Monthly Archives: June 2016

Review: Guardians in Blue by Ken Bangs

GUARDIANS IN BLUE 
by
Ken Bangs 


Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date of Publication: March 31, 2016
# of pages: 382

 

A fatherless boy growing up in a small Texas town is taken under wing by the local lawmen. They work with the town leaders to provide his basic needs and help him escape the shame and poverty of his circumstances. One in particular becomes his guardian.

He teaches the boy about life, how to face his fears, that honor is more important than comfort and that defending those who cannot defend themselves is the highest duty of a man.    

 

The boy learns the lessons well. He hears the call and his heart opens to it. He too becomes a Guardian.

 

This is the novelized story of the authors’ thirty-seven years service in law enforcement and public safety. It is unique in that the reader is given an inside look at what motivates one to the calling and the process of becoming a police officer.

 

It is told from the first person perspective of one who walked a beat in downtown Dallas at the age of 19, answered the calls as a radio patrol officer and worked the cases as a detective.

 

It gives an inside look at the understanding of not only the criminal act but the issues that lead to criminality and the processes by which criminal justice professionals identify and apprehend those responsible for given crimes.  
Drawing on interviews/interrogations of criminals the author provides an exposé of the experiences, the anger, and the fantasy that captures the mind and controls the will of those who rape, rob, and kill.

 

PRAISE FOR GUARDIANS IN BLUE:

 

“As a man who was privileged to work the streets with Ken Bangs, I can tell you that he was the Guardian.  If you want to understand police work at the base level, then The Guardians is a must read.  It goes beyond the violence and the sensationalism and gives you a window into the hearts and souls of those men and women who ride toward danger when everyone else runs away.” 
Doug Sword, Captain of Police (Retired), Dallas Police Department

 

Guardians In Blue is an action packed book about actual crimes from the Dallas Police

 

files.  These cases as retold by Ken bangs come alive in a format that makes you feel


like you are at the location and involved in the investigations.” 
Gary Holly, Retired Police Officer
 
“The story is so realistic; it so reveals the rawness of life experienced by a police officer that any who have ever worn the badge will be drawn in as they see themselves in the Guardians.” — G. David Payne, Lieutenant of Police (Retired), Dallas Police Department

 

  PURCHASE LINKS:
  AMAZON        BARNES & NOBLE

BLACK ROSE WRITING

Review
Although this is a novelized version of Bangs’ life as a police officer, you get a very real sense of what it might have been like to be him. When a police officer comes to his aid as a child, you start to understand that law enforcement has to make judgement calls every day, and they just hope that they’ve made the right one. Seeing how much K.W. cares about the safety of the people under his protection, I think that the police officer made the right call for turning a blind eye all those years ago. I’m not a fan of small-town thinking, but the men in that town rallied around a little boy and made sure he grew up to be a good man.
I hadn’t thought much about what kind of “razzing” or hazing police officers go through, but I thought it was pretty funny. And when K.W. becomes a trainer himself down the line, the jokes and old stories come full circle. I suppose it’s as much character building as a bonding experience. It also made me think that all the crap he took from his senior officers prepared him for the army as well.
Bangs paints a vivid portrait of a town I’m not too familiar with (Dallas) at a time I wasn’t yet conceived. But I’ve watched some old copper shows, and found his stories much more interesting. Some of the bad guys made my spine tingle in a bad, bad way. The descriptions made my nose wrinkle a few times since Bangs often liked to describe the stench of someone’s bowels letting loose in death. But that’s real, right? And I like that he admits to his rookie mistakes and has to often write “Dear Chief” letters as a result.
The story of an officer losing his life after not following the protocol of his beat and not working the safety properly, was sobering. It gave me a deeper respect for all the training and regulations that police officers have to follow. Also, seeing how dangerous it can be to train a rookie opened my eyes. With all the negativity toward law enforcement lately, I think that people don’t realize how nerve-wracking it is to be on the firing end of a gun. That an officer might have only a split second to react, which might end with his/her own death or an innocent civilian’s.
My only notes on this book: K.W. knew at age 10 that he wanted to be a police officer and to find a Godly woman to marry. I wanted to know more about his wife. Maybe the next novel?

Ken spent 35 years in public safety. A veteran of the United States Army, he was with the military police in the Alaskan Command.  He holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University, M.S. in Human Relations / Business Management from Amberton University, and a Doctorate of Ministry in Christian Counseling from Jacksonville (Florida) Theological Seminary.  Ken and his wife, Trudy, have been married 46 years. They live in McKinney, Texas.

 

Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 

6/28     My Book Fix Blog – Review
6/29     Books and Broomsticks – Excerpt #1
6/30     Missus Gonzo  – Review
7/1       The Crazy BooksellersPromo
7/2       StoreyBook Reviews  Author Interview #1
7/3       The Librarian TalksReview
7/4       It’s a Jenn World – Guest Post
7/5       The Page Unbound  – Excerpt #2
7/6       Country Girl Bookaholic  – Review
7/7       Margie’s Must Reads Author Interview #2

 

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Review: The Memory of Us by Camille DiMaio

THE MEMORY OF US
by 
Camille DiMaio

Genre: Historical Romantic Literary Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Press
Date of Publication: May 31, 2016
Number of Pages: 400
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Julianne Westcott was living the kind of life that other Protestant girls in prewar Liverpool could only dream about: old money, silk ball gowns, and prominent young men lining up to escort her. But when she learns of a blind-and-deaf brother, institutionalized since birth, the illusion of her perfect life and family shatters around her.
While visiting her brother in secret, Julianne meets and befriends Kyle McCarthy, an Irish Catholic groundskeeper studying to become a priest. Caught between her family’s expectations, Kyle’s devotion to the Church, and the intense new feelings that the forbidden courtship has awakened in her, Julianne must make a choice: uphold the life she’s always known or follow the difficult path toward love.
But as war ripples through the world and the Blitz decimates England, a tragic accident forces Julianne to leave everything behind and forge a new life built on lies she’s told to protect the ones she loves. Now, after twenty years of hiding from her past, the truth finds her—will she be brave enough to face it?

ADVANCED REVIEWER PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
“Powerful, emotional, and amazing read.”
“A smashing debut!”
“Brilliantly told and executed.”

“Will make you cry in the best way possible.”
“This is a beautiful story of redemption, love, and honor.”
“I fell in love with the characters.”
“I’m not sure if I have ever had such a range of emotions with a book.”

“This is one of the best books that I have read!”
“Touching and funny and tragic and beautiful.”
“Packs a powerful, emotional punch.”

PURCHASE FROM
AMAZON      BARNES & NOBLE     BOOKS-A-MILLION
Review
With a title like “The Memory of Us,” you brace yourself for the most tragic love story ever. The bleak opening which features a scarred woman attempting suicide by pills lets you know that your hunch is probably right. But before she gives too much away, DiMaio cuts to the past where we meet the woman, still vibrant and young, with her whole life in front of her.
Julianne is the beautiful daughter of rich socialites. And before you get a chance to assume she’s a snob and start to hate her, you realize that she is working toward making her own way in the world. Instead of accepting the reins to the family’s lucrative business, she is set to attend nursing school in London. And with a world on the verge of war, nursing is not a romantic or pretty business to get into.
Just when you think you can’t like Julianne even more, you find out that she steals away to visit the twin brother she shouldn’t even know exists. It is there at the lush institution that Charles is hidden, that she encounters the love of her life. As if his Irish and lowly upbringing weren’t an obstacle enough, Kyle is a seminary student on his way to becoming a priest.
Trying their best to just be friends, Julianne and Kyle experience a whirlwind romance befitting a Nicholas Sparks novel. But DiMaio’s romance is not cheap and certainly not as predictable as Sparks. I went to bed around 4:30 a.m. one night because I could not put this book down. I planned to read until I found a good place to stop, but DiMaio kept urging me forward with chapters ending on the cusp of a new secret or development. I laid in bed for a long time trying to get the wonderful story out of my head so that I could sleep.
I think I should end my review here lest I should spoil anything. Be prepared for your heart to break. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! And comment below once you’ve read it. I would love to talk about this one!
Camille is an award-winning real estate agent in San Antonio who, along with her husband of 18 years, home schools their four children. She has a bucket list that is never-ending, and uses her adventures to inspire her writing. She’s lived in Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California, and spends enough time in Hawai’i to feel like a local. She’s traveled to four continents (so far), and met Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. She just about fainted when she had a chance to meet her musical idol, Paul McCartney, too. Camille studied political science in college, but found working on actual campaigns much more fun. She belts out Broadway tunes whenever the moment strikes, and forever stays up late reading “just one more chapter”. There’s almost nothing she wouldn’t try, so long as it doesn’t involve heights, roller skates, or anything illegal. “The Memory of Us” is Camille’s debut novel. Her second, “Before the Rain Falls” will be released in the spring of 2017.
—————————————
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THREE WINNERS EACH GET
A SIGNED COPY OF THE BOOK!
  June 21 – July 5, 2016
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
6/21 Missus Gonzo  — Review
6/22 Books and Broomsticks– Promo
6/23 The Page Unbound  – Author Interview #1
6/24 Texas Book Lover  – Guest Post
6/25 The Librarian Talks – Review
6/26 Country Girl Bookaholic  – Excerpt
6/27 It’s a Jenn World – Author Interview #2
6/28 Byers Editing Reviews & Blog  — Review
6/29 Forgotten Winds – Book Trailer
6/30 Margie’s Must Reads – Review
7/1   Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books – Promo
7/2  The Crazy Booksellers – Author Interview #3
7/3   My Book Fix Blog — Review
7/4   StoreyBook Reviews  – Author Interview #4
7/5   Hall Ways Blog – Review

 

 
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Excerpt: The Do-Right by Lisa Sandlin

 THE DO-RIGHT

 

 

by 
Lisa Sandlin 

 

Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Date of Publication: October 27, 2015
# of pages: 306
Scroll down for Giveaway!

1959. Delpha Wade killed a man who was raping her. Wanted to kill the other one too, but he got away. Now, after fourteen years in prison, she’s out. It’s 1973, and nobody’s rushing to hire a parolee. Persistence and smarts land her a secretarial job with Tom Phelan, an ex-roughneck turned neophyte private eye. Together these two pry into the dark corners of Beaumont, a blue-collar, Cajun-influenced town dominated by Big Oil. A mysterious client plots mayhem against a small petrochemical company-why? Searching for a teenage boy, Phelan uncovers the weird lair of a serial killer. And Delpha — on a weekend outing — looks into the eyes of her rapist, the one who got away. The novel’s conclusion is classic noir, full of surprise, excitement, and karmic justice. Sandlin’s elegant prose, twisting through the dark thickets of human passion, allows Delpha to open her heart again to friendship, compassion, and sexuality.
PRAISE FOR THE DO-RIGHT:

“Lisa Sandlin’s The Do-Right is something akin to a rusted nail through the foot: it’s dirty, it hurts, and it’ll have you jumping up and down—or possibly just on the floor. Delpha Wade and Tom Phelan are as lovable a duo as any in noir fiction.” — Joseph Borden, Killer Nashville

 

“When a critic praises a writer’s original voice, what does that really mean? In the case
of Texas native Lisa Sandlin, it means dog-earing page after page in her novel The
Do-Right, to reread particularly terrific passages or, even better, share them aloud . . .
Check out The Do-Right, and see if you don’t find yourself reading passages aloud
just for the sheer pleasure of it.” – Shawna Seed, The Dallas Morning News
“Smashingly original.” — Jack Batten, Toronto Star
  PURCHASE LINKS:

 

  AMAZON        CINCO PUNTOS PRESS
ed92b-excerpt

EXCERPT #2: THE DO-RIGHT:

 

She had thought this out many times.

She opened the door to #221, put down the suitcase and plate as before. Swiveled and locked the door, set the key in clear view on a chest of drawers. Then she picked up the plate and looked around. Moss-green walls. Window facing an alley. Single bed with a chenille spread, dusky rose. Bedside table, lamp. Chest of drawers. Chair. Closet. That picture of two kids huddling on a bridge, wide-winged angel flared up behind, enough to scare the tar out of them. She’d count on a Gideon in the night table.

Delpha unpacked her four pairs of white cotton panties, her extra brassiere, also white cotton, a sanitary belt and
box of Kotex into the chest of drawers. Hung two skirts and blouses and a dress in the closet. Unzipped her navy blue skirt and hung it up too, shed her shirt, bra and panties, and kept on the white nylon slip. The old hotel had been refurbished with central air but a measly amount circulated. She raised the window for fresh air. Switched on the ceiling fan, but not the lamp. She took her sandwich to the side of the bed, where, sitting down, she ate it slowly, holding her head over the plate so as not to drop crumbs onto the swept wood floor. Fragrant, that mayhaw. She sopped up the crumbs with a damp finger.

Then she pulled down the covers and lay down, stretched out her legs, her toes spread against cotton washed two hundred times, drew the sheet up to her shoulders. Laying her head on the flattened pillow, she felt, then savored how the door was locked and she was alone.

The door was locked. She was alone.

Nobody was in this ten by twelve space but her. No other breathing, gabbing, farting, pouting person. Everybody, everything else shut out. Locked out, on the other side somewhere. No one could walk in. She was not counted.

She did not have to speak. She did not have to share or to hoard, yet. She had to hear no one, except an occasional door shutting, a word or two from down the hall whose meaning she was not obliged to heed. She lay inside this idea for an indecipherable while, breaking the spell periodically to check the key up there on top of the chest of drawers. Still there.

Light had faded from the window, and the dark had come in to hang beneath the ceiling.

She breathed up the quiet, the silence—substance, balm, flower, fruit and medicine. She was taking it inside of her, where it expanded, filling scores and pits. The silence of the people who were not here. Silence of the bureau. The single bed. Silence of the empty places where the furniture was not. Silence rose up from the corners of this moss-green room like clear walls. Silence of the curtains riffled by a breeze. Silence of the lock.

 

 

Lisa Sandlin’s story “Phelan’s First Case” was anthologized in Lone Star Noir (Akashic) and was later re-anthologized in Akashic’s Best of the Noir compendium, USA Noir. The Do-Right, which uses the characters from that story, is her first full-length mystery. Lisa was born in Beaumont, Texas, currently lives and teaches in Omaha, Nebraska, and summers in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

 


GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
SIX SIGNED COPIES OF THE BOOK
(US ONLY)
  June 6 – June 15, 2016

Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 

6/6       All for the Love of the Word      — Review
6/7       Country Girl Bookaholic — Author Interview #1
6/8       Forgotten Winds           — Excerpt #1
6/9       My Book Fix Blog          — Review
6/11     Missus Gonzo   — Excerpt #2
6/12     Texas Book Lover          — Author Interview #2
6/13     Margie’s Must Reads    — Review
6/14     The Crazy Booksellers   — Promo
6/15     Book Chase      — Review

 

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Review: Finding Dorothy Scott by Sarah Byrn Rickman

FINDING DOROTHY SCOTT
Letters of a WASP Pilot 

 

by

 

Sarah Byrn Rickman
Genre: Military History / Biography
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
Date of Publication: May 30, 2016
Number of Pages: 288
Scroll down for Giveaway!
More than eleven hundred women pilots flew military aircraft for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. These pioneering female aviators were known first as WAFS (Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron) and eventually as WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). Thirty-eight of them died while serving their country.
Dorothy Scott was one of the thirty-eight. She died in a mid-air crash at the age of twenty-three.
Born in 1920, Scott was a member of the first group of women selected to fly as ferry pilots for the Army Air Forces. Her story would have been lost had her twin brother not donated her wartime letters home to the WASP Archives. Dorothy’s extraordinary voice, as heard through her lively letters, tells of her initial decision to serve, and then of her training and service, first as a part of the WAFS and then the WASP. The letters offer a window into the mind of a young, patriotic, funny, and ambitious young woman who was determined to use her piloting skills to help the US war effort. The letters also offer archival records of the day-to-day barracks life for the first women to fly military aircraft. The WASP received some long overdue recognition in 2010 when they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal-the highest honor that Congress can bestow on civilians.
PURCHASE FROM TEXAS TECH PRESS:
email: ttup@ttu.edu
phone: 800.742.2982

 

ReviewGrowing up, history never interested me much. Foolish child. As a grownup, I am starting to understand and genuinely reflect on the quote, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
In elementary school, the movie “A League of Their Own” opened my eyes to the patriotism and drive of American (and Canadian) women during WWII. Things that public school history classes only briefly touched. At least they taught us about Rosie the Riveter, I guess. But why did we never hear about the female aviators?
I’m not exaggerating here. This book was the FIRST time I’ve ever heard about the WAFS. Rickman’s talent for unfolding an important and interesting part of history is a relief. Combined with Dorothy’s wonderful letters, I have hope that children from here on out will not be as ignorant as I have been. With the recognition that the WASPs (not a typo, read the book to see what I did there) are finally receiving from our government, I truly hope to see history textbooks share these wonderful stories of courageous women.
I would love to see this book on the required reading lists of American History and Women’s Studies courses. Rickman and Dorothy’s voices are so vibrant that they make the material interesting, and their knowledge of events and the particulars of military and aviation make this book a standout among history texts.
In the Epilogue, Rickman share’s a paper that Dorothy wrote titled “A Private Utopia”. It has cute things like, “Dentists would be required to run Disney cartoons for their patients” to serious like “all doctors would have the responsibility of keeping the people well instead of just getting them that way.” Another great bit I liked was, “The children would be “The Chosen People.” All of them would be raised in the country, all learn to shoot, ride, and take care of pets. Their schooling would include more teachers, fewer exams, and better vocational guidance – and incidentally, longer vacations. They would be sorted according to ability, and competition made the incentive for work.”
Can you imagine the even larger impact Dorothy Scott would have made on our world if she had lived beyond her 23 years? This from a young woman who didn’t see herself as a leader, but through her kindness and handwork, inspired her superiors to do better and encouraged her students to be the best possible aviators that they could be.
“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” We still see gender inequality today. A quote is making the rounds on Facebook that goes: “1. Being a woman is kind of like being a cyclist in a city where all the cars represent men. 2. You’re supposed to be able to share the road equally with cars, but that’s not how it works. 3. The roads are built for cars and you spend a great deal of physical and mental energy being defensive and trying not to get hurt.”
Nancy Love and the WASP Militarization Committee strived to overturn the injustices that the brave female aviators faced. I hope that we can build on their strength so that we meet equality issues head on and beat them down. Let’s fix things now, not in retrospect.

Sarah Byrn Rickman is editor of the official WASP of World War II newsletter, the author of five previous books about the WASP, and an amateur pilot. In addition to her books, Sarah is the author of numerous magazine and journal articles about the WASP. Sarah is a former reporter/columnist for The Detroit News (Michigan) and former editor of the Centerville-Bellbrook Times (Ohio). She earned her B.A. in English from Vanderbilt University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University McGregor.

Sarah was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and grew up in Denver, Colorado. She now lives in Colorado Springs with her husband, Richard, and their black Lab, Lady.

—————————————
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5 WINNERS Each Win a Signed Copy of the Book

(US ONLY)

 

  June 1 – June 10, 2016
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
6/1       Hall Ways Blog              — Review
6/2       StoreyBook Reviews     — Excerpt #1
6/3       My Book Fix Blog          — Author Interview #1
6/4       Forgotten Winds           — Review
6/5       Books and Broomsticks — Guest Post
6/6       Texas Book Lover          — Author Interview #2
6/7       Missus Gonzo               — Review
6/8       The Page Unbound       — Excerpt #2
6/9       The Crazy Booksellers   — Author Interview #3
6/10     It’s a Jenn World           — Review

 

 
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Excerpt: No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer

 

NO OTHER WILL DO
by 
Karen Witemeyer
Genre: Historical Western Romance / Inspirational
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Date of Publication: June 7, 2016
Number of Pages: 368
Scroll down for Giveaway!

Men are optional. That was the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts taught her and why she established Harper’s Station, a women’s colony that offers a fresh start to females in need. But when a dangerous and shadowy assailant tries repeatedly to drive the women out, Emma is forced to admit they might need a man after all. One who can fight. And there is only one man she trusts enough to ask.
Malachi Shaw has finally earned the respect he’s always craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s telegram arrives, he rushes back to Texas to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.
As the danger intensifies, Emma, Mal, and the ladies of Harper’s Station must choose between safety or risking everything to fight for their future.

 

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:

 

“Witemeyer’s latest is an entertaining read with plenty of drama and action, a smidgen of suspense and two main characters with perfect chemistry . . . And of course, the romance is tender and sigh-worthy—a key reason why her readers keep coming back for more.”  
—RT Book Reviews

 

PURCHASE FROM:

 

No Other Will Do: Excerpt One

“If the sheriff is unavailable to assist us, what’s to stop us from hiring a man of our own to see to our protection?”

 

“A mercenary?” Flora Johnson lurched to her feet, alarm turning her cheeks a violent red. “You can’t! Men like that can’t be trusted. All they care about is money. They’re more likely to turn on us than help us. Once they see how defenseless we are, they’ll empty the bank and run off, leaving us even more destitute than before.” Her fingers visibly trembled. “No men. They can’t be trusted.”

 

“But what if we knew of one who could be trusted?” Aunt Henry proposed. She turned to Emma and peered at her with a pointed look. “A man who would rather sacrifice himself than bring harm to someone under his care.”

 

Emma frowned slightly. What was her aunt suggesting . . . ?

 

Then the answer came, and with it a fluttering in Emma’s belly she hadn’t felt in over a decade.

 

“Such a man doesn’t exist,” Flora snapped.

 

“Yes . . . he does.” Emma lifted her face to survey the women who depended on her for guidance, for leadership. Hope swelled in her breast along with a surge of newfound confidence—for she now had a plan. A plan that was sure to succeed because the man Aunt Henry spoke of had been fighting against injustice since the day he was born. “His name is Malachi Shaw.”

 

 

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.
—————————————
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FIVE WINNERS EACH GET
A SIGNED COPY OF THE BOOK!
  June 1 – June 10, 2016
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

6/1       Missus Gonzo               — Excerpt #1
6/2       My Book Fix Blog          — Review
6/3       Books and Broomsticks — Author Interview #1
6/4       StoreyBook Reviews     — Guest Post
6/5       Margie’s Must Reads    — Review
6/6       A Novel Reality — Promo
6/7       The Page Unbound       — Excerpt #2
6/8       Byers Editing Reviews & Blog     — Review
6/9       Country Girl Bookaholic — Author Interview #2
6/10     The Librarian Talks        — Review

 

 
 
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