Excerpt: Lamar’s Folly by Jeffrey Stuart Kerr

LAMAR’S FOLLY

by
Jeffrey Stuart Kerr
  Genre: Texas Historical Fiction
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
on Twitter  ┃ on Facebook
Date of Publication: November 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 320
Mirabeau Lamar seeks nothing less than a Texas empire that will dominate the North American continent. Brave exploits at the Battle of San Jacinto bring him rank, power, and prestige, which by 1838 propel him to the presidency of the young Republic of Texas and put him in position to achieve his dream. Edward Fontaine, who works for and idolizes Lamar, vows to help his hero overcome all obstacles, including the substantial power of Sam Houston. Houston and Lamar are not only political, but personal enemies, and each man regards the other with contempt.

Edward’s slave Jacob likes and admires his master, but cannot share his hatred of Sam Houston. The loyalties of both Jacob and Edward are tested by President Lamar’s belief that a righteous cause justifies any means necessary to sustain it. Lamar becomes infatuated with a married woman who resembles his deceased wife. He sends the woman’s husband on the ill-fated Santa Fe Expedition, the failure of which humiliates Lamar and provokes a crisis in his relationship with Edward, who in turn jeopardizes the trust that Jacob has placed in him. Edward laments the waste of Lamar’s genius, while Jacob marvels at the hypocrisy of both men.
══════════║║║══════════


Excerpt from

Lamar’s Folly

By Jeffrey Stuart Kerr

Some say that if Mirabeau Lamar hadn’t shot the buffalo he wouldn’t have become president. Others maintain that the incident never happened. Both are nonsense: the one because a man of Lamar’s talents requires no parlor tricks to gain high position, the other because I was there and saw the thing for myself.

That day began so many years ago with the usual breakfast of cold beef and hot coffee. We sat crammed together on crude benches around what passed for a table in Jake Harrell’s cabin. Jake called it a table, but the rest of us recognized it as a salvaged wagon bed balanced upon a pair of saw horses. We dared not set our coffee mugs upon this weathered relic, so uneven had the numerous dents and gaps in the warped oak boards rendered its surface. “It’s a table as fine as any you’ll dine on out here in the wilderness,” insisted Jake. “Besides, how many woodshops did you pass on your way here?”

The answer to that question was none. Jake’s was one of only four or five houses in all of Waterloo, a meager unincorporated village squatting on the muddy north bank of the upper Colorado River. They really weren’t houses either, just the usual drab rectangular log pens thrown up by Texas settlers in those days. Jake had constructed two such pens side by side with a dogtrot in between. One pen provided sleeping quarters for him, his wife, Mary, and his passel of children; the other served as living room, dining room, kitchen, and, as Jake described it, “bawdy house.” “Me and Mary couldn’t hardly touch each other before I added that bedroom,” he said proudly. “Now we can squirrel ourselves away over there whenever we want. Yes, sir, the best thing I ever did was add that room.”

Nine of us crowded around the table as Mary hurried to keep our coffee fresh. Jake, Mirabeau, and I occupied one side. Willis Avery, James Rice, and two men whose names I have forgotten sat opposite us. Young Dan Hornsby and his brother Malcolm squeezed in at either end. A scent of sweat mixed with horse dung drifted through the air as we ate. Though the dawn had barely broken, damp warmth already permeated the room.

“Damn, it’s hot,” said Avery.

“Watch your mouth, Avery,” said Rice. “Jake’s wife is standing right there.”

“If Willis wants to run his damned mouth, it’s all right with me,” Mary said.

Everybody but Mirabeau laughed. And, since he was the nation’s vice president, his silence weighed heavier than the heat; the laughter quickly died.

The door to the cabin suddenly burst open. Several men spilled their coffee, while Dan Hornsby nearly fell off his stool. “God Almighty, son,” Jake hollered at the small boy standing in the doorway. “Is the devil on your heels?”

“Pa! Pa!” the boy shouted. “Buffalo! Thousands of ’em!”

We rushed outside to find that the boy spoke truthfully. Beyond the woods enclosing the settlement black splotches dotted the normally verdant grassland stretching toward the horizon. Clouds of dust rose as gray patches into the sky. A low, soft rumbling echoed against the distant hills as tens of thousands of the great beasts lumbered by. They splashed mindlessly across the Colorado, churning that stream into a sea of mud. A sudden breeze carrying their stench had me longing for the less offensive odor of the cabin interior.

“Come on, boys!” Rice said enthusiastically. “Grab your pistols and let’s have at ’em!”

“Pistols?” I asked in surprise.

“Yeah, pistols,” Dan Hornsby answered. “It’s more sporting than rifles.”

“I have no pistols,” I said. But no one cared about my armaments, so I ran to the pen and hastily readied my horse. I fetched my rifle from the house, checked its load, and leapt into the saddle. “Let’s go, Spirit,” I cried, and the wind whipped my face.

We raced away from the river up a muddy ravine into the nearest herd. Two or three men fired pistols, for everyone save me seemed to be so armed. A beast twitched but did not fall. Others already lay dead. When I squeezed the trigger on my rifle the blast almost knocked me from the saddle. As I slowed to regain my balance Mirabeau raced past, spraying me with grass and mud. He pulled a pistol from his belt.


Jeffrey Stuart Kerr is the author of several titles, including Seat of Empire: The Embattled Birth of Austin, Texas, winner of the Summerfield G. Roberts Award and a True West Best Western Book.




CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

11/13/17
Promo
11/14/17
Review
11/15/17
Author Interview
11/16/17
promo
11/17/17
Review
11/18/17
Excerpt
11/19/17
Promo
11/20/17
Review
11/21/17
Author Interview
11/22/17
Review
   blog tour services provided by
  

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Post, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Review: Chicano Soul by Ruben Molina

CHICANO SOUL
Recordings and History of an American Culture
(Anniversary Edition)

by
Ruben Molina
  Genre: Music / Chicano History
Date of Publication: September 15, 2017
Number of Pages: 160
In 2007, Ruben Molina published the first-ever history of Mexican-American soul and R&B music in his book, Chicano Soul: Recordings and History of an American Culture. Ten years later, Chicano Soul remains an important and oft-referenced study of this vital but often overlooked chapter of the greater American musical experience. Chicano soul music of the 1950s and 1960s still reverberates today, both within Chicano communities and throughout many musical genres. Molina tells the story of the roots of Chicano soul, its evolution, and its enduring cultural influence.
“Brown-eyed soul” music draws on 1950s era jazz, blues, jump blues, rock `n’ roll, Latin jazz, and traditional Mexican music such as ranchera, norteño, and conjunto music. With its rare and gorgeous photos, record scans, concert bills, and impressive discography (to say nothing of its rich oral histories/interviews), it is one of those rare works that speaks to both general and academic audiences.
As a teen in the 1960s, Ruben Molina used to take a bus to Hollywood to shop for records, and his passion for vinyl never waned. As a dedicated community historian, Molina interviewed dozens of the artists whose music he loves. Much of Chicano soul music’s recent recognition and renaissance can be traced directly to Molina. He has deejayed with the Southern Soul Spinners crew since 2010.


PRAISE FOR CHICANO SOUL:
“[Chicano Soul} is nada if not revelatory… Molina seeks acknowledgement of this under-the-radar genre. With this book, he’ll get it. By linking the trail of Chicano soul bands to the route of the Mexican-American migrant workers across the United States as well as the migration of south-of-the-border families into Texas after the Mexican Revolution, the author presents a compelling account of rock and roll heroes literally unsung. Molina makes a case for teenagers who took their parents’ musical traditions, the trappings of black R&B bands with pop sensibilities, and channeled them into a vibrant sound that helped define the culture it sprang from.” —Austin Chronicle

══════════║║║══════════


EXCERPT from the Foreword by Alex La Rotta, in Chicano Soul
Oldies are forever. It’s a mantra. A credo. A maxim for diehard sweet soul enthusiasts from Los Angeles to London, Toronto to Tokyo, and beyond. Ruben Molina’s The Old Barrio Guide to Low Rider Music (2002) and Chicano Soul: Recordings & History of an American Culture (2007) — its sacred texts. Not since Paul Oliver’s The Story of the Blues (1969) has a Book and author so distinctively revived a vintage and marginal American music culture from obscurity to widespread and cult-like revelry. What was once a niche collector’s category in the aughts and prior is a recognized subgenre in the twenty-tens: Chicano Soul. In the decade since its publication, Chicano Soul — like the long-lost recordings it so lovingly documents and historicizes — has itself become a collector’s item. Original copies highly-prized and sought after by record collectors, music aficionados, DJs, musicians, fans, and others. And, too, like much of the music in question: finally receiving its due reissuance. (Only this: a legitimate, not bootleg, reissuance.)
Its long-awaited return is timely. A brief review of the past ten years in popular music culture must surely include the massive reemergence of the vinyl music format (and its swift cooptation by the music industry); roots and vintage pop music revival (film/television soundtracks, documentaries, compilations, cultural histories, etc.); and the (ongoing) digital music revolution. Most notably, as it concerns the latter, one might also note the ascension of streaming media and video-sharing websites in democratizing and disseminating “rare groove” music of the analog past for broader audiences of the digital present. Further still, YouTube- and social media based soulero (sweet soul) DJs and record collector cliques build notoriety as prized possessors of rare Chicano Soul records to wide acclaim — much of which builds on Molina’s foundation. While the diffusion of music and cultural history in the past decade has broadened, the appreciation of this specific brand of soul music has expanded in tandem. You know it as the West Side Sound, the East Side Sound, Brown-Eyed Soul, Latin Soul, Lowrider Oldies, even rock en español — all components of the vast domain of mid-century Chicano Soul music culture principally documented in Molina’s work. And a book that remains today the only single monograph devoted to the subject.
            More importantly, Chicano Soul challenges the assumptions and stereotypes of what “Latin music” could or should be in both popular culture and preceding musical-historical analyses: tropical, exotic, and almost always, distinctly foreign. Unequivocally, this music is none. It is, as the subtitle denotes, an American culture. Molina’s meticulous documentation of over 400 Mexican-American musicians/rock-and-roll combos spanning the American Southwest (née Aztlán) — and their collective thousands of independent recordings — deserves recognition if just for its impressive magnitude. But it’s the paradigm shift that Chicano Soul, and other recent works from such scholars as Deborah Vargas, Roberto Avant-Mier, Anthony Macias, Josh Kun, and Deborah Pacini Hernández, among others, provides for the current discourse on racial identity, hybridity, and the origins of American popular music that warrant as much praise. In part, a response to the tired narrative surrounding America’s supposed black/white racial binary and the forging of a national culture. Yes: Chicanos made soul music. Lots of it. And it’s damn good, too.
300b2-review
To this day, I regret not taking that History of Rock and Roll class in college. But I feel like I got a great introduction by reading this book.
My knowledge of American rock and roll was pretty limited to begin with. So my knowledge of Chicano music was even more dismal. I grew up on Ritchie Valens music and watched La Bamba more times than I can count, but that was about all I knew. Molina caters well to people like me by setting a sturdy frame of well-known American rockstars and songs, then weaving the Chicano rockers and tunes throughout. I looked up some of the songs on YouTube, and that musical tapestry is quite beautiful.
Because the styles kept evolving and new musicians were constantly hitting the music scene, the sections of this book vary in length and depth. But the thread is never lost and makes for a complicated pattern in history. I felt one snag: Little Julian Herrera. I understand why Molina includes Herrera (aka Ron Gregory), but I find myself offended for Chicano musicians. While Johnny Valenzuela gave the guy a pass, I don’t. You can respectfully draw inspiration or shamelessly appropriate a style of music, but that doesn’t make you a member of that particular culture. And I certainly wouldn’t want someone outside of my culture taking the designation of first or founder of something important.
I like how scans of the actual records, album covers, handbills, and photographs create a colorful scrapbook. It is pretty amazing to see pictures from people’s personal archives (Molina included) that probably no one else in the world owns a copy of. Thank goodness that people took pride in their culture and history, and had the foresight to keep the mementos safe.
It would have been great to see a timeline (yup, like in history class) or even a map that showed the chronological movement of the music. Something like dashed lines that criss cross America, landing on cities with graphic representations of the person/group or particular style to originate there, along with the year.
I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in music or Chicano history. I hope that universities consider adding it to their rock history or Chicano history class syllabus.

As a teen in the 1960s, Ruben Molina used to take a bus to Hollywood to shop for records, and his passion for vinyl never waned. As a dedicated community historian, Molina interviewed dozens of the artists whose music he loved. Much of Chicano soul music’s recent recognition and renaissance can be traced directly to Molina. He has deejayed with the Southern Soul Spinners crew since 2010.
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

11/09/17
Promo
11/10/17
Promo
11/11/17
Review
11/12/17
Promo
11/13/17
Review
11/14/17
Promo
11/15/17
Review
11/16/17
Promo
11/17/17
Promo
11/18/17
Review
   blog tour services provided by
  

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Showcase tour: Too Far Down by Mary Connealy


TOO FAR DOWN
Cimarron Legacy Book 3

by
MARY CONNEALY
  Genre: Western Historical Christian Romance
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 322

With Danger Drawing Ever Closer, The Boden Clan Risk Losing Their Ranch Forever

Having returned home to the ranch, Cole Boden finds himself caught between missing his time back east and appreciating all that New Mexico Territory offers. Sure, he fights with his siblings now and then, but he does care for them. He enjoys his new job running the mine and, when he’s honest, he admits that Melanie Blake captures his interest in a way no other woman ever has.
Melanie has been a friend to the Bodens forever. A cowgirl who is more comfortable with horses and lassoes than people, she never expected to find herself falling for someone, particularly for refined Cole Boden, a Harvard graduate who can’t seem to make up his mind about staying in New Mexico.
When a deadly explosion damages the CR Mining Company, the Bodens realize their troubles are not behind them as they thought. Shadowy forces are still working against them. Melanie is determined to help Cole and the family finally put an end to the danger that’s threatened all of them. But will putting herself in harm’s way be more dangerous than anyone expected?



PRAISE FOR TOO FAR DOWN:

“Connealy crafts relatable characters who will inspire readers with their love, loyalty, and fortitude, and the mystery remains intriguing until the end.” Publishers Weekly 
“Recommended for those who enjoy a fast, smart historical-set suspense.” RT Book Reviews

CLICK TO PURCHASE

Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE  SHOWCASE TOUR:

11/13/17
11/14/17
11/15/17
11/16/17
11/17/17


AND WATCH FOR THE SPECIAL FEATURES TOUR COMING NEXT:

11/27/17
Special Feature
11/27/17
Special Feature
11/28/17
Review
11/28/17
Special Feature
11/29/17
Review
11/29/17
Special Feature
11/30/17
Review
11/30/17
Special Feature
12/1/17
Review
12/1/17
Special Feature
   blog tour services provided by
  

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Guest Post, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Review & Giveaway: Bombshell by Pamela Fagan Hutchins


BOMBSHELL
(What Doesn’t Kill You, #9)
An Ava Romantic Mystery

by
PAMELA FAGAN HUTCHINS
  Genre: Romantic Mystery / R-Rated
Date of Publication: July 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 236

Scroll down for giveaway!
Temp worker by day, lounge singer by night, single mom Ava is having a hard time breaking up with her long-distance boyfriend and making it without the support of her parents on the island of St. Marcos. Things improve dramatically when she lands a too-good-to-be-true job at a virtual currency exchange, where she meets a seriously sexy man, and goes to work for a boss so incredible he sponsors her on a trip to New York to record a demo. But when Ava stumbles across the raped and murdered body of a young woman, she recognizes her from a shared trauma back in their school days. Ava is devastated and throws herself into avenging the girl’s death. From that moment on, it’s one bombshell after another, going off closer and closer to Ava and the people she cares about most.


PRAISE FOR BOMBSHELL:
“Just when I think I couldn’t love another Pamela Fagan Hutchins novel more, along comes Ava. She’s smart and sassy, with a story full of juicy plot twists. I enjoyed Bombshell from cover to cover!” — Marcy McKay, author of Pennies from Burger Heaven 

“To finally get a whole book of Ava’s beautiful voice and attitude was so much fun. And then to see that her outer armor was mixed with the very real insecurities and struggles that we can all relate to was magical. She personifies bombshell in every sense of word and I can’t wait to have her voice in my head again in Stunner.” — Tara Scheyer, Grammy-nominated musician, Long-Distance Sisters Book Club
“Entertaining, complex, and thought-provoking.” — Ginger Copeland, power reader 

══════════║║║══════════

CLICK TO PURCHASE
Review
It took me a few pages to realize that the typesetter didn’t leave off letters or entire words, but that the dialect was islander – as in Virgin Islands islander. Once I got past that little bump, I immediately fell in with Ava and her crazy life. I’m a little older than her, but I can totally relate to having a small child and working thankless temporary jobs when all you want to do is be a singer.
Kudos to Hutchins for believability and clarity. I could feel the oppressive St. Marcos heat and humidity. I could see how all the colorful characters soaked in the lovely sight of the voluptuous siren Ava. I could smell Ava’s aluminum-free deodorant failing her (been there done that!). And I could feel the repulsion from slimy men’s fingers trying to cop a feel.
I am also impressed with the progression of events and how it all ended. I knew the book is a mystery, but I was so wrapped up in Ava’s present situation that I didn’t even bother to try to figure out who was killing the dancers and why. Hutchins had me fanning myself over sensuous descriptions one moment to clenching my jaw as Ava remembers childhood predators. It was difficult to pry myself away from the present to look that far ahead.
If I actually tried, would I have solved the mystery? Probably not. The baddie(s) were so off my radar because of the circus that Ava has spiraling around her. And I admired her strength and bravery so much throughout the novel.
The only time my admiration faltered was when she actively pursued her music career. Maybe I’m a little jealous of a fictional character? Or maybe I’m annoyed that she finally had a stable job with which to support her child and she was being reckless with it by pursuing a pipe dream. She already didn’t spend much time with her daughter (who might have a slight developmental delay), and a life in the limelight would mean she would spend even less time with her. Sorry, stuffy mom rant ends here.
I really liked the end and encourage you to read the previous books to know even more about Ava and the people in her life. I look forward to reading any other Ava books that come out in the future.
Grab yourself a glass of red and settle in for a loooong night of reading. 😉

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes overly long e-mails, award-winning and best-selling romantic mysteries, and hilarious nonfiction from deep in the heart of Nowheresville, Texas and way up in the frozen north of Snowheresville, Wyoming. 

Her What Doesn’t Kill You romantic mystery series is Janet Evanovich meets Sandra Brown and a smidge of Alice Hoffman’s practical magic, featuring a revolving lineup of interrelated female amateur sleuths. She is passionate about great writing and smart authorpreneurship as well as long hikes with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs, riding her gigantic horses, experimenting with her Keurig, and traveling in the Bookmobile.
WEBSITE   BLOG   PINTEREST
FACEBOOK   TWITTER
    INSTAGRAM   GOODREADS   AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

AWARDS

2017 WINNER Silver Falchion Award, Best Mystery

2016 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Cross Genre Fiction
2015 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Cross Genre Fiction
2014 USA Best Book Award Finalist, Cross Genre Fiction
2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-finalist, Romance
2013 USA Best Book Award Finalist, Business: Publishing
2012 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Ghost Story Contest
2012 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Parenting: Divorce
2011 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Novel Contest, Mainstream

 

2010 Winner of the Writers League of Texas Manuscript Contest, Romance
—————————————–
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
FIVE SIGNED COPIES OF BOMBSHELL
November 1-November 10, 2017
(U.S. Only)
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

1-Nov
Character Interview
1-Nov
Guest Post 1
2-Nov
Review
3-Nov
Video Interview
3-Nov
Guest Post 2
4-Nov
Review
5-Nov
Review
6-Nov
Excerpt
6-Nov
Guest Post 3
7-Nov
Review
8-Nov
Scrapbook Page
8-Nov
Scrapbook Page
9-Nov
Guest Post 4
10-Nov
Review
10-Nov
Review


   blog tour services provided by
  

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Notable Quotable & Giveaway: Death in D Minor by Alexia Gordon

DEATH IN D MINOR

by
ALEXIA GORDON
  Genre: Paranormal Mystery / African American Sleuth
Publisher: Henery Press
Date of Publication: July 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 236
Scroll down for giveaway!
Gethsemane Brown, African-American musician and expatriate to an Irish village, solved a string of murders and got used to living with a snarky ghost. She can rest easy now. Right? Wrong. The ghost has disappeared, her landlord’s about to sell to a developer, and her brother-in-law’s come to visit. She scrambles to call her spectral roomie back from beyond and find a way to save the cottage from destruction. But real estate takes a backseat when her brother-in-law is accused of stealing a valuable antique. Gethsemane strikes a deal with an investigator to go undercover at a charity ball and snoop for evidence of a forgery/theft ring in exchange for the woman’s help clearing him. At the party, she accidentally conjures the ghost of an eighteenth-century sea captain, then ends up the prime suspect in the party host’s murder. She races to untangle a web of phony art and stolen antiques to exonerate herself, then the killer targets her. Will she bring a murderer to justice, or will her encore investigation become her swan song?


PRAISE FOR DEATH IN D MINOR:
Gethsemane Brown is everything an amateur sleuth should be: smart, sassy, talented, and witty even when her back is against the wall. In her latest adventure, she’s surrounded by a delightful cast, some of whom readers will remember from Gordon’s award-winning debut and all of whom they won’t forget. Gordon writes characters we want resurrected.
n  Cate Holahan, author of The Widower’s
Wife and Lies She Told
Erstwhile ghost conjurer and gifted concert violinist Gethsemane Brown returns in this thoroughly enjoyable follow-up to last year’s Murder in G Major. Facing eviction from the historic seaside cottage she calls home, Gethsemane must clear her brother-in-law’s name – as well as her own – when a priceless artifact goes missing and the wealthy dowager to whom it belonged is “helped” over a high balcony railing.  With the help of a spectral sea captain she accidentally summoned, Gethsemane tries to unravel the mystery as the murderer places her squarely in the crosshairs.
n  Daniel J. Hale, Agatha Award-winning author

══════════║║║══════════

CLICK TO PURCHASE
NotableQuotable
Dquote

A writer since childhood, I put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. Medical career established, I returned to writing fiction. I completed SMU’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas. Henery Press published my first novel, Murder in G Major, book one of the Gethsemane Brown mysteries, in September 2016. Book two, Death in D Minor, releases July 11, 2017.
Murder in G Major won the Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best New Novel, and was selected one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debuts. I listen to classical music, drink whiskey, and blog at www.missdemeanors.com, voted one of Writers’ Digest magazine’s 101 best websites for writers, and featured on Femmes Fatales.            
—————————————–
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
Grand Prize: Copy of Death in D Minor + Swag Pack ($50 value)
2nd Prize: Copy of Death in D Minor 
October 25-November 3, 2017
(U.S. Only)
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

25-Oct
Review
25-Oct
Notable Quotable
26-Oct
Top 5 List
27-Oct
Review
27-Oct
Playlist 1
28-Oct
Review
29-Oct
Excerpt
30-Oct
Author Interview
30-Oct
Review
31-Oct
Playlist 2
1-Nov
Review
1-Nov
Top 5 List
2-Nov
Notable Quotable
2-Nov
Notable Quotable
3-Nov
Review


   blog tour services provided by
  

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Giveaway, Guest Post, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Review & Giveaway: A Good Girl by Johnnie Bernhard

BNR A Good Girl JPG

A GOOD GIRL

by
JOHNNIE BERNHARD
  Genre: Southern Historical Fiction
Publisher: Texas Review Press
Website    Facebook
Date of Publication: March 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 288
Scroll down for giveaway!
A Bible’s family tree and an embroidered handkerchief hold the key to understanding the past as six generation Texan, Gracey Reiter, prepares to say goodbye to her dying father, the last surviving member of the Walsh-Mueller family. The present holds the answer and the last opportunity for Gracey to understand her father’s anger, her mother’s guilt, and her siblings’ version of the truth.

The Walsh-Mueller family begins in Texas when Patricia Walsh leaves the famine of nineteenth century Ireland, losing her parents and siblings along the way.  She finds a home, love, and security with Emil Mueller in a German settlement near Indianola on the Texas Gulf Coast.  They begin their lives on a small cotton farm, raising six sons. From the coastal plains of Texas, five generations survive hurricanes, wars, The Great Depression, and life, itself.  
An all-encompassing novel that penetrates the core being of all who read it, A Good Girl pulls back the skin to reveal the raw actualities of life, love and relationships.  It is the ageless story of family. 

CHECK OUT THE BOOK TRAILER!



PRAISE FOR A GOOD GIRL:

*2017 Kindle Book Award Finalist*
*Over 50 5 Star Reviews*
One of 2017’s best will surely be A Good Girl by author Johnnie Bernhard, who as much as any writer since Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy, offers a breathtaking tour of the human heart in conflict with itself, desperately searching for grace and redemption in the face of unremitting loss.  Bernhard’s sentences are filled with the stuff of what blues and country music singers refer to as “soul” and “high lonesome.” 
–Jim Fraiser, The Sun Herald Newspaper
Relatable and real, A Good Girl speaks to the heart of what it means to be human and that generations come and go, but love binds us together.
Kathleen M. Rodgers, author of The Final Salute, Johnnie Come Lately, & Seven Wings to Glory
A Good Girl is a raw, real, and relatable gift to the soul on every level. Ms. Bernhard’s writing is so descriptive, reading this book is truly a visceral experience. One cannot help but reflect on their own family legacy and life journey. Prepare to be riveted by this heartbreaking, yet healing story about family, self-discovery and learning how to love.  
–Eva Steortz, SVP, Brand Development, 20th Century Fox

A beautiful debut novel across oceans and time, with a clear, objective yet poignant Southern voice. A timeless voice much like Doctorow’s Ragtime, A Good Girl is a true Southern American story. A story of one family spanning generations, dealing with love and loss, despair, and redemption, that leaves its readers with a timeless lesson.   
-Kathryn Brown Ramsperger, Author of The Shores of Our Souls and Moments on the Edge. 
I have found Johnnie Bernhard’s book to touch a powerful chord in my heart.  Masterfully written with deep insight into the journey of family and forgiveness, I’m a better person for having read this book.
-Cynthia Garrett,  The London Sessions & The Mini Sessions (airing regularly on TBN Network),  Author of The Prodigal Daughter

══════════║║║══════════
Sales benefit Port Lavaca, Texas! Much of the setting of A Good Girl, a six generation Texas saga, is set in Port Lavaca, Calhoun County. During the Lone Star Book Blog Tour, all author’s royalties will be donated to the Calhoun County Museum of Port Lavaca in its recovery effort after Hurricane Harvey. Texas Proud! Port Lavaca Strong!
CLICK TO PURCHASE
Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo

 

 

300b2-review

Only recently have I begun to enjoy stories and the history of people across the pond, but I have always been drawn to pioneer and immigrant stories in American history. Bernhard’s story taught me a great deal more about these experiences than what was covered in my history classes. I had no idea just how oppressive the British were on the Irish and the false promises made to entice whole families to board coffin ships. Much like what Henry’s children came to realize, this book made me reflect on how different the hardships of the poor back then are from the poor now.

 

Although my parents’ immigration story is very different and my father was never an abusive drunk, I can relate to the dysfunctional family thing. Why is it that terrible traits like abuse, addiction, and adultery get passed on from generation to generation? I found myself wondering why the men never worked to break the cycle, but then I look at my family and see the same. And just like the book, it seems to be the women’s job to keep the family together and to encourage forgiveness. Why does it always seem that the women have the closer relationship with God as well?

Bernhard’s gift for storytelling let me ponder the deeper meaning of the story rather than trip over clunky dialogue or strapping myself in to suspend my disbelief. I feel like I could reach out and touch each person in this story. I sort of mentally catalogued each person under the categories of slap, shake, and hug. For the most part, I felt like I got to know each character as much as I wanted to, with the exception of Patricia’s mother and three brothers who were left in South Carolina. I know that their family line doesn’t extend down to Tom, Gracey, and Angela, but I hope that Bernhard might consider writing something about them one day. Perhaps they made it out ok but never got around to finding Patricia and poor Ana Grace.

I loved how time moved in this book. The alternating chapters of present and past worked together beautifully. And though there are many characters spanning several generations, it does not get confusing at all.

I am only beginning to learn this for myself, but I feel that the moral of the story is to forgive and let go so you can go and be happy. In church, forgiveness is a huge subject that is either glossed over or explained with the “forgive as the Lord forgave you”. But we’re not great like God; forgiveness is hard. And the truth of it is, forgiveness is for yourself too. Anger stored up inside will just fester and rot you from the inside out. That is something everyone can relate to, whether or not they believe in God.

 

             Johnnie Bernhard, a former AP English teacher and journalist, is passionate about reading and writing. Her works have appeared in the following publications: University of Michigan Graduate Studies Publications, Heart of Ann Arbor Magazine, Houston Style Magazine, World Oil Magazine, The Suburban Reporter of Houston, The Mississippi Press, University of South Florida Area Health Education Magazine, the international Word Among Us, Southern Writers Magazine, Gulf Coast Writers Association Anthologies, The Texas Review, and the Cowbird-NPR production on small town America. Her entry, “The Last Mayberry,” received over 7,500 views, nationally and internationally.  
            A Good Girl received top ten finalist recognition in the 2015 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, as well as featured novel for panel discussion at the 2017 Mississippi and Louisiana Book Festivals.  It is a finalist in the 2017 national Kindle Book Award for literary fiction and a nominee for the 2018 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize.
            Her second novel, How We Came to Be, is set for publication in spring 2018. It is a finalist in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition.   
Johnnie is the owner of Bernhard Editorial Services, LLC, where she writes book reviews for Southern Literary Review, as well as assists writers in honing their craft.  Johnnie and her husband reside in a nineteenth century cottage surrounded by ancient oak trees and a salt water marsh near the Mississippi Sound. They share that delightful space with their dog, Lily, and cat, Poncho. 
WEBSITE   GOODREADS
FACEBOOK   TWITTER   LINKEDIN

Johnnie will be on the road with A Good Girl at the following locations: 
October 26         Southern Bound Book Store, Biloxi, MS, 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., http://southernboundblog.net/index.html
October 27-28     Louisiana Book Festival, Baton Rouge, LA, state capitol, http://www.louisianabookfestival.org/
November 4      Peter Anderson Festival, Ocean Springs, MS, Poppy’s on Porter, Washington Avenue, http://www.peterandersonfestival.com/
November 13     Live on KSHU Radio 1430 AM, Houston, Texas, 8 a.m. 
November 16     Calhoun County Historical Museum, Port Lavaca, Texas, 5 p.m. http://calhouncountymuseum.org/
November 18    River Oaks Book Store, Houston, Texas, 3 – 5 p.m., www.riveroaksbookstore.com
December 6 – 8    Words & Music Literary Feast, New Orleans, LA, www.wordsandmusic.org
December 10        Barnes & Noble, New Orleans, noon – 2 p.m.
—————————————–
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
One lucky winner gets a signed copy!
October 26-November 4, 2017
(U.S. Only)
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

26-Oct
Excerpt 1
27-Oct
Review
28-Oct
Author Interview
29-Oct
Guest Post
30-Oct
Review
31-Oct
Notable Quotable
1-Nov
Review
2-Nov
Scrapbook Page
3-Nov
Excerpt 2
4-Nov
Review


   blog tour services provided by
  

 

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Review & Giveaway: Lady Jane Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

LADY JAYNE DISAPPEARS

by
JOANNA DAVIDSON POLITANO
  Genre: Historical Christian Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 416
Scroll down for giveaway!
When Aurelie Harcourt’s father dies in debtor’s prison, he leaves her just two things: his wealthy family, whom she has never met, and his famous pen name, Nathaniel Droll. Her new family greets her with apathy and even resentment. Only the quiet house guest, Silas Rotherham, welcomes her company.

When Aurelie decides to complete her father’s unfinished serial novel, writing the family into the story as unflattering characters, she must keep her identity as Nathaniel Droll hidden while searching for the truth about her mother’s disappearance—and perhaps even her father’s death.

Author Joanna Davidson Politano’s stunning debut set in Victorian England will delight readers with its highly original plot, lush setting, vibrant characters, and reluctant romance.

══════════║║║══════════

Praise for Lady Jayne Disappears:

“Emotional. Intriguing. Both haunting and romantic. . . In her historical fiction debut, Joanna Davidson Politano delivers a smart plot that navigates twists and turns with a mixture of wit, intelligent characters, and a refreshingly original voice. Reminiscent of Dickens’ classic storytelling, Lady Jayne Disappears is a debut to remember!”
Kristy Cambron, author of The Illusionist’s Apprentice

“Wonderfully unique, this compelling debut grabs you from the first intriguing line. The evocative English setting, textured characters, literary theme, and unusual romance make Lady Jayne Disappears a standout, the lovely cover offering a hint of the gem within. A must read!”
Laura Frantz, author of A Moonbow Night

CLICK TO PURCHASE
300b2-review
I am having trouble putting into words why this book grips me so. I think the cover, lovely like the cameo necklace my mother wore when I was a small child, beckoned me first. But then that opening chapter bound me in such a way that it tortured me to have to put this book down to get some sleep. I knew I should have started reading this over the weekend!
In retrospect, the first chapter reads different from the rest of the novel. Maybe it’s because of the terseness of the situation, but the tone doesn’t feel as Victorian as the chapters that follow. After allowing the characters to live in my mind these past few days, I also feel that the characterization of Aurelie is a little off. It is only in this first chapter that you will hear someone describe our heroine as “plain”. For the rest of the book, everyone describes her as ethereal and lovely like a wood nymph. There are even times that Aurelie looks in the mirror after a makeover and finds herself breathtaking.
I hope I’m not painting the girl as a narcissist, because she is anything but. Her talent for wordsmithing is the only thing that could tempt her to take pride in herself, and she’s easily deflated. For whatever reason, I can’t shake the idea that she reminds me of a Fannie Price, although she is much more resilient than that slip of an Austen girl. But just like Fannie, Aurelie struggles as she watches the man she loves fall for another woman (or does he?).
I don’t know if it’s because of the time period, but I felt a lot of Austen influence. Aurelie could be a cross between Fannie and Elizabeth Bennet. Juliette reminded me of an Emma mixed with Lydia Bennet. Jasper was a Wickham through and through but Silas was a hunky mix of Edmund, Mr. Darcy, and Colonel Brandon. I’m sure I would find more parallels if I put my mind to it, but I will stop there. I don’t know if the author had these characters in mind when she wrote Lady Jayne, but I do know that the mix of Austen characters I listed are polar opposites from each other. So no matter the similarities, Politano has achieved something truly special with her authentic characters.
I thought it was funny when Silas asks Aurelie about her reading preferences. Austen is mentioned but glossed over. The two prefer the less respectable form of serials, which reminded me of how the Northanger Abby characters were scandalously into gothic novels.
But enough Austen talk. The cast of characters in Lady Jane is, dare I say, perfect. No superfluous or unbelievable people are in this book. Nor do I feel like someone is missing from the line up. I’m pretty sure that this is one of the few books that have made me feel like that. I’m always quick to notice when someone says or does something out of turn. And I take wicked pleasure in pointing out when an author tosses in a token character that is hip at the moment. No one spoke a word or acted out of character, and yet I was anxious to see what would happen next. For a book where everything just felt right, Politano kept me guessing nonetheless.
I kept wondering if I could guess what was to come, and was delighted when the author proved me wrong over and over again. I adore this book and have added it to my rotation of books that are read several times a year.

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her on her website.

—————————————–
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
Grand Prize: Copy of Lady Jayne Disappears + 18pc Book Lover’s Basket
2nd Prize: Copy of Lady Jayne Disappears + Vintage Library Pendant Necklace
3rd Prize: Copy of Lady Jayne Disappears + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
October 17-October 28, 2017
(U.S. Only)
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
17-Oct
Excerpt
18-Oct
Review
19-Oct
Book Trailer
20-Oct
Review
21-Oct
Character Interview
22-Oct
Scrapbook Page
23-Oct
Review
24-Oct
Deleted Scene
25-Oct
Author Interview
26-Oct
Review
   blog tour services provided by
  

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours