Review & Giveaway: Spent Identity by Marlene M. Bell

SPENT IDENTITY
Annalisse Series, Book 2
by
Marlene M. Bell
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Light Romance
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Date of Publication: December 11, 2019
Number of Pages: 378

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A body, a disappearance, just another hot summer in upstate New York.

It’s July when antiquities appraiser Annalisse Drury reaches her family’s small-town farm to consult with the trusted aunt who raised her. She learns that her beloved homestead—the one she expects to inherit—is for sale. While Annalisse reels at the betrayal and her shattered dreams, the Walker Farm ranch manager discovers a corpse in the barn. Officials close the suspected murder scene, and Annalisse seeks refuge with her aunt at Alec Zavos’s rural estate in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

Then Aunt Kate vanishes.

Annalisse solicits the help of Greek tycoon, Alec Zavos, even though their rocky romance has dissolved into routine separation. What began as hope on Crete nine months ago has eaten away at Annalisse’s hope for a future with him.

In Spent Identity, Annalisse and Alec come together for the second time and find themselves in the center of not one mystery, but several. Where is Kate, and why sell her farm now? Is the dead man a coincidence or a clue to the aunt’s disappearance? John Doe’s identity may hold needed answers to solve the puzzle before Kate’s unstable health issues make her rescue impossible. The clock ticks, and a vengeful murderer is in charge…

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My first thoughts on the cover of Spent Identity by Marlene M. Bell were how beautiful and eerie it was at the same time. There’s something classy about the red roses in the vase and the envelope with the calligraphy ‘A’ on it, but the wilt to the roses and the shattered and crooked title stamped on top of them clues the reader to the sinister story within.

As much as I liked the irony of the farmhand reading a crime novel while stumbling across a crime scene, I thought that the tone of the prologue didn’t quite match the rest of the book. I’m having trouble explaining this – I have typed and deleted my thoughts three times now – but here goes. Ethan is from New Zealand and he is the first character we meet. Although the narration is from a third person perspective, the tone has an across the pond feel, probably because Ethan’s thoughts are on the page as well. I probably didn’t explain that very well but it obviously stuck with me and I wanted to address it.

In the first chapter, the tone changes with the introduction of our protagonist, the lovely Annalisse. It isn’t until she interacts with the opposite sex that you realize how her beauty outshines her pretty name. I liked the contrast of her being this take charge, independent woman who still needs reassurances and shared confidences with her closest relative, Aunt Kate. Kate is also the picture of strength, even at her advanced age and ailment. She amused me most when she moons over Annalisse’s boyfriend, Alec, one minute and then pragmatically dismisses the thought of him the next.

From the moment that Ethan, Annalisse, and Kate try to identify a dead man in the barn, confusion set in on me and I couldn’t shake it for most of the book. There were so many male characters mentioned or in motion (two dead and at least six others interacting with Annalisse), that I felt like I couldn’t keep everyone straight. The name found on the dead man was significant to Kate, but the deceased was not that person. Alec was easy enough to keep straight, but between his security detail/friends that show up to try to solve the mystery, I got a little lost. And it made me a little squirmy that even Alec’s friends seemed to kinda have the hots for Annalisse too.

But character confusion aside, I was truly riveted with the twists and turns. I had two or three theories in my brain and not one of them were even close to the ending. But even more fantastic than the big reveal at the end, I appreciated Bell’s use of exposition throughout to prepare us for what a bad ass Annalisse is. I had not read Stolen Obsession, so I would have been confused with Annalisse’s cool head in the midst of crisis and experience with weapons had there not been snippets of details from book one of the series. I also really enjoyed the thought process that the “team” let the reader in on so that we could try to solve the mystery alongside them. And don’t get me started on the messages from the unknown person/killer. The creativity and the danger behind each “gift” sent a tingle down my spine.

Since I plan on going back to read the first book, I recommend you do the same if you have not already read it. I think that seeing how Annalisse and Alec first meet and the trials that they go through together will make you more invested in seeing them through a difficult time in their relationship. I’m looking forward to book three.

Marlene M. Bell is an acclaimed artist and photographer as well as a writer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of publications such as, Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living, and Sheep Industry News. Ewephoric, her mail order venture, began in 1985 out of a desire for realistic sheep stationery. A color catalog of non-fiction books and sheep-related gifts may be requested on her website or www.texassheep.com.Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside on a wooded ranch in beautiful East Texas with their dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep, a large and lovable Maremma guard dog named Tia, and Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks, the cats who believe they rule the household — and do.

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Autographed copy of Spent Identity & companion notebook, Mary Poppins-style bag (18×13” tapestry carpet bag with leather trim, handmade in Israel), $100 Amazon gift card, and 18” freshwater pearl necklace. 
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Review & Giveaway: Ain’t Nobody Nobody by Heather Harper Ellett

 

AIN’T NOBODY
NOBODY
by
HEATHER HARPER ELLETT
  Genre: Murder Mystery / Southern Noir / Dark Humor
Publisher: Polis Books
Date of Publication: September 24, 2019
Number of Pages: 336
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Named a Best Debut of Fall/Winter 2019 by Library Journal, Ain’t Nobody Nobody is the story of a disgraced East Texas sheriff, his dead best friend’s surly teenage daughter, and a naive ranch hand who find unlikely redemption in a murdered hog hunter on a fence. 
 
Part Breaking Bad and part Faulkner, this tragi-comic mystery is perfect for readers who enjoy dark humor (think Fargo) and like their crime fiction with a literary flare. 
A Best Mystery of 2019 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

I didn’t know what to make of the cover: a wild hog prancing across a sparsely starred night sky, but the title, Ain’t Nobody Nobody, sounded distinctly Southern. As a girl born and raised in Texas, I know that the South + wild hogs = guns, so I prepared myself for some violence.

Well, the book starts out with plenty of guns and no shortage of hog blood. If there is one thing I learned from reading this book, it’s that hogs love strawberry Kool-Aid. Don’t we all? Randy Mayhill struck me as a no-nonsense type of man who loves his dogs, so I took to him pretty quickly. However, you can like someone and not find the person very interesting at the same time. For reasons that I can’t place, I had a hard time caring about anyone for the first three or four chapters. When I went back and flipped through chapter five, I realized that we finally get some backstory on Randy and from that point on, everyone else is getting fleshed out and braided together into this really cool mystery.

Author Heather Harper Ellett has a great way with words and knows how to spin a story out nice and slow. I blame my initial reaction to this book to living in a world of instant gratification. But if you slow things down, take yourself back to 1996 (I still am not sure why the book was set in this time period), then you can enjoy a nice rumble along a back dirt road in a rickety old truck. I don’t know if you need to be a Southerner to appreciate Ellett’s turn of phrase, but I particularly loved descriptions such as a man considerate enough to stick to back roads when driving drunk, old men congregating at a feed store twice daily for decades, and an old granny with boobs down to her knees getting cuffed for marijuana.

The show Justified came to mind with that last description. As the story digs deeper and brings darkness to light, the pace quickens as the stakes are raised. By now Mayhill is trustworthy enough – he rescues dogs, so you have to trust him! – that you care about everyone that he cares about as well. When everything clicks into place, just when you think everything has been resolved, Ellett reveals her hand. And it is beautiful. Pull out of the fast lane for a weekend and hunker down with this book and a nice cold beverage.


 

Born and raised in East Texas, Heather Harper Ellett is a graduate of SMU and a therapist in private practice. She lives in Dallas with her husband and son.

 
 

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Review: Why Stuff Matters by Jen Waldo

WHY STUFF MATTERS
by
JEN WALDO
  Sub-genre: Literary Fiction / Humor
Publisher: Arcadia Books
Date of Publication: June 4, 2019 (US)
Number of Pages: 212
 
When Jessica, a grieving widow, inherits an antique mall from her mother she also inherits the stallholders, an elderly, amoral, acquisitive, and paranoid collection. 
 
When one of the vendors, a wily ex-con named Roxy, shoots her ex-husband, she calls on Jessica to help bury the body and soon Jessica is embroiled in cover-ups, lies, and misdirection. Into this mix comes Lizzie, Jessica’s late husband’s twelve-year-old daughter by his first marriage, who’s been dumped on Jessica’s doorstep by the child’s self-absorbed mother and it soon becomes apparent that Lizzie is as obsessed with material possessions as Jessica’s elderly tenants. 
 
Why Stuff Matters is a compelling ode to possession, why people like things and the curious lengths they will go to keep them. Returning to her fictional Caprock, Waldo turns her wry wit on the lives of those afraid to let go.
 
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Review

As per usual, I judged this book by its cover and immediately liked it. There’s a longstanding family joke where 3-year-old me proclaimed that my father’s favorite color was yellow (it wasn’t) and years later my college car was named Pichu because it was yellow. Hence, I really dig the color of this cover. Who knew that yellow, black, and negative white space could be visually interesting and soothing at the same time? I like the clean lines and the artistic simplicity conveyed by the hodgepodge of items: typewriter, phone (later discovered to be a tablet), baseball cards, bottles, urn, gun, suitcase, band instruments, safe, and bicycle. My second or third thought was that either the person in this story has a strange style of decorating or it takes place in a pawnshop.

I was wrong, but only just. The main character, Jessica, does have a strange style of decorating, but only because she doesn’t really care. And there are a few pawnshops that do business within the antique mall that Jessica inherits from her mother who passes away. Bit by bit, you get to know Jessica and why she acts the way she does. The slow reveal reminds me of cooking a stew. You can’t rush it or your protein will come out too tough. You have to keep it low and slow so that everything comes out tender and full of flavor. Well, Jessica is still pretty tough by the end of this book, but I would imagine she would be like beef jerky in a thin tomato base if she didn’t get to control the flow of things.

This is one of those books where I didn’t necessarily like all of the characters, but they were all very real to me. Waldo has a no-nonsense style of writing that never made me question her perspective on things. There were no games and the mystery had low stakes, but I was still eager to read on and find out what happened next. While Jessica is able to predict everyone’s next move or thought, I was taken by surprise many times. Not huge, ‘whoa, what was that?!’ kind of surprise, but a thoughtful, ‘wow, I didn’t see that coming at all.’

And I think that’s the true beauty of this book. Nothing flashy or over the top, but real people with real issues. Hint: Try not to obsess over right or wrong. Just enjoy the ride. And although the story doesn’t really travel far, it’s an experience all the same. I could see Wes Anderson directing the movie version of this if the author wanted a lowkey vibe on the screen. If Waldo wanted a little more whimsy, then I would say get Greta Gerwig to direct. Either way, the colorful characters and understated storytelling are the perfect recipe for a cult classic. It wouldn’t even require a Breakfast Club outro for you to realize exactly Why Stuff Matters.

Jen Waldo lived in seven countries over a thirty-year period and has now settled, along with her husband, in Marble Falls, Texas. She first started writing over twenty years ago when, while living in Cairo, she had difficulty locating reading material and realized she’d have to make her own fun. She has since earned an MFA and written a number of novels. Her work has been published in The European and was shortlisted in a competition by Traveler magazine. Old Buildings in North Texas and Why Stuff Matters have been published in the UK by Arcadia Books. Jen’s fiction is set in Northwest Texas and she’s grateful to her hometown of Amarillo for providing colorful characters and a background of relentless whistling wind. 

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Review & Giveaway: Singapore Fling by Maida Malby

SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles, #2

by
MAIDA MALBY

Contemporary Romance / Multicultural 
Publisher: EOT Publications
Date of Publication: October 21, 2019
Number of Pages: 267

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One alluring French-Filipina beauty. One sexy US Air Force officer. One torrid weekend affair. Maddie Duvall should be living it up at her challenging new job in glamorous Singapore. But two months after her wild weekend with Aidan Ryan, she’s still yearning for him. She craves the passion only he can ignite in her.

Aidan’s job takes him around the world, yet he can’t get Maddie out of his mind. When he returns to his assignment in Singapore, he seeks her out with a proposition she can’t turn down.

Intensely enamored with one another, their relationship takes off. But when Aidan’s mission exposes treachery by someone close to Maddie, lines blur and wires get crossed. Can their growing love survive the intrigue?

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

PRAISE FOR SINGAPORE FLING

“This second full-length volume in her Carpe Diem Chronicles is sexy, quick to read, and full of well-rounded, interesting characters. Family ties and female friendship add to the depth of the world and make you want more books.” ~ Catherine Stein, Award-winning Author of How to Seduce a Spy

“This book was great. Everything from the well-rounded characters to the interesting foods and exciting locale drew me in as a reader. I could clearly picture, hear, and smell/taste the story. The plot was perfect and the romance had just the right amount of intrigue and crisis. ~ Danielle Bellwood, Author of Daring (The Candomble Book 1)

“This book is a great deal of fun and the hero and heroine are both likable and realistic people. As usual, Malby’s writing shines best when writing about Singapore, particularly the culture and the FOOD!! ~ Gena Gilliam, Amazon Reviewer

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Review

I always feel a tingle when I read something written by a fellow Filipina, but Singapore Fling gave me all kinds of feels because the main character is a mestiza who is very proud of her roots. Up until this point, I have only read one other book where the main character is Filipino. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure what Madeleine’s ethnic makeup was until several chapters into the book because I refused to read the synopsis. (That’s been my habit lately since I sometimes find that the person writing the blurbs seems to not have even read the book at all.)

I have yet to meet someone who is half French and half Filipino in person, but I can assure you that the combination is probably gorgeous beyond belief. Since Madeleine was raised in the Philippines but could speak French pretty fluently, I found myself wondering if she had a Filipino accent or some interesting combination of the two. Either way, Malby paints a strong woman that I would love to be friends with in real life. I enjoyed all of the characters in this book, but Madeleine was easily my favorite. I loved the things that came out of her mouth almost as much as her inner thoughts. The dialogue in this book is gold.

I like the vocabulary lesson that precedes each chapter. The reader gets to learn Filipino, Hokkien, Singlish, and some other dialects that escape me at the moment. Malby sometimes translates the dialogue spoken in other languages but she often paraphrases or uses context clues to convey their meaning. This works for the most part, but I could point out a few instances where I would have been lost if I had not understood the Filipino language and culture. Readers might need to look up some phrases to get the full meaning at times.

Much like Crazy Rich Asians, the food is its own character in this story and I can’t tell you how much I love it. When I wasn’t reading, I was looking up places in Houston where I might find authentic Singaporean food. Unlike Crazy Rich Asians, this book doesn’t drown you in affluence and gossip. Oh no, you will be completely submerged in molten, hot pools of lust and, if you’re like me, maybe a little concerned that someone might read over your shoulder and be a bit shocked. I’m a super visual reader, so this book had me blushing all sorts of shades. If I had to rate the spiciness of this love story on a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 15.

If you’re into a more chaste romance, you might need to skim over some of the love scenes in this one. But if you don’t mind getting a bit flustered, the carnal beginnings make way to a very lovely romance. I found the central conflict to be unexpected but very exciting. It’s not your typical boy loses girl and must win girl back. I really enjoyed the intrigue and redemption.

I am curious to read the previous books in this series and definitely look forward to the next installment since it focuses on a chef character. I hope that Malby includes some recipes.

 

Maida Malby writes, reads, reviews, and lives Romance. Through her multicultural contemporary romance stories, she takes readers on trips to her favorite places in the world and shares her experiences of their rich cultural heritage.She is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA), Cultural, Interracial, Multicultural Special Interest Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (CIMRWA), and several romance book clubs. Her To-Be-Read Mountain and reviews of romance novels are featured on her website.

When not writing, reading, or reviewing books, Maida consults her husband on word selection, debates with her ten-year-old son regarding the Oxford comma, cooks the dishes she features in her stories, procrastibakes using Baileys as her secret yummy ingredient, and watches golf and food shows on TV.

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 eBooks of all three books in the Carpe Diem Chronicles series
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Playlist & Giveaway: A Texas Kind of Christmas

A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS  
by
JODI THOMAS,  
Celia Bonaduce, & Rachael Miles
Genre: Historical Fiction / Anthology / Holiday Romance
Publisher: Kensington Books
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Number of Pages: 336 pages

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It’s Christmas Eve, 1859, and everyone who’s anyone is headed to the glorious St. Nicholas Hotel for the most talked about ball of the season. It’s the kind of Texas night where anything can happen—even love . . . 

ONE NIGHT AT THE ST. NICHOLAS by 
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jodi Thomas
To escape her stepmother’s plot to marry her off, Texas heiress Jacqueline Hartman spends Christmas Eve sharing a hideout with an accused bank robber. After a night in Nathaniel Ward’s arms, Jacqueline is certain she has met her match after all. But will his heartfelt promise of love lead to his demise at the hands of the law?
BIRDIE’S FLIGHT by Celia Bonaduce
Seamstress Birdie Flanagan gets the surprise of her life when she receives a beautiful gown—and a sudden invitation—for the ball of the season! Birdie creates a stir from the moment she arrives, capturing the eye of the dashing Captain Douglas Fairbanks. But will a secret from her past keep her from her long-awaited happily-ever-after?
SPIRIT OF TEXAS by  Rachael Miles
When lovely spinster Eugenie Charpentier makes a trip across the Texas frontier with former Texas Ranger Asher Graham, she dreams of an adventure, and the rough-and-tumble cowboy is happy to oblige. But both Eugenie and the rugged lawman are keeping secrets. Can they find each other—and love—on the dance floor at the Christmas ball?
 

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Playlist

Songs author Jodi Thomas listened to as she wrote
“One Night at the St. Nicholas”
In A Texas Kind of Christmas

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“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” — Michael Buble

“The Christmas Song” – Nat King Cole

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” — Mariah Carey

“Let It Snow” – Jewel

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” – Frank Sinatra

Jodi Thomas is a New York Times bestselling author and fifth-generation Texan who sets many of her award-winning stories in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A multi-RITA Award winner and member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, she’s written over 50 novels with millions of copies in print. Her most recent releases are The Little Tea Shop on Main and her historical anthology, A Texas Kind of Christmas (Nov. 2019). The first book in her new series with Kensington, Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café, comes out May 2020. 

 

 
 

Celia Bonaduce, also the author of The Venice Beach Romances and the Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas series, has always had a love affair with houses. Her credits as a television field producer include such house-heavy hits as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; HGTV’s House Hunters and Tiny House Hunters. She lives in Santa Monica, CA, with her husband and dreams of one day traveling with him in their own tiny house. She can be found online www.CeliaBonaduce.com.

 

Rachael Miles is an acclaimed romance novelist and historian specializing in the 19th century, as well as a professor of literary history. A fifth-generation Texan and native of Dallas, she now lives and teaches in New York. Visit her online at www.RachaelMiles.com.

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Review & Giveaway: The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcarcel

THE OTHER HALF
OF HAPPY
by

 

Rebecca Balcárcel
 
Contemporary / Middle Grade / Multi-cultural Family
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Date of Publication: August 20, 2019
Number of Pages: 332

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Quijana is a girl in pieces. 
 
One-half Guatemalan, one-half American: When Quijana’s Guatemalan cousins move to town, her dad seems ashamed that she doesn’t know more about her family’s heritage. 
 
One-half crush, one-half buddy: When Quijana meets Zuri and Jayden, she knows she’s found true friends. But she can’t help the growing feelings she has for Jayden. 
 
One-half kid, one-half grown-up: Quijana spends her nights Skyping with her ailing grandma and trying to figure out what’s going on with her increasingly hard-to-reach brother. 
 
In the course of this immersive and beautifully written novel, Quijana must figure out which parts of herself are most important, and which pieces come together to make her whole. 
 
This lyrical debut from Rebecca Balcárcel is a heartfelt poetic portrayal of a girl growing up, fitting in, and learning what it means to belong.
PRAISE FOR THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY:
 
“Seriously, I have never felt so seen in a book.” —Sophia Jimenez of @LatinxinPub
 

“Balcárcel’s well-rounded characters, complex friendships, and nuanced family dynamics will resonate with many readers. This is a title that will remain relevant long past its publication date. A must-have for all library collections.” — School Library Journal starred review

“With poetic, flowing prose that sometimes feels more like a song and characters so convincing that they seem real, Balcárcel’s stunning debut depicts the struggles of being raised with two cultures and the challenges of not being “authentic” enough—in this case, “not Guatemalan enough” or “not American enough.” A lovely, moving, and realistic view of the struggles and insecurities—as well as the beauty—that comes from being bicultural.” — Booklist starred review

“One of the best and most compassionate depictions of autism I have ever read in fiction.” — Latinas Leyendo

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Review

The Other Half of Happy has a cover that is very pleasing to the eye. The colors are happy and the simple illustrations perfectly represent various happenings and lessons that occur in the story. Balcarcel does a very convincing job of writing from the first person perspective of a 12 year old girl who struggles with finding out who she really is and where she fits in this world.

As a second generation American, I could relate to the challenges Quijana faced at school and at home. At school, I was sometimes treated like an outsider when I would share bits of my home life with my peers. But at home, I felt like I was too American and couldn’t be the perfect daughter to my immigrant parents. Quijana’s father is Guatemalan and her mother is an unspecified Anglo-American, but they converse with each other in Spanish often. Quijana wasn’t brought up speaking Spanish and feels frustrated when her father suddenly starts pushing the language on her. I know that feeling all too well.

If I could sum this book up in one word, I would probably go with “inclusivity”. I was pretty amazed at the different ways that the author accomplishes that theme over different interpersonal relationships. When I count the different scenarios that play out, it sounds like overkill; but it all works really well in this story and does not feel contrived at all.

I have to say that my favorite part of this book is the index at the back. The author provides page numbers for Quijana’s maternal grandmother’s wise words (the woman is like an oracle!), gives us the full version of projects that are mentioned briefly in the story, and explains other interesting things referenced in the book. Balcarcel built a wonderful world and made sure we had all the answers to the questions that developed in the back of our minds.

I highly recommend this book for everyone, but especially to children who could use a window into a life that may be very different from their own or perhaps similar. Either way, I think they will find a compelling story that teaches great life lessons.

Rebecca is a bi-cultural Latina who loves her autistic sons, her kitty, and serving the students of Tarrant County College as Associate Professor of English. She holds an MFA from Bennington Writing Seminars, where she was awarded the Jane Kenton Poetry Prize. THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY is her debut novel.

 
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SIGNED COPY OF THE OTHER HALF OF HAPPY 
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NOVEMBER 5-15, 2019
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11/6/19
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Notable Quotable
11/10/19
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11/13/19
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Scrapbook Page & Giveaway: Tarnished Brass by Max L. Knight

BNR Tarnished Brass
TARNISHED BRASS
by
MAX L. KNIGHT
  Genre: Historical Fiction / Novella / War 
Publisher: Page Publishing, Inc.
Date of Publication: September 20, 2019
Number of Pages: 114

Scroll down for the giveaway!
 

 

The war in El Salvador as seen through the eyes of a U.S. Army officer, a guerrilla leader, and a refugee turned gang member


Patrick Michael Moynihan finds himself returning to the small Central American country where, as a young impressionistic junior officer, he was thrust into the middle of a brutal civil war.
Miguel Alejandro Xenias, once a member of the ruling elite in El Salvador, recalls his change of heart, advancement within the guerrilla movement, and his new-found hope for the country now that the FMLN is in power.Antonio Cruz, seeking a new life in America, finds only a different kind of hatred and conflict, joins the street gang MS-13, and returns home bringing with him a new kind of warfare.These perspectives spotlight an ongoing struggle in El Salvador that continues to impact the immigration crisis on our southern border and the spread of gang violence throughout the United States.
 
More than just a history of the war in El Salvador, a conflict that ended almost thirty years ago, Tarnished Brass gives voice to those who fought and those who only wanted to escape the violence.
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Max Knight was born in Panama and grew up in the Canal Zone and in San Antonio, Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in English. A Distinguished Military Graduate, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and served twenty-four years in the Air Defense Artillery retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

In addition to assignments within his basic branch, Max also specialized as a Foreign Area Officer in both the European Theatre of Operations (Germany and Greece) and within USSOUTHCOM (Panama, Honduras, and El Salvador). He received the Defense Superior Service Medal for his service in El Salvador during that country’s civil war. Max earned his master’s degree in government from Campbell University, and retired from the Army in 1997.

Upon retirement Max was hired by RCI Technologies in San Antonio and became its Director of Internal Operations. He also was the first volunteer docent at the Alamo working within its Education Department. However, following the tragic events of 9/11, he became an Independent Contractor and spent the next ten years as a Counterintelligence Specialist in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Central America before cancer forced him to quit.

Max has since published a memoir, Silver Taps, and a novel of westward expansion, Palo Duro. He resides in San Antonio with his wife, Janet “Gray.” They have three surviving children; Lisa, Brian, and Sean, and three grandchildren; Tony, Nicholas, and Cecilia Marie.

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One Winner: Signed copy of Tarnished Brass + $25 Amazon Gift Card
OCTOBER 29-NOVEMBER 8, 2019
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10/29/19
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10/30/19
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10/30/19
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10/31/19
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11/1/19
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