Book Tour for Award-winner The Other Side of Freedom

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 “The Other Side of Freedom.” is a 2018 Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval recipient! In 1925, the thirteen-year-old son of immigrant farmers witnesses a crime and must choose whether to remain silent as his father asks or defy evil to save his family.

The Other Side of Freedom

Summary:

In a southern farming community in 1925, thirteen-year-old Salvatore and his Italian immigrant father become involved against their will in a crime that results in the murder of an innocent man and family friend. Will Sal keep the secrets about that night as his father asks, or risk everything he and his family cherish in their new homeland, including their lives? Amidst bigotry, bootlegging, police corruption, and gangland threats, Sal must discover whom he can trust in order to protect himself and his family and win back his father’s freedom. Sal’s family, their African-American farmhand, and the girl who is Sal’s best friend find their lives forever changed as dreams are shattered and attitudes challenged in a small community called Freedom.

Excerpt:

The closer Sal got to Freedom, the more the butterflies in his stomach fluttered. For the first time in his life, he had to sneak into town. He didn’t belong anymore, wasn’t welcome, wasn’t even safe. None of his family was. All because of a crime they didn’t commit. 

My Review

As a fan of historical fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed The Other Side of Freedom by Cynthia Toney. This story, set in the 1920s, has so many historical and time-period details, from the 1924 Ford Model T Tudor to the mention of Al Capone and the first black man elected to the US Senate. The tension begins in the first scene when Sal finds well-dressed strangers at the door. And the tension mounts from there with an attempted bank robbery, a death, sneaking and spying, and a lot of tough choices and obstacles for thirteen-year-old Sal. Toney’s attention to descriptive and sensory details makes this story even stronger.

This coming-of-age story about Sal, who belongs to a tight-knit Italian family, helps readers to understand the difficulties of farm life during this time period, the ugliness of segregation, and the courage of the immigrant. It also brings out a strong message of courage and self-sacrifice. I highly recommend this book.

Connect with the author:

Website:http://www.cynthiattoney.com
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/birdfacewendy/
Twitter:https://twitter.com/cynthiattoney
Instagram:https://instagram.com/CynthiaTToney

Author Bio:

Cynthia T. Toney writes for tweens and teens because she wants them to know how wonderful, powerful, and valuable God made them. Her novels include The Other Side of Freedom, which received a 2018 Catholic Press Association CPA Book Award, and the Bird Face series, which begins with 8 Notes to a Nobody. Her books include thought-provoking questions for classrooms and book clubs. She has a passion for rescuing dogs from animal shelters and enjoys studying the complex history of the friendly southern U.S., where she resides with her husband and several canines

Buy Links:
https://.amzn.com/1944120394/

Link on Catholic Teen Books website (has purchase links):

https://www.catholicteenbooks.com/the-other-side-of-freedom

Link on Tumblar House Catholic bookstore:

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Faith Through Fiction Vlog

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Introducing the new Faith Through Fiction vlog series from Catholic Teen Books

God knows the challenges we face.

Depression ~ loneliness ~ peer pressure ~ disorders ~ temptation ~ bullying ~ hurt ~ shyness ~ loss ~ disabilities ~ the struggle to forgive . . .

God has an answer for all our problems, healing for all our wounds, and a path that will bring far greater joy than the path the world presents to us. How can we find this path, this healing, these answers?

Don’t underestimate the power of a story.

Catholic Teen Books presents a fun new video blog that is perfect for teens, high school teachers,  homeschoolers, and parents.

Through this series Catholic Teen Books strives to fulfill its mission of counteracting the anti-God culture that permeates society today and leaves young adults with few wholesome literature choices. In every episode, you will discover solid books that bring faith-filled solutions to issues teens face.

You can learn more about the series and the hosts of the show, T.M. Gaouette and Leslea Wahl, on www.CatholicTeenBooks.com.

Check out the series trailer here and the first episode below:

The first episode addresses the theme of bullying, which too many teens face every  day. How can we help our teens to consider all sides of this issue, gain a faith-filled perspective, and courageously make the right choices that can help both the bully and the victims?

This new vlog series is just one of the ways Catholic Teen Books seeks to support parents and teachers in encouraging young people to dive into stories that can change lives and develop faith and character. Want to make sure you catch every episode of this new vlog series? Sign up for Catholic Teen Books newsletter.

New Release: Guarding Aaron by amazing teen fiction author T. M. Gaouette

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Guarding Aaron front cover

Book summary:

Guarding Aaron by T. M. Gaouette (Faith & Kung Fu ~ book 3)

When the struggles of the world and his devotion collide, he must choose between his own desires and the will of God.

The world continues to press in on Gabriel Livingstone’s quiet life when fifteen-year-old Aaron Buckley enters Yeung’s Martial Arts Studio looking to learn kung-fu. Gabriel knows there’s a desperate secret behind the boy’s bruises, and secretly vows to be his guard, with the help of his friend Christian.  But when Tanner Rose pressures him for strength and direction, and Faith’s continued rebellion send him and his friends to the hospital, jeopardizing Tanner’s career, Gabriel is forced to reexamine his decisions. Is he called to the priesthood or is life behind the monastery walls merely an escape?

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11 RSVCE)


My Review:

Author TM Gaouette is really onto something with her Faith & Kung Fu series! A master in the martial arts must be disciplined, possessing inner strength along with physical ability. And isn’t this what we Christians need too? This story shows the need for not only knowing right and wrong but also for the self-control and discipline to pursue it, without acting on impulse.

Gabriel, with his steady faith, always has a Scripture verse at the ready and sound advice for others, but inside he’s not sure what God is calling him to. He meets a new kid, Aaron, whose bruises make Gabriel concerned. When Gabriel discovers that the boy is bullied at school, he secretly becomes the kid’s guardian and guides him not only in kung fu but in important life lessons that will strengthen him spiritually and morally. This thread in the story has a strong message about looking out for others who might be the victim of bullying, getting involved, being a friend, and the right way of standing up to bullies.

Meanwhile, another main character, Faith, finds her affections for Gabriel growing and allows her jealousy of actress and friend Tanner Rose to spiral out of control. She justifies treating Tanner cruelly because Tanner had once treated her badly. And when Faith’s best friend doesn’t share her negative attitude toward Tanner, she pushes her best friend away too. This thread shows well how jealousy has a way of bringing out the worst in us.

This story has some lovely scenes, like one with Gabriel and Tanner praying before the Blessed Sacrament. And it has some tense scenes, too. With kung fu action, high emotions, and themes that we can all relate to, Guarding Aaron is a powerful story that teens are sure to enjoy. I highly recommend it!

Buy the book here:

Kindle and Paperback.

Connect with T. M. Gaouette:

Facebook author page

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TMGaouette

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037114.T_M_Gaouette

Instagram: @t.m.gaouette

Blog Tour: The Siege of Reginald Hill

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As one who enjoys dystopian fiction and faith-filled stories, I am so happy to announce this next book Corinna Turner’s I Am Margaret series!


The Siege of Reginald Hill Final Front

An odd surge filled my heart as I looked at him, sitting there in that chair: so old; so evil; so broken; so… alone. A warmth. A caring. A… love. I loved him. Just another poor sinner who need my care…

SAFETY IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF DANGER, BUT THE PRESENCE OF GOD.

Fr Kyle Verrall is living a quiet life as a parish priest in Africa when he’s snatched from his church one night by armed assailants. He’s in big trouble—his sister’s worst enemy is hell-bent on taking revenge on the famous Margaret Verrall by killing her brother, just as slowly and horribly as he can.
What could possibly save him? The humble young priest is defenceless—or so Reginald Hill believes.
But Kyle has a powerful weapon Hill knows nothing about. And he’s not afraid to use it. Is Reginald Hill really the hunter? Or is he the hunted?


I’ve read every book in this series, and I’ve always liked the character Kyle Verrall (Margaret’s brother) and hoped to get to know more about him. This story fulfills that wish. Readers get to go deep into his head and see what makes him tick, and what we find there is beautiful.

The Siege of Reginald Hill is a powerful story of sacrificial love—the kind very few are ever called to. Kyle is faced with unbearable pain and suffering, but he handles it in an amazing, almost unfathomable way. This story made me think about the true meaning of love . . . of God, of neighbor, and even of enemy. And it also made me think of God’s love for each one of us, and the way He tirelessly pursues us, no matter how far we’ve fallen from the straight and narrow path.

I love the intensity of Corinna Turner’s characters, the story world, and the profound moral messages each of her stories contain. Turner writes in such a way that readers feel what the characters feel, whether they are over-worked and tired—like Kyle at the beginning of the story—or whether they are going through an intense trial or an amazing victory.

Having recently gone through robotic surgery myself, I was able to identify with so much of what Kyle goes through in this story. The surgery was a horrible experience, the pain at times unbearable, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything—this is hard to explain but Turner’s story does shed some light on it. And this story brought back reminders of the intensity, pain, and joy of those days.

If you’ve enjoyed the I Am Margaret series, you will love this story.


ISBNs and Buy links:

Paperback ISBNs:                                          ePub ISBNs:
UK: 978-1-910806-78-4                                 UK: 978-1-910806-79-1
US: 978-1-910806-80-7                                  US: 978-1-910806-81-4

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2Bi7Rmg

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2BKiTRH

Barnes & Noble UK Edition

Barnes & Noble US Edition




VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ~ BLOG STOPS

Dec 1 – Stop 1 – Corinna Turner – Author of the I Am Margaret series including new release The Siege of Reginald Hillwww.IAmMargaret.com

Dec 2 – SUNDAY

Dec 3 – Stop 2 – Steven R. McEvoy – Blogger and Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer Steven R. McEvoy on “Book Reviews & More” – www.bookreviewsandmore.ca

Dec 4 – Stop 3 – Erin McCole Cupp – Blogger, Contributor to Catholic Mom and Author (Jane E. Friendless Orphan series, etc.) – http://catholicmom.com/

Dec 5 – Stop 4 – Regina Doman – Award-winning Catholic teen fiction Author (The Fairy Tale novels, The Angel in the Waters, etc.) – http://reginadoman.blogspot.com/

Dec 6 – Stop 5 – Theresa Linden – Award-winning Catholic teen fiction Author (Liberty series, West Brothers series, etc.)

Dec 7 – Stop 6 – Sarah de Nordwall – The Catholic Bard! – http://sarahdenordwall.blogspot.com/

Dec 8 – Stop 7 – T.M. Gaouette – Writer, Blogger, and Author of Catholic Fiction (Faith and Kung Fu series) – https://tmgaouette.com/

Dec 9 – SUNDAY

Dec 10 – Stop 8 – Carolyn Astfalk – Author of coming-of-age romance Rightfully Ours, etc. – www.carolynastfalk.com/

Dec 11 – Stop 9 – Leslea Wahl – Award-winning Catholic teen fiction Author (The Perfect Blindside, An Unexpected Role, etc.) – http://lesleawahl.com/

Dec 12 – Stop 10 – Elizabeth Amy Hajek – Blogger and Author of The Mermaid and the Unicornhttps://elenatintil.blogspot.com

To learn about more great books, check out Carolyn Astfalk’s “An Open Book” and CatholicMom.com

 

Blog Tour: Where You Lead

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I am excited to be part of the Virtual Book Tour for Leslea Wahl’s newest Christian young adult mystery, Where You Lead! Please check out my post so you can not only learn about the book but find out about a treasure hunt and discover author Leslea Wahl’s favorite Washington DC sites. Note: these sites are also mentioned in this story!


where you leadTeen Eve Donahue’s lonely existence changes in an instant when visions of a mysterious stranger haunt her. Certain God is calling her for a mission, she bravely says yes and begins her quest to meet this young man. Thousands of miles away, Nick Hammond has been dealing with his own unusual experience, an unwavering certainty to convince his father to run for political office. When these two unlikely teens finally meet, their belief that God has called them to work together sets them on a journey of faith to untangle a web of deception involving international trade agreements, lost confederate gold, and a blossoming romance. As they follow century old clues, they realize God can call us all in big and small ways. We just need to listen.

Available in Kindle and paperback. Buy the book here.


Wahl is one of my favorite authors of young adult fiction. But she is also the favorite of a lot of readers! I want to congratulate her on the Gold Medal The Perfect Blindside recently won from Readers Choice! This book was also the 1st-place winner of the 2016 Catholic Press Association book awards, in the teen fiction category. Another one of her books, An Unexpected Role, was a Gold Medalist in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. Her books have also received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval. You can check out other awards her books have won here. Or on her website. And if you ask me, Where You Lead is another winner!

My review:

This is an incredibly fun mystery with a great combination of action and adventure and tension that builds throughout the story. The main characters, Nick and Eve, are well-developed and likeable. She’s romantic, talkative, and has a style all her own: Eve doesn’t try to be like everyone else; she’s comfortable just being herself. Nick is level-headed, resourceful, and charming. Plus, he comes from a big and very interesting family.

I enjoyed the attraction and interactions between these characters and following along as they tried to solve this unique mystery. As a history lover, I enjoyed the tidbits about the Civil War and the “virtual tour” of Washington D.C., visiting museums, monuments, cemeteries, and other historical places with the characters.

Several wonderful messages are weaved through this story, too, like trusting in God even when we can’t understand His plan and realizing that the smaller missions from God are just as important as the bigger missions. With her sharp writing style, ability to develop a riveting mystery, and the way she weaves faith into her stories, Leslea Wahl has become one of my favorite authors.

I highly recommend this story for teens and adults. In addition to the bits of history and positive role models, this book is just plain fun!


Leslea Wahl’s 10 Favorite DC Sites

“As a reader, I’ve always enjoyed books where the setting of a story comes alive through the eyes of the characters. I certainly hope I that I was able to accomplish that feat in my new novel, Where You Lead. This adventurous mystery is set in a city that is near and dear to my heart. A place that I lived for four years, right after I was married – Washington DC. I loved every moment of our time there and had so much fun including some of my favorite spots in this story. Here are 10 of my favorite DC sites that are part of this book’s adventure.”  ~Leslea Wahl

1. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

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2 – Embassy Row

 

3 – Georgetown

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4 – The Smithsonian

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5 – The National Cathedral

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6 – The Tidal Basin and cherry blossoms

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7 – The Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument

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8 – The C&O Canal

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9 – Oak Park Cemetery

10- Arlington Cemetery

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treasure huntClick here for the treasure hunt!


bookLeslea Wahl is a Colorado native who loves to travel with her family. She considers herself blessed to have found a way to intertwine her two passions by creating adventurous stories with positive Christian messages for today’s youth. She hopes to inspire others to find their gifts as well. Her first book, The Perfect Blindside, was awarded a 2016 Illumination Christian Book Award silver medal and was a first place winner at the 2016 Catholic Press Association Book Awards.

Available in Kindle and paperback. Buy Where You Lead here.

Contact Leslea Wahl:​

The Fun of An Audiobook!

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Children love being read to. Do you ever grow out of that? My boys are all teens now, but I loved reading to my kids when they were younger and they loved being read to. My son who has autism wanted specific stories read over and over, so I’ve got many memorized, even to this day.

I also enjoyed being read to as a kid. Actually, I love when my kids read to me now!

There is something about listening to someone read a story that transports you right into the pages. A good storyteller can bring characters to life, deepen emotions, develop tension, and enhance the overall experience.

ACX BattleBecause of this, I decided to have my supernatural Christian fiction Battle For His Soul turned into an audiobook. Not sure what to do, I sought advice from other authors who’ve turned their books into audiobooks. (More on them in a moment.) Then I joined ACX, searched for and found the perfect narrator. (More on him in a moment, too.)

First, let me continue to promote the benefits of audiobooks! Audiobooks allow you to have your hands free so you can drive, work in the yard, do dishes, or even take a walk… all while enjoying your favorite story. They are perfect for that long ride into work or on vacation.

Readers, you can enjoy stories constantly, not just when you are free to hold a book in your hands and turn pages!

When I decided to turn Battle for His Soul into an audio book, I wanted the perfect narrator. I listened to several on ACX and asked a few to audition before finally choosing Keith McCarthy. Something about his voice just felt right. Plus, he is able to do different voices, male and female, and convey various attitudes and dispositions. He also seems to know just when to pause and what words to emphasize to really bring a story to life.

At the completion of the project, I was so excited to hear the final product and so amazed by Keith’s skills that I wanted to tell everyone about him.


Interview ~ Keith McCarthy

How did you get started as a narrator for ACX?

Keithheadshot (002)In addition to acting, I also teach theater and English. A couple of years ago, to help with my students’ comprehension of the books they read, I posted videos of myself reading the books aloud on YouTube. The videos quickly took off and as my subscriber list grew and grew, I wondered if there were a way I could do this professionally.  It turns out, there was.

How many audiobooks have you narrated?

It depends on which books we are counting. I have an ongoing contract with Rosen Publishing, a large publisher of educational materials, to create audio books of their nonfiction books that are used in kindergarten through 2nd grade classrooms. Those are only available to students in schools that have purchased this program, and the books themselves are very short…. 24 to 48 pages, but thus far I’ve done about 35 of those, with more to come. As far as books available on Audible,  I’ve done about 20. And I’ve done about 10 in my YouTube channel.

You have an incredible skill with creating voices. What other forms of acting have you done?

Mainly theater. I’ve acted in a variety of venues across Boston’s North Shore… on average a play or two every year. I also direct my school plays… about 55 of them over the past 20 years.

What are your favorite voices to do? 

I like the villains most… and anyone cocky or arrogant….those are the fun ones. I also enjoy narrating history. My dream job is to narrate a Ken Burns style documentary for PBS.

Which character in Battle for His Soul did you like doing best?

Jesus! A close second was Selena. I hadn’t done a lot of Spanish/Mexican accents in the past, so I practiced quite a bit before I started and I think it came out pretty well.

My note: Keith’s portrayal of Jesus in this story had me spellbound. As I listened to him performing this scene, for a moment, I was no longer the author and I could think of nothing other than the words he spoke. He did an amazing job!

Is there anything else you would like to share? 

I would just add that it was a joy working on this book. After narrating lots of not always terribly interesting, at least to me, informational text on everything from Poker Strategy to the JavaScript programming language (try narrating lines of computer code for two hours and see how sane you feel) it had been my goal to narrate more books for young adults and kids, so it was refreshing to work on such an entertaining and well-crafted book. 

Follow Keith McCarthy on his Youtube channel and check out other books that he’s narrated by clicking here.


And now, a bit about the authors who inspired me to embark upon this journey: Susan Peek and Carolyn Astfalk.

Susan’s passion is writing stories of little-known saints and heroes. She has several books for children and several more for teens, and she has turned two of them (St. Magnus the Last Viking and A Soldier Surrenders) into audiobooks. She is presently working on the audio book for The Kings Prey.

Carolyn writes inspirational Christian romance. She has two adult titles: Ornamental Graces and Stay With Me. And one young adult story: Rightfully Ours. All of her books are available as audiobooks.

Both of these authors are featured on CatholicTeenBooks.com, along with several other amazing authors.

If you are an author and interested in turning your story into an audiobook, check out Carolyn Astfalk’s blog post “Tips for Turning Your Novel into an Audiobook Using ACX.” Carolyn recently presented these tips at a writers’ conference. She has a second article which is just as helpful, once you’ve decided to create an audiobook: “Tips for Marketing Your Audiobook”

If you like audiobooks and are a fan of Catholic teen fiction, here are a few more books you might enjoy:audiobooks.jpg

 

Christian YA fiction #Giveaways!

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Summer is a great time for books and free books are even better! If you enjoy Christian young adult fiction, here are two GIVEAWAYS for you!

THE PERFECT BLINDSIDE – Fresh off a championship medal, Jake Taylor’s parents have dragged him to a middle-of-nowhere town in Colorado, far from where he wants to be. Smart and savvy, Sophie has spent the summer before her junior year of high school avidly following Jake Taylor in every article she can find, but now she sees the “truth” behind the story — he’s really just a jerk. When the only thing they can see is each other’s flaws, how can Jake and Sophie work together to figure out what’s really been happening at the abandoned silver mine? Follow Sophie and Jake into secret tunnels as they unravel the mystery and challenge each other to become who God wants them to be.


AN UNEXPECTED ROLE – The devastation of a ruined summer.The gift of a second chance. Can Josie learn the lessons she needs in order to discover her true self? After a humiliating event and overwhelming peer pressure, 16-year-old Josie flees her home to spend the summer with her Aunt on a South Carolina island. Her fresh start turns into the summer of her dreams as friendships grow, romance blossoms, and a series of thefts surround her with excitement. However, when tragedy strikes someone close to her, Josie realizes there are more important things than her reputation. As she sets out to solve the mystery she has become entangled in, she not only realizes the importance of relying on her faith but along the way also discovers who God wants her to be.


Click here for a chance to win both of Leslea Wahl’s books. Winners will be selected August 7th!


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RIGHTFULLY OURS – Sixteen-year-old Paul Porter’s relocation to Pennsylvania is a temporary move during his dad’s deployment. Or so he and his brother think, until devastating news lands on their doorstep. Paul’s new home with the Muellers provides solace, especially in the form of Rachel, his friend and confidante. Their abiding friendship deepens as they work side by side to uncover what could be lost treasure. Will they acquire the strength of character and virtue to take only what rightfully belongs to them or are they in way over their heads, with more than a few lost artifacts at stake?

Themes include premarital chastity and overcoming temptation.

“When a young man or woman recognizes that authentic love is a precious treasure, they are also enabled to live their sexuality in accordance with the divine plan, rejecting the false models which are, unfortunately, all too frequently publicized and very widespread.” Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the Young People of Rome, Sept 8, 1997

Click here for a chance to win an AUDIOBOOK of Rightfully Ours! All you need to do is comment on the blog post here.  The winner will be selected on August 15th!


Happy reading and have a wonderful summer!