This is a tribute to my Uncle Wayne Jenkins, who died in Vietnam in 1968, four days before his 21st birthday. He will always be our hero. Below are some photos and some information that I found on the FindAGrave Website.
Specialist Four Wayne Daniel Jenkins was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Army Selective Service and a Draftee, SP4 Jenkins served our country until September 12th, 1968 in Bing Long, South Vietnam. He was 20 years old and was not married. It was reported that Wayne died from small arms fire or grenade. His body was recovered. Wayne was born on September 16th, 1947 in Bryson City, North Carolina. SP4 Jenkins is on panel 44W, line 038 of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. He served our country for one year.
Sp4 Jenkins, this is in remembrance of you and the members of your squad who were ambushed on September 12, 1968, while on reconnaissance 5 kilometers Northeast of Loc Ninh, Binh Long Province, Vietnam. That day was a long and sad day for Alpha Company, 1st Battalion 28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. You will never be forgotten. Niner One.
Once again, it’s time to feature a great self-published book. I really enjoy this feature because it helps independent authors with the monumental task of promoting their books. If you decide to read this book, please write a review and post it on Amazon, Goodreads, and other sites where you talk about books. This helps authors so much. I can’t stress that enough. Your review makes a difference.
Today’s book is the first in a series that captivated me from the beginning, The Hamelin Stoop series by Robert B. Sloan. In fact, I have been known to drop everything and ignore my giant TBR list in order to read the next installment. See the review below.
BOOK REVIEW: THE EAGLE, THE CAVE, AND THE FOOTBRIDGE
Hamelin Stoop is an exciting young adult/middle grade fantasy adventure series in the vein of the Chronicles of Narnia and even Harry Potter.
In The Eagle, The Cave, and The Footbridge, Hamelin’s mother Johnnie is on the run from evil trackers, so she places him, still a little baby, on the stoop of an orphanage in a tomato box. One of the only legible words in the note she left was “Hamelin,” and since he was found on the stoop, he was named Hamelin Stoop by the orphanage staff.
Upset and frustrated, Hamelin runs away from the orphanage when he is 8 years old. That’s when strange things begin happening. He is drawn to a cave by a talking eagle, and then he begins to learn more about his parents and his true purpose. There is a related story about three princesses in another land as Sloan begins to weave this tale together.
This is a “good vs. evil” adventure series which drew me in immediately, and I am always excited to see the next book. This book has everything–talking creatures, evil overlords, distant lands, and lost princesses. So far, there are three books, and I’m anxiously awaiting the fourth. I see definite nods to C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, which is always a good thing. I would recommend this to anyone over 10 years old who enjoys fantasy, adventure, and good vs. evil stories. As C.S. Lewis said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” And this is a great children’s story that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
I received a free digital copy from Booksirens. My opinions are voluntary and are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Robert B. Sloan is President of Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas. He is also a former President of Baylor University. Dr. Sloan and his wife Sue have seven adult children and more than 20 young grandchildren. He is an author, communicator, educator, and leader—all hats he has worn many times for a variety of reasons. These four areas represent life experiences that have provided him and his family with many memories. It is in the experiences of life that memories are made and lives are shaped.
Robert Sloan has a passion for Christian higher education and the spiritual formation of young people for the glory of God, which can be seen in both his professional and personal life.
This was another book I reviewed for the May issue of Historical Novels Review, and it was also an Editor’s Choice.
Scotland, present day. Reporter Ava is working on a story about Overtoun Bridge, outside Overtoun House in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Over the years, at least fifty dogs have jumped to their deaths from the bridge. Legends describe Overtoun Bridge as a “thin place,” where the boundary between Heaven and Earth is very thin. The locals will not cooperate, so Ava, pregnant with her first child, begins to investigate. Ava is also trying to get medical history from her mother, who was adopted, but she is uncooperative.
In 1929 England, Marion meets Hamish at a tea dance at the Savoy Hotel. She is swept quickly into marriage and is soon living in the huge and mostly unused Overtoun House in Scotland, sometimes visited by a very absent husband who has little love to share with her.
In 1949 in Scotland, Constance is confined to her room by her mother because she is very ill. Her mother and the doctor are the only people she sees, and she longs for contact with the outside world. When her mother brings her a puppy, some joy comes into her life.
This is a captivating but chilling historical mystery which combines the very real Overtoun house with fictional characters to create an intriguing story. The reports of dogs jumping to their deaths from Overtoun Bridge are heartbreaking but true facts that are spun into this fascinating mystery. The characters are well developed, and their connections begin to come alive. Overtoun House itself becomes a character, alternating between telling secrets and refusing to give them up. The bridge seems to live and breathe, hoping to lure captors to their deaths. This is a spellbinding novel that I highly recommend to those who enjoy historical mysteries with a touch of the paranormal.
I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Historical Novels Review. My review is voluntary.
NOTE: The mystery of dogs jumping off of the Overtoun Bridge is very real. At least 300, if not more, dogs have inexplicably jumped off the bridge. At least 50 of them have died. If you would like to read more about this mystery, check out this link.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.D.Major is the pen name of Cesca Major – a novelist and screenwriter.
Cesca has always been fascinated by mysteries from the recent past.
Her book THE OTHER GIRL was a number 1 Amazon Bestseller and longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award in 2021. It’s a historical thriller perfect for members of a book club. Set in an asylum in 1940s New Zealand it is inspired by the strange phenomenon of children claiming to have past life memories. Her latest book, set in the present day, THE THIN PLACE is based around the sinister happenings at Overtoun Bridge in Scotland – a place where dogs have been known to leap to their deaths.
Cesca has presented shows for ITV West and Sky Channels in the past. She enjoys hosting or speaking on festival panels and films vlogs about the writing process. She runs writing retreats twice a year in the West Country and teaches creative writing courses for the Henley School of Art. She writes uplifting books under her own name and the pseudonym Rosie Blake, and currently has an original TV series in development. Cesca lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and twin girls.
She loves to hear from readers so please feel free to send her a message over at Twitter or Instagram.
This is a great combination of both dystopian and historical fiction, as it is really 1994 and the Kingdom of Choson is, of course, North Korea, and the Great General is their leader at the time, Kim Il Sung. This is not just about an evil Communist dictatorship, although much is exposed. It is about the great resentment Areum feels towards her parents and sister and the fact that she doesn’t feel a part of her own family. Her resentment is shocking at times and is so well described.
The descriptions of the horrible treatment of the citizens of the “Kingdom of Choson” and the way that evil actions are portrayed as good things is heartbreaking. Adria Carmichael paints a vivid picture of a society filled with fear, and leaders who look on those in their charge as less than nothing. Through it all runs the concept of Juche, a North Korean version of communism/totalitarianism as invented by Kim Il Sung. Carmichael takes us to a society that tells its people how great it is while they starve and murder them. Her idea to present North Korea as the setting of a dystopian novel is a good one, because it really is a dystopian society right here on Earth. The story is riveting from start to finish. This is a great debut novel from the very talented Adria Carmichael.
1776. Addie’s world has changed beyond recognition. From her privileged position amongst Boston’s elite, she has embraced a dangerous new life with the American Revolutionary Army. While childhood sweetheart Silas risks all on the front lines, Addie waits anxiously for news. And when Silas does not return from the Battle of Monmouth, her worst fears come true.
Without thinking, Addie takes a horse and scours the now-calm battlefield for Silas, until word arrives that he has been captured by the British. And worse, by the troop of Scottish Highlanders led by the brooding general John Traverne. Addie hasn’t seen the powerfully built Loyalist soldier since she chose the Revolutionary cause over her own heart, and hearing his name sends butterflies to her stomach, even as she is filled with worry for Silas.
Disregarding her own safety, Addie leaves Washington’s camp and travels deep into enemy territory, determined to bring Silas home. But when she comes face to face with John Traverne once more, the feelings she has tried so hard to bury resurface and she must choose between the man she has pledged her life to, and the man whose dark eyes haunt her dreams. When Addie finally returns to her own camp, she carries a secret that could cost her everything she has fought for…
The second part of the spellbinding, emotional trilogy about enduring love and heartbreaking secrets amidst the birth of America. Readers who adored My Dear Hamilton and Flight of the Sparrow will love America’s Wife.
BOOK REVIEW: Bonnie Reads and Writes
This is a gripping, spellbinding and endearing historical romance that transports you to George Washington’s headquarters and then into enemy territory during the American Revolution. The people, the conflict, and the landscapes are so well described. The romances in this book are complex and heartbreaking. This story will grab your attention and it won’t let go. This is the second book in the America’s Daughter trilogy and the second one I’ve read by De Blasis, who was taken from us too soon in 2001.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author Bio: Millions of readers have fallen under the spell of the lush, enthralling and bestselling novels by Celeste De Blasis. Tales of adventure and romance set against the sweep of history—all are storytelling at its finest. After graduating from Pomona College, Celeste devoted her life to impeccable research and spellbinding writing. A native Californian, Celeste grew up on the historic Kemper Campbell Ranch in the Mojave Desert, where she lived until her death in 2001.
Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady is the 8th book in the Amanda Travels series by Darlene Foster. It can be read as a standalone. In this adventure, Amanda gets a postcard from her best friend Leah, and is surprised to learn Leah is visiting her aunt in Malta. Amanda gets the feeling that something is not quite right, so she travels to Malta with her friend Caleb and his parents, determined to find out if Leah is okay.
This is a delightful book that shares the customs, culture, geography, and history of Malta with Middle Grade readers. At the same time, mysteries are provided for them to solve. Amanda, Leah, and Caleb are on the case, trying to determine who is killing protected birds and what has happened to the famous statue of The Sleeping Lady. Amanda visits many popular sites in Malta, such as Popeye Village, museums, and a falconry. The book is engaging, well written, and full of interesting information. Children and adults will be captivated by the travel adventures of Amanda and her friends. I would recommend the whole series to middle graders and above, as this is a fun way for everyone to learn about different locations in the world.
I received a free copy of this book from the publishers. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series about a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers from seven to seventy enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. A world traveller herself, Darlene spends her time in Vancouver, Canada and the Costa Blanca, in Spain.
Self-published Saturday is my weekly feature where I showcase a self-published author, provide a review, and include links to buy the book. As I’ve said before, self-published authors have to write, edit, and market their book, arrange for cover design, and more. They have to do it all, and they appreciate reviews so much. If you decide to read this book today, be sure to put up a review. They are so important to authors. My selection for Self-Published Saturday this week is a Young Adult Time Travel novel Arriving Through Time by Heather L. Barksdale.
Lizzie has been through a family tragedy and is having a tough time, but she is supported by her two best friends, Sam and Jeremy. They are currently navigating high school life and dealing with bullies Gary and Tiffany. Then a class project has Lizzie wondering about her ancestors, and a school trip ends with the three friends hurtling through time, along with their bullies and Lizzie’s secret crush. Although at first it appears to be a freak occurrence, the time travel seems very designed, as all of the teens begin to meet long dead ancestors.
What I loved about this story is that it combined time travel fiction and genealogy, two of my favorite pastimes, and it did this in a clever way. A class project and a DNA test have brought questions about Lizzie’s ancestors to the surface, and unexpected time travel gives her a chance to get answers. This book reminds us that our ancestors were living, breathing, people, not just names on a family tree. They blazed the way for us, good and bad, and everything they did enabled us to be alive today. We also learn something along the way as we visit people and places that are important to American history.
I loved the way time took the six travelers to locations that were pertinent to all of them and their ancestors and gave them both answers and surprises. I have found those kinds of surprises in my own genealogy research.
If you are a fan of young adult novels, time travel, genealogical research, and/or historical fiction, you will enjoy this book. I received a free copy of this book from the author. I also picked up a copy on Amazon, where Kindle Unlimited members can read it for free. My review is voluntary.
Remember if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read this book for free. Just click the link above. Remember to leave a review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Heather L. Barksdale has been a physical therapist, a researcher, a military brat, and now a novelist. She has also traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia seeking adventure. She is an avid fan of historical fiction and calls upon her adventures as inspiration for her stories. She and her husband share their home in Jacksonville, Florida where she enjoys snuggling with her cats and rooting for the Jaguars.
I reviewed Man on the Isle of Jura for the May edition of Historical Novels Review magazine, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. As the final part of the process, reviewers are given a list of books (with descriptions) to choose from. This one jumped out at me because: √Time Travel, √Historical Fiction √Magical Realism. Those who have been following this blog know that historical fiction with a time travel sub-genre is my favorite thing to read. Throw in magical realism and I am definitely hooked. My review is below. There is also a link at the bottom of the page to an interview (Q&A) of me on Tom Maremaa’s website. Check it out! This time he was the one asking the questions. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Christopher Reed is with his family in an SUV in California when a devastating earthquake hits. His wife and daughter are killed and Christopher plunges into the Pacific Ocean. However, before he knows it, he is drowning in the Atlantic ocean on the Isle of Jura outside of Scotland, 1948. The village Christopher arrives in on the Isle of Jura is like many villages may have been in 1948–except some of its inhabitants are telepathic and some can see the future. Jack Wilson, who rescues Christopher from the ocean, can do both. Jack soon joins Christopher on an important mission to make sure a world-changing book (George Orwell’s 1984) is published, despite operatives from another timeline trying to erase it from existence. This is the second book in the “Of Gods, Royals, and Superman” series. It can be read as a standalone.
This interesting book combines historical fiction with time travel and magical realism in a most unique way. The extrasensory abilities of the villagers, time portals in 1948, and mythical creatures all make sense in this extraordinary novel that reminds us of the importance of great literary works and the magnitude of their impact on history. The characters are well developed and the action flows from one fantastical event to another. Fans of literature, time travel and magical realism will enjoy this historical nod to an important novel.
I received a free copy of this book via Historical Novels Review Magazine. My opinions are my own.
Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the book for free on Amazon.
As always be sure and post a review if you decide to read this book. Reviews are so important to authors.
Tom Maremaa is the author of twelve novels, most recently Man on the Isle of Jura and Reynkaviik. His novel METAL HEADS from Kunati Books was nominated by the American Library Association (ALA) as one of the Notable Books of 2009. He has also authored short fiction, plays, and works of non-fiction. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he studied languages, literature and philosophy at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and worked on his Ph.D in comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley. He lives with his wife in Silicon Valley, California, and works as a software engineer in the Valley. He travels widely to learn about and understand as many cultures and languages as he can.
Ryland Grace wakes up to find himself hurtling through space, his crewmates dead. He is the only one left who can save humanity from extinction. But right now he cannot remember his name or his mission. Will he be able to save Earth alone? Will he have to?
This is a very well written, riveting story by Andy Weir. I was captivated immediately, even during complicated scientific explanations that somehow became an intriguing part of the story. The gravity of the situation doesn’t hit you at first, but slowly Weir draws you in as Ryland gains more and more awareness. The addition of another character leaves you on the edge of your seat as the fate of Earth hangs in the balance. The conclusion is satisfying in itself, but makes you wonder if there is more to come.
I truly feel that Andy Weir is becoming an absolute Science Fiction genius for the 21st Century, much like Heinlein and Asimov were for the 20th Century. With successes like The Martian, Artemis, and now Project Hail Mary, he is well on his way.
I received a free copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andy Weir built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail. He lives in California.
Shelby Tebow goes missing while out on a run. Soon after, a mother, Meredith, is found dead and her daughter Delilah has disappeared. Eleven years later, a young girl escapes from a basement prison. Who is she? Does it all tie together?
This is a heartrending thriller by Mary Kubica. It is full of twists and turns and will keep you guessing until the end. The story is told from several points of view, which can be unsettling at times. There are some occurrences which seem a little unrealistic, but overall this is a riveting, captivating story. Three and a half stars, rounded up to four on sites with no half-star option.
I received a free copy of this book from Harlequin (Park Row Books) via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many novels. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in History and American Literature. Mary lives outside of Chicago with her husband and two children