Review & Giveaway: Fatal Strike by DiAnn Mills

FATAL STRIKE

by
DiANN MILLS

Genre: Romantic Suspense / Clean Romance / Christian
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Date of Publication: September 3, 2019
Number of Pages: 400
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There’s a killer on the loose in Galveston, targeting law enforcement officials and using a fatal injection of snake venom to take them down. Authorities have reasons to believe the Veneno gang is behind the hits, and FBI Agents Leah Riesel and Jon Colbert team up to track down those responsible. Their best lead is an eyewitness who identifies a young man dumping the third body on a church doorstep. But their suspect has gone into hiding, and those closest to him are reluctant to reveal anything that might help investigators find him.
 
As Leah and Jon check connections among the victims and dig deeper into motives, they discover appearances may be deceiving. Someone is desperate to keep their secrets hidden, and Leah and Jon must face their greatest fears in order to stop the next fatal strike.

 

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review

It is one type of author that can write characters that are believable and worth caring about, and it is another type of author that can do that and make the setting a living, breathing character in the story as well. As I read this book, I had no doubt in my mind that Mills was very much acquainted with Galveston and the surrounding areas of Houston. She describes the locations in a way that engages all of the senses – from the sounds of waves crashing near the coast to the sticky heat that Houstonians know all too well. (Also, all the restaurants that are mentioned!) And it is while Leah and Jon navigate the different geographies of our great state that you get to know them; first, at the surface level and, later, their deepest regrets and fears.

At the surface, the new partners are pretty similar: good-looking FBI snipers with tough reputations who are hesitant to work together because of personal baggage and the stories that they have heard about each other. Deep down, they both harbor guilt for past decisions that are quite different. However, the two are able to relate to each other and help the other heal in ways that no one else had ever been able to. Sounds like a lot to process, right? Well that’s just the side story to a very complex mystery of why three highly respected people in the Galveston community are murdered in the span of three days.

I was amazed to realize that about halfway through the novel, I still had no idea who the bad guy was and what the motives for the murders were. Conservatively, I had a hunch (that proved correct) about 75% of the way in. As someone who prides herself in predicting plot twists and whodunit, this book had me stumped. And it’s not because the author wrote an ending from way out of left field or anything. Mills does an amazing job of reeling you in, tugging at your heartstrings for a character, and then with either Leah or Jon’s internal dialogue or a quick aside to each other, you question everything you have come to believe thus far.

If Christian books aren’t your thing, don’t worry. I feel like this book has spiritual elements in it that help the story along but aren’t the focal point. If you liked the rush and mystery of The Da Vinci Code, then I think you would enjoy this book as well. I also enjoyed reading a “clean” book that still transported me through the shocking underbelly of Galveston. Many authors write about gory crimes, usually committed against women, with a heavy hand that seems almost gratuitous. Other authors take another route and write steamy scenes under the facade of romance that make me equally uncomfortable as well. I really appreciate Mills’ ability to write about difficult or deep situations and emotions without cheapening any of them.

If you’re a crime show fan like me, I think you will love Fatal Strike. Every DiAnn Mills book that I have read has made me hold my breath in anticipation and doubt my predictions.

 

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure?
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol Award contests.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Retreat, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas. She’s very active online and loves to connect with readers.
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Review & Giveaway: Yazzy’s Amazing Yarn by Cathey Nickell

YAZZY’S AMAZING YARN

by
CATHEY GRAHAM NICKELL
Illustrated by Emily Calimlim
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Ages 4-8 
Publisher: Twenty-Eight Creative
Date of Publication: August 1, 2019
Number of Pages: 32
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Yazzy is a creative girl, always sketching out her next adventure. She loves yarn, and she loves to knit! Her neighborhood park is dull and rusty, but Yazzy has a grand plan. 
With a little help from her friends, Yazzy’s knitted wonders transform Penny Park into a fuzzy rainbow of warmth and color. What yarn-tastic idea will Yazzy think of next? 
The book includes a “History of Yarn Bombing” page for readers who are not familiar with this creative and whimsical type of art.

“As a teacher, it’s refreshing to find a book that exposes children to an alternative art form. I’m inspired by Yazzy’s story, and I know my students will be, too.” — Deborah Horwitz, Art Teacher, The Emery/Weiner School, Houston, Texas.

review

My 6 year old has been begging me to crochet him random video game characters and I told him we had a deal if he helped me review Yazzy’s Amazing Yarn. He liked pointing out little details in the book – Yazzy keeps her yarn in woven baskets on a shelf like me and Yazzy’s mom reminds him of his “little” grandmother. When there were long strands of yarn running across the page, he would trace his finger along it and ask where it was going. He was thrilled to see all the places in the park that Yazzy and her friends yarn bombed. He didn’t understand why someone would be upset with the colorful creations. And when he saw what Yazzy had planned next, he asked if we could do something like that as well.

My son enjoyed this book and I did too! I’m a fan of the colorful illustrations and how they are bright but not psychedelic. I, too, loved the little details on the page. For example, the to-do list in Yazzy’s room that shows she prioritizes her schoolwork over her craft projects, the expressions on Kayla and Isabel’s faces when learning to knit for the first time (one looks overwhelmed while the other looks irritated), and the way the yarn winds its way through the other facets of her life while she immerses herself in her project for weeks.

The story is very nicely crafted and age appropriate for the target audience. I like how the author snuck in some alliterations and onomatopoeia, as well as a great lesson on sharing a skill with others. Instead of just making something for her friends, Yazzy suggests that they work on making something together, which is twice as fun! And it was a cherry on top that she had a gift for the grumpy groundskeeper. I had one note: I am curious how three little girls were able to yarn bomb the turtle in the middle of the fountain. That would be difficult for even an adult to accomplish.

I really like the layout of this book. The text is laid out around the illustrations, enhancing the visual experience. Neither part distracts from the other. The dust jacket matches the hardcover perfectly and gives a sneak peek to the beautiful layout within. There is a perfect balance of text, illustration, and white space.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with school-aged children. This would be a great anticipatory set for lessons such as yarn crafts, community building, and sharing hobbies. There’s a neat history on the origins of yarn bombing on the last page, and I’m proud to live in a community where something so great got its start.

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Cathey Nickell is a busy author and elementary school speaker, having presented at more than seventy schools to date. Yazzy’s Amazing Yarn is her second children’s book about creativity and outside-the-box artistic endeavors. She is also the author of Arthur Zarr’s Amazing Art Car, which was awarded first place by the Texas Association of Authors in the category of Children’s Picture Books-All Ages. Cathey lives with her husband, Kevin, in Houston, where they raised their four children.
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Emily Calimlim, while not a knitting whiz herself, loves creating art with humorous and lively watercolor pictures for children. She lives in Houston with her fiancé, George, and silly studio bird, Simon. Emily spends her days capturing her ideas and imagination with paint and pencil.
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Review & Giveaway: Rounding Home by Sarah Swindell

ROUNDING HOME

by
SARAH SWINDELL
  Genre: Memoir / Family / Autism
Date of Publication: August 2, 2019
Number of Pages: 256
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In 1991, twenty-one-year-old Sarah, the recently divorced mother to two-year-old Hayley, moved from the dusty small town of Farmington, New Mexico to the bustling city of Houston, Texas with dreams of a better life. A year later, she was swept off her feet by Greg Swindell, an established Major League Baseball player who had just signed a lucrative contract with the Houston Astros and was quickly becoming the talk of the city. 
Six weeks after their first date, Greg asked Sarah to quit her job as a hairdresser and marry him during Spring Training in Florida. Over the next several years, Sarah’s Cinderella story continued with the addition of three more children, a lifestyle only a few ever dream of living, and a love story even fewer ever experience.
That is until 2002 when her picture-perfect life came to a gut-wrenching halt, and Sarah was faced with more pain than she ever thought possible. For almost a decade, the puzzle pieces would cease to align due to an avalanche of events; a devastating autism diagnosis, a painful affair, multiple marriages, multiple divorces and her children’s own personal struggles with self-harm, eating disorders, and attempted suicide. 
If you have ever felt lost, betrayed, or heartbroken, this story will inspire you to never give up on finding true joy and happiness again. It will prove there is no such thing as the “perfect family” and that difficult times can actually make you stronger than you ever dreamed possible.

 

PRAISE FOR ROUNDING HOME:
Rounding Home takes you on a riveting journey through the eyes of an exceptional woman who embraced struggle, love, success, and the unimaginable, autism. Get ready to laugh, cry, and flutter with romance; it’s one hell of a love story!” — Gena Lee Nolin, actress, author, advocate, “Thyroid Sexy,” wife & mother
“In Rounding Home, Sarah writes with gritty honesty, a deeply moving account of life with her autistic son. This testament to the resilience of the human spirit will touch your heart and soul.” — Gayle Nobel, life coach, autism mom, and author of three books about living with autism
“This story of the Swindell family is a poignant demonstration of how each family member responded and was changed, for better or worse, as they struggled to come to terms with how their lives had been altered. And although there was damage along the way, they ultimately triumph by rekindling the love that created their family unit in the first place.” — Dr. Bryan Jepson, author, physician, and father of two sons with autism

review

Some of my all-time favorite movies are baseball movies, so I was immediately drawn to the cover art of Rounding Home. I was intrigued by the ghostly image paired with a baseball phrase that normally stirs up feelings of excitement since the base runner is about to score by crossing home plate. The muted colors of the baseball field and the washed out colors of the author, Sarah, standing barefooted with a bottle of wine at her feet is somber and beautiful at the same time.

The only thing I didn’t read in this book is the testimonials page at the very front. I didn’t want my review influenced by anyone else. I have quasi-photographic memory, so that’s a very real hurdle for me when reviewing books. I’m a big fan of the disclaimer about this book being a memoir; the imperfections of human memory and perception that might cause a slight distortion of actual events. I also love the hotline numbers listed below. Upon reading the Foreword, I already knew that I would experience a lot of different feelings from reading this memoir. Motherhood is a very different journey for every woman but we experience many of the same destinations or perhaps choose a slightly different route by our interpretations of life’s map. The Acknowledgements page confused me because it sounded like she was married to one man but was madly in love with another. Once you finish the book, you might come to the conclusion that she sort of was.

Sarah’s voice is very clear and her thoughts are organized, even though her life’s events seemed anything but. She mentions in the Foreword that she asked her editors to tread lightly in order to preserve her natural voice, which I think they did very well, but the proofreading could have been a little tighter. But to be fair, I think only a page or two slipped past the editorial team. The typesetting and formatting of the pages are executed nicely but the design of the jacket feels distinctly self-published.

To say that Sarah Swindell has lived a very interesting life would be a humongous understatement. She lays herself bare; apologetic to those around her who were hurt by her decisions, but unflinching when critiquing her own bad decisions or flaws in retrospect. I found her to be a delightful cocktail of stereotypes validated and realized mixed with beating the odds. Let me explain. She perpetuates that tragic cycle of a woman that can’t be without a man when she gets married and divorced over and over again. But her own daughters are able to break the cycle of girls who are the product of teen pregnancy or divorce: they often get pregnant early or divorced themselves. Her own children struggled with many issues due to the instability of moving around and Sarah’s marriage/divorce cycle, but it looks like they learned from her mistakes and applied the lessons to their own lives.

The story of her son’s challenges with autism could be a book on its own, but I can see how integral it has been to her life’s story and the journey of her family as a whole. I must confess that I had to adjust my judgy pants when she points the blame to vaccinations. But to her credit, she came to this conclusion eons before Jenny McCarthy’s anti-vaccine propaganda. Either way, this memoir is a great read for mothers, especially those who have children with autism. I found this book to be uplifting and inspirational.

 

Sarah Swindell lives in the Austin area with her husband, Greg, a former Major League Baseball player and 2019 Texas Sports Hall of Fame inductee. Sarah is a commercial actress/model and has been working in the industry for over thirty years. She enjoys spending her free time with her four grown children and several grandchildren who reside in Texas as well.

Sarah is an avid moviegoer, loves yoga and true-crime podcasts, and advocates for children and adults with autism and other disabilities. Her son was diagnosed with severe autism at the age of eighteen months and continues to touch peoples’ hearts to this day.

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Guest Post & Giveaway: Dragonfly by Leila Meacham

DRAGONFLY

by
LEILA MEACHAM
  Genre: Historical / WWII / Espionage
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing 
Date of Publication: July 9, 2019
Number of Pages: 576
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Roses comes a gripping new novel about five young spies embedded among the highest Nazi ranks in occupied Paris
 
At the height of World War II, a handful of idealistic young Americans receive a mysterious letter from the government, asking them if they are willing to fight for their country. The men and women from very different backgrounds-a Texan athlete with German roots, an upper-crust son of a French mother and a wealthy businessman, a dirt-poor Midwestern fly fisherman, an orphaned fashion designer, and a ravishingly beautiful female fencer-all answer the call of duty, but each for a secret reason of her or his own. They bond immediately, in a group code-named Dragonfly. 
 
Thus begins a dramatic cat-and-mouse game, as the group seeks to stay under the radar until a fatal misstep leads to the capture and the firing-squad execution of one of their team. But…is everything as it seems, or is this one more elaborate act of spycraft?
 
 
PRAISE FOR DRAGONFLY:
“Meacham’s impeccable pacing and razor-wire tension evoke the daily drama of life under a Reich whose French reign might have lasted little more than four years but felt like the thousand years that it threatened to endure.” ―Bookpage
 
“Meacham’s nail-biting tale will please fans looking for an intricate story of spycraft and deception.” ―Publishers Weekly
 
“Meacham ratchets the suspense ever tighter, while providing fascinating backstory on the intrepid five [American spies] as well as delivering a detail-rich portrait of Paris during the Occupation.” ―Booklist
 
“Complex, epic, and rich in historical detail-an uplifting story of finding friendship behind enemy lines.” ― Kirkus

 

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GuestPost
The Man Who Ultimately Inspired Dragonfly
Guest Post
By Leila Meacham

As a writer of historical family sagas, I have been asked what prompted me to deviate from that genre to write a novel posed against the background of World War II, especially the backdrop of Paris during the German occupation. My answer would have to be the Office of Strategic Services, the OSS. The germ was implanted way back in the fall of 1945 when I was seven years old. The son of a neighbor, a gentle man, kind to children and animals, returned to our hometown after peace was declared earlier that year. He limped, and part of an earlobe was missing, but he had not served in the armed forces. So what accounted for his injuries suffered when he was “over there”?
Years later, when he died an early death, it came out that he had volunteered to serve in a secret government agency known as the OSS and had been assigned to Paris where he was caught and tortured by the Gestapo, both strange names until research revealed the origins and purposes of both organizations. They were enough to raise the hair on one’s head. Even then, long before I ever thought to become a writer, I was left to wonder at the makeup of men and women of the OSS who would risk life and limb, horrible treatment, and death to serve their country through an organization where their names, bravery, and sacrifice might never come to light.
Thus it was that eight decades later, Dragonfly came to be. It is the story of five young Americans the OSS hand picks to insert into German-controlled Paris in the years 1942-44. Because of the extensive research, the narrative took nearly three years to write. Involved was a study of the history of the OSS and its founder, William J. Donovan, for which I am thankful for the biography “Wild Bill Donovan” that gave me an insight into the man and his agency. Other major sources besides the Internet, from which I gathered a staggering amount of information, were Ronald C. Rosbottom’s riveting When Paris Went Dark; Patrick K. O’Donnell’s Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs; and Douglas Wallers’s Disciples.
When all was said and done, I believe that germ imbedded in the back of my mind those many years ago may have inspired the nucleus of Dragonfly as a tribute to the memory of the man none knew was a hero living next door.


Leila Meacham is a writer and former teacher who lives in San Antonio, Texas. She is the author of the bestselling novels Roses, Tumbleweeds, Somerset, and Titans.

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Review & Giveaway: A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson

A GLITTER OF GOLD
Georgia Coast Romance #2
by
LIZ JOHNSON
  
Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance / Mystery
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: August 6, 2019
Number of Pages: 368

Scroll down for the giveaway!

 

Discover a treasure worth more than all the pirate gold in the world

Anne Norris moved to Savannah, Georgia, for a fresh start. Now her pirate-tour business is flagging and paying the rent requires more than wishful thinking. When she discovers evidence of a shipwreck off the coast of Tybee Island, she knows it could be just the boon she needs to stay afloat. She takes her findings to local museum director Carter Hale for confirmation, but things do not go as planned.

Carter is fascinated with the wreck, the discovery of which could open the door to his dream job at a prestigious museum. But convincing Anne to help him fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle is no easy task. And working with Carter means that Anne will have to do the one thing she swore she’d never do again: trust a man.

 
“Both an exciting treasure hunt and penetrating exploration of overcoming mistakes Johnson’s excellent novel will captivate readers.” — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, STARRED REVIEW
CLICK TO PURCHASE

review

A Glitter of Gold is the first Liz Johnson book I have read so far and let me tell you, I want to read everything she has ever written. The story flows effortlessly. Sometimes you can sense when an author is trying to do too much with their characterization or the plot, and it often works to their disadvantage. Johnson is telling a story both in the present time and the past (some 250 years ago or so), and she weaves them together with such grace. I have read other books that have used a similar technique and found myself wishing that the author spent more time in one time period than the other. I think that the author gives us a good mix of both worlds. To me, the mark of a truly good book is one that you don’t want to see end. While I appreciate the epilogue that tied up some loose ends, I really wanted to know what happens to our heroin after this adventure.

The cover art is beautiful and matches up stylistically with the other Georgia Coast Romance novel (A Sparkle of Silver). I paused a little when I looked at it because the cover model is Jessica Alba’s doppelganger. That little bit aside, once I really dove into the story, I didn’t think that the cover matched the novel. Anne didn’t seem like the type of woman to wear fancy looking drop earrings and a snazzy nautical scarf around her neck. But to be fair, having her appear sweaty and disheveled in her pirate getup probably wouldn’t be the way to go either.

When you have a story within a story, sometimes the page or chapter breaks get crazy with odd formatting. You can breathe easy knowing that A Glitter of Gold is not one of those books. The formatting is clean and the copy editing is impeccable. I could truly enjoy just reading this story without feeling tempted to reach for a red pencil and start marking away. The characters and dialogue are realistic, so you can just immerse yourself in the story. I also liked Johnson’s style of writing during the diary entries. You could tell that it was meant to be written long ago without the use of old timey words like “ye” and certainly no pirate talk.

This book would have been the perfect beach read if I had the good fortune to be on vacation. Alas, I was confined to a sweltering day at home with no air conditioning. It was a nice, cozy read as I sipped my iced tea on the couch. I resisted the siren song of Netflix over the weekend so that I could devour it all in one go. I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Liz Johnson is the author of more than a dozen novels, including A Sparkle of Silver, A Glitter of Gold, The Red Door Inn, Where Two Hearts Meet, and On Love’s Gentle Shore, as well as a New York Times bestselling novella and a handful of short stories. She makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona.
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Guest Post & Giveaway: When the Men Were Gone by Marjorie Herrera Lewis

WHEN THE MEN
WERE GONE

by
MARJORIE HERRERA LEWIS
  Genre: Historical / Biographical / Sports Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow 
Date of Publication: October 2, 2018
Number of Pages: 240
Scroll down for giveaway!
 
A cross between Friday Night Lights and The Atomic City Girls, When The Men Were Gone is a debut historical novel based on the true story of Tylene Wilson, a woman in 1940s Texas who, in spite of extreme opposition, became a female football coach in order to keep her students from heading off to war.

Football is the heartbeat of Brownwood, Texas. Every Friday night for as long as assistant principal Tylene Wilson can remember, the entire town has gathered in the stands, cheering their boys on. Each September brings with it the hope of a good season and a sense of unity and optimism.
Now, the war has changed everything. Most of the Brownwood men over eighteen and under forty-five are off fighting, and in a small town the possibilities are limited. Could this mean a season without football? But no one counted on Tylene, who learned the game at her daddy’s knee. She knows more about it than most men, so she does the unthinkable, convincing the school to let her take on the job of coach.

Faced with extreme opposition by the press, the community, rival coaches, and referees — and even the players themselves — Tylene remains resolute. And when her boys rally around her, she leads the team — and the town — to a Friday night and a subsequent season they will never forget.

Based on a true story, When the Men Were Gone is a powerful and vibrant novel of perseverance and personal courage.

PRAISE FOR WHEN THE MEN WERE GONE:
 
“Sublimely ties together the drama of high school football, gender politics, and the impact of war on a small town in Texas.” – Best of Books, 2018, Sports Illustrated

“A beautiful story that stays in your heart long after you finish reading.” – Jodi Thomas, New York Times bestselling author

“Based on a true story that most people probably don’t know, readers will find plenty to love in Herrera Lewis’ debut.” — Kirkus Review

 

 

GuestPost

Two different ways to approach reading When the Men Were Gone

Guest Post by Marjorie Herrera Lewis

 

I have been asked by a number of book clubs to submit discussion questions/topics for member meetings. What I’ve done here is write out questions/topics for not only book club and individual inquiry but for high school (advanced) and middle school readers to digest and dissect. In doing this, I will present the novel, When the Men Were Gone, with questions geared towards my intended two different ways to read it. I wrote When the Men Were Gone to be read as two entirely different novels – and as I’ve been told by readers who have read it twice, it worked.

 

Book Club and Advanced Readers: A novel narrated by a grieving mother 

  1. The Prologue is a metaphor for the book. Discuss the imagery used as metaphor.
  2. Discuss the symbolism. Why does Tylene focus on a “box”? A body in a “box,” a letter jacket in a “box,” the “box” at the end of the book. What role does a “box” play in motivating her on this journey? How does a “box” fit in with Tylene’s distaste for the word “over” or the words “if only?”
  3. The reason for Tylene’s journey is set out in the first several pages of the book with the metaphor of her expectations when she walked to the field for what would have been the first day of practice. She expected to see “our crossbars standing tall in each end zone, hovering over an empty playing field like parents at the dining table waiting for children to fill the seats between them.” Who do those goal posts represent?
  4. This yearning is reinforced several times throughout the book in her words but also in her movements. For example, she catches a football from Moose, brings it down, and stares at the football while cradling it in her arms. Why? What is the metaphor?
  5. When the principal tells Tylene, “This is 1944, not 1984,” what does this say about women in football? Were things different for women by 1984? Are they different today?
  6. Tylene becomes a football coach. Why? What was her underlying motivation, and why didn’t she just come out and tell everyone?
  7. Tylene tells the readers why she does it at the point in the novel when she and Moose leave Ida Mae’s home, and Moose asks Tylene if Ida Mae will be OK. This is the novel’s big reveal, but to the readers only and not to Moose. Why does she not reveal the purpose for her journey to Moose?
  8. Is When the Men Were Gonea book about football? Why? Why not?
  9. Tylene knows the Lions would have beaten Stephenville had she put Bobby Ray back into the game for the final play. Why didn’t she do it?
  10. What does it mean when on the night before the game, Tylene and Wendell come across each other at the football field, speak, and when Tylene walks away, she smiles at him “in solidarity”? What solidarity? What does that mean?
  11. Tylene invites her friend, Mavis McSorley, to watch practice. While practice is beginning, Mavis becomes agitated and begins to shout. What does this scene tell us about the role and expectations of a wife in the 1940s? Why is Mavis angry with her husband?
  12. Tylene is clearly a woman ahead of her time, but she is also a woman of the 1940s? How those gender expectations playout?
  13. If you believe this is a sweet story, great, but what have you missed? What emotion is imbedded in the voice of the narrator, Tylene?

Middle School: A novel about a woman who doesn’t let gender norms define her and becomes a football coach even when the odds are against her

  1. What traits show us that Tylene is a strong woman?
  2. Why is she so determined to take on a role that was “for men only”?
  3. What was her relationship like with her father, and how did that help set her up for the journey to coaching football?
  4. Why did Tylene learn football in the first place?
  5. How do we know John knew Tylene was a woman ahead of her time?
  6. How do we know John was supportive of Tylene and of the decisions she made?
  7. Why did John and Tylene argue the night before the game?
  8. Why did Moose finally come to trust Tylene?
  9. Why didn’t the boys on the football team come to the first practice?
  10. Why was Tylene shunned by the men at the football coaches meeting?
  11. Why was the principal hesitant to hire Tylene to coach football?
  12. Why were people so mean to her? Why did they come around and cheer for her?
  13. What does Tylene teach us about inspiration and perseverance?

 

Marjorie Herrera Lewis is an award-winning sportswriter, named the first female Dallas Cowboys beat writer when she was with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She later joined the SportsDay staff of The Dallas Morning News, where she continued to cover the NFL and professional tennis. She is currently a contributing sportswriter for PressBoxDFW.com. 

 
While writing When the Men Were Gone, she became inspired to try her hand at coaching football herself and was added to the Texas Wesleyan University football coaching staff in December 2016. Marjorie has degrees from Arizona State University, The University of Texas in Arlington, Southern New Hampshire University, and certificates from Southern Methodist University, and Cornell University. She is married and has two grown daughters and one son-in-law.
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Book Blitz & Giveaway: Max… Attacks by Kathi Appelt

MAX … ATTACKS
by
KATHI APPELT
illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan
Children’s Picture Book / Humor / Stories in Verse
Publisher: Atheneum / Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Date of Publication: June 11, 2019
Number of Pages: 40Scroll down for the giveaway!


 

Fish and birds and lizards and socks…is there anything Max won’t attack? 

 
Watch your ankles and find out in this clever, rhyming picture book about a very naughty kitty cat.Max is a cat. He attacks. From socks to strings to many a fish, attacking, for Max, is most de-lish. But how many of these things can he actually catch? Well, let’s just say it’s no even match.






Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award finalist, PEN USA Literary Award–winning, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award finalist The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Maybe a Fox (with Alison McGhee), Keeper, and many picture books including Counting Crows and Max … Attacks

 
She has two grown children and lives in College Station, Texas, with her husband and their six cats. She serves as a faculty member at Vermont College of Fine Arts in their MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program.
Penelope Dullaghan is an award-winning illustrator whose work includes illustrations for ad campaigns, book publishers, magazines, newspapers, products, videos and most recently, children. Max … Attacks is her debut picture book.
 
Penelope works from her home studio in Indianapolis, Indiana where she also home schools her daughter, plays in the river behind her house, and tends to her front-yard garden.
 
She is especially interested in collaborating with brands that support sustainability, simplicity, and wellness. Connect with Penelope on her Website.
 
The real Max was neither blue, nor did he have a switchy tail. In fact, he didn’t have a tail at all. He was an American Bobtail, almost fire red, and in his prime he weighed in at over twenty pounds. For seventeen years, he served as best friend and roommate to the author’s oldest son Jacob Appelt, who adopted Max from the local animal shelter. Together they wrote music, traveled, entertained friends and family, and kept an eye on the neighborhood parrots. Even though Max was famous for attacking anything that moved, he was, and always will be, the biggest, sweetest cat ever! 
 
And many thanks to Jacob for the line: “a mighty nap attacked our Max.” Best line in the book!
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