Category Archives: Book Reviews

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

 

Scroll down for Giveaway!

 

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.

 

 ***

 

 

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

 

CLICK TO PURCHASE 

 


300b2-review
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.
  —————————————
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY! 

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
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

3/8
Review
3/9
Author Interview
3/10
Excerpt
3/11
Review
3/12
Promo
3/13
Character Interview
3/14
Review
3/15
Guest Post
3/16
Author Interview
3/17
Review
3/18
Playlist
3/19
Promo
3/20
Review
3/21
Author Interview
3/22
Review

 

 

blog tour services provided by:

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Review and Giveaway: Love Give Us One Death by Jeff P. Jones

LOVE GIVE US 
ONE DEATH
  Bonnie and Clyde in the Last Days
by
Jeff P. Jones

**WINNER: 2016 Idaho Author Award**
**WINNER: 2015 George Garrett Fiction Prize**


Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Texas Review Press
Date of Publication: October 25, 2016
Number of Pages: 232
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Bonnie and Clyde are the most famous outlaw pair in American history. Frank Hamer, the legendary Texas Ranger, was hired to stop them. Part prose, part verse, with historical artifacts interwoven, the well-researched novel tells the story of their deaths on a lonely Louisiana back road, as well as their bloody and short lives together. Its many voices invite the reader to become a ghost rider along with Bonnie and Clyde, while it also exposes the forces of injustice and greed that created them.


 PRAISE FOR LOVE GIVE US ONE DEATH:
“If you are a fan of historical fiction, you must secure a copy of his debut novel in which Jones ‘added, subtracted and distorted facts’ adroitly and creatively in his re-telling of Bonnie and Clyde’s last days. There are very few writers who can write like Jones — in many voices and in various forms — but he choreographs his work like an award-winning producer, designating him as unique as the members of the Clyde Barrow Gang.” -Idaho Statesman
“Love Give Us One Death delivers not only a knock-out story of brutal adventure, and love, across the heartland of the Great Depression, but a story about the very character of the republic itself.” -Robert Wrigley, Poet
“This is the history of love and destruction you didn’t know you needed. In a time of Public Enemies, we see the last legs of a journey between the violent and manic Romeo and Juliet-like pair. The last public outlaws are riding away into their last sunrise, and this book serves as its journal.” -Atticus Books
“The language is absolutely stunning. Characterization, historical setting, ambience are all accurate and depicted with great clarity. A terrific achievement.” -Mary Clearman Blew, Author of All But the Waltz
“This is historical fiction raised boldly to the level of myth.” -Tracy Daugherty, Author of The Last Love Song

  

300b2-review

Everybody knows who Bonnie and Clyde were. To my knowledge, they were the first real ride or die outlaw couple. I’m not one romanticize crime, even if their love was more epic than Bobby and Whitney, so I never mooned over their story. I never took the time to research what their story was before (I do this all the time about random things, especially historical figures, so this is unusual. Trust me.). Jones has changed all that for me.
From the first page, I was hooked with the imagery and the first glance into what made Bonnie tick. Fake it until you make it comes to mind. Shaking off fear or insecurity by throwing your arms up in the air and whizzing through life going, “Wooooo!” like a roller coaster. You get that vibe from Bonnie the few times she gets unsettled. To be honest, she is what kept this story rolling for me. I didn’t find Clyde all that interesting, but Bonnie was something else.
I knew a girl who reminded me of Bonnie. She, too, was small of stature and seemed to batt away the potential coddling by establishing her sailor’s mouth before anyone can get a word in sideways. But that’s about where their similarities end. Bonnie has a husband locked away somewhere. I had no idea about that tidbit and got a bit ruffled that one of history’s most (in)famous love stories is adulterous. But then I remembered Elizabeth and Richard, Angelina and Brad, and got over it. Maybe I’m just in the Bonnie’s Club now, but I found it endearing that she didn’t have the heart to divorce her man while he was in the slammer.
Jones’ imagery and free flowing dialogue are a real treat as you get to know the couple separately, and then witness their first meeting. You can feel the heat between them and the strength of their characters through their deliberate speech. I don’t know how accurate that would be to how they were in real life, but given from the testimonies of people recalling them in between chapter, I like to think that Jones has them painted right.
And what a light has been shown on that painting. I always thought of Bonnie and Clyde as a couple of gunslingers running around in fast cars with their middle fingers up in the air. I didn’t know that Clyde had tried numerous times to live the straight life. That the law kept finding and forcing him out back into a life of crime. I really like this quote from Nelson Algren: “Who were Bonnie and Clyde? They were children of the wilderness whose wilderness had been razed.” People think mostly about children, little children, when you think about how an environment changes people – nature vs nurture, that kind of thing. For all they’d already experienced in their lives, Bonnie and Clyde were teenagers. Barely through with being children.
The change in storytelling style and perspective keeps everything fresh. It sort of feels like you’re flipping through a scrapbook of all their news clippings or something, mixed in with sound bytes from the various people they came across. I’m really impressed with what went into making such a cohesive and interesting read. I know this is historical fiction, but it all felt very real. It did its job of making me more curious about the actual historical events. Jones’ afterword is a great read too. You really respect all the effort that went into this work.
JEFF P. JONES’s ancestors were sharecroppers in east Texas. He was born in Denver, and was educated at the University of Colorado at Denver, the University of Washington, and the University of Idaho. He’s a MacDowell Fellow, and his writing has won a Pushcart Prize, as well as the Hackney, Meridian Editors’, A. David Schwartz, Wabash, and Lamar York prizes. He lives on the Palouse in northern Idaho. This is his first book.

————————————–

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
5 Winners! One winner  wins poster & signed copy; Four winners win signed copies!
(US ONLY)
December 13 – December 22, 2016
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
12/13
Guest Post 1
12/14
Review
12/15
Excerpt 1
12/16
Author Interview 1
12/17
Review
12/18
Excerpt 2
12/19
Illustration
12/20
Review
12/21
Author Interview 2
12/22
Review
blog tour services provided by:



Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Review and Giveaway: The West Texas Pilgrimage by M. M. Wolthoff

THE WEST TEXAS PILGRIMAGE
by
M.M. Wolthoff


  Genre: Contemporary / Coming of Age

 

Publisher: River Grove Books
Date of Publication: February 29, 2015
Number of Pages: 220
 Scroll down for Giveaway!

 

 

 

Hunter’s friend Ty survived war in the Middle East only to succumb to cancer at home. On a quest with his college buddies and Ty’s father, Hunter journeys from South Texas into the mountains and desert of West Texas to bury his close friend. During this trek, they’ll drink, hunt, party, and encounter unexpected people and enthralling landscapes as Hunter deals with his grief, compounded by his struggle with depression and obsessive–compulsive disorder. 

The West Texas Pilgrimage is a love letter to West Texas and the wild culture that defines it. Author M. M. Wolthoff vividly depicts the regional landscape, exploring intriguing stops along the way and the authentic context of music, food, and language integral to this generation of Texans, while frankly and thoughtfully addressing relationships, mourning, and mental illness, with characters as unforgettable as the region itself.


 

***


PRAISE FOR THE WEST TEXAS PILGRIMAGE:

 

I laughed. I cried. This is a book that is real, honest and reminds all of us that life is filled with ups and downs. The only way to keep moving forward is to get real with ourselves about whom we are and accept our beauty and our pain. This young author has amazing wisdom that is so articulately shared with readers of all ages. 
5 Stars, Amazon Verified Purchase
The West Texas Pilgrimage was insightful into the mind of a privileged, pre-adult male who tries to self-medicate his OCD condition with alcohol. While reading, I felt the main character’s vulnerabilities as he struggled with his feelings regarding his career choice, the loss of a good friend to cancer, and the complications of his search for the right female life mate. The book was a quick read…only because I could not put it down! There were several “ah-ha” moments when I thought: oh my, that’s really how a pre-adult male thinks??!? I never knew!! 
5 Stars Donna J Millon
I read the first half of the book in one night; it draws you in with believable characters and real challenges they face. Could have been written about people you know or have met. It covers some tough topics but is an enjoyable read. — 5 Stars Peter Day
Really nice read. Very detailed description of so many things made me feel like I was right there with them. 2 nights to read for a non reader like me makes for a really easy and entertaining time. Thumbs up. 
5 Stars Nunya
The book brought me right back to the border towns of my youth. Step outside any bar and be hit with the smell of fajita and sewer. Glorious!  — 5 Stars Amazon Verified Purchase
Review
Only moments into this novel I thought to myself, Wolthoff knows a lot about guns. Hunting, game animals, and cowboy gear, too. And after waiting to see if Hunter (funny how that’s his name and he never pulls a trigger) will shoot down the biggest buck ever seen, I found that I had been holding my breath. I was so taken with the beautiful description. Well, minus the talk about taking a piss. I suppose there must be some allegory at play there but I’m not very good at dissecting literature like that.
Hunter is not the kind of guy that I hung out with or lusted after during my UT years. I didn’t run in circles like his either, so his and Cinco’s shenanigans are things that I’ve only heard of or seen in National Lampoon and American Pie movies. But all of their douchiness fades a bit when you realize they’ve come together to remember their dear friend who lost his battle to cancer. Only in the memories of his friends do you get to know Ty. From cocky playboy to soldier to smitten man to loving father. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel teary eyed to find Ty hung on just long enough to meet his newborn baby.
I’m not a fan of went on in Mexico, but I guess boys will be boys. Especially when in Boys’ Town. I don’t really understand why Hunter and Cinco went there. Hunter tried to find the humanity in a hooker and then boinked her brains out. I was just confused. They run into trouble, of course. I’m not going to say why but I will say that I didn’t see the point of it. The novel would have been just as real and touching if that whole section was removed and the guys just met up with Ty’s dad and the crew to go on the hike.
On a side note, I wouldn’t have minded a little more interaction between Hunter and Stacey, Ty’s little sister. That might just be the chick lit lover in me, but that would have been a great replacement for the Boys’ Town saga.
I can say for certain that the climb up the mountain was literal and figurative for Hunter. Even I’m not too thick to see that. I got teary eyed again as all the guys laid their memories in with Ty’s ashes. When I put my phone down (I read the ebook from my phone), it occurred to me that not much happened in this book. Yet, I felt like I had been on a journey. Not a pilgrimage, not for me, at least. But I could definitely see how that short journey, short in both time and distance, was the beginning of a new life for Hunter. I hope he doesn’t squander it.
Matthew Martin Wolthoff lives in McAllen, Texas, with his wife, Lucy Ann, and three children, Hunter Ann, McCoy Martin, and Kerr Dunkin. He grew up in a military family, living all over the world until finding home in South Texas, where he went to high school in San Antonio. He is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy and has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio. His parents instilled a passion for reading and writing in him early in life that grows stronger every day. An avid outdoorsman, he finds his inspiration—and peace of mind—in the shallow waters of the Lower Laguna Madre and the wilderness of the South Texas brush country. His first West Texas pilgrimage was in 2010. It was a life-changing event.  

 

 


  —————————————

 

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
TEN WINNERS! 5 SIGNED COPIES
5 KOLDER HOLDER DRINK INSULATORS:
(US ONLY)
December 5 – December 14, 2016

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

 CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

 

12/5
Guest Post 1
12/6
Review
12/7
Promo
12/8
Author Interview 1
12/9
Review
12/10
Guest Post 2
12/11
Promo
12/12
Review
12/13
Author Interview 2
12/14
Review

 

blog tour services provided by:


 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Review: The Island of Lost Children by Kim Batchelor

THE ISLAND OF 
LOST CHILDREN
Book 1
REIMAGINING THE STORY OF 
PETER & WENDY
by
Kim Batchelor
 
Genre: Middle Grade / Fairy Tale / Fantasy
Publisher: Luna y Miel Publishing
Date of Publication: November 9, 2013
Number of Pages: 188

 

Scroll down for Giveaway!
Peter is still the boy who doesn’t grow up. Wendy is a girl who had to grow up too soon. And Wendy’s brother, Michael, has autism and a connection to The Island of Lost Children, a book for readers 8-12 and any fan of Peter Pan. When Peter leaves his island home, it’s to search for pick-up soccer games and mock sword fights. Wendy spends her evenings looking after her two brothers—sometimes bratty JJ as well as Michael—while her parents work nights. In the midst of several unusual events including the disappearance of her classmate, Lily, at odds with her adoptive mother, Wendy doesn’t realize that Peter’s pirate nemesis is keeping an eye on her. Everything changes for Wendy and her family when a peculiar fairy named Bellatresse helps Peter find the girl whose stories he once listened to outside her bedroom window. 
With its quirky humor and occasionally touching moments, The Island of Lost Children is about children creating their own stories, families, and communities, all while swashbuckling, navigating mystical rivers, riding child-made roller coasters, and, of course, sailing high through the open skies.
CLICK TO PURCHASE:
* Amazon * Nook * Kobo * Smashwords * iBooks *

300b2-review 

There are so many great things about this book. Where to begin? First off, I LOVE reimaginings. Even when they’re not entirely successful, I still appreciate the creativity needed to see a different angle of such well-loved and well-known stories. Up until now, the only reimagining of Peter Pan that I’m familiar with, if you can call it that, is the movie Hook. So please excuse that some of the comparisons that I make are more with that movie than the original text; which I am ashamed to say that I don’t remember in great detail.

The cover is beautiful and the style of it gave me the impression that maybe the ethnicities of the characters would be played with. I don’t know if it’s the cocoa color of Peter’s skin and the dark hair, or maybe even just the style of the artwork that gave me that idea. As if to answer my unspoken question, the opening scene features a family praising their son Miguel as he plays soccer.

This is where I get confused for the first time. I knew that Wendy has two brothers, Michael and John. So I thought for a few pages that Miguel was Wendy’s brother, so there would be a Juan and whatever the Spanish equivalent of Wendy, right? Oops, I outed myself for stereotyping. Miguel is not Michael. The ethnicity of the family is ambiguous. I was a little let down by that, but the other types of diversity to be revealed made up for it.

The Darlings are a more realistic family in this version. The parents are quarreling over money and careers (hey, that’s sort of what happened in Hook, too), Wendy is having to play mom to her two younger brothers because their parents work all the time, and Michael has a cognitive disability. Also, poor Nana runs away when Mr. Darling tries to take her to an animal shelter. These Darling children have more reasons to want to run to Neverland than the originals, that’s for sure.

I don’t want to ruin the story but I will share that how Captain Hook enters the story is an interesting choice. His target for revenge didn’t make much sense to me though, and when everything gets more or less resolved, I don’t understand why someone isn’t arrested or interrogated at least. I guess because this is supposed to be a children’s story? Okay, I’ll chill.

I like the added dimensions to Lily (although I wonder if people would prefer she had stayed Native American), and not to mention the number of girls in Neverland! It always bothered me that Tiger Lily and Tink seemed to be the only girls in the original. Well, mermaids too if you count them (I didn’t). Batchelor topped Hook with that addition. However, the invisible feast and rollercoasters sounded a lot like Hook. Unless that stuff was in the original, too, and I just forgot. My apologies if they are.

I really liked the tender moments between Wendy and Michael, and how Michael had his peaceful spot in Neverland. I imagine this could open up dialogue about being sensitive to individual needs. Also, finding joy and hope in milestones reached. I closed this book feeling like I understood Wendy and Michael. Sadly, JJ fell by the wayside. Typical middle child, I guess.

What are my favorite moments? I think that Batchelor pokes fun at the Tinkerbell character, Bellatresse, by emphasizing her erratic behavior and thinking. Peter and Trudy pretty much say that the fairy does things for no apparent reason and that they’re not sure whether she really likes them or not. Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe she’s just supposed to be bipolar. Or all the sugar just made her cray cray.

And Peter thinking he’ll miss Wendy because she’s like a sister? Pffft. Let’s not let our reimaginations run away now.

Kim Batchelor writes books for children and adults, stories both real and fantastical, foreign and domestic. She has been published in the Texas Observer, The Best of Friday Flash, and local literary journal, Contexas. She teaches creative writing to incarcerated women and lives in Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas, with a spouse, two dogs, and way too many cats. One of her prized possessions is a busted tambourine given to her by Eddie Vedder. Okay, he tossed it to her in a dark stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, but the real story is never as interesting as the one she makes up.

 

  

 —————————————
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
1 Winner: $25 Amazon Gift Card + Signed Copy of the Book
3 Winners: Signed Copies of the Book
(US ONLY)
November 7 – November 16, 2016

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

 

11/7
Excerpt 1
11/8
Review
11/9
Author Interview #1
11/10
Guest Post
11/11
Review
11/12
Excerpt 2
11/13
Review
11/14
Author Interview 2
11/15
Excerpt 3
11/16
Review

 

 

blog tour services provided by:

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Review: Riverside by Brett Burlison

RIVERSIDE

 

by

Brett Burlison

Genre: Thriller / Suspense / Action Romance
Publisher: Barton Creek Press
Date of Publication: January 4, 2016
Number of Pages: 348

 

Scroll down for Giveaway!

 

It’s summer 1993 in Austin. Two young lovers decide to move in together and open a cafe only to be hindered by their own pasts, drugs, and bad guys from New Orleans. Set in Austin, Texas in the early nineties.
Bobby Patrick, abandoned by his mother as a child and by his alcoholic father during high school, wants a better life for himself and his true love, Katie. The couple decides to open a café and chase their dreams under the radiant Austin sunsets. There, the long, hot days of summer in inspire their passion–but complications arise when Katie’s former love interest returns, bringing with him a whirlwind of trouble.
As Katie’s dark past reveals itself, Bobby fears it could threaten all they have been striving for. Along with Katie’s best friend, Sara, with whom Bobby has his own secret history, the couple becomes tangled up in a drug deal and falls under close watch by Austin police and New Orleans mobsters. 
Bobby must find a way to protect Katie, help Sara, and help himself to thousands of dollars from the ill-fated deal. If he can’t, his future with Katie could be shattered forever. 

Part romance and part suspense story, Riverside is a tell-your-friends-about-it, good old-fashioned crime novel about a young couple struggling for the American dream, and the lengths to which they will go to protect it.

 

“A steamy tale and beguiling thriller, with plenty of local color and some provocative twists.” – Kirkus Reviews
CLICK TO PURCHASE

 

300b2-review
I didn’t even read the synopsis before signing up to review this one. To me, there is only one Riverside in Texas. And just as I figured it would be, that Riverside is Burlison’s Riverside as well.
My Riverside was cheap, somewhat ghetto (really depended what complex you lived in), but had great eats and epic college parties. In fact, most apartments on east Riverside wouldn’t let you live there unless you were a college student.
Burlison’s Riverside houses college dropouts with a similar backdrop, despite the 20-year time difference. (By the way, I didn’t notice the year it was set in until they talked about the Clinton administration.) These young 20-something-year olds seem to drink beer, smoke weed, and have sex around the clock when they’re not working shifts or eating at iconic restaurants such as Kerbey Lane and Trudy’s.
As soon as Paul shows up leading a parade of coke heads to back bedrooms, you know that something bad is going to go down. Especially when you find out that he’s responsible for the stitches on our protagonist’s noggin. The ape chest thumping of young males throughout the book can be annoying, but I found myself worried about Bobby’s well being.
As juvenile as Bobby and Katie’s romance is, I still wanted them to make it out of this thing unscathed. A tall order when Katie’s best friend is the increasingly erratic Sara, who is obviously jealous of the two’s relationship (you find out later why). Not to mention, Sara is willing to do anything to help her boyfriend Paul. And Katie wants to look out for her friend. Of course, Bobby is a standup guy who won’t let anything bad happen to his girlfriend Katie. You see where this is all going?
Throw in an older lesbian couple who grows hydroponic weed and a cop buddy willing to help with messy matters for a cut of the money, and you’ve got quite the colorful cast. I didn’t know what to expect but I found myself hoping that the two lovebirds didn’t end up in jail or dead.
Riverside was an entertaining read and I recommend it especially to anyone who has lived or partied in Austin. I will be on the look out for more of Burlison’s work.

 

Brett Burlison is a writer, lawyer, and Texan living in Northern California. He grew up in the piney woods of East Texas and went to school in Austin.

He practices law in San Francisco, and writes romantic suspense stories about young couples up against difficult odds.

 

 

  
 ————————————— 

 

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

THREE SIGNED COPIES!

 

(US ONLY)

 

September 13September 22, 2016 

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

 

9/13
Excerpt 1
9/14
Review
9/15
Author Interview 1
9/16
Video Guest Post
9/17
Review
9/18
promo
9/19
Excerpt 2
9/20
Review
9/21
Author Interview 2
9/22
Review

 

 


 

blog tour services provided by:

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Review: Oh, How the Years Fly By! by Annette Bridges

Oh, how the years fly by!

A whimsical coloring journey. . .

&
A whimsical inspirational journey . . .
by
Annette Bridges
Genre: Inspirational Adult Coloring & Quote Books
Date of Publication: August 1, 2016
Publisher: Ranch House Press
# of pages: 72
 

 

Scroll down for Giveaway!

Oh, how the years fly by! A whimsical coloring journey is an adult coloring book that features thirty vibrant original illustrations and quotes that will take you on an enchanting voyage of reflection. Be reminded of the simple pleasures that make you feel happy. Find the encouragement you need to nourish your soul and refresh your spirit. Get out your colored pencils or crayons and discover the stress relieving, calming pleasure of coloring.  
Oh, how the years fly by! A whimsical inspirational journey is a smaller hardcover full-color rendition of the coloring book featuring the same illustrations and quotes.

 

 

CLICK TO PURCHASE:
*Spiral bound coloring book only available through website
Coming soon to the Ranch House Press Etsy Store!
 
300b2-review
I had the privilege to review both the hardcover quote book and the large, paperback coloring book. One look at the cover and I knew that this adult coloring book had what all of the other adult coloring books on the market lack: whimsy. And not just because it has the word as part of its title, but because one glance takes you right back to your childhood.
The large eyes of the people, the curved lines that just seem to go on and on. The bright pops of color, like a muted Lisa Frank coloring book. Childlike, but sophisticated at the same time somehow. I don’t know how that was achieved, but it was very successful.
Most adult coloring books look like those pretentious coffee table books that nobody really looks at. Trendy shapes repeated over and over again into some pattern that spirals outward to the edges of the page. Nothing that makes you want to jump into the page. Bridges’ book feels familiar but like an adventure all at the same time.
I wish that the quote book was more than a miniature, colored version of the coloring book. I know that it’s meant to just be an inspirational quote book, but I would have loved to read a little blurb about each picture, which were inspired by Bridges’ actual family photographs. I also would have liked to see more original quotes within as well.
Illustration-wise, the little airplane in the quote book didn’t go anywhere. It would have been nice to see it move as you turned the page. That would have been a great opportunity to do a flip book type thing where it would look like plane was zooming around. Or maybe the plane could have been used as a vehicle to provide explanations for the illustrations. Either through cloud writing or with a streaming banner from the tail.
In the coloring book, the airplane is gone, leaving a lot of blank space on the backs of the pages. But that could be a good thing if someone chose to color with markers instead of pencils.
I highly recommend this book to people of all ages. Anyone who loves color, who loves to color, or just needs some uplifting words in their life. This would make a wonderful gift.

Annette Bridges is an author, publisher and women’s retreat host on a mission to help every woman realize her story is extraordinary, valuable and noteworthy.

 

 

Before writing books, this former public school and home school educator spent a decade writing hundreds of helpful, instructive, and lighthearted columns published by Texas newspapers, parenting magazines, websites, and bloggers.

 

 

Annette lives on a Texas cattle ranch with her husband John, dachshund Lady, and lots of cows. She can drive a tractor but only if wearing a fresh coat of lipstick and it’s not her pedicure day!

 

 

Annette loves to journal in color and create word art. She especially enjoys coloring with glitter markers. She looks forward to spending hours with her daughter coloring this book and giggling together as they remember their many happy adventures.

 


GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!

 

(US ONLY)

 

GRAND PRIZE WINNER: 
*Signed copies of both books, 
*$25 Michael’s gift card, 
*logo tote bag & bookmark
TWO RUNNERS-UP: 
Choice of signed copy of either book
logo tote bag & bookmark

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 

9/12
Review
9/13
Review
9/14
Promo
9/15
Review
9/16
Video Guest Post
9/17
Promo
9/18
Review
9/19
Author Interview 1
9/20
Excerpt
9/21
Review
9/22
Free Download
9/23
Author Interview 2
9/24
Review
9/25
Promo
9/26
Review

 


   blog tour services provided by:

 



1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours

Review: Summer Vacation by Belinda Everette

 SUMMER VACATION

 

The Adventures of Mackenzie and Cristen

 

Book One, Second Edition

 

by 

 

Belinda Everette 

Genre: Middle Grade / Contemporary Fiction

Date of Publication: June 12, 2016
# of pages: 70
Scroll down for Giveaway!

It’s the beginning of summer and Uncle Mike and Aunt Melanie invite Mackenzie for an extended summer vacation in their hometown of Houston, Texas. On the first day, Mackenzie finds her cousins, Cristen and Chloe, helping their parents prepare a special meal. Come and learn about the holiday and celebration of Juneteenth with this first book in The Adventures of Mackenzie and Cristen, a cultural journey of joy, family, and fun! 

 

Summer Vacation is the first installment in The Adventures of Mackenzie and Cristen, a five part journey of family love and fun.  Each adventure finds the cousins learning history, exploring cultural themes and traditions, and discovering the joy in the world around them.

PRAISE FOR SUMMER VACATION:

 

“I read Summer Vacation by Belinda Everette.  I thought it was educational regarding the true history of Juneteenth and portrayed realistic events in the lives of the characters.  I did pass it on to one of my daughters with a special interest in children’s books.  This seems to be a good moment for this kind of story, with increased interest in African-American history with readers of all ages.”

 

 — Ronne Hartfield, Co-Chair, Harvard University Arts Education Council, Executive Director, Art Institute of Chicago, Author

 

 

Summer Vacation is very good.  This book is entertaining and informative.  The author has given us a unique way of presenting history to our children.  This book should be published in Spanish and other languages to share this history with other cultures.”

 

— Irma P. Hall, Academy Award nominated American Actress,  Poet, Author, Language Educator (ret), Dallas Public School System,  30 years.
  CLICK TO PURCHASE 
Everette’s writing pulls you in by appealing to your senses. Her visual descriptions make it easy to picture the scene and you can smell the food as Mackenzie’s Texas family prepares for the celebration.
I can’t remember what grade I was in when I learned about Juneteenth, but I do know that there wasn’t much detail about the celebration. Basically, we knew that it was a Black American celebration of freedom in America, but that was just about it. So I found it interesting to learn about the tradition of eating and drinking foods that slaves were forced to serve to their masters, but were never allowed to consume themselves. I had no idea that red soda water existed back then!
I like how Everette shows how progress has been made with Juneteenth becoming an official national American holiday. But she also points out that there is still a ways to come when the caucasian twins next door share their story of a country club, made up exclusively of exclusively white members, celebrates Juneteenth but doesn’t allow their black employees to have the day off. They also comment that the club’s staff is mainly black and Hispanic.
This little book makes a big impression. I only wish that the title was a little more interesting than “Summer Vacation.” But this is only book one of Mackenzie and Cristen’s adventures, so I hope Everette gives the rest of the series titles that reflect their fun and educating nature. The cover art is cute pencil work, but I think it would really pop if the artist used Photoshop or some other program to digitally color in everything.

Like most people, when life throws lemons, you make lemonade and that was certainly the case for Belinda Everette, the author of The Adventures of Mackenzie and Cristen book series.   After twenty-six years as a Senior Vice-President for several Fortune 500 financial institutions, life circumstances required a change.  Belinda put down her briefcase, enrolled in Rice University’s creative writing program, and began to pursue her lifelong dream of writing. 
When not writing, Belinda supports several of her favorite charities which focus on providing housing and improving living conditions for those in need, including Houston’s Star of Hope, Covenant House, and Houston Achievement Place.
“Family is my greatest joy,” Belinda adds “nothing is better than a houseful of family and friends with lots of children running around, enjoying a delicious meal and good Christian fellowship.”  Cooking, entertaining, and music along with daughter Ashley, son-in-law Ron, and grandchildren, Mackenzie and Evan, keep live full and happy.  Belinda and her constant companion, a four-year old Shih Tzu, reside in suburban Houston, Texas.

 

 

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
(US ONLY)
1 Grand Prize Winner wins:
Signed Copies of Summer Vacation  and It’s Just A Song, plus a tote bag
2 Other Winners each win:
Signed Copies of Summer Vacation plus mouse pads
  July 20 – July 29, 2016

Check out the other great blogs on the tour! 

7/20    Hall Ways Blog         – Review
7/21    Country Girl Bookaholic – Excerpt #1
7/22    Reading By Moonlight  Author Interview #1
7/23    Margie’s Must Reads           – Review
7/24    StoreyBook Reviews           – Guest Post       
7/25    The Crazy Booksellers  Excerpt #2
7/26    Missus GonzoReview
7/27    Byers Editing Reviews & Blog  – Author Interview #2 
7/28    The Librarian Talks  – Promo       
7/29    My Book Fix Blog Review          

 

 

   blog tour services provided by:

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours