Monthly Archives: February 2016

Dollar Signs by Manning Wolfe

Dollar Signs NEW BANNER

DOLLAR SIGNS
  Texas Lady Lawyer vs Boots King
Texas Lady Lawyer Novel #1 
by Manning Wolfe
ClaFirst Place, The Writer’s League of Texas Annual Manuscript Contest, 2014
Genre: Adult / Legal Thriller / Mystery /Suspense
Date of Publication: February 18, 2016
# of pages: 310
 
Scroll down for GIVEAWAY!
MERIT BRIDGES, an attorney and widowed mother in Austin, Texas, works hard, drinks too much wine, and sleeps with younger men. When Merit goes after a shady corporation threatening her client, she encounters hired gun Boots King. His charge is simple, “Stop her!” Merit and her team – including Betty, a mothering office manager with a bad-ass attitude – struggle to stay alive, while they navigate a labyrinth of legal issues, and prove once again that you don’t mess with a Texas lady lawyer.
 
Praise for the books:
A legal thriller not to be missed…Manning Wolfe just put
herself on my list of must-read authors. — Mark Pryor, Hugo
Marston Novels
 
Move over, John Grisham. There’s a lady lawyer in town.
Elizabeth Garcia, Deputy Ricos Tales
 
This novel is smart, funny, moving, and entertaining as hell.
Jesse Sublett, 1960’s Austin Gangsters
 
A great read, and Texas crime fiction has a new star.
Bill Crider, Dan Rhodes Mysteries
 
Pages smoke like burnt fried chicken grease on a Saturday
night…This one, my friends, is a non-putter-downer!
George Wier, Bill Travis Mysteries.
 
A high-speed storyline full of twists and turns upon a stark
background of reality as lawyers might really experience
it. Manning Wolfe is one of the up and coming legal thriller
writers of this generation. Read her and enjoy her, but don’t
expect much sleep! — John Ellsworth, author, Thaddeus
Murfee Legal Thrillers
 
                                                                                               MANNING WOLFE an author and attorney residing in Austin, Texas, writes cinematic-style, smart, fast-paced thrillers with a salting of Texas bullshit. The first in her series, featuring Austin Lawyer Merit Bridges, is Dollar Signs: Texas Lady Lawyer vs Boots King. A graduate of Rice University and the University of Texas School of Law, Manning’s experience has given her a voyeur’s peek into some shady characters’ lives and a front row seat to watch the good people who stand against them.
 
Review
I have a really bad habit of comparing books to other books I’ve read or movies I’ve watched. So when I started this one, I thought, “Attractive lawyer helping the underdog. Erin Brockovich!” Of course, Erin wasn’t a lawyer and the case she was working on wasn’t the same. And nobody would ever mistake Merit for a floozy. (She has her share of boy toys but she’s all lady.) I don’t want to ruin anything, but let’s just say that some things go awry and a new plan goes into motion. Other cases are referenced, and the PG&E case is one of them. So my Brockovich comparison wasn’t way off.
Wolfe’s actual experience as an attorney shines through with all of the details (riveting stuff) and she weaves seamlessly between character point of views and scene changes. You can tell when a writer has a little bit of a screenwriter in them as well. Wolfe is one of these. The dialogue is excellent, the characters are fleshed out and interesting, and the plot is realistic and deliciously suspenseful. Details like particular backroads, restaurants, and landmarks confirm that Wolfe knows her way around Texas.
As I tend to do with the really good books I read, I’m going to nitpick now. Merit is a crazy sharp individual, but I find it hard to believe that she didn’t connect Boots King to the truck with “KNG69” or something equally douchey on the license plate. The only thing that would have made the truck more obvious was if it had a huge boot on top or was wrapped in a boot decal. Maybe Wolfe intended for me to smack my forehead and yell, “WAKE UP, MERIT!” I yelled in my head, course.
As a CHL holder and spouse to a gun enthusiast, I cringed every time the magazine was referred to as a clip. I think the CHL instructor character even called it that (not likely to happen in real life). Gun guys HATE it when people call magazines clips. However, I loved the bit about going 9mm (or larger) or going home because I have that conversation with my gun buddies too.
And just for fun I will add that I was blindsided by one character digging on Merit, almost as much as she was. For a good portion of the book, this guy is normal with her, you don’t get the vibe that he’s into her at all. But then Betty says something to the effect of, “He’s into you,” and suddenly there’s all this description about the guy mooning over Merit. And it gets laid thicker and thicker until Merit finally sees it and responds. Not going to ruin that for you either. But I can’t help but give a rundown on my thoughts when there’s romance in a book. There are so many great things about this book. Read it!
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
One lucky winner will receive a signed copy of  Dollar Signs, a $50 Visa Gift Card, a “Don’t Mess With Texas Women” plaque, and some fun dollar sign beads!
Giveaway runs from 12:01am 2/18/16 through 11:59pm 4/2/16
 
  Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!

2/18 Texas Book Lover — Excerpt
2/19 My Book Fix Blog — Promo
2/25 Missus Gonzo — Review
2/29 Books and Broomsticks – Author Interview
3/1   The Crazy Booksellers — Review
3/3   Texas Book-aholic — Promo
3/15 It’s a Jenn World — Promo
3/17 A Novel Reality – Promo
3/22 Hall Ways Blog — Review
3/24 The Page Unbound — Promo
3/31 The Librarian Talks — Review

 

 

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Between Hurt and Healing by Jackie Melvin

BETWEEN HURT AND HEALING
by 
Jackie Melvin

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Date of Publication: February 2, 2016
# of pages: 424
Scroll down for Giveaway!
 

 

Introverted Denise Staukhill just wanted a quiet life.  She never dreamed she would find a man like Darren Olsen to share it with.  An unexpected tragedy ends their fairy-tale romance, and Denise once again finds herself alone and devastated.

 

 

Years later, the handsome head football coach from the local high school and Darren’s best friend, Eric Ortellio, tries desperately to help her find peace.  As their relationship starts to grow, the manipulative Coach Nick Nelson, trying to protect his secretive past, steps in to ruin both of them.

 

 

Will Denise and Eric’s friendship sustain the lies and manipulation that the evil Nelson has weaved?  Can Denise find the strength to let go of Darren and hold on to Eric, or will her faithfulness to Darren keep Eric out of her life forever?

 

Visit the author’s WEBSITE for best pricing
or purchase from:

 

    Amazon          Tate Publishing

 

 Denise talking to her twelve-year-old daughter Cissy, about her own mother:

 

 

“She loved color in her drawings, bright colors: greens, reds, blues, yellows. All her pictures were happy. She told me when I was your age to take whatever makes you sad and color it in. I guess she just meant that colors are happy and sad is black and white.”

 

 

Cissy’s response:

 

“Maybe that’s what Grandma meant when she said, “color it in.” Celebrations are colorful like birthday balloons and wedding cakes. Funerals are black, and hospitals are white. Funerals are always sad and hospitals can be sad sometimes too. So if you find what makes you sad and color it in, you can be happy.”

 

Review
Watching the courtship of Denise and Darren unfold makes you forget for a while that Darren is going to die. You get so wrapped up in the great little details of the blossoming relationship and the makeup of each character, you forget that this book is about hurting and healing (yeah, I just went there). You get the feeling that Eric will be the new love interest, but he’s still married. But don’t worry, he doesn’t stay that way. There is nothing that Denise and Eric can do that will make you dislike them. And that is how you know that the evil Nick will not prevail.
I could not put this book down. As despicable as the crimes/scandals Nick sets up for our protagonists, they are all very realistic. And Melvin does an excellent job of showing how the terrible events affect everyone, including the children. Her depiction of the sisters, in particular, I felt were very realistic. Melvin must know some preteen and college-bound girls in real life. My only nitpick about the characters are that the sister names are too similar (Cissy and Cassidy). Kind of a no-no in publishing in my opinion. Every once in a while I had to pause and look back to make sure I was thinking about the correct sister.
I know this is out of left field but it just occurred to me. Eric keeps assuring Denise that he doesn’t expect her to forget about Darren, and that he understands that she will always love her deceased husband. But they don’t discuss Eric’s ex-wife at all. No discussion about the possibility that Eric might have any lingering feelings or that the ex would have issues with the relationship. I don’t know why but that kind of strikes me as odd.
The storyline about no-cutting in school athletics was interesting to me, and I liked Melvin’s use of it throughout the book. It’s not what the book was about at all, but the issue with this touchy subject was the catalyst for all the drama. Having a son about to start sports soon, I personally dislike the everyone is a winner mentality. That trophy he will get at the end of the soccer season? I will probably donate it to Goodwill. But I digress.
Growing up with Texas sports (specifically football), I don’t doubt that there are some shady things going down in the name of having an outstanding sports program and winning. Melvin’s novel manages to be suspenseful and heartwarming at the same time.

 

Jackie Melvin is a hopeless introvert: hasn’t seen the inside of a movie theater in a decade.  She is despairingly sappy: will cry at commercials, songs and memories.  She is a disheartened housekeeper: good before the kids, great with the kids, now the laundry room doubles as the master closet.  An unexceptional athlete, the weather matters!  A wanna be nutritionist, if only chocolate had nutritional value.   A mediocre musician: been playing the same songs for thirty years.  A happy wife, she married up.  A reluctant empty- nester, miss those kids so much.  And she is a writer: the author of a series of children’s books, and Between Hurt and Healing is her first novel.

 

She currently lives in Lubbock, Texas with her husband, her dog, and her cat, and spends as much time as possible visiting those kids.

  
 FACEBOOK        INSTAGRAM
 
GIVEAWAY! One winner gets signed copies 
of Between Hurt and Healing and 
all of Jackie’s Bartholomew Bear Series

 

February 22-MARCH 3, 2016
 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&text=Jackie+Melvin&search-alias=books&field-author=Jackie+Melvin&sort=relevancerank
 
Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!

2/22   Missus Gonzo  – Review
2/23   All for the Love of the Word – Author Interview
2/24   The Crazy Booksellers – Promo
2/25   The Page Unbound  — Review
2/26   Hall Ways Blog – Author Interview
2/27   Books and Broomsticks – Guest Post           
2/29   My Book Fix Blog – Promo
3/1     A Novel Reality  — Author Interview
3/2     The Librarian Talks  — Promo

 

   
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It Happened at the Book Fest

 

It Happened at the Book Fest
 
Two Books. One Wild Event.
 
On sale February 14 thru 23!!!
Welcome to the Lake Morgan Book Festival!
Each year, Mr. Denton McCray and his eclectic team of volunteers hosts the most anticipated, and the most mysterious, book fest in a cozy, lakeside community near the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Though many accounts have highlighted strange occurrences, readers are drawn to the book fest each year by the hundreds, and authors are thrilled to receive a hand-delivered invitation to participate.
The season is autumn. The day is overcast. There’s an electric crackle in the air that foreshadows the arrival of approaching storms. Tops of trees sway under the weight of winds that bear more than the threat of rain.  The book fest takes place in an old building that once served as a high school.  It has been decades since students roamed the halls … living students, that is.    

 

The Lake Morgan Book Fest opens at 6 PM and runs until midnight.  So, grab a cup of hot tea, and dive in!
 
 
Within these pages, readers will discover just how weird the Lake Morgan Book Fest can get.  

Tales of time travel, science fiction, paranormal, speculative fiction, urban fantasy, comedy, and even a little romance await discovery!  

Authors of This Volume:
Kimberley Montpetit
Tyber North
Belle Whittington
A.L. Kessler
Linda M. Au
H.A. Lamb



BUY for 99 cents!

 

 
Within these pages, readers will discover just how sexy things can get at the Lake Morgan Book Fest.

Tales of romance, paranormal, and erotica await discovery! 

This volume is for more mature audiences.
Authors of This Volume:
Alexia Purdy
Dicey Grenor
Mia Bishop
Lizzy Pope

J.L. McCoy


BUY for 99 cents
Amazon B&N iTunes Kobo 

Scribd Inktera 24Symbols

 
AUTHORS’ PICK: Favorite lines from each story
 

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On Lone Star Trail by Amanda Cabot

On Lone Star Trail
(Texas Crossroads Book 3)
by 
Amanda Cabot

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell, a division of Baker Group
Date of Publication: February 2, 2016
# of pages: 368


The Future Starts When You Let Go of the Past
“She wasn’t looking for love at Rainbow’s End, 
just a change of scenery and a chance to rest”
Sometimes our past tries desperately to navigate our future. But what if facing our fear and going against our protective impulses is the key to our future? In Amanda Cabot’s final book in her Texas Crossroads series, an unlikely couple discovers that their differences just might be what bring them together. 
Gillian Hodge was heading toward a fulfilling life as a concert pianist when her dreams and career were shattered by a motorcyclist. Now she once again faces an encounter with a motorcyclist whose bike crashes in front of her. 
 
TJ Benjamin, who has been wandering around the country on his motorcycle, is recovering from the death of his beloved wife and feeling lost in both his life and his faith. When he finds himself stranded with a busted bike and a reluctant rescuer, he has to wonder about God’s sense of humor. 
Can a woman with an uncertain future and a man running to forget his past find love at Rainbow’s End? Or are they too tied to the way life used to be? These vivid characters develop and grow while readers enjoy the beautiful Texas setting.
BUY LINKS

 

 

 

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, Christmas Roses, At Bluebonnet Lake, and In Firefly Valley. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best Awards. She lives in Wyoming.


BLOG      WEBSITE    
 FACEBOOK        TWITTER

 

Review
 I read the occasional Christian Romance and, though I read more worldly romance novels as well, tend to hold these books to a different standard. I know it’s not fair, but something feels off when a “Christian” romance book’s protagonist engages in premarital sex and then doesn’t feel an ounce of remorse. I appreciated how the characters in this book were relatable and yet, still maintain their values. But what I admired even more is how Cabot eases you into the spiritual aspect slowly.
You could read the first half of this book and not even realize that this is a Christian book. It is a very well-written romance book that you can sort of guess who will get together, but you’re still excited to see how it comes about. That’s the type of approach that the characters TJ and Gillian have with some kids they help in the book. They don’t go at the kids trying to change them, but approach them as someone who just wants to get to know them, maybe help them, and end up being good influences.
The way that all of the characters gradually open up about their relationship with God is similar to the way that this novel unfolds itself as a Christian book. You get to know the novel on the surface level (ex-concert pianist and ex-teacher collide and find their way back to living a full, happy life), and only when you are truly invested do you get to know about their spiritual inclinations. I think that is the best way in real life, and it works in novels as well.
And though I struggle with suppressing my eye rolls at literary love triangles, I really like what Cabot did here. Mike isn’t a bad match for Gillian in any obvious way, and Cabot could have taken the easy way out and have the guy try to get physical with her or something to draw a definite line between the two men. Instead, you’re weighing Gillian’s choices along with her, not completely sure who to go with.
Again, the book is somewhat predictable, but the journey is still quite enjoyable. There were also some details along the way that were nice surprises. Overall, I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a nice, uplifting romance.
Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!
2/11 My Book Fix Blog – Author Interview
2/12  The Crazy Booksellers – Promo
2/13  Missus Gonzo – Review
2/15  Hall Ways Blog – Promo
2/16  Books and Broomsticks – Promo
2/19  The Page Unbound – Promo
2/20  Book Crazy Gals – Promo
2/21  It’s a Jenn World – Review
2/23  A Novel Reality – Promo
2/24  Secret Asian Girl – Review
2/25  The Librarian Talks — Review

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Author Interview: With THIS Ring?

  With THIS Ring?
A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry
by
Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, 
Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears
Genre: Romance, Humor
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Date of Publication: January 5, 2016
# of pages: 368


Love isn’t always a fairy tale, and it doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes the best stories, though, are the ones that are the most unexpected. Join Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears for novellas that celebrate the power of love to triumph . . . even when circumstances go awry!

 

The Husband Maneuver

 

When ranch foreman Daniel Barrett seems ready to leave her life forever, Marietta Hawkins decides to grab the reins on their relationship. But to have any hope of maneuvering him into a proposal, she has to act fast or risk losing him completely.

 

Her Dearly Unintended

 

Josiah Huckabee just wanted to make sure Katie Ellen Watson was safe, but when the only bridge to her farm is washed out, the two find themselves alone. Alone, that is, until a menacing stranger appears. Maybe by pretending to be newlyweds, they’ll save their reputations–but can pretending to be in love turn into the real thing?

 

Runaway Bride

 

Hired to help Carrie Halsey escape from a dangerous man intent on making her his wife, Big John Conroy never expected the job to interrupt his solitary Texas Ranger life. But now that he’s promised to keep Carrie safe, he discovers he may just want to make a few more promises.

 

Engaging the Competition

 

Harrison Gray and tomboy Charlotte Andrews have been rivals for years. With Charlotte intended for someone else, it seems they’ll never settle their differences until an accident changes things completely. When Charlotte breaks Harrison’s glasses–without which he’s nearly blind–she must help with his teaching position, and working together forces these former adversaries to reconsider everything.
PRAISE FOR WITH THIS RING:

“This quartet of authors consistently write with hilarity, warmth, and toe-curling romance. Their individual contributions to this entertaining collection hold true to form. Connealy tips her hat to long-time fans with a grin-inducing reunion and clever word-smithing. Witemeyer’s ingenious story-within-a story adds even more humor and drama to her contribution. Jennings and Jagears perfectly complete the ensemble with witty tales of friendship and breathless kisses.”—RT Book Reviews Top Pick

 

BUY THE BOOK

 

AMAZON      AMAZON KINDLE    BAKER BOOK HOUSE     B&N        KOBO

Karen Witemeyer: Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.
Mary Connealy: Mary Connealy writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has over half a million books sold. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.
Regina Jennings: Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of At Love’s Bidding and four other novels, and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.
 
 Melissa Jagears: Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade and the author of A Bride for Keeps, A Bride in Store, and A Bride at Last, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She’s a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.
GIVEAWAY! FOUR COPIES OF THE BOOK!
February 5-18, 2016
(Winners must have US mailing addresses)

 

AuthorInterview

SPOTLIGHT: Author Interview: Melissa Jagears

 

What literary character is most like you?

I am a female Mr. Darcy. I remember totally understanding him and wondering what was wrong with all the other characters who thought he was awful. Then one day, a friend asked me who I was character-wise from Jane Austen’s novels and I was trying to mesh Lizzy and Elinor and finally gave up and picked a male character, Mr. Darcy. Later, I learned that my Myers-Briggs personality type is the one attributed to Mr. Darcy (and Jane Austen herself!). I was just so excited to find my first INTJ character in literature who was NOT the villain…well, at least the people who mattered most figured out he wasn’t the villain before the end. 🙂

 

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

The most useful tool I found in learning to write was serious, professional writers who exchanged work with me in a group. Having a critique group was very eye opening to things I couldn’t see myself. I could read writing craft books, understand the examples even, but having someone point out where I failed and how to fix it was beyond helpful. Plus, in a group, after I critiqued someone’s work, I’d read what others had to say and see what they caught that I didn’t, which honed my eye even more to finding craft problems in my own work.

 

I think the least useful was putting my story into a critique group one chapter at a time without having a clear idea where I was going with the story or having written the entire thing first. For when someone suggested a fix to a problem, I’d feel compelled to go that way and so, it began to feel like it wasn’t my story. The next book, I did a fast rough draft of the whole thing first before putting it into the critique group. Then when a critter gave me a suggestion, I could either disregard it because I knew my way was better or the advice didn’t mesh with my vision, or I would snatch it up and use it because it was way better than what I had come up with myself!

 

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I’m a part-time writer. I’m a stay-at-home mother and homeschooler to little ones. That’s why I write after everyone goes to bed; it’s the only time I have to myself, so I’m writing from 10pm to 2am. Sometimes I’m up until 4am on deadline! I’ve always wondered if I’d write better if I slept more. Hopefully someday I’ll find out!

 

Do you have any strange writing habits you wouldn’t mind sharing with readers?

Whenever I’m stuck on what to write next, I take a shower. I can think better there for some reason. It’s dangerous to take a shower right before I intend to go to bed because then I usually have to go “back to work” to put down all the new ideas. Perhaps it’s not more sleep that I need to be a better writer, but a bigger budget for hot water.

 

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Raising children to become adults of integrity.

 


Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!

2/5      The Crazy Booksellers – Promo

2/6      Missus Gonzo – Author Interview

2/7      Books and Broomsticks – Promo

2/8      My Book Fix Blog — Review

2/9      The Page Unbound – Author Interview

2/10   Because This is My Life Y’all – Guest Post

2/11   Texas Book-aholic — Promo

2/12   The Librarian Talks – Author Interview

2/13   All for the Love of the Word — Review

2/14   Hall Ways Blog — Review

 
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The Burning by D.E.L. Connor

The Burning
Spirit Warriors Book 3 
by D.E.L. Connor
Genre: YA / Fantasy / Coming of Age
Publisher: Booktrope Publishing
Date of Publication: September 21, 2015
# of pages: 357

In the third book of D.E.L. Connor’s magical coming of age Spirit Warriors series, Emmeline and her friends find themselves still reeling from the loss and pain caused by the evil spirit, machayiwiw- but the danger is far from over. As Emme, Charlie, Bets, Ollie, Jack and their beloved Spirit Animals prepare for the final battle against the machayiwiw, Emme struggles with a battle within her own heart. She longs for the beauty and softness she feels around Charlie, but she can’t deny the burning passion that consumes her with Jack. Will she finally let Charlie go and give her heart to Jack? Enthralling and passionate, Spirit Warriors brings the vibrant American West to life once again and whispers its ancient secrets of love and friendship.

BUY LINKS
Praise for the books:

“There is something special about a book/series when you feel like you’ve come home to family/friends in the first chapter. That is how I feel when I begin each new book in this series. I find I care more about each character as the series progresses.” – Amazon Reviewer

“I have been a huge fan of this series. After the second book I wasn’t exactly sure how this one would develop. Hands down it is the best book of the series so far.” – Goodreads Reviewer

“The Concealing is one of the best books that I have read in a long time…You will fall head over heels in love with all of the characters and the plot as well in The Concealing.” – The Avid Reader

“I was glued to the book from the moment I began reading it and was sad when it ended, because it ended. I can very easily visualise this book as a film, the descriptions are detailed enough to make it a great opportunity for a film. Amazing.” — Cookie Book Reviews 

“A great young adult series along the formulaic values of the “Twilight” series. Also a wonderful book for adults who want to immerse themselves in a world full of youth and American Indian heritage.” — Respect the Books

Enter to win: a signed copy of 
The Concealing, Book 1 of the Spirit Warriors Series, 
a $25 Amazon Gift Card, and some Swag!

Della Connor (D.E.L. Connor) was born in South Dakota and raised in Southeastern Montana where she acquired a keen appreciation for Western and Native American culture. She moved to Texas as a young adult and acquired her honorary Texan status. She became a registered nurse, a nurse practitioner and eventually earned her PhD in nursing. She still works as a nurse educator and as a nurse practitioner. Her nights and weekends, however, are filled with her stories and books. Her first book, Spirit Warriors:The Concealing, was published by Booktrope Publishing in November of 2014. The second book in the series Spirit Warriors: The Scarring published on July 21, 2014 and Spirit Warriors: The Burning rolled out on September 21, 2015.The Spirit Warriors story evolved from a short story she wrote for a college English class in the early 1990s. The professor read it, loved it and asked her to stay after class and discuss it. During this discussion, he told her that a “dark” story like hers, which was written for older children, would be unmarketable and unsaleable. The story kept floating around in her mind. Finally, J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyers and others stepped forward with amazing “dark” stories to create a new genre called Young Adult. The time was finally right for her book. She wrote book 1 in two weeks. It took another year and a half and about a 150 queries all with a “not interested” for her to find a publisher.

Review

If I’m to be brutally honest, it took me several chapters to find a comfortable reading rhythm with this book. That’s not to say that Connor’s writing is lacking in some way, but rather a testament to just how intricate the storyline is. I can only imagine just how much happened in the first two books. There are historic flashbacks, premonitions, and soul flinging amidst the already riveting plot lines. Embarrassingly, it took me a few re-reads to realize that a character was an animal instead of a human. And trying to figure out which animal went to who made me slow down for a few chapters. You would think that a girl who watched shows like Voltron and Pokemon as a kid would have a better handle on this.

The characters are beautifully written, but I wish there was more explanation about the Charlie and Emme issue. (And how Jack falls into the equation, while we’re at it.) I know that this is book three, but I feel like things should be clearer in case someone didn’t read the other two. Connor does a fantastic job of filling in the backstory of Emme’s brother and mother, and especially Lilly. At the expense of sounding all Team Edward, Team Jacob, I wish I knew more about the love triangle.
Unless the other two books are pretty vague too, I would have liked to know more about the prophecies as well. What were the previous prophecies and were they fulfilled exactly as they imagined? Why does everyone seem to have a different version of this latest one? And are Emme’s nightmares explained in the other books?
Because I don’t know the Jack backstory much, the engagement while still in high school feels a bit meh to me. But I get it. Bella wanted to hurry up and marry Edward so he would turn her into a vampire already. Jack wants to marry Emme because they all think they’re going to die soon. I know that’s the literal case here, but I have to wonder if it can also be a metaphor for young adult emotions. Like, “I’m going to die if Brad doesn’t ask me to the prom” and “My life is so over because I didn’t get into Yale.”
Overall, this was definitely a fun read and unlike any Young Adult fantasy that I’ve read. (And I’ve read many!) I hope that you’ll pick up the rest of the books in the series too.
Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!
 

1/31       Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books– Promo
2/1         My Book Fix Blog  – Promo

 

2/2         All for the Love of the Word – Guest Post

 

2/3         A Novel Reality – Promo
2/4         Missus Gonzo – Review
2/5         Books and Broomsticks – Promo
2/6         bookishjessp – Review
2/7         The Page Unbound – Author Interview
2/8         Because This is My Life Y’all – Review
2/9         Texas Book-aholic – Promo

 

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Author Interview: Mourner’s Bench by Sanderia Faye


MOURNER’S BENCH
by Sanderia Faye
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
Date of Publication: September 15, 2015
# of pages: 340

 Praise for Mourner’s Bench:
“An absorbing meditation on the meaning of religion in a small town as well as a keen-eyed perspective on the way one African-American community encountered the civil rights movement. An astute coming-of-age tale set against an all-too-relevant background.” 
— Kirkus 

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AuthorInterview

What was your inspiration for Mourner’s Bench?

It was a prompt in a writing class that went something like “write until I tell you to stop about a story you’ve heard before but you are not sure if it is true or false.” I wrote approximately two handwritten pages about two young girls who worked for SNCC registering voters along the country roads of the Arkansas Delta.

After I read what I had scribbled on the pages to the class, we spent the remainder of the class discussing the civil rights movement and the role young people played in it. That story of those girls piqued my interest, so I started asking questions and researching the civil rights movement in Arkansas. I realized that I knew very little about Arkansas and the civil rights movement. The media and historians covered the integration of Central High School, but there wasn’t very much written about Arkansas’s role during the 1960s.

 

I became absorbed in the history, and how, as a fiction writer, I could place these young girls inside that rich history. I wondered who they were, who were their families, where did they live, and along with many other questions, how did they become so brave? Of course, when I started writing, the story took on a life of its own, and although the friendship between the girls is included in the novel, the story became more about the one girl, Sarah, and her family.

 

Why was this time in history important?

It wasn’t just the history, which is extremely important and was what led me to the story, but it became more about the people, their behavior, traditions and language. These things set against the backdrop of the history of the civil rights movement are what made this time important to me. It was a time of discovery, pride, bravery, and ownership for African Americans.

 

What makes this book relevant today?

I don’t believe there would be any time in history where this novel wouldn’t be relevant. The civil rights movement did not end for African Americans in the 1960s. We have continued to fight for justice both privately and publicly. Now, with the consistent brutality by the police throughout the country, the movement has become more public again, but I don’t believe any African Americans would say that they are now or have ever received equal rights and privileges as the dominant culture. This is also a book about a family and a community. If you take out the historical setting, it would still be about relationships between mothers and daughters and church and state.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Voice is important in my writing. I need to hear the characters speak before I began to write. The story has to come alive in my mind where I hear the sounds and see the setting.

 

What is the mission you set out to accomplish with your voice in this book?

I didn’t have a particular mission initially except to learn to write. It was my practice novel; the one that wouldn’t ever get published. Later, I realized that it was important to American history, especially Arkansas history.

 

Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!
2/1 All for the Love of the Word – Promo
2/3 Missus Gonzo – Author Interview
2/5 My Book Fix Blog – Promo
2/8 Books and Broomsticks  — Promo
2/10 Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books – Promo
2/12 Because This is My Life Y’all — Review
2/15 The Page Unbound — Promo
2/17 Texas Book-aholic — Review
2/19 Secret Asian Girl — Review
2/22 Hall Ways – Promo

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