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Saturday, August 28, 2021

 

The Cryptographer

About the Book

Book:  The Cryptographer’s Dilemma

Author: Johnnie Alexander

Genre: Historical Christian Fiction

Release date: August, 2021

9781643529516A Code Developer Uncovers a Japanese Spy Ring

Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.

FBI cryptographer Eloise Marshall is grieving the death of her brother, who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, when she is assigned to investigate a seemingly innocent letter about dolls. Agent Phillip Clayton is ready to enlist and head oversees when asked to work one more FBI job. A case of coded defense coordinates related to dolls should be easy, but not so when the Japanese Consulate gets involved, hearts get entangled, and Phillip goes missing. Can Eloise risk loving and losing again?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

JohnnieAlexanderJohnnie Alexander creates characters you want to meet and imagines stories you won’t forget in a variety of genres. An award-winning, best-selling novelist, she serves on the executive boards of Serious Writer, Inc. and the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference, co-hosts Writers Chat, and interviews other inspirational authors for Novelists Unwind. Johnnie lives in Oklahoma with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon. Connect with her at www.johnnie-alexander.com and other social media sites via https://linktr.ee/johnniealexndr.

 

More from Johnnie

American Traitor in WWII

 

Not all secret messages involve substitution codes where random letters and numbers replace the original letters and numbers. Velvalee Dickinson, a doll collector who owned a doll shop on Madison Avenue in New York City, used jargon code to pass along information to the Japanese about the U.S. ships that had been damaged at Pearl Harbor.

 

Here’s an excerpt from one of the letters (as originally written):

 

The only new dolls I have are THREE LOVELY IRISH dolls. One of these three dolls is an old Fisherman with a Net over his back—another is an old woman with wood on her back and the third is a little boy….I can only think of our sick boy these days. You wrote me that you had sent a letter to Mr. Shaw, well I want to see MR. SHAW he distroyed Your letter, you know he has been Ill. His car was damaged but is being repaired now. I saw a few of his family about. They all say Mr. Shaw will be back to work soon.

 

Velvalee, who the FBI nicknamed The Doll Woman, wrote this letter on her Underwood typewriter. She used the return address and forged the signature of one of her regular customers, Mary Wallace of Springfield, Ohio. Then Velvalee mailed the letter to an address in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 

Unknown to Velvalee, the Japanese had abandoned the Buenos Aires address as a drop point. The letter was marked “return to sender.” When Mrs. Wallace received it, she turned it in to the Post Office Director in Springfield who passed it along to the FBI.

 

Cryptographers determined that the letter was written in jargon code. To the casual reader, the letter is about dolls. But the intended recipient would have understood it’s about much more than that.

 

In this example, only one of five letters given to the FBI between February and August of 1942,

cryptographers decoded the message as follows:

 

  • Old Fisherman with a Net over his back ~ refers to an aircraft carrier which has anti-torpedo nettings on its sides.
  • Old woman with wood on her back ~ refers to an older battleship, one made of wood.
  • A little boy plus our sick boy ~ a damaged ship.

 

Cryptographers believed that the words Mr. Shaw and Your were purposely capitalized and that the word distroyed was purposely misspelled to draw attention to them. Mr. Shaw referred to the USS Shaw, a destroyer (distroy + your = destroyer).

 

The remainder of the letter says Mr. Shaw is ill but “will be back to work soon.”

 

The ship was in dry dock at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked. As the heroine in The Cryptographer’s Dilemma explains, “About two weeks before this letter was written, it [the USS Shaw] was undergoing repairs in San Francisco.”

 

In the novel, Eloise Marshall is a naval cryptographer who teams up with FBI agent Phillip Clayton, to find the person responsible for forging the signatures on the letters. Their search takes them from Washington, DC to the Springfield, Ohio, to the west coast and back again. On their journey, Eloise will confront an unexpected specter from her past and Phillip will risk his life to save hers.

MY REVIEW 

I love war stories about espionage and how people are caught. What intrigued  me about the story was learning about cryptography. It is a special gift to be able to decipher codes  that are sent to deter the conman person from figuring out what is being said. Elosie is  a very smart woman whose talent is vital to the FBI. It was interesting to get a glimpse of how she works. It must have been a great honor to be chosen for a special assignment. Working with another agent will find her traveling to different places while collecting information for  the  FBI. 

Phillip was a good character but I didn’t connect with him as much. He was a good agent yet he always seemed to think he could be doing something else for his country. At first I wasn’t sure how working with Eloise would work out, but they did take their assignment serious enough that they blended well with each other. As they began their secret mission I was ready to join them and help them along the way. They made me want to know them more and the author gives us a little background about each of them which helped me understand their traits better.

The secret letters that they followed was really fun as the mystery started to unravel. The historical facts are good and kept with the time period perfectly. Each letter was a challenge as Eloise used her skills to decipher the hidden messages in each one. It was easy for me to figure out who the person was behind all the mystery which disappointed me. I wanted more mystery and less about Eloise worried that she would not be a part in solving the case. 

I had no idea that the story was based on a true historical person. Now this made me want to go back and do research about this person. It wasn’t uncommon for secrets to be passed during wartime, but it was uncommon as who was doing it in thus book. Having the codes deciphered quickly was a let  down for me. I wanted tithe author  to expand on this more and maybe add more drama to the story. 

I was very confused when a certain character appeared in the story. It just didn’t make sense why he was there and how quickly Eloise started to depend  on him. We see her upset seeing something  in the paper and given no clue for some time. I really want to know how he became involved and why he was suddenly trust worthy. The ending was a let down though and was very light on a faith element. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit . The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Life of Literature, August 25

Where Faith and Books Meet, August 25

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 26

Reflections From my Bookshelves, August 26

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 27

Bizwings Blog, August 27

Daysong Reflections, August 27

Texas Book-aholic, August 28

A Baker’s Perspective, August 28

Inklings and notions, August 29

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, August 29

For Him and My Family, August 30

Simple Harvest Reads, August 30 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Older & Smarter?, August 31

Mypreciousbitsandmusings, August 31

Aryn the Libraryan πŸ“š, September 1

Rebecca Tews, September 1

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, September 2

deb’s Book Review, September 2

Locks, Hooks and Books, September 3

Blossoms and Blessings, September 3

Mary Hake, September 3

Connie’s History Classroom, September 4

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, September 4

Sodbusterliving, September 4

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 5

Labor Not in Vain, September 5

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 6

Moments, September 6

Splashes of Joy, September 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 7

Pause for Tales, September 7

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Johnnie is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 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.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1161a/the-cryptographer-s-dilemma-celebration-tour-giveaway

Thursday, August 26, 2021

 

rhapsody in red

About the Book

Book:  Rhapsody in Red

Author: Donn Taylor

Genre: Mystery

Release date: September 2018

image001“IT WAS A BAD DAY TO FIND A CORPSE ON CAMPUS.”

Preston Barclay is a reclusive history professor with musical hallucinations. The feisty Mara Thorn is a newly arrived professor with a strong desire to be left alone. But finding the body of a murdered colleague shakes them out of their quiet lives. Worse yet, police accuse them of her murder, forcing the ill-matched pair into an uneasy alliance for their defense. However, that proves more perilous than they’d thought. To succeed, they have to outwit the police, avoid discipline by the college’s incompetent administration, and escape threats and attacks by the unseen and ruthless forces behind the murder. It’s a one-in-a-hundred chance, and if they fail, they’ll end up unemployed, behind bars, or worse . . .

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Donn Taylor portraits 12/7/07
Donn Taylor portraits 12/7/07

Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterward, he earned a PhD in Renaissance literature and taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His published works include six suspense novels and a book of poetry. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences. He lives in the woods near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.

 

More from Donn

About Rhapsody in Red: From teaching eighteen years in small denominational colleges, I knew that part of the academic world well. So when I came to write the Preston Barclay Mystery Series, that’s where I turned. What would happen if someone dropped a murder into that placid environment?

That was the basic question. But that part of the college world also has internal conflicts and tensions that even the best-intentioned people can’t avoid. That leads most faculty into being discreet. But what would happen if one professor kept saying openly what the rest of the faculty were only thinking? That’s why the series protagonist, Professor Preston Barclay, is always in trouble.

In writing the series I wanted to mainly to give readers an interesting story about a murder and the complications leading to its solution. But I also wanted them to enjoy the story’s interplay of strong and often quirky personalities navigating the varied conflicts of the small-college world.

Whether I’ve achieved those objectives will be decided by each individual reader. But CBA Retailers and Resources Magazine wrote that  Rhapsody in Red is “peopled with academia’s most intriguing eccentrics and snobs,” and Christian Review of Books wrote that it’s “a delightful change from the clichΓ©s of most novels.”

Readers who enjoy Rhapsody in Red may want to look at its two sequels, Murder Mezzo Forteand Murder in Disguise.

MY REVIEW 

What a treat to read a book from this author. His books are always filled with well written intrigue and characters that cover the pages with incredible emotions that grab your attention right away. Preston Barclay is a very private person. He teaches history at a college, then slips away to his house where he has hallucinations of music playing in his head. Yes, I was already intrigued by this character. He must love his privacy and there is going to be something very significant about the music in this story. 

On one particular day Mara Thorn happens to walk into Preston's office looking for help. This was not going to be a quiet day for Preston as he and Mara discover the body of a fellow teacher. Suddenly they find themselves as the prime suspects. How will they prove their innocence? Does the dead teacher have a link to others in the story? As they start to do their own investigation their personalities will clash. Preston doesn't really like to be around women and Mara doesn't trust men. How will they work together? The author has written a mystery that takes you on many twists as characters come to life with intrigue and quirkiness. It is a book that you will find hard to put down. This was a hard mystery for me to figure out, which makes the writing superb. Thank you for a book that was such a joy to read and a mystery that reminds me of a Alfred Hitchcock movie. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.


Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 19

Adventures of a Travelers Wife, August 20 (Author Interview)

Daysong Reflections, August 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 21

For Him and My Family, August 22

deb’s Book Review, August 23

Inklings and notions, August 24

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, August 25

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, August 26

Texas Book-aholic, August 27

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 28

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 29

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 30

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 31

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, September 1 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, September 1

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Donn is giving away the grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card plus one paperback copy of Rhapsody in Red!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/1141d/rhapsody-in-red-celebration-tour-giveaway


Wednesday, August 25, 2021

 

Liberty Lane

About the Book

Book:  Liberty Lane and the One-Girl Rebelution

Author: Shaylene King

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Release date: December 31, 2020

New book coverAmerican Idol meets the bible in this modern retelling of the book of Esther creatively re-imagined for a younger generation

Sir Frederick Preparatory School’s Royal Crown competition is only the biggest singing competition on planet earth! So, when Liberty Lane O’Shea, is catapulted into the singing competition to compete for the coveted crown, it’s a dream come true.

Her dreams are dashed when she meets a beastly contestant who plots to vocally “kill off” anyone who might pose a threat to his rise to fame.

To halt the contestant’s vile ruse, Liberty Lane and her cohorts in crime, best friend Calliope and cousin Lincoln scheme to foil his evil ploys.

When Liberty Lane finds herself blackmailed, she is faced with a tough choice. Will she expose this contestant, divulging a secret of her own, and possibly disqualify herself from the competition? Or, will she watch the other contestants “die” an early Royal Crown competition death, putting the crown surely within her grasp?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Make Your Mark Headshot croppedShaylene is an anti-bully activist. She speaks to thousands of students each year across the country and internationally, empowering them to live with profound purpose when they learn to combat mean and cultivate kindness.

She is the founder of The Mean Girl Extinction Project a 501(c)3 on-profit created to address the rise in relational aggression among girls. She teaches girls how to not only survive girl world but to make a difference and thrive in girl world. She leads assemblies, workshops and speaks at girls events, camps, clubs and retreats.

Shaylene also teaches and trains the nation’s leading student-led bully prevention program called  Safe School Ambassadors. Equipping students with the tools they need to develop self-confidence and practice and promote positive communication with their peers.

Shaylene lives with her husband in Middle Tennessee, sailing the unchartered waters of empty nesting. She enjoys any time she gets to spend with her two grown children who are off exploring the world and living the life God created them for.

 

More from Shaylene

Liberty Lane and the One-Girl Rebelution was birthed from my love of fairy tales and reading Bible stories to my kids. I have likely read every modern retelling version of classic fairy tales like Cinderella and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves! One night, while reading a Bible story to my kids at bedtime, I noticed it read a lot like a fairy tale, only it was true. What fun it would be to write a modern retelling of my favorite Bible stories! And, rest is history… or at least a re-telling of history!

 

This book was a labor of love. It was fun to creatively reimagine what an Esther story might look like today. More important, though, I wanted to create a strong, confident young girl, one who was perfectly imperfect, able to think for herself and stand for what she believed in, even when it was hard—a one-girl “rebel”ution. My hope is that girls might connect with Liberty Lane and feel they too can be comfortable in their own skin and stand by their convictions. When they make a mistake, they can right their wrong, hold their head high, and press on. Speaking the truth is never easy to do, but I want them to know, it will always be the right thing to do.

MY REVIEW 

I liked the characters and especially our shining star Liberty Lane. Oh that girl had a big dream to be on stage, sing her heart out and win a contest. Think along the lines of several singing competitions on Tv right now and that is where the plot  focuses on. Oh if life was simple with no obstacles Liberty would breeze onto stage and be crowned the winner. But we all know that life is not simple at times. 

Enter stage left is Seth who has the biggest ego I have witnessed in a book. He is so sure he will win but has to go a step further to insure his victory. He is not above doing things to other contestants to knock them out of the competition. He has it in Liberty and makes every effort to discredit her from the contest. 

I did have a few  problems with the story at times though. Why would these young kids be unsupervised and able to hide in places and be able to walk around freely at the  place they were staying? When it was discovered that bottled water has been tampered with, why were the police not  called in? The secret that Liberty keeps about her real identity was not a good example of being honest.  

I did like how the author showed how a young person can find  courage through God  and standing up for yourself. It was okay for the  person to be exposed who was causing havoc but I think it could have been done in a more graceful way. It felt like Liberty wanted to embarrass this person instead of showing grace to them. With a little tweaking of the story it could be a great tool to use for a church library. The best part for  me was at the end when the author includes the story of Esther from the Bible. That is where the kids will understand the similarities between  Liberty and Esther and tie the  two stories together to make more sense. 

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 24

Aryn The Libraryan πŸ“š, August 25

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, August 25

Texas Book-aholic, August 26

Inklings and notions, August 27

Blogging With Carol, August 27

For Him and My Family, August 28

Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, August 29

Southern Gal Loves to Read, August 29

deb’s Book Review, August 30

Locks, Hooks and Books, August 31

Cats in the Cradle Blog, August 31

A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 1

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 2

Mary Hake, September 2

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, September 3

Bigreadersite, September 4

Vicky Sluiter, September 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 5

Sodbusterliving, September 6

Giveaway

Liberty Lane Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Shaylene is giving away the grand prize a $50 Amazon gift card, a signed hard back copy of my book, book bag and 2 BookStubs (Free ebook download) … One BookStub for the winner and one for a friend!!

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

https://promosimple.com/ps/11423/liberty-lane-and-the-one-girl-rebelution-celebration-tour-giveaway