counts!) I’ll leave the giveaway open until 11:59 PM Friday, June 10 and then choose one lucky winner at random. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply with mailing information before forfeiting the prize to a second-choice winner.

Visit the other stops on the Dying for Revenge Virtual Book Tour!

Wednesday, June 1 Ellen Gable Hrkach: Plot Line, and Sinker

Thursday, June 2  Sarah Reinhard: snoringscholar.com/

Friday, June 3, Patrice McArthur: spiritualwomanthoughts.blogspot.com/

Saturday, June 4, A.K. Frailey: akfrailey.com/

Sunday, June 5, Erin McCole Cupp: erinmccolecupp.com

Monday, June 6 Carolyn Astfalk: My Scribbler’s Heart Blog

Tuesday, June 7 Theresa Linden: Things Visible & Invisible

and Jean Heimann: catholicfire.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, June 8 Virginia Lieto: virginialieto.com/

Thursday, June 9 Christopher Blunt: christophercblunt.wordpress.com/

and Michael Seagriff: harvestingthefruitsofcontemplation.blogspot.ca/

Friday, June 10 Therese Heckenkamp: thereseheckenkamp.com/

Saturday, June 11 Plot Line and Sinker, Interview: ellengable.wordpress.com/

The Fine Print: I was provided an advance copy of this novel for the purposes of this review. I received no other compensation. Opinions expressed here are mine alone. Your purchase of this novel through my Amazon affiliate link helps support Franciscanmom.com. Thank you!

On Barb’s Bookshelf: Half Missing

Barb's Book shelf blog title

Amber is an assistant Fire Marshall in a small town, investigating suspected arsons and running from her painful past in her spare time. Her mom, Maureen, redeemed a nightmare birth experience by becoming a licensed midwife. And one day they see a woman on the news who looks and sounds like she could be Amber’s twin.

Caught up against her will in Maureen’s search for the truth, Amber’s investigative skills serve as both a blessing and a curse. Meanwhile, one state away, Katie wonders if there’s any truth to what Maureen and Amber have come to believe: that Katie is Amber’s twin, spirited away at birth by a doctor for a black-market adoption.

With believable characters caught in an awful situation in which the truth isn’t going to set everyone free, Jane Lebak’s novel Half Missing keeps the reader in suspense until the very end. The author is a fabulous storyteller whose attention to detail left me sympathizing with quite a few characters, including Amber, Maureen, Katie and Scott, Amber’s coworker who wishes she’d notice him.

Spend a snowy afternoon reading this novel. It would make a great movie!

Buy this book through my Amazon link to support Franciscanmom.com!

The fine print: I was provided a copy of this novel, but no other compensation, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are mine alone.

On Barb’s Bookshelf: A Single Bead

Barb's Book shelf blog titleAuthor Stephanie Engelman proves that a story doesn’t have to be edgy to be compelling. In the new YA novel, A Single Bead (Pauline Teen, 2016) teenage Kate finds faith in an unlikely way: through the stories of others who have been touched by the prayers of her grandmother, killed in a plane crash a year ago.

A Single Bead by Stephanie EngelmanThe novel opens with Kate’s extended family gathered around the plane-crash site for a memorial service. Needing a moment to get away from the tension and grief, Kate stumbles toward a wooded area where she finds a shiny bead–one from her grandmother’s custom-made rosary that had silver beads with the initials of her loves ones engraved on each. Kate doesn’t find just any bead. She finds the one with her own initials on it.

Kate and her cousins go on to discover that other beads have been found, and that the people who received them have experienced physical or emotional healing. Could it be that her grandmother’s prayers have such a deep effect?

Thus begins a journey of faith for Kate, whose extended family is deeply Catholic but whose own immediate family is less engaged in the faith. But faith is exactly what’s needed, because Kate’s mom has fallen into a deep depression after the plane crash a year ago. Kate hopes that finding other pieces of the rosary will help heal her mom.

This compelling novel is appropriate for students in grades 5 and up and challenges the reader to lay aside the idea that a prayer or a sacramental can be a “magical” thing. It is refreshing to read about an extended family whose life is centered on faith.

Purchase A Single Bead through my Amazon link and support Franciscanmom.com with your purchase!

My review is based on an advance reader copy of the novel, provided by the publisher. I received no compensation for the opinions expressed here.

Monday Recap 11/2/2015

Monday Recap-What I've been writing

At CatholicMom.com

book notesBook Notes: Faith Formation Resources for Special Needs Children. I reviewed two books by CatholicMom.com contributors David and Mercedes Rizzo, who draw on their first-hand experience and share their knowledge with parents and religious educators and show that special-needs children can participate in the sacramental life of the church, and their parents can and must feed their own spiritual needs.

At Cook and Count

STUFFED oreo choc chip cookiesCooking with Kids: Stuffed Chocolate-Chip Cookies. These stuffed cookies are fun for kids to make and a big hit in lunchboxes and at parties. What are your favorite cookie stuffers?

 

 

 

 

chicken pot pie title C

Chicken Pot Pie. Serving a crowd? This chicken pot pie recipe can easily be expanded to feed a dozen. Try a pot pie from scratch and you won’t want those frozen ones in a box ever again.

 

teriyaki salmon (3) c t

 

Meatless Friday: Teriyaki Salmon. This packet-cooking recipe works on the grill as well as in the oven. This is a great way to use those quick-frozen salmon portions, making it a convenient Meatless Friday dinner for those days when you can’t get to the store for fresh fish.

measuring devices (1)c

 

Diabetes Awareness Month: Why Cook and Count. This is primarily a recipe website, but it was born of my need to figure out the carb count of my family recipes so I can feed my child with Type 1 Diabetes and keep him healthy.
Learn the warning signs of T1D.

At Dynamic Women of Faith

Stay with Me coverBook Review: Stay with Me by Carolyn Astfalk. Read my author interview to find out why this is not your typical romance novel–and which characters the author likes the most. You can purchase this novel here.