Archive | January 2023

Her Alibi Wins Again!

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Reader’s Choice Book Awards

Author: Mary L Schmidt
Title: Her Alibi
Review completed: January 2023

A heart-breaking story of survival, by author Mary Schmidt

One of seven children, Mary tells the story of her childhood and growing up in a household where the children were neglected and abused by their mother, Marguerite. Mary describes the horrific mental and physical abuse she experienced and the trauma of living with a sociopath. Mary recalls her first memories of her mother’s rage, from around the age of two, when she was regularly beaten and force fed. She describes how she was often singled out by her mother throughout her childhood and blamed for the misdemeanors of her siblings. Unfortunately, Marguerite’s abuse was never discovered by the authorities. From the outside, Marguerite was a warm, loving and attentive parent, but behind closed doors, she was a monster who terrorized her children, her husband, and even her own mother.

While Mary describes a loving relationship with her father and grandmother, they could do little to intervene, help or protect the children, as they were subject to the same cruelty and feared the matriarch.

As an adult, Mary distanced herself from her mother, as did most of her siblings. But one day, her mother unexpectedly visits her home, and they spend several hours reconnecting and bonding. Mary had hoped for a reconciliation, but the next day she heard tragic news that her stepfather had been shot, and Mary questions the motivation for her mothers’ strange and sudden visit.

Her Alibi is a heart-breaking novel and a true crime memoir by author Mary L Schmidt. Mary describes the pain and trauma she suffered at the hands of her abusive mother, and the impact this had on her life, and the lives of her siblings. It is an open, honest, and graphic account of child abuse, told through Mary’s own tragic lived experience. Whilst this is a deeply upsetting story, there is some comfort that Mary survived and was successful in her own life, despite her mother’s maltreatment.

Star rating: 5 Stars
Summary: A compelling personal memoir about one woman’s lived experience of childhood abuse and trauma.

This entry was posted on January 31, 2023. 2 Comments

Odin’s Tillit

Book Link

From Amazon:

Fox was twelve when he faked his own death to escape his father Dagr and his precious tugboat, Odin’s Tillit. Cloaked in an identity produced from the inside of a tobacco can, he has become a glorified drug mule for Texas lawman Sheriff J. J. Raskin.

Sixteen-year-old Ren is at the helm of Odin’s Tillit, pushing rafts of logs and helping the sheriff make his problems disappear. Obligation, destiny, and Odin’s Tillit are bloodying the waters of British Columbia’s Arrow Lakes.

Fox and Ren know better, want better, but they cannot escape the clutches of the incorrigible or incorporeal forces around them.

As the principals come together, the past threatens to destroy Fox and Ren, even as the sheriff seeks to eliminate them. What does fate have in store for them? Only Odin’s Tillit knows.

My Review:

Captivating for sure. Life on a tugboat? Times changes often as the story unfolds, and you will amaze your brain as you read. I can easily visualize a movie or short TV series with this one.

Illegitimately yours, Michael and Me: A memoir of secrets, adoption and DNA

Book Link

From Amazon:

The story of two siblings, two ‘illegitimate’ children bonded with love, ambiguous origins and a destiny determined to keep them apart.

Author Catherine Taylor takes time out from writing erotic fiction to relate her true-life story of growing up as an adopted child with her foster brother Michael. This often harrowing tale reveals their lives in the sixties and seventies, and through to Mother’s Day 1985 when Michael suddenly becomes a ‘missing person.’

In 2017, Catherine set out to resolve the facts surrounding her adoption by taking a DNA test. The results are not what she expects. An ambitious undertaking follows using genealogy records, DNA-matched relatives and the construction of a family tree of over three thousand people. As pieces began to fall into place, her search takes an unexpected turn.

While seeking an elusive parent, Catherine is vastly unprepared to receive news of Michael. The closed door of an unsolved mystery is suddenly thrown wide open and Catherine is faced with the aftermath affecting many more lives than her own.

My Review:

Taylor has written a touching genealogical memoir. Having had my own DNA checked, twice, I found a lot of relatives and three new first cousins and we interact regularly. I believe in what this uthor did, her research, her tenacity to know who her family was, the whole bit. With DNA, a can or two of worms are opened. Not all people want to know the familial tree, some are gutted without this type of information. Sometimes, a family line gets complicated, but I’ve not seen any family line that was perfect. No one is perfect. I felt the author’s anguish in my heart. Five stars.

Sing Me a Soap Opera

Book Link

From Amazon:

“There’s always more to relationships, between the starting gate of your dreams and the finish line, which sometimes is not our favorite place to land. But once in a while, the lucky ones get a second chance.”

Take Kendal Harper for example. When Kendal, a widowed fantasy author, is strong-armed into writing a romance story about love with a co-worker and the conflicts that arise, the reluctant writer only takes the assignment because of the huge financial advancement.

After several failed attempts to complete her assignment, Kendal accepts a position at a physician’s office where she learns this job doesn’t support the necessary diagnosis to solve her problem either – until an attraction that’s likely to go nowhere grips her hard, fast, and maybe forever.

My Review:

Ricci has done it again! This is a perfect short read novelette with all the feels, angst, love, fears, and more woven into a tapestry of unexpected dimensions. This is a must read!

Grow confidently in your faith: A lifelong journey to becoming more like Jesus

Book Link

From Amazon:

“An inspiring and practical primer to Christian growth, Growing Confidently In Your Faith is easy-to-read and enjoyable; the narrative is laced with creative anecdotes, and punctuated with pointers to gently push the reader forward into spiritual maturity.” –Janey DeMeo, founder of Orphans First, Bible teacher, author “With depth, Carol shares the truths of God’s Word in a manner that will pierce through doubt, shame and pain.” ~ Dixie Diamanti, Life Purpose Coach & Author “Chock-full of spiritual truth, Godly wisdom, and tips for practical application, Carol’s devotional book is sure to bless its readers.” ~ Linda W. Yezak, Author/Editor/Speaker Do you want to grow more confidently in your faith? In Carol Round’s latest book, “Growing Confidently in Your Faith: A lifelong journey to becoming more like Jesus,” the author brings the principles and teachings of Jesus into our lives with practicality so readers can apply them to their daily lives. With depth, the author shares the truths of God’s Word in a manner that will pierce through doubt, shame and pain. She leaves you with a comforted heart and a real hope for the future. You will walk away each week with greater inspiration, wisdom and peace as well as a greater understanding of God’s love for you and how He walks us through every hurt and pain, turning them to victory for His glory.

My Review:

What a wonderful book for Journaling each week with thoughts and takeaways to ponder oneself and one’s relationship with Jesus. Morning devotional time is important to me, and reading this book each week along with my daily devotionals is perfect.

The Flame Tree

Book Title: The Flame Tree

Series: The Hong Kong Collection

Author: Siobhan Daiko

Publication Date: January 19th, 2023

Publisher: Asolando Books

Page Length: 300

Genre: Asian Historical Fiction

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Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #WomensFiction #BlogTour #TheCoffeePotBookClub

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Book Title and Author Name:

The Flame Tree

By Siobhan Daiko


In the spring of 1939, dashing young William Burton and the beautiful Constance Han set sail from London on the same ocean liner to Hong Kong.

Romance blossoms while they enjoy games of deck quoits and spend sultry tropical evenings dancing under the stars. Connie is intrigued by Will’s talent for writing poetry, and she offers to give him Cantonese lessons to help him with his new job— a cadet in the colonial service.

But once in Hong Kong, Connie is constrained by filial duty towards her Eurasian parents, and their wish for her to marry someone from her own background. She can’t forget Will however and arranges to meet him in secret under the magnificent canopy of a flame of the forest tree—where she fulfils her promise to teach him to speak Chinese.

Before too long, trouble looms as Japanese forces gather on the border between Hong Kong and mainland China. Will joins a commando group tasked with operating behind enemy lines, and Connie becomes involved in the fight against local fifth columnists.

When war breaks out, they find themselves drawn into a wider conflict than their battle against prejudice. Can they survive and achieve a future together? Or do forces beyond their control keep them forever apart?

Based on a little-known true story, The Flame Tree is a tale of love and survival against all the odds.


“Siobhan Daiko will tug at your heartstrings, and leave you desperate for more…”

~ Ellie Yarde, The Coffee Pot Book Club.

“Daiko is an author you’ll want to add to your historical fiction favourites.”

~ Netgalley Reviewer

Buy Links:

Universal Link:

Amazon UK:

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Author Bio:

Siobhan Daiko

Siobhan Daiko is a British historical fiction author. A lover of all things Italian, she lives in the Veneto region of northern Italy with her husband, a Havanese dog and a rescued cat. Siobhan was born of English parents in Hong Kong, attended boarding school in Australia, and then moved to the UK—where she taught modern foreign languages in a Welsh comprehensive school. She now spends her time writing page-turners and enjoying her life near Venice.

Her novels are compelling, poignant, and deeply moving, with strong characters and evocative settings, but always with romance at their heart. You can find more about her books on her website







Book Bub:

Amazon Author Page:


This entry was posted on January 23, 2023. 2 Comments

A Mother’s Loss

Book Link

From Amazon:

Two women share a loss no mother should have to bear, connected across time.

Present day: Liz Stamford uproots her family to the Norfolk countryside to escape a traumatic loss. Their new house, a renovated pub, holds a ghostly secret from the past. Liz tunes into those memories; uncovering a loss which tethers a young girl into the fabric of her new home. Grief drives Liz to solve the mystery of the girl in her dreams who cannot rest in peace.

1860: Sarah Whiting lives with her mother and siblings in the Crown and Hare pub. One night she is attacked by her stepfather. The consequences of his actions lead to heartbreak and scandal for the family.

Can Liz discover what dreadful events haunt her new home? Can she solve the mystery and bring peace to Sarah?

My Review:

This is a heart-rending story of love and loss, and connecting two different time periods together. Plenty of strife, sadness, abuse, and love. A mother’s love is the backbone of a child’s life. Unfortunately, repeated, incestuous rape brings on pregnancy, unwanted yet birthed. Drastic changes happen with all in both timelines. This book touched me deeply.

Note: Triggers for those who’ve been sexually assaulted.