Thursday, May 23, 2019

Review of No Angels for Christmas by Petie McCarty


Welcome to the review tour for No Angels for Christmas by Petie McCarty! This story is one that is going to capture all of your emotions along the ride. Please enjoy my review and then follow the tour to read what other people have to say. You can also leave questions and comments for the author along the way, which gives you bonus chances to enter the great giveaway!


No Angels for Christmas

No Angels for Christmas . . . a cozy romantic mystery with suspense from The Mystery Angel Romances series. An angel hidden in every book waiting for you to figure who . . .

Child psychologist Rachel Kelly isn't quite sure how to handle the situation with her newest client -- a six-year-old boy who says he can talk to angels and one is coming to help Rachel. She already has her hands full of trouble this Christmas season, and things quickly take a turn for the worse when a stalker crashes Rachel's Christmas party and takes her young clients hostage.

Police negotiator, Lt. Jake Dillon, walked away from his fiancée Rachel when she suddenly balked at having kids. His kids. Yet when the hostage crisis erupts, Rachel calls Jake first. Now he has a choice to make -- stand back and wait for the cavalry to save Rachel or step in and try to save her himself. Time is running out, and Jake may be their only chance for rescue.

Unless Rachel's little angel-spying client is telling the truth…


Read an excerpt:
Jake whipped his BMW into the Azalea Center parking lot and switched off his headlights in one smooth motion. Guided by the light from the few streetlamps, he coasted to a silent stop next to Wally’s Jeep, though his emotions had urged him to come screeching around the corner like the cavalry. Common sense and the need for stealth won out. He couldn’t risk driving the trespasser underground only to have him surface later after Jake had gone.

Clicking off his interior lights, he drew his Sig Sauer from the glove compartment, then climbed out and pushed the car door in until the latch quietly held. He waited several seconds to let his eyes and ears take in the entire scene. Damn. All the landscaping crowded around the Center provided a multitude of places for a trespasser to hide.

He put a hand on the hood of Wally’s Jeep. Still warm, even in the cold night air. A brief stab of guilt hit him for dumping his team so abruptly in the Beef n’ Barrel. Couldn’t be helped.

He scanned the closest landscape beds for some sign of Wally. A stiff north breeze whipped across the parking area, stirring up leaves and debris. Barely visible through the treetops, the almost-full moon blazed bright.

He made his way past the large perimeter oaks to the interior sidewalk and began a slow circle of the building, checking sections of garden as he paced. All the offices on the west side of the building were unoccupied, and all windows were dark, a few with vestiges of their interior visible due to adjacent emergency lighting.

Rachel’s office just around the corner faced the back of the property. At this time of night, her office interior would be entirely visible with her lights on. Jake knew this because he’d snuck over here enough times in the last few months to observe her office from the garden. He was pathetic and every few weeks had needed a glimpse of her to get by. A wry smile twitched the edges of his mouth. He could’ve been called in as a trespasser on any one of those nights should someone have spotted him and cared enough to make the call.

Careful to remain off the sidewalk, he silently paced toward the back garden. If the trespasser was a stalker, then the perp probably knew the Center had no security guard and no security system. A fact that had always bothered Jake.

At the back corner of the property, he crossed the sidewalk to inspect the landscape areas adjacent to the building. With quick steps, he shifted from one landscape bed to another. Crouching as he left the larger camellias, he moved through the shorter azaleas and Indian hawthorn.

Clearing the corner, his position even with the back of the building, he paused to reconnoiter and stared at the faint pool of light cast by an overhead office. Rachel’s office.

As his gaze rose to the second-floor office, his eyes searched for the all-too-familiar figure. Without thinking, he straightened to his full height, clearly visible to anyone glancing out the window. Yet no one searched for a figure in the garden. All eyes in the office were busy.

Rachel stood with Olivia and her children on one side of the conference room. On the other side of the room, a man in a worn red jacket and baseball cap faced them—pointing a gun.

This was Jake’s horrible nightmare.

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**My thoughts**
Wow, this book was a lot more intense than I thought it was going to be! You have a lot of elements working together here. You have a broken relationship, sick children, abused children, the child who sees angels, and then a bit of suspense when Rachel and the kids are kidnapped. My heart truly hurt for these kids, and for Rachel who is trying to face life after some devastating news. I honestly kept a Kleenex nearby, because tears had a tendency to surface in many places. 

And then there is also the element of keeping the faith in life. Some characters are strong in their faith. Some are struggling. Some are finding it. But the most magical part of all is knowing there are angels among us.

This is not going to be one of your quick reads that you can easily breeze through. It definitely held my attention, but required a lot more digestion than a lot of romances and stories I have been reading as of late. The premise is an interesting one, and I may have to check out the other books in the series.


About Petie McCarty


Petie spent a large part of her career working at Walt Disney World—"The Most Magical Place on Earth"—where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night, including her new series, The Cinderella Romances. She eventually said good-bye to her "day" job to write her stories full-time. These days Petie spends her time writing sequels to her regency time-travel series, Lords in Time, and her cozy-mystery-with-romantic-suspense series, the Mystery Angel Romances.

Petie shares her home on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee with her horticulturist husband and a noisy Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in No Angels for Christmas.

Visit Petie's web site online at http://www.petiemccarty.com or her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/petie.mccarty.


Social Media:

http://www.petiemccarty.com

https://www.facebook.com/petie.mccarty

https://twitter.com/authorpetie

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6094579.Petie_McCarty

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/petie-mccarty

https://www.pinterest.com/petiemccarty

http://www.amazon.com/author/petiemccarty

https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanie-mccarty-30851412



Petie McCarty will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC and 3 ebook copies of Duke Du Jour, book 1 of the Lords in Time series to 4 randomly drawn winners (one prize per winner) via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Review of Cakewalk to Murder (The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries) by MK Scott


Welcome to the blurb blitz tour for Cakewalk to Murder by MK Scott! These culinary cozy mysteries are right up my alley and have been for a long time. Please enjoy my review and then check out other reviews and excerpts. Plus follow the tour for more chances to win the great giveaway!




Cakewalk to Murder

Bake-off fever is in full-swing and Donna can’t help but have visions of becoming the next great baking star, but the competition is stiff, and someone is willing to kill to win.

When one of the contestants is found dead, a twist of fate puts Donna at the center of the competition. That’s the perfect position to unravel the mystery, but only if she doesn’t get caught in the crosshairs.


Read an excerpt:
A petite brunette and a taller man with a city haircut that screamed expensive waited at the bottom of the stairs, giving each other weighted looks. If it was one of her married couples, then the anniversary weekend was not starting out well. The woman stepped in front of Donna before her foot could reach the floor.

“I’m Emily Featherstone.” The woman smoothed a hand down her the skirt of her navy suit. “I believe the show booked me here?”

“Yes.” Donna agreed and stepped around the woman. “I’ll get your key, and Ten can show you up to your room.” She put a slight emphasis on Ten’s name. If he wouldn’t check people in, then he’d haul them up to their rooms.

The woman moved closer and lowered her voice. “I don’t want my room next to that pretender.”

“Okay, but I’m not sure who you’re talking about.” Mentally, she sighed. While the idea of a bake-off might be fine for her, she had to accept she might be waist-high in demanding divas. That would be the price she paid. It wouldn’t be the first time.

“Dalton Gallant,” the woman hissed the name through gritted teeth, then shot a toxic look at the man standing a few feet away.

“How about I put you on the third floor as far away from Mr. Gallant as possible?”

“Yes.” The woman pressed her hands together. “That’s the first thing that has gone right for me since I was chosen as a contestant.”

Personally, Donna would have considered being a contestant as one of those things that went right.

Buy it on Amazon
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**My thoughts**
I'm a sucker for culinary cozy mysteries, so when I saw this was available, I had to jump on it. I feel like I have read other titles by this author duo, but none from this series. It is the 10th book in the series, so there is definitely a lot of history in the story, but it isn't completely necessary to have read the other ones before this one, in my opinion. 

The bake-off competition has come to Donna's small town and they are staying at her inn. Right off the bat, one of the contestants is murdered. Donna is intrigued by the murder as it is, plus now she has the opportunity to compete on the show. Doing so also allows her to do a bit of investigating on her own.

I liked the characters in this book and would like to visit the previous books in the series to get to know them better. They are all quite entertaining and I am sure have some great stories in their pasts to share, plus could keep going for several more stories.

I did feel like a fair chunk of the book did focus more on the reality TV part and not as much on the actual mystery of the death as I would have expected. But then once it got into the investigation, it did keep me guessing and I didn't figure out the identity of the murderer as quickly as I usually do.

It's a fast read, so it was a fun way to spend an evening.

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.


About MK Scott


M. K. Scott is the husband and wife writing team behind The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries and The Talking Dog Detective Agency. Morgan K Wyatt is the general wordsmith, while her husband, Scott, is the grammar hammer and physics specialist. He uses his engineering skills to explain how fast a body falls when pushed over a cliff and various other felonious activities. The Internet and experts in the field provide forensic information, while the recipes and B and B details require a more hands-on approach. Morgan’s daughter, who manages a hotel, provides guest horror stories to fuel the plot lines. The couple’s dog, Chance, is the inspiration behind Jasper, Donna’s dog. Overall, both are fun series to create and read.

Social Media

Website: http://www.morgankwyatt.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMorganKWyatt

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/morgankwyatt

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826299.Morgan_K_Wyatt

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/morgankwyatt/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/M-K-Scott/e/B01M4JGK1A/



MK Scott will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Lawfully Chased (The Lawkeepers) by Ginny Sterling


Lawfully Chased

When Emma Browning chooses to remain in the wilds of Oklahoma, she discovers a freedom that comes from being an independent woman. Unfortunately, the men in town have other ideas for her. How can a young lady remain unmarried with so many single men nearby? Why is she endangering herself by teaching the less fortunate? After repeated offers of marriage – the one man she finds herself interested in… couldn’t care less about her!

Marshal James Reed has always been shunned due to his heritage. Growing up half-Indian and half-Tejano – his exotic looks have caused him to stand out and he’s struggled to make a name for himself. Now, he is in the Indian Territory after an outlaw when he spots the most beautiful distraction ever: Emma.

When James reveals a secret he’s kept close to his heart, can Emma find a way to reach the man that seems so very untouchable? Suddenly the idea of having a someone special in her life is quite tempting… but can the marshal capture his prey, and her heart, without endangering himself?



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I was compensated via Fiverr for sharing this book with you. I only share those books that I feel are of interest to my readers. 

Murder by Munchausen Trilogy by MT Bass


Welcome to the book blast for Murder by Munchausen by MT Bass! This is one for lovers of sci-fi, mystery, and police procedurals all rolled into one trilogy! Please enjoy an excerpt and then follow the tour to read even more of them. Be sure to leave questions and comments for the author along the way! And of course, best of luck entering the giveaway at the end.


Murder by Munchausen


A police procedural sci fi thriller ripped from future headlines!

After Jake shoots and kills a murder suspect who turns out to be the son of a powerful city councilman, he finds himself demoted to the Artificial Crimes Unit, tracking down androids hacked and programmed to be hit men.

When his case of an “extra-judicial” divorce settlement takes a nasty turn with DNA from a hundred-year-old murder in Boston and a signature that harkens back to the very first serial killer ever in London, Jake finds himself tangled up in the brutal slayings of prostitutes being investigated by his former Robbery/Homicide partner, Maddie–who is now his lover.

But a madman, The Baron, is just getting started with his AI recreations of Jack the Ripper's brutal crimes. And Maddie and Jake are teamed up again to stop the carnage as the Baron's army of human replicants imitate history's most notorious serial killers.

"It might not make sense, but the beloved Media tags it 'Murder by Munchausen.' For a price, there are hackers out there who will reprogram a synthoid to do your dirty work. The bad news: no fingerprints or DNA left at the crime scene. The good news—at least for us—is that they’re like missiles: once they hit their target, they’re usually as harmless as empty brass. The trick is to get them before they melt down their core OS data, so you can get the unit into forensics for analysis and, hopefully, an arrest." [excerpt from Murder by Munchausen]

Artificial Intelligence? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Artificial Evil has a name…Munchausen.



Purchase Links


Read an excerpt:
The Three Laws

1. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity may not act in any manner so as to engage in or cause any harmful or offensive contact against a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity must obey the directives and orders given it by human beings except in those instances where such directives and orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity may protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Federal Technology Administration Regulations


About MT Bass


M.T. Bass is a scribbler of fiction who holds fast to the notion that while victors may get to write history, novelists get to write/right reality. He lives, writes, flies and makes music in Mudcat Falls, USA.

Born in Athens, Ohio, M.T. Bass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in English and Philosophy, then worked in the private sector (where they expect “results”) mainly in the Aerospace & Defense manufacturing market. During those years, Bass continued to write fiction. He is the author of eight novels: My Brother’s Keeper, Crossroads, In the Black, Somethin’ for Nothin’, Murder by Munchausen, The Darknet (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #2), The Invisible Mind (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #3) and Article 15. His writing spans various genres, including Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Black Comedy and TechnoThrillers. A Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, airplanes and pilots are featured in many of his stories. Bass currently lives on the shores of Lake Erie near Lorain, Ohio.

M.T. Bass Author Links

Website: https://www.mtbass.net

Blog: https://www.owl-works.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlworks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Owlworks

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/mtbass

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5270962.M_T_Bass



The author will be giving away a $25 Amazon/BN gift card. Follow the tour for more chances to win!

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Read an exclusive excerpt from No Place Like Here by Christina June #NPLHBT #BlinkYABooks


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to the book tour for No Place Like Here by Christina June! Today I am sharing an exclusive excerpt from this young adult contemporary fairytale retelling. Please be sure to also check out the other stops on the tour, one of which is my review on one of my other sites at Andi's Young Adult Books. And of course there's a great giveaway at the end!




No Place Like Here

By Christina June
Young Adult Contemporary
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 288 Pages
May 21st 2019 by Blink

From Christina June, author of It Started with Goodbye and Everywhere You Want to Be, comes No Place Like Here, a modern twist on Hansel and Gretel.

Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She's just spent a year at boarding school and can't wait to get home. But when Ashlyn's father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for "exhaustion," a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn's father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn't even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed "indoor girl," not even Ash's habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes--inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere--can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad's marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.

Fans looking for stories with elements of drama, romance, friendship, and an unflinching look into navigating and improving even the most difficult parent-teen relationships need look no further.

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Yes, these are my Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one, I'll earn a couple of pennies at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my websites!

Read an excerpt:
I swallowed the lump in the back of my throat and shut my laptop harder than I meant to. There was no way. Right? My dad going to jail? I scoffed aloud. No chance. It was a misprint. Had to be. There was no way my parents would keep something like Dad committing white collar crime a secret from me. Was there? 
I felt around in my backpack for my phone. I’ll just call home and clear it up. Easy. 
I dialed my mother but got her voicemail. 
“You’ve reached Celine Zanotti. I can’t answer my phone right now, but please leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able. Have a fabulous day.” 
Fabulous was my mother’s favorite word. She thought my elitist private boarding school was fabulous. She thought her closet full of shoes was fabulous. She thought our vacations to Miami Beach each summer were fabulous. 
Is Dad’s alleged impending doom fabulous? 
“Hi, Mom. I just read an article saying Dad is going to jail and thought that was something you would tell me before it hit the national news. So, please call me and let me know what’s going on. Please.” 
Two pleases. I’d done it without realizing, but once it hit me, I knew I was scared.



Other Books by the Author



About the Author

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives in Virginia with her husband and daughter. She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and NO PLACE LIKE HERE.





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Monday, May 20, 2019

A Savage Kultur by Monique Roy


A Savage Kultur


 photo A Savage Kultur6_zpsusf5swr3.jpg
Historical Fiction
Date Published: May 1, 2019

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In Oxford, England, Ava, a Jewish art student at Oxford University, receives a heart-wrenching letter from her grandfather after he dies. From the letter, she learns that her grandfather has given her his London art gallery, which he says will secure her future, as well as provide a place for her to grow her artistic talents and follow her passion for art. The letter also describes his one last wish—that she find a treasured Vincent van Gogh painting, The Lovers: The Poet's Garden IV, that belonged to her grandparents and was deemed degenerate and looted by the Nazis in 1937.

Arriving for the first time at the gallery, she discovers old photographs in a secret room that recount the harrowing past—a Nazi propaganda parade in 1937. She quickly becomes aware that the room and the gallery, with an empty frame for the missing van Gogh, hold such rich memories of her grandparents. As conversations with her family members and those connected to the painting spur memories, the book switches back and forth between the current timeline and the timeline during the war to tell the stories of those affected by the painting and its fate.

On the train to her grandfather’s funeral, she meets Gordon Rose, an FBI agent, disguised as an art restitution lawyer. He helps her track down the missing van Gogh, while at the same time, he goes after an Neo-Nazi albino art forger named Luther.

Ava pays several visits to her grandmother, her only living relative who lived through the war, hoping she remembers something about the past that will be a clue to the missing painting and their lives in Germany during the war. It is in these hours that she sits with her grandmother that she learns about her grandparents finding refuge on an Austrian farm after they flee Munich and of Charlotte, a local farm girl who lives at Lake Toplitz.

Ava’s grandmother who struggles with dementia recalls Charlotte’s last name. With this information, Ava tracks down Charlotte at her home at Lake Toplitz and questions the old woman about what happened at the lake. On her last breath, Charlotte speaks of the secrets hidden in the lake.

When Gordon breaks into Luther’s Austrian hideout, he believes Luther has forged the missing van Gogh painting. Luther claims it is the real deal. To right a wrong and under the duress of Gordon and law enforcement, Luther returns the painting to Ava.

Ava takes the van Gogh painting to her grandmother. Still not sure if it's the real thing or not, Ava wants to bring her grandmother closure during her last days. Gordon wonders if they should call an art expert to examine the painting. She believes it was meant to be there, whether real or fake. In the end, Gordon and Ava reveal their true feelings for one another.


Purchase Links
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Read an excerpt:

Ava stared at the envelope and then at her mother.

“What do you mean by 'change my life?'”

 “Just open it, darling. I believe what’s inside will shape your life in so many amazing ways.”

The envelope was sealed close and Ava took the knife from the table and gently passed it under the seal.

“I have not read this letter,” Vivienne said. “This was left for your eyes only.”

Ava’s heart began to pound in her chest. She pulled out a handwritten letter and a gold key.

“A key?” Ava asked, looking up at her mother.

“Read the note, daughter.”

Hands shaking, Ava opened the letter and began to read.



My dearest Ava:

I have wanted to give you this special key to a remarkable place—my gallery—for a long time. Do you remember eight years ago when I sold the gallery? How very sad I was, but I stayed with that decision because, at the time, it was the right thing to do. It was a thorn in one’s side, to a degree, too much work and responsibility for an old man like me. Then, your grandmother became ill and so I sold the gallery. In an extraordinary circumstance, I was walking by the gallery many months ago and I discovered it was for sale. The current owner had fallen ill and no one in his family wanted the gallery. I stood in front of my old gallery as I did the day I bought it 30 years ago. Tears in my eyes and a flutter in my heart, I always knew that showplace was my destiny. Well, dear Ava, I had to have it and so I bought the salon that very day. Now it is yours, and while I am not there to see you flourish and grow in the most special of places, I know you will thrive in that gallery, as I did. You, my darling, are the only person who can carry on this legacy. Art links us. It makes us human, almost spiritual.

You are truly unique and gifted with a beautiful mind and an extraordinary artistic talent. You will be finished with school one of these days and now you have a way to make a living and I know you can make this burgeon. Daunting…yes…but always remember that I am always with you in your heart, an angel to guide you, and keep in mind what I always said that nature has no straight lines. A Beech tree does not grow straight and smooth, but twists, sprawls, and bulges. I have always believed, and more and more towards the end of my life, that the shortest distance to somewhere, to something, is never a straight line, instead it is a curvy one, zigzagging in the course of life amid conflicting forces. A very complex path; indeed, and the path you take will not be easy and straightforward. It’s twisting and bumpy, but it offers the greatest opportunity. Keep the gallery safe and make it vibrant. Give it a boost, and make art thrive in this ever changing, complex world. Without art, the world would be less bright, less beautiful. N'est-ce pas?

Listen carefully now, granddaughter. I dislike speaking of the past, a grievous time I buried deep inside the darkest cavities of my soul. The war caused your grandmother and me a great amount of angst and suffering. I have never felt terror like I did then, and I hope you never will. At night, I often would wake in a cold sweat from awful, vivid dreams, and unfortunately, when I opened my eyes, reality did not seem much better. We lived in a horrific world filled with extreme hatred during the war. When it was all over, it was far easier to close that part of me off and never speak of it again. These wounds don’t heal; they are forever ingrained in my soul.

A monster of the worst kind, Hitler’s greed was unlimited, his Nazi reign of terror horrifying. As evil spread across Europe, I saw the death of humanity and I witnessed a world where owners of great art exchanged their treasures for their lives—the plunder of Europe was the greatest art theft in history. The Nazis waged a cultural war on Europe’s Jewish community, and it is quite ironic how ardent and persistent they were about collecting and preserving art works as they went about completely ruining the lives of their Jewish owners. Art became a symbol of status for the Nazi regime. Hitler’s pillaging armies snatched countless pieces of valuable art off museum walls and from private collections across Europe. Hitler wanted to create the greatest collection of art in the world—a Führermuseum—his mission became stealing art from the rest of the world. Of the 600,000 works of art looted during the Nazi era, tens of thousands are still missing and unidentified. Amazing, isn’t it? Stealing art is like stealing someone’s soul. This is the final unfinished business of the war, and it will take the persistence and fortitude of your generation and future generations to continue to locate pieces adrift in the teeming and complex art world. My hope is that every piece the Nazis stole is found and returned to their Jewish heirs. Justice must be sought, and you and others of your generation and even those who come after you, must help to awaken the present to realize the wrongs of the past.

The events of the war are losing their immediacy; they are being shelved like any other major event in the history of time. Questions about it will remain probably forever and some will never have answers. The Jews of today have inherited the obligation to provide future generations with information so they can better understand the past for a better, more peaceful future. I only know of and see the past, Ava, but you are the present. Going forward, you must help right the wrongs of the past—a very dark and haunting time. I believe that an understanding of the past and preserving the memory of the past, can bring an understanding of the present and the future.

 This is my last secret, my last wish: A great family heirloom—a splendid painting by Vincent van Gogh, The Lovers: The Poet’s Garden IV— was confiscated from our family by the Nazis in 1937. It was declared “degenerate” and it has been missing ever since they took it in 1937. Your great-grandfather, Joseph, bought the piece at an auction. As you can imagine, it cost a large sum of money even then, and today, it is worth a great sum of money.

After the war, your grandmother and I put forth an immense effort and all of our energy into rebuilding our lives and starting a family, rather than tracking down lost art. We needed a break from the past and looking ahead at a brighter future somehow helped us slowly forget the past and hide it away deep inside. It was a time for us to heal and find peace, and a time to heal our saddened souls. I could not speak of my experiences for a long time, and nor could your grandmother, and until now, I did not want my experience with the past to contaminate you in any way. Some things remain secrets because there isn’t really a great way to tell them to the ones we love. It was meant to protect you. Now I believe these secrets are crucial to your life and your identity.

I have searched for this painting for quite some time, and now I must turn that extraordinary task to you, Ava. Searching for lost art is very different today than it was when I tried. Today, the internet is filled with articles about looted art, as well as searchable databases to locate missing and looted art. So many resources are now available to you. Ava, you have the energy and the determination to seek what we lost. I hope this is not a burden, but a quest to find something of tremendous value and beauty—just one of countless cultural treasures that vanished without a trace. This painting is part of your heritage and is something you can pass on to your children, and so forth.

There is much to tell about this wonderful work of art—The Lovers: The Poet’s Garden IV. I’ll begin with a letter the talented van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo, in October of 1888. He wrote a fabulous description: “Here is a very vague sketch of my last canvas, a row of green cypresses against a pink sky with a pale lemon crescent. The foreground is vague land and sand and some thistles. Two lovers, the man in pale blue with a yellow hat, the woman with a pink bodice and a black skirt.”

The painting was completed in 1888 as an oil on canvas. In February of that same year, van Gogh arrived in the southern Provencal town of Arles, France. With the financial help and support of his brother, he moved into the Yellow House. His bedroom overlooked Place Lamartine, a small public park. This lush oasis provided much inspiration and joy for the artist. The Poet’s Garden IV was the fourth work in a four-painting series as a decoration of linked pictures for the guest bedroom Paul Gauguin would occupy in the Yellow House. Unfortunately, sweet Ava, this house no longer exists as it was destroyed by bombs in the 1940s during World War II.

I think this glorious painting expresses so many things, such as emotions of mourning and loss and immortality. The garden’s vitality still lives somewhere with someone who is probably undeserving of its infinite beauty and value; for someone who steals art; therefore, steals its brilliance, its soul, its life. Stolen art is a great theft to an individual, to society, and to the world.

Art can make us feel small in the most beautiful way, the same way that man can make us feel insignificant in the absolute worst way.

We need more beauty in this world, Ava. Embrace this, my dear. Be determined, courageous and steadfast in this journey and in all you do. It’s transformative. Believe me. You are always up to a challenge, so why not this one?

And always remember that everything goes by like a dream, Ava…life can be fleeting, so use your beautiful eyes to capture all the most precious moments…flashes in your memory that create heartfelt moments. I love you ‘til the end of time and beyond.

Follow your heart and live your dreams.



Forever yours,

Your Dearest Poppy



Ava read every word through tears. “Oh, Mother,” Ava whispered, her head in her hands. “How beautiful.”

She took deep breaths to stop herself from crying out. She would be stronger than that, she told herself. He would want her to be stronger, to not break down. Something in those words awakened her. With her eyes closed, she vowed from within that with all the might and strength God could give her that she would fight to recapture the priceless van Gogh painting her grandfather, and even her great grandfather, admired and loved.


About the Author


About Monique Roy

 photo mon copy_zpsy3yyq4iv.jpg
Monique's passion for writing began as a young girl while penning stories in a journal. Now she looks forward to deepening her passion by creating many unique stories that do nothing less than intrigue her readers.

Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She is the author of a middle-grade book Once Upon a Time in Venice, historical fiction novel Across Great Divides, and historical fiction novel A Savage Kultur.

Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s their story that inspired her to write Across Great Divides, her first historical novel.

Historical fiction lets you escape to another time and place; and Monique likes to explore the past so that we can potentially better understand the future.

Monique resides in Dallas, Texas, with her husband and son. She also works as a freelance writer.


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Thursday, May 16, 2019

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