Category Archives: Book Reviews

Review & Giveaway: The Swimming Holes of Texas by Julie Wernersbach & Carolyn Tracy

THE SWIMMING HOLES
OF TEXAS
by
Julie Wernersbach & Carolyn Tracy
  Genre: Travel / Outdoors / Swimming
Publisher: The University of Texas Press
Date of Publication: May 16, 2017
Number of Pages: 240, 100 color photos
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Nothing beats a natural swimming hole for cooling off on a scorching summer day in Texas. Cold, clear spring water, big old shade trees, and a quiet stretch of beach or lawn offer the perfect excuse to pack a cooler and head out with family and friends to the nearest natural oasis. Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway or an unforgettable summer vacation, let The Swimming Holes of Texas be your guide. 


Julie Wernersbach and Carolyn Tracy highlight one hundred natural swimming spots across the entire state. The book is organized by geographic regions, so you can quickly find local places to swim—or plan a trip to a more distant spot you’d like to explore. Each swimming hole is illustrated with an inviting color photo and a description of what it’s like to swim there, as well as the site’s history, ecology, and conservation. The authors include all the pertinent info about admission fees and hours, parking, and on-site amenities such as showers and restrooms. They also offer tips for planning your trips and lists of the swimming holes that are most welcoming to families and pets.

So when the temperature tops 100 and there’s nothing but traffic in sight, take a detour down the backroads and swim, sunbathe, revel, and relax in the swimming holes of Texas.


300b2-review
This book is what I never knew I needed. A few summers ago I tried to remember the name of that awesome swimming hole from my college years at UT, and it took a while to find it. Between Google and Yelp, I eventually did. But a book like this is exactly what I needed. No more scrolling through poorly written and incomplete reviews (if they exist at all) on Yelp.
True to guidebook form, this one is clearly organized with the park or swimming hole’s name, address, phone number, and web address. Below that, you get hours of operation, fees (they can vary), rules, camping options, and amenities. But the parts that really shine are the pro tips and summaries of the areas and the swimming holes themselves. The pro tips are delivered in a casual and quirky tone. I could picture a sun kissed local sharing those tips with me. The area and swimming hole summaries are beautifully written and more descriptive than the accompanying photographs. The descriptions of each region covered in the book are lovely to read as well.
As a mom, I appreciated any information that related to kid safety and nearby activities. And getting the skinny on which swimming holes had places to eat either on the premises or a short drive away are awesome too.
I know it is backwards to bring up the introduction last, but I thought the gravity of the underlying message would make for a better “outro” for this review. Clean up after yourself. This is said explicitly at least five times. I counted. We want other people, especially future generations, to be able to enjoy Mother Nature’s wonderful amenities, so we need to do our part to ensure that these treasures are protected and maintained.
I highly recommend this guidebook to Texas natives and visitors who enjoy the great outdoors and water activities. Like me, I think you will be pleasantly surprised to see how many swimming holes are just a short drive away.

Julie Wernersbach, Austin, is the literary director of the Texas Book Festival and a former marketing director at BookPeople, Austin’s largest independent bookstore. Carolyn Tracy, Austin, is a freelance photographer who works for an animal welfare nonprofit. They are the authors of Vegan Survival Guide to Austin.

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Review & Giveaway: #BabyLove: My Toddler Life by Corine Dehghanpisheh

#BABYLOVE:
MY TODDLER LIFE
by
CORINE DEHGHANPISHEH
  Genre: Children’s Picture Book / Technology / Family
Publisher: My Art to Inspire
Date of Publication: September 20, 2016
Number of Pages: 40
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A curious toddler loves to play…especially with his mommy’s smartphone!

When Mommy finds him using her phone without permission, it’s the perfect teaching moment.  Mommy reminds her little one that what matters most in life is time together filled with love and attention.
Her simple reminder: Put down our phones.
Praise for #BabyLove: My Toddler Life:
“This poignant and entertaining tale about a playful toddler aimed at young lap readers works on a much deeper level for parents.” – Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review) 
“This light-hearted reflection on social media habits is a great tool for starting discussions with young children.” — Forward Clarion Reviews (5 Stars)
“Dehghanpisheh’s illustrations and text are simple, colorful and charming, and many families will relate to the question of how, and how much, to integrate technology into their child’s day.  #BabyLove: My Toddler Life is a fun and timely picture book for 21st century preschoolers. — BlueInk Review 
 “I can’t wait to read this to my 2 year old grandson.  This book is his life curious, sweet and funny.  His mommy has a collection of his photography on her phone.  Priceless. — Kindle Verified Purchase
300b2-review
I read this book with my preschooler even though he’s a bit past the toddler life, and he really enjoyed it. Maybe because he thought the book was about him (there is a slight resemblance), but he actually engaged with me while I read. And who could blame the kid? The text has a nice rhythm to it and very natural rhyme. The illustrations are in that lovely place between adorably hand drawn and Photoshop perfection.
Every page could be taken from our personal life, and my son connected with that. He has painted messy works of art, made beautiful noise with instruments, and loves to take photos with Mommy and Daddy too. And he has certainly gotten in trouble when he’s taken someone’s phone without permission. It really makes for a great teaching moment that children shouldn’t take things that aren’t theirs. But the even bigger lesson is that while it’s wonderful to have technology to remember and share memories with others, most of the time it is best to just enjoy the moment you are in.
Some things I especially enjoyed as an adult who enjoys books and art: I love how the artist uses the phone screen as a sort of photo booth frame that draws attention to her toddler. But the artwork spans two pages, so you’re still getting the full picture from Mommy’s perspective of what exists beyond the cropped edges. For example, you see her hands holding the phone and the family dog hanging out in most frames. I also like the pages that show how Mommy curates the photos and videos as collages to remember special moments and the use of hashtags to commemorate the different events.
This is a beautiful way of showing how technology has changed our ways of capturing and sharing memories. And I especially like the end bit that reminds us to live in the moment as well. I recommend this book and look forward to reading Dehghanpisheh’s other works.
Corine Dehghanpisheh is an award-winning author, whose own family life serves as inspiration for her fun and engaging children’s books.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Arts Therapy & Creativity Development from Pratt Institute in New York City.
Ms. Dehghanpisheh currently resides in Dallas, Texas with her family.  There she continues to write the #BabyLove series, focused on the blending of modern technologies with classically familiar child raising situations.
The 2nd book in the series, #BabyLove: My Toddler Life is now available along with #BabyLove: My Social Life, which is a Next Generation Indie Book Awards winner.
Her debut children’s book Can We Play Again? is a Mom’s Choice Awards® Silver Recipient and a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist. Corine’s inspiration for this book came from her work as a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist in NYC.
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Review & Giveaway: The Heart of a Texas Cowboy by Linda Broday

THE HEART OF A
TEXAS COWBOY
Men of Legend, Book 2
by
LINDA BRODAY
  Genre: Western / Historical / Romance
Date of Publication: May 2, 2017
Number of Pages: 384
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Three Brothers. One Oath.

No Compromises.
The MEN of LEGEND
One bullet is all it takes to shatter Houston Legend’s world. He swore he’d never love again, but with the future of the Lone Star Ranch on the line, he finds himself at the altar promising to love and cherish a woman he’s never met—a woman whose vulnerable beauty touches his heart.
All Lara Boone wants is a name for her baby. The best she can hope for is kindness and acceptance. She never expected to fall in love with her own husband—or any man—after the heartache she’s endured.
In an effort to save the Lone Star Ranch, Houston decides to drive two thousand longhorns up the Great Western Trail to Dodge City. The day before he leaves, the cook quits. When he can’t find another on such short notice, Lara offers to go along and fill in. Over his best judgement, he lets her. Three days out, he notices riders trailing them. Things go from bad to worse and it’s an all-out fight to try to save themselves and the herd.
And when Lara’s troubled past catches up with them, Houston will move heaven and earth to protect his bride…and discover depths to a marriage of convenience neither realized could be theirs to claim.
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Praise for The Heart of a Texas Cowboy:
“Broday brilliantly captures Lara and Houston’s hesitations and growing love. The exciting plot, rich setting, and superb writing will delight fans of historical romances.” ~~Publisher’s Weekly *Starred Review

“This compassionate, poignant marriage-of-convenience love story demonstrates Broday’s ability to bring a wide range of emotions to her characters in a fast-paced plotline without losing a bit of the powerful love story. Add this to your Western romance collection!” ~~Romantic Times
“Ms. Broday’s conclusion of this phenomenal book is heart gripping, blood pounding drama at its finest. This one will keep readers revisiting again and again in years to come.~~ Tonya Lucas- Goodreads Review

“One of the best historical Western authors.” ~~ Fresh Fiction
“Broday will appeal to fans of such authors as Georgina Gentry, Leigh Greenwood, and Jodi Thomas.” ~~Booklist
300b2-review
A bullet pierces the beautiful moment of a blushing bride about to wed a tall and handsome cowboy. My breath caught in my throat at the violence that came from out of nowhere. Main character Houston’s brothers have their own brand of justice for the shooter, but the truth behind the crime causes even more pain to the cowboy groom.
Time doesn’t heal or open Houston’s heart to love again, but when his father confesses he’s made a huge mistake, an arranged marriage between Houston and single mother Lara Boone is the only way to fix the situation. But there is much more to Lara’s story, and once she and Houston are thrown together to live — and survive — the dangers of the Great Western Trail, their perspectives change.
The two newlyweds begin an awkward life together, finding common ground on their affection for baby Gracie. Houston is overwhelmed with the feelings he has for a child that is not his own. Author Linda Broday genuinely painted each and every moment between the cowboy and the baby, and the way the author progresses the relationship between Houston and Lara is beautifully done.
I imagine that some people might think that a month is not long enough for people to truly fall in love. But Broday’s whirlwind of danger sweeps everyone up in its path and forces the characters to focus on what is important. In the old west, tomorrow is never certain. Broday drives home the message that if you love someone, don’t wait to tell them. A secondary message is be honest and always communicate; some harrowing events turn around for the better because of that second nugget of truth.
I highly recommend this book to those who love a slow, simmering and sensual romance. I plan to read book one and every other installment Broday pens about the Legend men.
Linda Broday, Historical Western Romance Author
I’m a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 8 full length historical western romance novels, with another set to release 2017, and 10 short stories. Watching TV westerns during my youth fed my love of cowboys and the old West and they still do. I reside in the Texas Panhandle on land the American Indian and Comancheros once roamed. At times, I can feel their ghosts lurking around every corner. Texas’ rich history is one reason I set all my stories here. I love research and looking for little known tidbits to add realism to my stories. When I’m not writing, I collect old coins and I confess to being a rock hound. I’ve been accused (and quite unfairly I might add) of making a nuisance of myself at museums, libraries, and historical places. I’m also a movie buff and love sitting in a dark theater, watching the magic on the screen. As long as I’m confessing…chocolate is my best friend. It just soothes my soul.

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Review & Giveaway: Deep Extraction by DiAnn Mills

DEEP EXTRACTION
An FBI Task Force Novel, Book 2
by
By DiAnn Mills
  Genre: Contemporary / Mystery / Christian
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Date of Publication: April 4, 2017
Number of Pages: 413
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A pacemaker should have saved oil and gas magnate Nathan Moore’s life. Instead, it provided his killer with a seemingly perfect means of execution.

A bombing at one of Nathan’s oil rigs days earlier indicates his death could be part of a bigger conspiracy, a web Special Agent Tori Templeton must untangle. But her first order of business is separating the personal from the professional—the victim’s wife, her best friend, is one of the FBI’s prime suspects.
Clearing Sally’s name may be the biggest challenge of her career, but Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer—and to each other—the more intent someone is on silencing them for good.
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Praise for Deep Extraction
“Combined with intense action and stunning twists, this search for truth keeps readers on the edges of their favorite reading chairs.”  Romantic Times

“Mills many fans will devour” Library Journal

Goodreads readers praise Deep Extraction
“This was truly an amazing, suspenseful read that can be held up as an example of what good Christian suspense should be.” 

“DiAnn Mills’ writing is evocative of an excellent crime show. Sharp and to the point. Just how I imagine law enforcement work, think and talk.”

“Mills’ has captured the rush of adrenaline along with a good romance. Suspense and adventure are the real stars of this book.  Her motto is, “Expect an Adventure,” and she achieves it in this book.”
 
300b2-review
Mills has a clear vision of who her characters are and what it is they go through precisely. This talent is what makes it very hard to put this book down. Every chapter propels you to the next, anxious to see what clues might surface or what danger might befall the lovely Tori or handsome Cole. Cole. Now that’s a name that makes you feel safe inside but you know that there’s more beneath the surface. And while we’re on the subject of names, you have a hunch that Tori is short for Victoria, and it makes you wonder why Mills went with the nickname Tori over the more popular Vicky. Answer: This chick is tough and a Vicky would not have cut it at all.
Even more impressive than these complex characters working together to solve a murder, Mills keeps surprising the reader with each new revelation about Nathan Moore. I can honestly say that I have never been more interested in a character whose actual living presence in the book is so brief. I found myself torn between not wanting to know more about the secret life of this respectable business and family man, and morbidly fascinated with just how far down the rabbit hole goes.
Mills is a master at making you question your gut feeling with subtle details sprinkled here and there. And before you can berate yourself for being so dense, she reminds you of the history and relationships between the characters. Even they couldn’t believe their eyes or ears. They can hardly trust their own decisions.
I have more of a tendency to focus on little things when I like a book as much as this one. Like a coach nitpicking his star player, I would like to share my constructive criticisms. The problem with having laser-like vision as a writer is that time is of the essence if you’re not making a particular adventure into a trilogy. We lose some characterization because there just isn’t any time for it. Even though I know it’s going to happen, the attraction and relationship between Tori and Cole feels a bit off. Their professions and personalities make it very easy to envision the two coming together, but it doesn’t ring as true as it should.
Strangely enough, while Mills is the farthest thing from an angsty teenage boy, I found the character of Lance to be most believable and interesting. Especially when you hold him up against his sweet and uncomplicated brother Jack, the kid is pretty amazing. I hope that Mills considers following him as an adult since I see a future detective or something equally cool brewing in there.
Without ruining the ending, I was pleased with finding out who did it and why. I have read some great mysteries over the years who fumble that last bit, but Mills brings it in for the winning touchdown. The motive is clean and the clues were subtle. Mills has a way of painting every person of interest as a viable bad guy. And when you see the true antagonist(s) and the inner workings of their minds, you will be equally bewildered and impressed.
Great read and really, truly hope to read a book about Lance in the future!

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.
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Review and Giveaway: Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon

 SANDPIPER COVE

A Hope Harbor Novel, Book 3
by
By IRENE HANNON
  Genre: Contemporary / Christian / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: April 4, 2017
Number of Pages: 352
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Irene Hannon welcomes readers back to the enchanting seaside town of Hope Harbor, Oregon, in her novel Sandpiper Cove, releasing April 2017. Praised by Library Journal as a “master at character development,” Irene Hannon steps away from suspense writing once again to deliver another powerful, multifaceted romance that is sure to have readers coming back for more.

 

Hope Harbor police chief Lexie Graham has plenty on her plate raising her son alone and dealing with a sudden rash of petty theft and vandalism in her coastal Oregon hometown. As a result, she has zero time for extracurricular activities—including romance. Ex-con Adam Stone isn’t looking for love either—but how ironic is it that the first woman to catch his eye is a police chief?

 

 

Nevertheless, when Lexie enlists Adam’s help to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks begin to fly. And as they work together, it soon becomes apparent that God may have a different—and better—future planned for them than either could imagine.
Review
I was immediately pleased to find that the dog on the cover of the book is a prominent character. I was not pleased, however, how Adam Stone referred to Clyde the dog as a stupid mutt and other unsavory names. But further down the page, you realize that he doesn’t mean those nasty words and actually loves Clyde more than anyone in the world. His attempt to belittle the dog is just his tough guy way of trying not to care about someone else so deeply.
Lexie Graham also has a tough exterior, but she is able to have normal friendships and loving relationships with her family. But you start to wonder if you will ever know what really eats away at her. What is it about the death of her husband that keeps her from going to church on Sundays (after an upbringing as an avid churchgoer)? And you know it’s a conflict she holds on her own since she doesn’t prevent her mother from taking her son, Matt, to church with her.
You find out that Adam and Lexie have seen each other around, but have never had a conversation before. So it’s a little surprising that there’s electricity between them when Lexie goes to his cabin to investigate the damage from some recent vandalism. Although Adam has been on the right side of the law for the last 18 months, he feels foolish for thinking he could have a chance with a good woman, let alone the police chief of their town. Lexie feels similarly but for different reasons. Adam is the complete opposite of her beloved, departed husband. She also feels like she doesn’t deserve a second chance at love.
As Lexie puts together the pieces of the mystery behind the vandalism, she and Adam begin a timid relationship that is encouraged (and also predicted!) by the people that care about them most. Adam sees what a loving family should be like and Lexie trusts him enough to bear her soul.
Much like Adam rescued Clyde the dog, he patiently earns the trust of a young, troubled boy and encourages him to take the right path. When terrible rumors start flying around, the small town rallies together with a surprising conclusion.
An enjoyable read all around. I hope to get around to reading the two books preceding this one, and look forward to reading the next installment.
PURCHASE LINKS
 
* * *
PRAISE FOR THE HOPE HARBOR NOVELS:
“Fan favorite Irene Hannon brings a whole new cast of characters to life in a charming Oregon seaside village. Emotional and heartwarming, this story invites reader to come home to Hope Harbor.”

 

Christian Retailing on Hope Harbor

 

“A place of emotional restoration that readers will yearn to visit.”

 

Publishers Weekly on Hope Harbor

 

 

 “Summer romance doesn’t get much better than this.”

 

Examiner.com on Sea Rose Lane


Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect Spring, Hope Harbor, and Sea Rose Lane, as well as the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, two Carol Awards, two Reviewers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviews magazine, a Retailers’ Choice Award, three HOLT Medallions, two Booksellers’ Best Awards, and a National Readers’ Choice Award. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. In 2014 she was inducted into the Romance Writers of America’s elite Hall of Fame, and in 2016 she received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews for her entire body of work.
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Review and giveaway: A Stolen Heart by Amanda Cabot

A STOLEN HEART
Cimarron Creek Trilogy #1
by
AMANDA CABOT

  Genre: Historical Romance / Christian

Publisher: Revell / Baker Publishing Group
Date of Publication: March, 2017
Number of Pages: 352
 Scroll down for Giveaway!

 

“Endearing characters, a tender love story, and intriguing mystery all work together to make Amanda Cabot’s A Stolen Heart a compelling and enjoyable read.”
—Margaret Brownley, author of Left at the Altar
Bestselling author Amanda Cabot takes readers back in time to the 1880s Texas Hill Country in her new historical romance novel, A Stolen Heart. This is the first book in a brand-new series packed with tension, mystery, and a tender love story that readers won’t soon forget.
Cimarron Creek seemed like an idyllic Texas town. But as soon as former schoolteacher Lydia Crawford stepped onto its dusty streets, she noticed a deep-seated resentment of Northerners—like her. 
That won’t get Lydia down, though. She looks forward to the day when she reunites with her fiancé—until she discovers her fiancé has disappeared without a trace and has left behind a pregnant wife. The handsome Cimarron Creek sheriff urges Lydia to trust him, but she is having a hard time trusting anyone in a town where secrets and suspense prevail.
Cabot weaves an elegant tale of pure love amidst heartache. With an absorbing plot and engaging characters, A Stolen Heart is a springtime showstopper fit for every historical romance reader.

 

Review
Lydia takes a leap of faith following her fiancé to Cimarron Creek. Etiquette of the times aside, Edgar’s hands were covered in blood when he proposed to her. That alone makes you wonder if things will work out the way she hopes. Despite being a scorned Yankee every step of the way, Lydia leaves behind the safety of a home and the security of a good job to follow the man she loves.
If the bloody proposal didn’t make you think that maybe Lydia was too hasty to say yes to Edgar, the handsome sheriff of Cimarron Creek certainly makes you think twice. The attraction is instantaneous at both sides. Every moment that those two are together and fighting their feelings is as delicious as the candy Lydia makes. I imagine. Oh, if only you could taste the food when reading a book!
Even though you can guess who Lydia ends up with, it is still suspenseful to see what has happened to Edgar. And you can’t help but hold your breath until you find out how he could have possibly fell out of love with Lydia, and into love with the plain Opal.
Cabot does a great job of using misdirection so that it’s not completely obvious who the bad guy is. I think some of the clues laid out are a bit too much, but the characterization of each suspect softens any hard conclusions I tried to draw.
This is another Christian book that doesn’t hit you over the head with God and the good word. I think that readers who shy away from the genre would like this book a lot. It reads like a great historical romance, not a Christian book that is trying to sell or defend the faith.
From a Christian point of view, I like that this book clears up the tussle between “Honor your father and mother” and cleaving to your spouse. I think that is not addressed enough in the church and many real love stories have fallen apart because of the confusion.
I genuinely enjoyed this novel and had difficulty putting it down. I am eager to read the next two installments.
 Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of At Bluebonnet Lake, In Firefly Valley, and On Lone Star Trail, as well as the Texas Dreams series, the Westward Winds series, and Christmas Roses. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming.

  

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Review: The Big Inch by Kimberly Fish

THE BIG INCH
by
KIMBERLY FISH
  Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII
Date of Publication: January 19, 2017
Number of Pages: 344

 

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Kimberly Fish’s debut novel, The Big Inch, was released in February, 2017 and it reveals the lengths to which Texas oilmen, state, and federal governments would go to get Texas crude oil to the troops fighting their first mechanized war. With Nazi threats (and a steady stream of oil tankers sunk by German submarines) speed was necessary, as was OSS intelligence. The Office of Strategic Services was often staffed with female spies and Longview’s World War II efforts were critical for success. 
Lane Mercer, sent to Longview, Texas in July 1942, is part of a select group of women working undercover for the fledgling federal agency, the Office of Strategic Services. Assigned to protect the man carrying out President Roosevelt’s initiative to build the nation’s first overland pipeline to hurry East Texas crude to the troops, she discovers there’s more to Longview than the dossiers implied. There’s intrigue, mayhem, and danger. Shamed from a botched OSS mission in France, Lane struggles to fulfill her mission and keep from drowning in guilt. Getting involved in local life is out of the question. Between family, do-gooders, and Nazi threats, she’s knitted into a series of events that unravel all of her carefully constructed, plans, realizing that sometimes the life one has to save, is one’s own.

 

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PRAISE FOR THE BIG INCH:
“With an eye for detail, Kimberly Fish weaves a compelling story of a war widow who finds herself in Longview, Texas in 1942. Reading Kimberly’s novel was a bit like going back to a cloak and dagger time, and I enjoyed the local references. Longview was an amazing place to be during WWII.”   — Van Craddock, Longview News Journal, Columnist
“Kimberly Fish’s unique writing style snatched me out of my easy chair and plunked me down into the middle of her character’s life where I was loathe to leave when my real life called me back. Her descriptive visual writing drew me in on the first page. Can’t wait to read more stories by Mrs. Fish.” — Vickie Phelps  Author of Moved, Left No Address

 

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From the get-go, Fish reels you in with vivid descriptions. I can feel Lane’s trepidation on this journey, although I haven’t gotten to know her enough yet. I am at the train station, too, overwhelmed by the chaos of activity and people. And as intrigued as I am by Lane’s snippets of life in Paris, I am even more in awe of her situational awareness. I instantly  become a fan when she outwits a pickpocket and, cool as a cucumber, is swept away by train to her new life.
I apologize if my gushing makes the novel sound melodramatic. Believe me, it is far from that. The people are very real and the situation even more so. The subject of oil is a touchy one, especially when there’s a war going on. No hunch is too small to investigate. And no person is insignificant it seems.
As an attractive, single (widowed) woman, Lane has to navigate small town life carefully. And that’s easier said than done when her boss is a handsome lady’s man. When she isn’t busy batting away blind date offers, Lane has to fend off a few tempting suitors as well. While some women would fall prey to men like that, Lane is truly a completely different breed of woman. Her dedication to her job and sense of honor allows her to brush off society’s misconceptions and the annoyances that result from them.
Lane has to tail her boss constantly to ensure his safety, earning her the nickname “Elmer”. As in the glue. Get it? Haha! Even the people working closely with her couldn’t help making assumptions. I was amazed that her honor wasn’t completely drowned in the gossip pool. Several times, her good deeds got her into a bit of trouble. Submerging her further into that pool. But Lane is an exceptional swimmer.
I might have made her out to be perfect, but Lane does manage to underestimate a handful of characters. Which leads to surprisingly good and unfortunately bad ends. I can’t get into all that without ruining the story. But let me just praise Fish a bit more on her ability to fashion such a compelling and believable protagonist. I really enjoyed learning a little bit about Lane each time she slipped up and let another character get to see who she really is.
And Ms. Fish, if you’re reading this, I would really like a novel about Sergeant Tesco.
Kimberly Fish started writing professionally with the birth of her second child and the purchase of a home computer. Having found this dubious outlet, she then entered and won a Texas manuscript contest which fed her on-going fascination with story crafting. She has since published in magazines, newspapers, and online formats, She lives with her family in East Texas.
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One Winner wins a signed copy of The Big Inch

One Winner who purchases the book during the tour wins a bag of Johnny Cace’s Cheese Croutons
March 822, 2017
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