Sunday, September 24, 2023

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Eternity Gate by Katherine Briggs

About the Book

Book: The Eternity Gate

Author: Katherine Briggs

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release Date: September 12, 2023

Destroy the key. Save her people and herself.

The Eternity Gate is found, and kings and monsters battle over its legends of treasure. But rumors whisper that someone stole the gate’s ancient key.

Seyo, handmaiden to the princess, keeps three secrets. First, she’s gifted in fire, not light, and may as well be cursed. Second, she translates a prophecy warning that the gate does not offer treasure but judgment. Third, Jorai, the scorned prince and Seyo’s confidant, entrusts her with the key and disappears.

Surrounded by war, Seyo and her companions embark on a journey to seek help from a faraway empire and find Jorai, unaware of the trap awaiting them. But what should Seyo do with the key? Who can survive judgment, especially someone as flawed as her? Will hiding the key—or destroying it—save her people or ensure their defeat?


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Katherine Briggs crafted her first monster story at age three. Since graduating from crayons to laptop, she continues to devour and weave fantasy tales while enjoying oolong or chai tea. Katherine, her coadventurer husband, and rescue dog reside outside Houston, where she classically educates amazing middle school students, teaches ESL to adults, and studies other languages.


More from Katherine

Hello friend,


Journey. Friendship. Choices. Do these three words resonate with—even haunt—you too?


As I mature, I see my life and those of others’ as a journey. Aren’t you glad that, through Jesus, it’s leading somewhere amazing, and that the twists and turns have a purpose?


Believing thought leaders look at trends in current culture and diagnose that we’ve forgotten how to be a friend. What ingredients make a strong friendship? A listening ear? Sacrifice? Loyalty? Speaking truth in love? Encouragement? Are you honored to participate in an “unlikely friendship,” meaning someone who is different from you?


I’m sure you’ve faced many choices, even those of the impossible variety. Are you facing such a choice right now? Can you remember a past impossible choice and the light, albeit hard to see, that was always shining through?


Seyo, the main character in my debut YA fantasy The Eternity Gate, can relate. Even though she hides that she inherited the wrong gifting, her enemy’s gifting, she embarks on a journey across dangerous lands to save her country, despite feeling unworthy. She travels with friends and makes some surprising new ones. Along the way, she’s faced with unfathomable choices that will determine the fate of her home. Choices much too big for her shoulders, but that’s because she, like us, has Someone far more powerful helping her.


I encourage you to grab a tasty, warm drink. Since it’s autumn, I suggest The Republic of Tea’s pumpkin spice latte, and you can click here to grab the recipe. Sit back, relax, and remember:


  • What part of your journey has made you stronger?
  • Is there a friend you can reach out to with an encouraging word?
  • Small actions change the world. Don’t give up.


Sip your cozy drink and please enjoy Seyo’s journey. I hope The Eternity Gate invites you into a grand adventure.



Katherine Briggs

Blog Stops

Bliss, Books & Jewels, September 21 (Author Interview)

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 21

Texas Book-aholic, September 22

Through the Fire Blogs, September 23 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 24

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 25

Artistic Nobody, September 26 (Author Interview)

Madi’s Musings, September 26

The Book Club Network, September 27

Guild Master, September 28 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 29

Blogging With Carol, September 30

Labor Not in Vain, October 1

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 2 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 3

Simple Harvest Reads, October 4 (Guest Review from Mindy)


To celebrate her tour, Katherine is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card and one hardcover copy of The Eternity Gate!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

My Review

The Eternity Gate begins The Threshold Duology by Katherine Briggs. Even though I am not a huge fan of the fantasy genre. However, I thought this was a good read. I was interested in Seyo’s story. It was not one that was easy for me to predict and kept me wanting to know what else could happen next. It was a nice change to go to a whole new world and going on this adventure with her. 

I am giving The Eternity Gate four stars. I recommend it for readers who enjoy reading clean fantasy fiction. I am interested in finding out what happens next from The Threshold Duology and seeing what Katherine Briggs has in store with her characters. 

I received a copy of Katherine Briggs’ The Eternity Gate from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion. 

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Battered and Torn by Allison Pearl

About the Book

Battered & Torn

Author: Allison Pearl

Genre: Faith-Based Romantic Suspense

Release Date: February 6, 2023

As just another staff member in the mansion of billionaire Archie Hamilton, Nora’s finally found a place to hide from her murderous family. But when the handsome bigshot asks her out on a date, she worries Archie’s interest—no matter how thrilling—will blow her cover and shoot up a flare for those hunting her. And if she can’t squash his crush, only God will be able to keep him out of danger.

When Archie turned in his scalpel to run the family business, life became too busy to go home and deal with his grief. But when he discovers a suspicious hire at his ancestral estate, he’s forced to confront the situation as well as his anger at God for taking not only his family, but his dreams. Despite his objections, his grandmother is determined to keep Nora on staff, but that isn’t going to stop him investigating her on his own—no matter how attractive he finds her. But the more he digs, the more questions he has.

Drawn to Nora again and again, Archie wonders if she’ll help lead him back to the truth or get him killed. Is trusting a beautiful stranger worth the risk to his family, his life, and his heart? And when Nora’s past catches up with them, will anyone be left alive?


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Allison Pearl is a small-town girl who’s lived just about everywhere. She loves books, tea, chocolate, and watching old movies with her husband and furbabies. To keep in touch and get updates on new releases visit or follow her Facebook page ‘Books by Pearl’ at, on Twitter at @AllisonPearl5, and on Instagram at @allisonnicolepearl.


More from Allison

We’ve all fantasized about running away and starting over. Maybe it’s to some gem of a small town or a thrilling big city, but who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to leave our history, our anxieties, and our problems behind and trade them in for something fairytale-worthy and new? Nora didn’t just dream about starting over, she did. But did she run far enough? The nightmares that haunt her at night say otherwise, leading her to wonder Can we ever really start over or do our fears just lie in wait?


Nora’s written her own fairytale, but will her murderous family steal the happy ending? Find out the truth by getting your copy of BATTERED & TORN!

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 20

Texas Book-aholic, September 21

Gina Holder, September 22 (Author Interview)

The Lit Lady, September 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 23

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 24

Lily’s Book Reviews, September 25

Splashes of Joy, September 26 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 27

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, September 28

The Book Club Network, September 29

Beauty in the Binding, September 30 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, September 30

For Him and My Family, October 1

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 2

Through the Fire Blogs, October 3 (Author Interview)


To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

My Review

Battered and Torn is the forth installment from Allison Pearl’s Love and Danger in St. Claire series. Even though it is part of a series, I believe it can easily be read as a stand alone. I really enjoyed reading Nora and Archie’s story. I found it to be fun and entertaining that was full of adventure, suspense, romance, and mystery. I never knew what would happen from scene to scene. I thought it was great.

Battered and Torn will be getting five stars. I highly recommend it for readers who love to read romantic suspense. I would love to read the other books from Love and Danger in St. Claire series to see what other events happened previously. 

I received a digital copy of Allison Pearl’s Battered and Torn from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion. 

Friday, September 22, 2023

Blog Tour and Giveaway: On the Rails: The Adventures of Boxcar Bertie by Rosemary and Larry Mild

On the Rails by Rosemary and Larry Mild

On the Rails: The Adventures of Boxcar Bertie 
by Rosemary and Larry Mild 
Publisher: Magic Island Literary Works (July 1, 2023) 
Category: Historical Fiction 
Tour Dates August 21-Sept 22, 2023 
ISBN: 978-099054724 
Available in Print and ebook, 
230 pages 
On The Rails

Description On the Rails by Rosemary and Larry Mild

What’s a woman to do? Bertie Patchet has just graduated from college in New Haven, Connecticut, to become a grammar school teacher. But the year is 1936, and the country is deep in the throes of The Great Depression. Securing employment is nearly impossible for everyone, let alone a single inexperienced female. Going home is an ugly option to be avoided. Bertie absolutely must get away, but travel without an income? Forget it! Bertie dresses like a man and turns to hopping railway boxcars to make her escape to better opportunities. A female hobo? Unheard of! It’s a man’s world, so how can she maneuver in this male atmosphere fraught with risk, danger, and loss? Will she ever find a teaching job? And will she dare to find romance in the bargain? A charming new novel with an unforgettable protagonist, a setting to die for, and a mesmerizing plotline, On the Rails is on track to become another beloved tale by dynamic husband-and-wife duo Rosemary and Larry Mild.

Praise for Rosemary and Larry Mild

Reviews for Cry 'Ohana: Winner of the Readers Favorite, 2011 Award "I was hooked from the very first page. The chapters are short but there is plenty of suspense, intrigue, blackmail and betrayal. The characters are very easy to connect with. The descriptions of Hawaii are excellent. Adventure and suspense make this, a book you won't want to miss."-Readers Favorite, for Cry 'Ohana “The beautiful setting, engaging characters, and lively plot combine to bring readers a story that is literally difficult to put down. The novel deftly moves between the characters and their stories concluding with a satisfying finish. It is an engaging story of tragedy, hope, and unconditional love."- Mystery Books Site, Reviewed by Edie Dykeman, BellaOnline's Mystery Books Editor, for Cry 'Ohana "Shame can tear families apart, and murder can obliterate them. Cry Ohana: Adventure and Suspense in Hawaii tells the story of a Hawaiian family who through a string of tragedies finds their family torn apart. But when the need to find justice, the family struggles to reunite. A story of family and reunion for the betterment of it all, and dedicated to Hawaiian culture, Cry Ohana is a choice pick, highly recommended."- Midwest Book Review Reviews for Death Rules the Night: “Death Rules the Night will appeal to mystery readers who hold special affection for bookstores and detective stories. It tells of truck driver Tom Dwyer, whose life is derailed when fellow driver trainee Frank and he flee a hit-and-run accident that threatens their careers. Readers who anticipate a fairly straightforward progression of events from here should be advised that Death Rules the Night chooses no easy or predictable paths. A myriad of characters are introduced, whose lives and choices feed into the main event. The blend of literary review and community inspection added to the growing mystery's components will delight mystery fans who like their stories multifaceted and unpredictable. Death Rules the Night's lively inspections of death, marriage, threats, and redemption makes it a standout especially recommended for mystery genre readers who like their stories realistic, engaging, and full of surprises as they move into the big secret Muddy Akins is determined to keep against all odds and prying.”-Midwest Book Review “It is not often that a reader picks up a book and gets sucked into the story from the very beginning and held in that trance until the very end. Death Rules the Night is one of those books. Death Rules the Night has a vibe very much similar to my favorite childhood game of Clue. The buildings are historic, the characters quirky, and all under a fog of mystery. There are so many characters and storylines that one would think it would be hard to keep up with who said what and who did what. But that is not the case in this book. The authors do a wonderful job of setting up the reader by giving a list of characters with their descriptions in the book for easy reference. The mystery writer’s club is also very interesting in that the authors give the "writers" in the group a chance to share their work. The reader gets tidbits of a few different mysteries this way. Of course, one of those mysteries is Tom’s story! So very intricately planned. From the little details to the big ones, Death Rules the Night hits all of the important points needed in a successful whodunnit book.–– Kristi Elizabeth, Seattle Book Review

About Rosemary and Larry Mild

On the Rails by Rosemary and Larry Mild

Rosemary and Larry Mild coauthored the Dan & Rivka Sherman Mysteries; the Paco and the Molly Mysteries; Hawaii adventure/thrillers Cry Ohana and Honolulu Heat; and four volumes of short stories, including their new one, Charlie and the Magic Jug and Other Stories. Many of their stories appear in anthologies. The Milds, a happy husband-and-wife team, make their home in Honolulu, where they cherish time with their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. Website:


Chapter 1

Bertie’s Homecoming

POVERTY, UNEMPLOYMENT, RAMPANT CRIME, and economic discord held a major stranglehold on the nation in the year 1936. Historians labeled the surrounding years the Great Depression. Only an unencumbered fortunate few escaped its tentacles. A number of individuals even chose to end it all, choosing death as an escape from the pain of life without privilege. Some took unfair advantage of the existing conditions, grabbing what they could illegally. Many took to the bottle, drowning and blurring away all their afflictions. Others shrank back, absorbing the punishment, depending on only The Almighty’s intervention to save their ragged butts. The gallant mainstream fought back, doing with less, relying on their ingenuity, diligence, grit, and plain hard work, if they could find it, to bolster their strained existence. Bertie Patchet was just one young woman caught up in that horrific maelstrom. 

Bertie Patchet grew up in a blue-collar family in the Hill section of New Haven, Connecticut. At age twenty-four, she was on the tall side—five-foot-ten and a solid 160 pounds, with a squarish, handsome face that looked almost manly. But make no mistake, this urban tomboy was all woman inside and out. A natural athlete, she excelled in any sport permitted to her gender. She had an appealing carefree look, with bobbed auburn hair that curled around her chin, eyes more hazel than the nut of the same name, and orange-brown freckles galore. 

With the help of her mentoring high-school teacher, Bertie had won a three-year scholarship to Central Connecticut State Normal School to become a teacher. As a scholarship recipient, she was able to find part-time work in the school cafeteria. This job didn’t pay all that much, but it did cover her expenses and gave her a bit left over. She took advantage of that free schooling and employment to become an independent soul—or so she thought—for the first time in her life. 

Bertie graduated with honors in June of 1936. On Graduation Day she headed home to an alcoholic mother and an abusive, sporadically employed stepfather. These were the nightmares she had intended to flee from ever since she was old enough to consider escape. But with her meager funds, where else could she turn but homeward? 

The Great Depression began in 1929 and still held its ironclad grip on the nation. A woman with a bachelor’s sheepskin couldn’t necessarily find employment in dire times like these. A man would find it almost as difficult, but with more choices. So many occupations were closed to females by virtue of the existing culture of the times. Bertie’s cherished independence now faced new challenges. 

* * * *

The ramshackle flatbed tobacco truck rumbled down the Berlin Turnpike toward the city of New Haven. Abe Merrill, the driver, was an elderly tobacco farmer. Clad in blue riveted bib overalls and a woven straw hat, he had kindly picked up a lone hitchhiker on the outskirts of New Britain. The widowed farmer craved a little company along the lonely road that wandered through broad fields wafting a pungent mix of cow manure and sun-drying tobacco leaves.

Abe’s passenger, Bertie Patchet, sat next to the farmer in the doorless cab to his truck. Wearing a seersucker jumper over a white blouse, she attempted to chat with him as he made his way into the city, but his humble conversation was limited. She cringed a bit but hid her feelings while Abe complained about the drawn-out death of his wife a year earlier and the nasty pests that ate holes in his precious tobacco leaves. Mostly, though, he talked about the penny postcards from his twenty-something son who told of his adventures riding boxcars across the country. His son’s exploits as a hobo mildly interested her. She had heard that a hobo was a homeless person who willingly traveled to find work; whereas a bum was a beggar adverse to working. 

The flatbed truck slowed, left the pike in Westville for Whalley Avenue, and followed it all the way to Church Street in downtown New Haven. Abe coaxed the truck toward the railroad station and the loading docks nearby. They had reached the end of the line for Bertie. After her hearty thank-you and goodbye, she began the long walk up the hill from the station to the Patchet house. Or was it the Stoltz house now that her mom had married Frederick Stoltz? 

The downstairs two-bedroom apartment in that gray, two-story house was the only place she had ever called home. She considered “home” to be the place of her birth and early years, the time with her real father, who died from pneumonia just before her fourteenth birthday. To steer clear of her hateful stepfather, Bertie used every excuse possible to avoid going home on weekends and school holidays. She missed her mother, or rather the woman Zelda Patchet once meant to her. Zelda was no longer the mother she knew, but an automaton subservient to the will of her husband. 

After three years without showing up at their doorstep, Bertie wondered what kind of reception she would receive. Yes, she had sent postcards, and even phoned her mother birthday wishes, but scarcely anything else. 

Bertie stopped out front at the great oak tree. Its invasive but tolerated roots had torn up the cement sidewalk in exchange for yielding abundant shade. She gazed at the house. The paint’s faded and peeling now, and some roof shingles need to be replaced. I wonder about Mom and Fred, if the two of them have changed for the better. Oh well, I can hope, can’t I? She climbed the six worn steps to the door and tried her key. It went in, but her key didn’t turn—a subtle unwelcoming message. Pressing the doorbell, she heard the dull ringing inside, then the sound of footsteps. The door swung open to reveal her weighty, barefoot stepfather in suspenders draped over a shabby tank shirt and unpressed pants. A bewildered look hung on his roundish face, as well as several days’ growth of graying beard stubble. 

“Well, look who decided to come home to roost.” 

“Hello,” Bertie said weakly, as she stepped across the threshold and left her one suitcase by the door. 

Fred reached out to embrace her, but Bertie shuddered and sidestepped his arms in a well-practiced maneuver. His perplexed, hurt look turned to a stiff smile as she slipped past him. 

He yelled, “Hey, Zelda. You’ll never guess who’s showed up at our doorstep, hon. It’s your long-lost lovin’ daughter.” 

“Bertie, Bertie, oh my Bertie,” Zelda called from the kitchen. Mother and daughter rushed to meet in full embrace in the middle of the dining room. “Let me look at you, darlin’.” Her hands went to Bertie’s shoulders and held her at arms’ length. “You look so filled-out and elegant. I missed you terribly, dear.” 

“Momma,” said Bertie. “I graduated Normal School. I’m a full-fledged teacher now and I have my sheepskin to prove it. Now I can earn my own way.” 

But Zelda Stoltz seemed disinterested; her mind was not on her daughter’s accomplishments. She licked her lips and swallowed repeatedly as though there was a thirst needing to be quenched. But a mere thirst couldn’t describe the alcohol addiction she had fallen into. 

Stepping back, Bertie gave a searching once-over to her mother’s degraded appearance—mousy brown hair in tangles, surely from weeks of neglect, dark rings beneath tired gray eyes, and the faded, grimy housecoat. 

“What’s wrong, Momma? Why are you neglecting yourself? You’re unhappy. You’ve been drinking again!” 

“Things ain’t been so good for us lately, dear,” said Zelda Patchet Stoltz. “Yeah, I take a drop of medicine now and then.” 

“Oh, Momma,” said Bertie with watering eyes. “You’re still boozing it up?” 

“It helps when things ain’t right,” moaned Zelda, “so I cover it all up with a bit of tasty gin or rye or whatever is left in the house.” 

Bertie’s eyes darted about. “You know it will be the end of you yet. But why are you living this way? The house is filthy, and you both look like hell.” 

“My Fred, he lost his job and can’t find work anyplace. And I ain’t so young any more. I know there ain’t anything out there for me neither.” 

“Never mind you. Does he even look?” asked Bertie. 

“He did for a while, but there’s no use, so he gave up months ago,” said Zelda. “You have no idea what it’s like out there.” 

“I haven’t exactly been hiding in a paper bag, you know. I’m aware of what’s going on in the world. Fred should clean himself up and continue looking. It isn’t fair to you.” 

“It’s none of your goddamn business what I do or don’t do, missy,” grunted Fred, eavesdropping from the kitchen. 

“It sure is when it affects my momma,” said Bertie. “But I’m not going to stand here and argue with you. All I want to do is make sure she’s okay.” 

“Screw you,” he mumbled under his breath. 

Bertie spent the rest of the day doing chores: cleaning house, doing laundry, and making a trip to Pegnatarro’s Grocery around the corner, so the icebox might yield something edible for supper. Putting the food away in the lower chamber, she recalled the icemen in rubber aprons, carrying monster ice cubes with huge scissoring tongs and depositing them in the upper chamber of the icebox. At Pegnatarro’s she spent nearly all her personal cash out of her last pay envelope from the cafeteria job. The only things she bought for herself were three five-cent Baby Ruth candy bars. 

While housecleaning, she came across her old camping backpack and a short camping hatchet with its hammerhead and cutting edge. Bertie deposited them next to her bed. 

At suppertime she scrambled eggs and made toast for each of them. A hostile silence punctuated the meal. Still, Zelda helped with the dishes and cleanup afterward. Later, she and Bertie sat on the blue horsehair settee in the parlor while Fred kept adjusting the tuning dial on the tall RCA radio that stood on the floor. The music station kept drifting off tune as the newfangled tuning-eye indicator beam widened. Bertie always thought of that indicator as an evil eye, probably since her mother remarried. 

Her old bedroom looked smaller than she remembered it, and some of her favorite posters had been taken down. But that night she fell into her bed exhausted. She slept soundly until near dawn, when a familiar squeak of her bedroom door’s hinges jarred her awake. The door opened. A bulky silhouette appeared. As the dark figure came closer, Bertie knew who it was. The headlights of a passing car momentarily lit up the bedroom long enough for her to be sure. She already knew Fred’s disgusting intentions. This morning wasn’t the first time he’d attempted to assault her. His past failures didn’t keep him from trying once more. His hand pulled back the covers as he stood beside her bed, with his naked beer belly overflowing his polka-dot boxer shorts.

©Rosemary and Larry Mild

Buy On the Rails by Rosemary and Larry Mild

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Giveaway On the Rails by Rosemary and Larry Mild

This giveaway is for 1 print copy and is open to the U.S. only This giveaway ends on September 22, 2023 midnight, pacific time. Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Aug 21 Kickoff & Interview  
Lu Ann Rockin' Book Reviews Aug 22 Review & Guest Post 
Leslie. Storeybook Reviews Aug 28 Review 
Marion Moonlight Musings Aug 29 Review 
Jane Amazon & Goodreads Sept 1 Review 
Wendy Wall to Wall Books Sept 6 Review 
Laura Lee Celticlady’s Reviews Sept 12 & Guest Post 
Denise Amazon & Goodreads Sept 13 Review 
Bee Book Pleasures Sept 14 Review & Interview 
Patricia Amazon Sept 19 Review 
Amy Locks, Hooks and Books Sept 22 Review &Excerpt

On the Rails by Rosemary and Larry Mild

My Review

I enjoyed reading On the Rails: The Adventures of Boxcar Bertie by the talented co authors, Larry and Rosemary Mild. I liked going back in time to the Great Depression era and meeting Bertie. I loved her character and getting to know her. She was intriguing and I was fascinating her story. With the short chapters, it was easy to keep reading her whole tale in one sitting. 

I am giving On the Rails: The Adventures of Boxcar Bertie four and a half stars. I believe fans of historical fiction will not want to miss out on it. I would love to read more like this from the writing team Larry and Rosemary Mild in the future.

I received Larry and Rosemary Mild’s On the Rails: The Adventures of Boxcar Bertie from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion. 

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Zuggy the Rescue Pug - Happy Howl-idays by Jean Marie Alfieri

About the Book

Zuggy the Rescue Pug – Happy Howl-idays

Author: Jean Marie Alfieri

Genre: Kid-lit Activity Book

Release Date: June 17, 2023

Three fun Zuggy the Rescue Pug stories in one action-packed activity book! First, Zuggy goes ‘Costume Crazy.’ How many does he model before finding the perfect Halloween outfit? Color them all. Then, Zuggy must save dinner from racing out the door, in ‘The Great Turkey Chase.’ Finally, Zuggy can’t stand the thought of the family having no presents this holiday. Can he work some Christmas magic? Only if the cat keeps his secret.

Packed with book club questions, puzzles, and games, this activity book makes a paws-itivly perfect gift for parents, teachers, and kiddos!


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

When Jean’s eyes locked with those of a smooshy-faced little dog who sat inside a kennel at the Humane Society, it was love! He captured her heart. She captured their many adventures in short story poems starring Zuggy the Rescue Pug. An author, speaker, and advocate for the adoption of senior dogs, Jean and her husband currently live with their three fur-kids in Colorado. They joke that although the humans pay the mortgage, it’s really the dogs’ house! Jean finds much of her writing inspiration from her “vintage puppies” and work at the Pikes Peak Humane Society.


More from Jean

Pug-Lovers Magazine recently sat down with America’s favorite rescue pug to interview him on the new trio of Howl-iday stories and activity books that were released last month. Here’s what Zuggy had to say.


Q: This is book #11 in an award-winning collection. How do you continue to be your Mom / Jean’s most influential writing inspiration?

Zuggy: Oh, that’s easy. I just jump on her lap and wiggle around until I almost fall off and she tells me to settle down. Then I sit and stare deeply into her eyes and subliminally ask for a snack. She thinks I’m giving her story ideas, but it works for her, so I don’t ruin it.


Q: What is the best activity in these special edition books?

Zuggy: The puzzles and games and coloring pages where you can decorate me! The book club questions are also a great feature. (Mom said she got the idea from her own reading club – thanks, Auntie Karen!)


Q: What is your favorite holiday?

Zuggy: This pug is all about love and hugs, so Valentine’s Day is my fave. (I should have been named Very-Valentino, or Vee-vee for short! It’s so Ooo-la-la.)


Q: Do you ever get writer’s block?

Zuggy: Every day around breakfast and dinner time I simply can not focus. I scour the kitchen for lost and forgotten kibbles and wait impatiently for my chef (I mean, Momma Jean) to prepare my next meal. Who could write in such conditions?


Q: Which story from this collection is your favorite?

Zuggy: That’s ruff. ‘Costume Crazy’ is based on a true story and I really enjoyed all the belly-rubs between wardrobe changes. ‘The Great Turkey Chase’ starts out sad but is so exciting, and I score a drumstick in the end, so that’s a super story. And ‘Santa Paws’ is full of surprises. I love them all!


Q: Where can friends and fans get this new book?

Zuggy: The whole collection is available on Amazon and Jean will be signing copies on September 16, 2023, at the Humane Society’s Pawtoberfest, in Colorado Springs. Grab a beer and a book! And remember, she loves visiting schools (in person or remotely) so drop us an email to schedule a class visit:

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 18

lakesidelivingsite, September 19

Texas Book-aholic, September 20

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 22

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 23

Blossoms and Blessings, September 24 (Author Interview)

The Book Club Network, September 24

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 25

Blogging With Carol, September 26

For Him and My Family, September 27

Artistic Nobody, September 28

Cover Lover Book Review, September 29

Guild Master, September 30

Vicky Sluiter, October 1 (Author Interview)

A Reader’s Brain, October 1


To celebrate her tour, Jean is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a print-copy of the newest special-edition activity book, “Zuggy the Rescue Pug – Happy Howl-idays”!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

My Review

Zuggy the Rescue Pug Happy Howl-idays is an adorable book that includes coloring pages and activities. There are rhyming stories that cover Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. There are various activities all throughout, such as, mazes, crossword puzzles, word searches, spot the differences, connect the dots, etc. Even though this marketed for young children, I personally enjoyed the whole book very much. I loved working on all the activities and finding out how sweet Zuggy is. 

I am giving Zuggy the Rescue Pug Happy Howl-idays five stars. I believe children between the ages of three and nine will enjoy it the most, but the big kids like me will like it, as well. I would love to read the other books on Zuggy. 

I received a soft cover copy of Jean Marie Alfieri’s Zuggy the Rescue Pug Happy Howl-idays from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion. 

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Finding True North by Dianne Beck

About the Book

Finding True North

Author: Dianne Beck

Genre: YA Fiction

Release Date: January 31, 2023

Finding True North

North Carolina Simon hates her name. As a fourteen-year-old girl growing up in the 1970s, she has a lot of challenges. People not only make fun of her name, but also scoff at her eccentric family. Dad’s a hoarder, Mom’s an unpredictable artist, and her older sister lives with an autism diagnosis.  After a humiliating middle school event shatters her confidence as a singer, North determines to break free from the stigma surrounding her family.

As she starts high school, North tells people to call her Carol. Armed with a new name, she updates her hair and clothes, befriends a popular boy in hopes of joining his band, distances herself from her two longtime friends, and avoids being seen with her adoring and dependent sister. Everything seems to be going according to plan until her sister suddenly disappears.

Carol is forced to face the fact that fitting in and being popular have come at a cost, and that the sister she might lose could have the answer to what she’s been looking for all along.

Finding True North is a prequel to Sticks and Stones, but each can be read as stand-alone novels.


Click here to get your copy!


About the Author

Dianne Beck spent much of her career teaching students ranging from Kindergarten through adult before achieving her dream of publishing her first novel, Sticks and Stones.  She hopes young people and adults can find faith and strength in her stories. When not writing or reading a good book, she savors every moment possible with family and friends, and loves a good steaming cup of coffee or tea.  Visit her author website at


More from Dianne

One of the things I love most about being an author of Christian fiction is showing readers how God is working in the lives of my characters, just like he’s working in each of our lives. While I hope readers see how my main characters are wrestling with and growing in faith, my side characters actually play a huge role. In both my novels I have a supporting character who is unique and often viewed as quirky or weak to the world around them. By showing how God loves, guides, and equips these characters, I hope to encourage anyone who has ever felt weak or out of place, which I think all of us have at some point. I also hope it reminds readers that God is often found in unexpected people and places.

In Finding True North, I spent a significant amount of time developing the character of Aria, who is main character North’s older sister. Aria is autistic, and during the 1970s, the time this book was set, autism wasn’t well understood. Because of this, many people don’t give Aria much of a chance, and miss out on all the depth and beauty she has to offer.

My inspiration for Aria came from two Bible verses: 1 Corinthians 1:27 (ESV), which says, “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong,” along with “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV). Aria may be the kind of character who would be looked down on by many in the world, but she is used powerfully by God. One of the ways she does is with her extreme joy and bold love of the Lord.  These characteristics are what ultimately impact and shape North as the story moves forward.

If you enjoy Finding True North, check out my first novel, Sticks and Stones, and stay tuned for the Sticks and Stones sequel, currently in the works!

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, September 15

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 16

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 17

Cover Lover Book Review, September 18

Artistic Nobody, September 19

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 19

lakesidelivingsite, September 20

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 21

The Book Club Network, September 22

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 23

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 24

Becca Hope: Book Obsessed, September 25

For Him and My Family, September 26

Girls in white dresses, September 27

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 28 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, September 28


To celebrate her tour, Dianne is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

My Review

Finding True North is my first experience with Dianne Beck’s writing. After reading this story, it will not be the last. I loved getting to know North / Carol. As a teen, she is having a hard time finding herself and what world she belongs in. I liked watching her grow, learning some life lessons, and finding out what is most important. The author does a wonderful job on creating a beautiful and powerful tale that so many readers are able to relate to and connect with. 

I am giving Finding True North five stars. I believe readers who enjoy reading inspiring young adult stories. I would be interested in reading more books from Dianne Beck in the future. 

I received a digital copy of Dianne Beck’s Finding True North from the publisher, but was not required to write a positive review. This review is one hundred percent my own honest opinion.