Monthly Archives: December 2020

Blitz: River, Sing Out by James Wade


Categories: Contemporary / Literary Fiction
Rural Fiction / Crime Fiction / Coming-of-Age
Date of Publication: June 8, 2021
Number of Pages: 315 pages
“And through these ages untold, the river did act as the lifeblood of all those things alongside it.”

Jonah Hargrove is celebrating his thirteenth birthday by avoiding his abusive father, when a girl named River stumbles into his yard, injured and alone. The teenager has stolen thousands of dollars’ worth of meth from her murderous, drug-dealing boyfriend, but lost it somewhere in the Neches River bottoms during her escape. Jonah agrees to help her find and sell the drugs so she can flee East Texas.

Chasing after them is John Curtis, a local drug kingpin and dog fighter, as well as River’s boyfriend, the dangerous Dakota Cade.

Each person is keeping secrets from the others—deadly secrets that will be exposed in violent fashion as all are forced to come to terms with their choices, their circumstances, and their own definition of God.

With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into the sinister world of the East Texas river bottoms, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.

James Wade lives and writes in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Jordan. He has had twenty short stories published in various literary magazines and journals. He is the winner of the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest and a finalist of the Tethered by Letters Short Fiction Contest. All Things Left Wild is his debut novel.

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Review & Giveaway: Cleo Can Tie a Bow by Sybrina Durant

A Rabbit and Fox Story
Sybrina Durant
Category: Children’s Activity Book / Picture Book
Date of Publication: September 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 39 pages
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Cleo loves bows. She wears her hair in a bow and decorates her room with bows. Cleo is bow crazy. Learning to tie a bow is very difficult for some people but Cleo remembers how to do it from a cute story she once heard. It is about a little rabbit with very long ears and a very helpful fox who shows her what to do to keep them clean. This is the story of how Cleo learns to tie a “bunny ear” bow. Exercises in manual dexterity build self-esteem in children. Knowing how to tie shoestrings, scarves and more into a bow is a useful and rewarding skill. Teach a child a useful skill. Build confidence and self-esteem that lasts a lifetime. Other books in the Learn To Tie With The Rabbit and the Fox series are the book with that name in English, Spanish, and Tagalog plus Nellie Knows How To Knot A Neck Scarf and Ned Knows How To Knot A Necktie.
I have enjoyed reading children’s literature long before I became a mother, but I am especially excited when I find a book that I can share with my elementary school-aged child. At 8 years old, he might be a little outside the intended audience for this story, but he gave me his full attention nonetheless. Also, since he hasn’t worn shoes with laces for almost a year now, he’s completely forgotten how to tie a bow, so this book couldn’t have come at a better time.
The illustrations are soothing to look at and the style is quite unique. The color palette is lovely and the drawings are so cute that my little boy paid close attention to the story. He even surprised me by pointing out some things that ended up being mentioned a page or two later! Given the amount of pink and bows splashed across the pages, I was amazed that he never scoffed at me and said something like, “This book is for girls!” Instead, he would make observations like, “Oh look, she has bows there too,” or “Butterflies kinda look like bows, huh?” Like me, I think he enjoyed the conversational tone that Durant writes with, instead of the wooden style that many children’s authors use when limiting their vocabulary choice.
Our story time was enjoyable until the kiddo couldn’t master tying a bow using the book’s instructions. To be fair, his method of choice is a modified bunny ears method that we learned on YouTube. Speaking of bunny ears, I think that using the rabbit and the fox method (also known as the loop, swoop, and pull method) was an odd choice when the bunny ears method is a quite popular (and arguably easier method) with this age group. I also thought it was a little confusing that if the fox never intended to harm the rabbit, why did he aggressively track him for three pages and then lick his lips right before speaking to him?
Overall, we both found the book very enjoyable to read and it will take a prime spot on our children’s bookshelf at home. This is a great book for that preschool- or kindergarten-aged child in your life.

Sybrina Durant is the author of some fanciful and some factual books. Her writings have inspired several online entrepreneurial ventures. Two of those are the Rabbit and Fox Bookstore and the Girls Love Bows Gift Shop. Spend some time browsing both for some interesting and surprising gift ideas for yourself and others.

Hardcover Autographed Book, $25 Amazon Gift Card,
& Long Sleeve Tee Shirt
Giveaway ends Midnight, CST, December 17, 2020
(US only)

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or visit the blogs directly:
12/7/2020 Book Trailer The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
12/7/2020 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
12/8/2020 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
12/9/2020 Author Interview Jennie Reads
12/10/2020 Review Forgotten Winds
12/11/2020 Review Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
12/12/2020 Top Ten StoreyBook Reviews
12/13/2020 Guest Post Book Fidelity
12/14/2020 Review The Page Unbound
12/15/2020 Guest Post All the Ups and Downs
12/16/2020 Review Missus Gonzo
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Review & Giveaway: Once Upon a Mail Order Bride by Linda Broday

Outlaw Mail Order Brides, #4
Linda Broday

Categories: Western / Historical Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: November 24, 2020
Number of Pages: 352 pages
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Accused of crimes he didn’t commit, ex-preacher Ridge Steele is forced to give up everything he knew and make his home with outlaws. Desperate for someone to confide in, he strikes up correspondence with mail-order bride Adeline Jancy, finding in her the open heart he’s been searching for. Upon her arrival, Ridge discovers Addie only communicates through the written word, but he knows a little of what trauma can do to a person and vows to stand by her side.

Addie is eager to start a new life with the kind ex-preacher and the little boy she’s stolen away from her father―a zealot priest of a terrorized flock. As her small family settles into life at Hope’s Crossing, she even begins to find the voice, and confidence, she’d lost so long ago.

But danger is not far behind, and her father will not be denied. While Addie desperately fights the man who destroyed her childhood, a determined Ridge races to the rescue. The star-crossed lovers will need more than prayers to survive this final challenge…and find their way back to each other again.


“An awesome culmination to a great western romance series!”
~ Fresh Fiction 
“Broday concludes the Outlaw Mail Order Bride series with a sizzling finale that features a tantalizingly slow build to intimate trust that catapults into adrenaline packed ardor.”  ~Booklist

I have lost count of how many Linda Broday books that I have had the privilege of reading, but I can say that Once Upon a Mail Order Bride is one of my favorites by the author. Broday is one of those writers who consistently delivers interesting characters, heartfelt romances, and exciting conflicts. You may have read other romances that have a similar premise of outlaws building a new life away from other civilized towns, but I can guarantee that you have not read a love story like Ridge and Addie’s.

From the beginning, I was caught up in the mystery of Addie’s incarceration and her inability to speak. When Luke Legend comes to escort her to safety upon her release from a three-year sentence, I got a little giddy at the prospect of being reunited with some beloved characters from her other books. After a heart pounding encounter with the men sent to kill her, I was a little surprised that our main characters’ meet-cute happens early on, although the situation is quite nasty and not cute at all.

Broday is kind enough to not torment the reader too long with the question of whether Ridge or Addie remembers the other when they meet again. It makes for a nice moment of each gaining more respect for the other and helps break down the uneasiness that obviously comes with marrying a stranger. Although they were pen pals for a good while, Addie knew that some men would want to present themselves in a more positive light and Ridge acknowledged that everyone had secrets. But having met in literal cover of darkness in an evil situation, they knew what the other was made of and the kind of human beings that they truly are.

But Ridge and Addy are not the only people to show their mettle and kindness in the face of impossible odds. The people of Hope’s Crossing are truly remarkable in their ability to look beyond the past and throw their hearts into building a future for all. It was nice to see what was going on with characters from prior books and to learn more about a few of their backstories. You don’t have to read the other books to enjoy this one, but I have a feeling that you will go back for the others once you see how deep and well written this little book is.

I think that any western fan (man or woman) would really enjoy this book. Also, historical fiction fans would probably be inspired to do some research on outlaw towns and mail order brides after reading this one. I’m sad that this series has come to an end, but I take heart in the fact that I have about 10 other books by Broday that I need to catch up on. Also, with the crossover between the different series, I have a feeling that I can count on reading more about my favorite characters.

I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty historical western romance novels and short stories. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and early cowboys once roamed, and at times if the breeze is just right, I can hear their voices whispering in the wind. Texas’s rich history is one reason I set all my stories here where cowboys still remain caretakers of the land. I’m inspired every day by their immense dedication and love for the wide-open spaces. I combine those men with the love of family in all my stories and hope to continue to give readers books that entertain and fulfill.

Full Autographed Set of the Mail Order Bride Series 
2ND and 3RD PRIZE:
Autographed copy of Once Upon a Mail Order Bride 
4TH PRIZE: $10 Amazon Gift Card 
US Only. Ends Midnight, CST, 12/11/2020

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or visit the blogs directly:
12/1/2020 Book Trailer StoreyBook Reviews
12/1/2020 BONUS Post Hall Ways Blog
12/2/2020 Excerpt Forgotten Winds
12/3/2020 Review Carpe Diem Chronicles
12/4/2020 Review Momma on the Rocks
12/5/2020 Character Interview All the Ups and Downs
12/6/2020 Excerpt The Clueless Gent
12/7/2020 Review Missus Gonzo
12/8/2020 Guest Post The Page Unbound
12/9/2020 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
12/10/2020 Review Reading by Moonlight
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