Monday, June 29, 2015

Serena - Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter / First Paragraph

     Ron Rash tells the story of George and Serena Pemberton, lumber moguls in the mountains of North Carolina during the Great Depression. The dangerous conditions under which trees were harvested, the devastation of the environment, and the absolute power that the lumber barons held over their workers are all described in vivid and realistic detail. The Pembertons and their obsessive relationship made for a fascinating story. 
     The Pembertons' ability to literally get away with murder and their corruption of government officials would have been hard to believe if I hadn't seen a recent piece on the History Channel about John D. Rockefeller's massacre of striking coal miners in Ludlow, Colorado -- something that actually happened.* 
     This story definitely held my interest, and I enjoyed the glimpse into the Depression era. My only real complaint is that Serena's viciousness was never explained to my satisfaction. I would like to have known what caused her to be so ambitious and so ruthless.

First Paragraph:
     When Pemberton returned to the North Carolina mountains after three months in Boston settling his father's estate, among those waiting on the train platform was a young woman pregnant with Pemberton's child. She was accompanied by her father, who carried beneath his shabby frock coat a bowie knife sharpened with great attentiveness earlier that morning so it would plunge as deep as possible into Pemberton's heart.

Teaser (from Page 103 - trade paperback edition):
     Serena loosed the leather laces and removed the eagle's hood, then freed the leash from the bracelets. She raised her right arm. As if performing some violent salute, Serena thrust her forearm and the eagle upward. 

Genre: Historical Fiction / Adventure
Length: 371 Pages 
Amazon Link: Serena
More From This Author: Ron Rash's Books

The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains—but she soon shows herself to be the equal of any man, overseeing crews, hunting rattlesnakes, even saving her husband's life in the wilderness. Together this lord and lady of the woodlands ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of favor. Yet when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. Mother and child begin a struggle for their lives, and when Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons' intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.
Rash's masterful balance of violence and beauty yields a riveting novel that, at its core, tells of love both honored and betrayed.
*More info about the Ludlow, Colorado, massacre HERE.

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Miz B of A Daily Rhythm. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please!

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you're reading or thinking about reading soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

One-Day Sale!

Saturday, June 27 only!!

Take advantage of this one-day sale for all Sweet Cravings Publishing and Secret Cravings Publishing books. Here's the link to my latest sweet romance: 

Don't forget to use the promo code to take advantage of the discount: SALE50

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Runaway Quilt - Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

     The Runaway Quilt is one of my favorite stories in Jennifer Chiaverini's "Elm Creek Quilts" series. If you enjoy family history, if you're curious about the Civil War (and the underground railroad), if you're a quilter, or if you like to read about friendships between women, you'll like this book too. The story takes place in present day but goes back into the past as the main character, Sylvia, reads an ancestor's diary, written during the Civil War.
     The Runaway Quilt is the fourth book in this series, but it stands alone. However, as with most series, you'll get to know the characters better if you start with the first book (The Quilter's Apprentice).

Book Beginning:
     When her sister, Claudia, died childless at the age of seventy-seven, Sylvia Bergstrom Compson became the last living descendant of Hans and Anneke Bergstrom and the sole heir to what remained of their fortune. Or so she had thought. She had certainly searched long and hard enough for someone else who could assume responsibility of Elm Creek Manor, for as difficult as it was to believe now, at the time she had thought the estate in rural central Pennsylvania too full of unhappy memories to become her home again. Her lawyer had told her she was the sole heir, an opinion corroborated by her private detective.
     Now she wondered if they had overlooked something, a familial connection lost to memory but documented in a thread-bare antique quilt.

The Friday 56 (This excerpt is from Page 156 in the trade paperback edition):
One of those seats had a block with a black center square, and if pushed in just the right way, the wooden slats folded into a hidden recess beneath the bench like a rolltop desk, revealing a hiding place beneath the gazebo. According to family lore, fugitive slaves would conceal themselves in the hiding place until nightfall, when one of the Bergstroms would escort them into the safety of the manor.

Genre: Women's Fiction / Mystery / Crafts & Hobbies
Length: 329 Pages (trade paperback)
Amazon Link: The Runaway Quilt
Author's Website: Jennifer Chiaverini

Synopsis: In the fourth novel of the beloved Elm Creek Quilts series, Sylvia Compson searches for evidence of her ancestors' courageous involvement in the Underground Railroad.


Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56.
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Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
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Friday, June 19, 2015

Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

I'm over at Smart Girls Read Romance today, writing about "Signs." Stop by and see what's on my mind.

You'll find the post HERE.