PERFIDITAS | Alison Morton

I first connected with Alison Morton with her release earlier this year, INCEPTIO, a fast paced and suspenseful debut novel. Well, guess what? She’s back with the second installment of the series! We head right back in the world of Roma Nova with PERFIDITAS.

Captain Carina Mitela of the Praetorian Guard Special Forces is in trouble – one colleague has tried to kill her and another has set a trap to incriminate her in a conspiracy to topple the government of Roma Nova. Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman dissidents and ruled by women, Roma Nova barely survived a devastating coup d’état thirty years ago. Carina swears to prevent a repeat and not merely for love of country.

Seeking help from a not quite legal old friend could wreck her marriage to the enigmatic Conrad. Once proscribed and operating illegally, she risks being terminated by both security services and conspirators. As she struggles to overcome the desperate odds and save her beloved Roma Nova and her own life, she faces the ultimate betrayal…





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Creating a “new” culture and world as Morton has done can present some challenges, especially when there’s old Roman names and terminology used. While it’s an adjustment, once you’re in the novel, it’s a smooth transition. In this second book, Morton dives deeper into a society completely run and dominated by women. Not only is it creative, but it’s full of action and suspense. Morton keeps Roma Nova alive with her fast paced storytelling and of course some twists and turns!

You can read more about Alison, Romans, alternate history and writing here on her blog, Facebook, Twitter and the PERFIDITAS page!

(Thank you Alison for the advanced reader copy!)

A Chat with Tim Shoemaker!





Guess what? It’s day two of weekend fun and interviews! I’m excited to have Tim join us! If you missed my review, be sure to check out Back Before Dark, a great read for middle school kids. Definitely a book I would have loved at that age! You can find out more about his Code of Silence series at the end of the interview, so be sure to check it out.

Tim Shoemaker is a speaker and author of several books, including 2012’s The Code of Silence. He has three grown sons and has been happily married for more than 32 years. His popular fictional stories are often inspired by his experience with kids as a volunteer youth leader for more than sixteen years. He lives in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

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1. What are some of the things that brought you to writing about young kids and something like a kidnapping?
Junior high years are critical in kid’s lives. Of innocence, in many ways. A time of change. I like writing about kids that age because everyone can relate to it. Whether you’re in junior high, high school, or an adult, we all remember those years of our lives—which means a wide cross section of readers will likely enjoy a story about kids that age.

The junior high years are a crossroads for kids. A time when they’ll make decisions that will change the course of their lives. I like writing for this age because I believe it can make a difference. I am convinced the story—the characters—can help readers think about life and make better decisions as a result. Kidnapping is a really tough topic. So on the one hand, I didn’t like the idea of writing about it—yet it was a perfect way to look at friendship—and how far you’d go to help your friend. And by writing about something so serious, it was a chance to really go deep with our characters—and that makes for a really satisfying read. I think the deeper messages of the book needed to be conveyed—and a kidnapping was a powerful way to do it.

So, Back Before Dark is more than an exciting (and sometimes scary) contemporary adventure. It is a way of reaching, helping, and protecting kids as well.





2. Who are some young adults who have inspired you (as you work in youth ministry)?
I get inspired by the students I know and work with. Some who have made bad choices. Others struggling to do the right thing. It is my passion for these kids—and so many others like them—that spurs me on to reach them. Being the age I am, I’ve seen so much. Choices and consequences. I want to help young adults navigate this minefield of life—and come out with their limbs intact.

Those who are trying to do the right thing—I want to encourage to keep going. Those who are making bad choices, I want to help them see where the path they’re on will lead them—and help them change.

3. What’s the biggest lesson you hope young readers get from Back Before Dark?
I want them to think through this question… “How far will you go to help a friend?” To actually have a friend abducted would be an extremely rare thing for readers of Back Before Dark to experience. But most of those readers will have friends who are lured into darkness in one way or another.

We live in a messed up world, and friends are often pulled into traps or taken captive by making bad choices, compromises, or drifting from the truth. The book will cause readers to consider that—and to think about how they can help their friends. Will they sit back and do nothing—or will they try to rescue them in some way?

4. What’s next for the Code of Silence series?
The third book comes out in March, 2014. The same group of friends go on vacation this time—but trouble seems to find them. The title is Below the Surface, and the tagline is Fear can be buried… but that doesn’t mean it’s dead. I love that tagline! The deeper issue in the book is fear. How do we handle fear? If we don’t get a grip on fear—it can put us in a strangle hold. I’m working on this one right now—and I’m really excited about it. I think readers will love this book as it wraps up the three-book series.

And no interview would be complete without 4 Questions!

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
The speaking part of my life is certainly one thing I didn’t expect. I wanted to write—but definitely didn’t see the speaking coming. Now I speak at all kinds of conferences—writing, parenting, men’s—and more. I didn’t see it coming—but I’m glad it did! Naturally, I can get pretty nervous before I speak, but I love it!

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
It’s not that I’ve got all kinds of regrets, because I don’t. But if I could go back knowing what I know now—the life lessons—I’d make all kinds of little changes. I’d worry less, to be sure. I’d stress less about work.

I’d always known the importance of being a man of integrity. I think years ago I saw it as something I should be. There was a sense of duty about it. Obligation. But one of things I learned over the years is how being a man of integrity, of character, is so much better than living a life of compromise. If I’d have understood that earlier, I’d like to think I’d have been a better man earlier—and I would have avoided some mistakes.

And there are plenty of things I’d just like to do all over again—if I really could go back. I really, really enjoyed my family. I’d love to do those years again. Not because of messing up the first time—but because they were so wonderful.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Wow . . . I’ve had tons of them. Being married to Cheryl. Raising our three boys. I guess what I’m describing are more like phases of life. There’s no way I could single out one event as being the happiest moment. But I’ll tell you about one of those happy types of moments. I loved reading to my kids as they grew up. And even telling them stories. Watching them really get into it—totally transfixed. The first novel I wrote (which will never be published) is called The Sword. When I finished it, I printed it out and bound it. We were going on vacation—and every day I read to them. They loved it—and by then I was hooked on writing fiction. Now those were happy moments!

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
I want them to know how good life can be, how fulfilling, when they live it according to the plans God laid out in his book. It isn’t a restricting life—but one of great freedom. I want them to know that this is a life that leads to no regrets and true satisfaction.

Thank you so much Tim! Be sure to pick up your copy today!

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“Shoemaker’s characters and plot possess a believability rare for YA mysteries.”
—Booklist

Author Tim Shoemaker brings attention to the startling number of child abductions in a riveting new novel in the Code of Silence series for teens and younger readers. BACK BEFORE DARK, follows Shoemaker’s precocious teenage characters from the first book as they find themselves knee-deep in another dangerous case.

It is a normal evening for 14-year-old cousins Cooper and Gordy, and their friends Hiro and Lunk, who are out riding their bikes through the park. Then, all of a sudden, their lives are drastically changed when Gordy is kidnapped right before their eyes. 

With the police at a loss for leads, it’s up to Gordy’s determined friends—and Hiro’s gumshoe tactics—to find and rescue their pal. But none of them are prepared for the perils that lurk around every corner and threaten to split up the group, permanently. And Cooper’s often reckless rescue mission puts his and Gordy’s lives at risk.

Shoemaker’s penchant for suspense will keep readers clinging to each page, anxious to find out what happens as the teens venture down one dark path only to find to another. Fans will be left guessing all the way up to the book’s shocking conclusion.

At the end of the story, Shoemaker provides readers with discussion points and a question and answer guide from an actual police officer that teach kids how to take proper safety precautions in the event of an abduction.

Back Before Dark | Tim Shoemaker

I love finding books for younger kids. You know, books that will get them away from video games and the internet. Stories that will stir their imaginations and inspire them for adventures of their own. I didn’t grow up reading the Babysitters’ Club, but stories of adventures, mystery, survival (although, please tell me if I’m wrong and the Babysitters’ Club had any of those elements!), just your everyday saving the world type kid stories like these. I can never say enough how much books did that for me growing up! It made playing outside even better.

Enter in Back Before Dark. The second book in A Code of Silence series, Tim Shoemaker’s book is suspense fiction for 8-13-year-old middle school readers.

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Taken!

A detour through the park leads Cooper, Gordy, Hiro, and Lunk straight into a trap, and Gordy is abducted!

For the kidnapper, it’s all a game, a way to settle an old score, with no one getting hurt. But evil has a way of escalating, and once his identity is discovered, the rules change.

Despite the best of police efforts, the hours tick by without a clue or a ransom call, leaving everyone to their own fears. Gordy is gone. Cooper descends deeper into a living nightmare, imagining the worst for his best friend and cousin. Hours stretch into days, and talks of a memorial service begin to surface. But Cooper still feels his cousin is alive and develops a reckless plan, changing all the rules. Now the one who set out to rescue his friend needs to be rescued himself. Sometimes rescuing a friend from darkness means going in after them.

It’s well written, fast paced and will have kids swept up in suspense within the first few pages! Plus it teaches young kids valuable lessons of faith, the importance of friendship and doing what’s right. Can’t go wrong with that right?

(I received a copy to review for my honest opinion. Thank you DJC Communications!).

Inceptio | Alison Morton

I’m excited to get to take part in another book blog tour! Welcome fellow book friends! Let’s dive right in with INCEPTIO by Alison Morton:

New York, present day. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after surviving a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice – being eliminated by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to the mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother’s homeland in Europe. Founded sixteen centuries ago by Roman exiles and ruled by women, Roma Nova gives Karen safety and a ready-made family. But a shocking discovery about her new lover, the fascinating but arrogant special forces officer Conrad Tellus, who rescued her in America, isolates her. Renschman reaches into her new home and nearly kills her. Recovering, she is desperate to find out why he is hunting her so viciously. Unable to rely on anybody else, she undergoes intensive training, develops fighting skills and becomes an undercover cop. But crazy with bitterness at his past failures, Renschman sets a trap for her, knowing she has no choice but to spring it…

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I’ve always been fascinated by Roman history, so I found this new “Rome,” Roma Nova quite the interesting place. Ways of doing things back then were rather different than today’s Western society and I thought Morton did a great job portraying what that would look like today (and the reaction to it). Plus the descriptions of Roma Nova made me want to high tail outta Texas and go to Italy. Soon Jamie, soon.

Morton had plenty of moments where after reading certain things, I had to stop, collaborate and listen because it was a “say whaaaa just happened??” type moment. Always a sign of a good writer who keeps the audience captivated. Plus Renschman is a psycho villain (like BRO CHILL OUT). I mean cray to the third power. But a good villain only makes the heroine that much better.

I will say, during the part where she was kicking butt and off on her own, I couldn’t help but want to slowly raise my hand and quietly ask, what about Conrad? What can I say…I’m a cheeseball romantic on occasion. I won’t give away much more, because you should find out for yourself ;) , but at least I didn’t throw the book in frustration when it ended (I’m still upset with Gone with the Wind. Oh Rhett Butler).

While this is only Morton’s first published book, she’s a natural storyteller and this fast-paced, suspense novel is the perfect example of that talent. It gets you hooked and rooting for Karen as she searches to find herself, her purpose and love!

Marduk’s Tablet | Tracy L. Higley

Some of my favorite movies are the mummy movies with Brendon Fraser. Don’t hate, I heart them. Ancient mysteries, suspense, a mysterious man who can rock eyeliner and tattoos (yes please), all the while keeping you on your toes! The ancients colliding with modern times. I’m telling you, no matter what part the movies are on, if I walk in, I’m watching them.

So when I came across Tracy L. Higley’s Marduk’s Tablet about an ancient tablet with mysterious powers, betrayal, adventure and secrets? Girl, you know I’m in.

I loved the suspense! I have to admit there were parts where characters were having deep conversations and I had to speed through (more like jump from paragraph to paragraph) because I needed.to.know what happened next. No time for chit chat people, there’s a cray on the loose!

I liked the characters Higley created, some shocked me, some I wished were real so I could be friends with them and the storyline was exciting and intriguing. Plus there’s some interesting ancient history woven throughout the story. Makes me want to take more history classes :) .

Emilie Nazzaro saw her father’s obsession with Marduk’s Tablet lead to his betrayal and murder. Now, she’s been charged with deciphering the symbols on this centuries-old piece of clay, which legend says contains omens with healing powers.

On a harrowing journey through Israel and into ancient Babylon she tries to uncover the secrets surrounding her father’s death – but will she stay alive long enough to learn the truth?

If you enjoy some ancient history, Higley has a new release out as well! Be sure to check out So Shines the Night!

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