Category Archives: Giveaway

Review & Giveaway: Bluster’s Last Stand by Preston Lewis

BLUSTER’S LAST STAND

The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax, #4

by
PRESTON LEWIS
  Genre:  Historical Western Fiction / Humor
Date of Publication: November 15, 2017
Publisher: Wild Horse Press

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Events on the Little Bighorn might have turned out better for George Armstrong Custer had he listened to H.H. Lomax rather than trying to kill him.  To save his own skin—and scalp!—Lomax must outwit Custer and his troopers as well as face hundreds of Sioux and Cheyenne warriors swarming Last Stand Hill. 
At least that is how Lomax in his inimitable style tells the story in this humorous romp across Old West history.  Lomax’s latest misadventures take him from the Battle of Adobe Walls to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.  In between, he’s a bouncer in a Waco whorehouse, a prospector in the Black Hills, a bartender in a Dakota Territory saloon and a combatant in the worst defeat in the history of the frontier Army. 
Along the way, Lomax crosses paths with Bat Masterson, Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, General Custer, his brother Tom Custer and the troopers of the Seventh Cavalry as well as hordes of Comanche, Kiowa, Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, not to mention the most dangerous adversary of all—a newspaper reporter with ambition.

Told with Lomax’s characteristic wit, Bluster’s Last Stand puts a new spin on the Little Bighorn and its aftermath.  Whether you believe him or not, you’ve got to admire Lomax’s luck and pluck in both surviving one of the darkest days in Old West history and writing about the disaster in the latest volume of The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax.
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PRAISE FOR THE H.H. LOMAX SERIES:

“A new series by Preston Lewis features a protagonist, H.H. Lomax, who isn’t much of a gunfighter, horseman or gambler.  Instead, he is a likeable loser who runs into old western celebrities like Billy the Kid and the Jesse James gang, and barely escapes.”  Wall Street Journal
“It takes a special talent to write first-person novels based on the premise of ‘lost papers,’ but Preston Lewis is an especially fresh and innovative writer and he knows how to do it.”
Rocky Mountain News
Fans of the Western as a genre will delight in Lewis’ ongoing spoof of many traditions which fiction writers from Owen Wister to Elmer Kelton captured well enough to turn into key parts of our myths and folklore….Lewis’s wit is at times Puckishly wry, at other times bawdy in the manner of Chaucer.  It is always engaging.  Texas Books in Review
Several Old West historians have blessed the Lomax books as expertly crafted fiction. Dallas Morning News

 

300b2-review
Judging this “memoir” by its cover would be as big of a mistake as judging H. H. Lomax at first impression. Without the well-written synopsis or blurb to guide you, you could mistake this book for a cheesy spoof novel based on the title and artwork. And you would probably walk by and miss out on the funniest and smartest historical fiction book that I have ever read.
Lewis manages to bring levity to a story and a part of history that was rather tragic. The West wasn’t too kind on women and it can be shocking to think of how prostitution often was a more desirable position than being a married woman. Political corruption was rampant and fed racial tensions and uncertainty for all sides involved. Journalism appeared to be a joke early on. And, of course, the treatment of the Native Americans was appalling.
But everything wasn’t so cut and dry then, and Lewis underlines that fact with the wonderfully colorful character of H. H. Lomax. Although gold is the goal, the man is a true diamond in the rough. While the man lacks culture, he certainly has enough brains to make his way without having to rely on Forrest Gump-like luck. He has had so many sudden stops and starts in his life that I was surprised to find out that he was only in his mid 20’s. For some reason, I was imagining a man in his late 30’s or 40’s. Maybe I watch too many Clint Eastwood films.
Speaking of films, when you think of a western spoof, you might think of Blazing Saddles or something similar. Well, this reimagining of events leading up to Little Bighorn is far from corny. While there is some adolescent-leveled humor (i.e., fart jokes and nicknames), Lomax’s wit is often subtle and nuanced. It usually goes undetected because it is so unexpected.
I could write about Lomax for days but then the other characters would feel left out. With the exception of the bullies, Bonner and Quirt, I think that all of the characters are so much more than they seem. We definitely get to see that with Medusa and Buffalo Bill. If Lewis wanted to, he could write spinoff novels about practically anyone in this book (if they survived to the end) and they would be great reads. In particular, I would find it fascinating to read about the people who went against their culture’s grain, like the minister or Crazy Horse.
The pacing felt a little slow at times. About halfway through the book, Lomax is still working in Medusa’s whorehouse and I’m trying to figure out when Custer and the battle come into play. But looking back, the pace was perfect. The battle was short, so even a detailed account shouldn’t run up half a novel. If it did, I would have fallen asleep. Also, I think my favorite parts of the book were when Lomax worked in the whorehouse. I don’t think any men less than Lomax or Lewis could ever drag that sort of sentiment from me.
Even if you don’t care much for history, I think you will find this book entertaining. Lomax’s hilarity and heart of gold (see what I did there?) soften the blow of the harsh realities in this part of history, and make them interesting. Or if you want to set the humor aside, there are some provoking thoughts on morality and perception that might stir you up. I look forward to reading more about Lomax’s adventures.
            Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of 30 western, juvenile and historical novels, including Bluster’s Last Stand published by Wild Horse Press.   
            Bluster’s Last Stand, a novel about Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn, is the latest volume in Lewis’s well-received Memoirs of H.H. Lomax series of comic westerns that began with The Demise of Billy the Kid.  Subsequent books in the series—The Redemption of Jesse James and Mix-Up at the O.K. Corral—were both Spur Finalists from Western Writers of America (WWA). 
            Lewis’s historical novel Blood of Texas on the Texas Revolution received WWA’s Spur Award for Best Western Novel.  His western caper The Fleecing of Fort Griffin in 2017 earned him his third Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association (WTHA) for best creative work on West Texas. 
            His True West article on the Battle of Yellowhouse Canyon won a Spur Award for Best Nonfiction Article.  In addition to True West, his short works have appeared in publications as varied as Louis L’Amour Western Magazine, Persimmon Hill, Dallas Morning News, The Roundup, Journal of the Wild West History Association and San Angelo Standard-Times
         A native West Texan and current San Angelo resident, Lewis holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baylor University and master’s degrees from Ohio State in journalism and Angelo State in history.  He is a past president of WWA and WTHA.  Lewis is a longstanding member of the Authors Guild and an associate member of the Dramatists Guild of America.  
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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
1st Prize: Full 4 Book Set in the Lomax Series
2nd Prize: Bluster’s Last Stand + The Fleecing of Fort Griffin
3rd Prize: Bluster’s Last Stand

*all copies signed*

December 13-December 22, 2017
(U.S. Only)
VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

12/13/17
Excerpt 1
12/14/17
Author Interview
12/15/17
Review
12/16/17
Character Spotlight
12/17/17
Review
12/18/17
Scrapbook Page
12/19/17
Review
12/20/17
Excerpt 2
12/21/17
Author Interview
12/22/17
Review
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Promo & Giveaway: Cowboy, It’s Cold Outside by Lori Wilde


COWBOY, 
IT’S COLD OUTSIDE

A Twilight, Texas Novel

by
LORI WILDE
  Genre:  Contemporary Holiday Romance
Date of Publication: October 27, 2017
Publisher: Avon 
on Twitter  ┃ on Facebook
Number of Pages: 400

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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde’s Twilight, TX Christmas novels are beloved for their emotional depth and ability to capture the sweetness of the holiday season. In her latest Twilight, Texas novel, COWBOY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE, the holiday season is once again full of romance and surprises.
Everyone in town knows that Christmas in Twilight has a way of bringing lovers together . . . but will its magic bring this pair from “I won’t” to “I do?”
Wearing a too-tight “Santa Baby” costume held in by a double pair of Spanx, Paige MacGregor runs headlong into a gorgeous, grey-eyed hunk of a long, tall cowboy. And not just any cowboy, but country-western star Cash Colton, visiting Twilight to perform in a charity concert. Most women would melt at his feet, but Paige knows all-too-much about self-assured men with cocky attitudes, so she tells him to get lost.
Cash is in town, nursing his own broken heart, but Paige has knocked him off his feet. He’s convinced she’s perfect—someone to inspire his music and share his now-empty bed. True, he’s not marriage material, but he’s determined to convince her that they’re perfect together—at least for a while. But what he doesn’t count on is falling in love with the one woman who isn’t about to give him the time of day!

 

“When it comes to striking exactly the right balance between sweet and sexy, Wilde has the equivalent of perfect pitch.” — Booklist 

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A fifth generation Texan, Lori Wilde is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 82 works of fiction. She’s a three-time nominee of the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA award and has won numerous other awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University, and a certificate in forensics. She is also a certified Hatha yoga instructor, and runs a yoga/creativity retreat for artists at Epiphany Orchards in Weatherford, Texas, the Cutting Horse Capital of the World.
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Ten Winners Get Print Copies of 
A Wedding for Christmas
December 9-December 18, 2017
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12/9/17
Promo
12/10/17
Review
12/11/17
Excerpt
12/12/17
Promo
12/13/17
Review
12/14/17
Author Interview
12/15/17
Review
12/16/17
Excerpt
12/17/17
Review
12/18/17
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Review & Giveaway: Up Near Dallas by Gina Hooten Popp

UP NEAR DALLAS

Winds of Change — Book III

by
GINA HOOTEN POPP
  Genre:  Texas Historical Fiction / Romance
Date of Publication: November 12, 2017
Number of Pages: 307

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The year is 1934. Economic turbulence rocks the country. And record drought dries up crops, along with the spirits of every farmer south of the Mason-Dixon. Yet for sixteen-year-old Mick McLaren, life is good as he takes to the open road to chase his dream of being a musician. Riding boxcars, hitchhiking, walking and driving his way across Depression Era Texas, he finds not only himself, but the love of a girl from Dallas named Margaret. Along the way, they befriend Cowboy Larson, a Delta Blues guitarist. Together the three teens, from three very different worlds, come-of-age as their life-changing journey carries them through killer dust storms, extreme poverty, and the unprecedented gangster activity of the Dirty Thirties. 


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Amazon ▪ Barnes & Noble ▪ iBooks ▪ Kobo

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300b2-review

 

Where to begin? I love everything about this book. I usually dislike books that rotate point of views because authors often don’t differentiate between the character voices. Or even something as basic as too similar character names often makes things confusing. This is not the case with Popp’s book. Each character is different and developed, and most importantly, interesting and believable.

 

I don’t know if it is because of the time period, but every person in this book is strong in their own way. Doctor Lyles takes the Socratic Oath very seriously and stands his ground against those who question his loyalty. Lucky McLaren has the most obvious strength, having fought in a war and his power and success in business. Mick and Cowboy seem to still be growing into their strengths, while the women in the story have an understated strength that I find inspiring. Margaret and Saint are foils, but both young ladies know what they want and work hard for it. Mick’s mother was a pleasant surprise to behold and as I’ve said before on another review, the infamous Bonnie intrigues me.

 

I really hate to give away too much about this book, but everything in it just works for me. I love the idea of a kid who has everything and is willing to throw it all away to follow his dreams. And while the Great Depression is hardly an idyllic backdrop for self discovery and reinvention, it’s nice that the rich kid sees what it’s like to live on the other side of the tracks and helps others less fortunate when he can. And it’s great to see pure, innocent love that is not tainted by material possessions or social statuses.

 

I know I’ve mentioned the strong ladies already, but I feel like Nana Michelle deserves a paragraph of her own. The woman is a wonderful, walking contradiction. So much strength while physically frail. She stands on uppity traditions like hot English tea despite the heat of the South, but will let barn animals into her fancy home during a crisis. She was a dutiful doctor’s wife but took it upon herself to learn to do medical procedures as well. Sweet and shrewd. I hope to be as interesting as her one day.

 

I know that Margaret is only 15, with Mick, Cowboy, and Saint all around there somewhere in age too, so I can’t help but be amazed at the things they accomplish. Fifteen-year-olds nowadays are practically infantile. They usually don’t make level-headed decisions in the face of danger. They don’t often know what they want to do with their lives, nor do they have the discipline to work independently toward achieving their goals. And the big one for me, they don’t usually know the difference between infatuation and true love. People in the past were made of tougher stuff, so maybe they see things more clearly than we do, and sooner.

 

Maybe I morbidly romanticize this time in history, but I’m a big fan of the ingenuity and pulling up of one’s bootstraps that Depression survivors do. Up Near Dallas is a great piece of historical fiction and I plan to read the other installments. I also plan to hunt down some music from the time period because my interest has certainly been piqued.

 

 

A native Texan, Gina Hooten Popp was born in Greenville and now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. Along with writing novels, Gina has enjoyed a long career as a professional writer in advertising. Her debut novel THE STORM AFTER was a finalist in the 2014 RONE Awards, and her just-released book CHICO BOY: A NOVEL was a 2016 Medalist Winner in the New Apple Annual Book Awards. Recently, her novel LUCKY’S WAY, about a young fighter pilot from Houston, was endorsed by the United States World War One Centennial Commission. 


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December 5-December 13, 2017
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12/4/17
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12/5/17
Review
12/6/17
Excerpt
12/7/17
Playlist
12/8/17
Review
12/9/17
Notable Quotable
12/10/17
Excerpt
12/11/17
Review
12/12/17
Author Interview
12/13/17
Review
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Promo & Giveaway: Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms

CHRISTMAS 
IN A COWBOY’S ARMS
with stories by
ROSANNE BITTNER, LINDA BRODAY, MARGARET BROWNLEY, 
LEIGH GREENWOOD, ANNA SCHMIDT, AMY SANDAS
  Genre: Romance Anthology / Western / Historical
Date of Publication: October 3, 2017
Number of Pages: 512

Scroll down for the giveaway!

The Beating Heart of Christmas
In the wild and untamed West, it takes a cowboy’s embrace to see you through a long winter’s night. Stay toasty this holiday season with heart-warming tales from these bestselling authors.
Whether it’s a lonely spinster finding passion at last…an infamous outlaw-turned-lawman reaffirming the love that keeps him whole…a lost and broken drifter discovering family in unlikely places…a Texas Ranger risking it all for one remarkable woman…two lovers bringing together a family ripped apart by prejudice…or reunited lovers given a second chance to correct past mistakes…a Christmas spent in a cowboy’s arms is full of hope, laughter, and―most of all―love.
*Chick-a-Dee Christmas by Rosanne Bittner * The Christmas Stranger by Linda Broday * A Texas Ranger for Christmas by Margaret Brownley * Father Christmas by Leigh Greenwood * A Christmas Baby by Anna Schmidt * A Christmas Reunion by Amy Sandas*

PRAISE FOR CHRISTMAS IN A COWBOY’S ARMS: 
“An emotional powerhouse! This classic historical western is destined for the “keeper” shelf.” RT Book Reviews, Top Pick for Rosanne Bittner

“Fun and sensual…great for fans of history, romance, and some good old Texas grit.” Kirkus for Linda Broday

“A great story by a wonderful author.” ― #1 New York Times bestselling author DEBBIE MACOMBER for Margaret Brownley

“Greenwood is a master at westerns.” RT Book Reviews for Leigh Greenwood

“The perfect read.” RT Book Reviews for Anna Schmidt

“A genuine page-turner…electric and absorbing.” Kirkus for Amy Sandas
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author story spotlight

ANNA SCHMIDT, AUTHOR OF A CHRISTMAS BABY

Included in Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms Anthology

About A Christmas Baby:

Rico and Louisa come from different worlds. Can their love survive once her family disowns her and can they find peace and reunion through the message of Christmas—and an innocent child?


INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ANNA SCHMIDT


Where did your love of books and reading come from? Mostly my mother who had a seventh-grade education but was an avid reader and one of the smartest people I knew. Both parents put a LOT of focus on the importance of reading—books were always part of our Christmas “loot.”


How does your book relate to your faith? My faith is all about diversity and inclusion—it is no accident that the world is populated by so many different cultures and ethnicities. The key is to find ways to respect, appreciate and engage!!!


How has your formal education influenced or impacted your writing? My studies in both history and theater have greatly impacted my writing. When I write, I see the characters on a stage or movie screen—they walk and talk like characters on stage and I am always aware of who else is “in the scene.”


What do your plans for future projects include? This story weaves in with my LAST CHANCE COWBOYS series. Book 3, THE OUTLAW is available now and the final book –THE RANCHER—will be available in early 2018. Rico and Louisa as well as other characters from this story are all part of those novels.


Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? Scandinavia—I just had my DNA done and discovered I am 20% Scandinavian!!


What cultural value do you see in books and storytelling? The written word is a gift—stories are gifts that can allow a child to define who he or she truly is. They can also provide a refuge from the troubled times and hope for a better tomorrow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anna Schmidt is a three-time finalist for the coveted RITA award presented annually by Romance Writers of America. In addition, she has been a four-time finalist for the Reviewer’s Choice Award from Romantic Times magazine—an award she has won twice.


The author of over thirty works of historical and contemporary fiction, Anna has worked in the corporate world for two international companies, taught at the college level, and is a popular presenter of hands-on workshops. She splits her time between Wisconsin and Florida, noting that, “I am blessed to have a career that travels well!”




Rosanne Bittner

Website * Facebook 

Twitter * Goodreads



Linda Broday

Website * Facebook 

Twitter * Goodreads

Margaret Brownley

Website * Facebook 

Twitter * Goodreads



Anna Schmidt

Website * Pinterest 

Twitter Goodreads


Amy Sandas

Website * Facebook 

Twitter * Goodreads

Leigh Greenwood

Website * Goodreads

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December 1-December 10, 2017
Four Winners will each get a prize pack which includes Christmas in a Cowboy’s Arms + another book(s) by one of the authors.  Three of the packs will also include a $10 Amazon Gift Card.
(U.S. Only)
VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

12/1/17
Christmas Memories
12/2/17
Review
12/3/17
Spotlight on Amy
12/4/17
Review
12/5/17
Spotlight on Anna
12/6/17
Spotlight on Linda
12/7/17
Review
12/8/17
Spotlight on Margaret
12/9/17
Spotlight on Rosanne
12/10/17
Review
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Review & Giveaway: The Secret Room by John Alexander

THE SECRET ROOM
(Amber-Autumn Series, #4)

by
JOHN ALEXANDER
  Genre: Children’s Mystery / Chapter Book
Date of Publication: October 14, 2017
Number of Pages: 159

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Amber and Autumn, elementary school sisters, don’t seek out problems to solve, but they often find themselves engaged in uncovering truths, solving mysteries, and helping others in the process. Autumn’s natural curiosity, combined with her boldness, leads her to push for answers to anything she does not understand. Amber, her older sister, more cautious and easily spooked, prefers to let Autumn drive ahead to solve mysteries which come their way, but her keen skills of observation often lead to the resolutions they seek.

In The Secret Room, the girls, during their stay at a  B&B, discover a long-forgotten room in the attic and uncover its secrets. The story takes place at the House of Seasons, a bed-and-breakfast in historic Jefferson, Texas. Their quest to uncover secrets takes the girls on a journey through Jefferson history including a cemetery, a river boat tour, and even an evening ghost walk.




PRAISE FOR THE SECRET ROOM:
“Great book, really enjoyed reading.  I’d guess a target audience would be 7 to 13-year-olds. Thank you for allowing me the honor to preview your book.  I look forward to purchasing your published work.” — Joseph (Teen Beta reader)

The Secret Room is a fun read. Not only is it a mystery; it also contains some of the history of Jefferson, Texas, and the surrounding area, as well as pictures of some special places there. Children and adults will enjoy reading it, just as I did.  — Carol (Adult Beta Reader)

“Overall I thought it was a great book. I would be excited to read the next book in the series.” –Madeline (4th grade Beta Reader)

 “The whole time I liked the suspense and the mystery side of it.” – Beta Reader

“I relate more to Amber because she doesn’t like a situation without light and she doesn’t like doing scary things first. She sends her little sister in to do it first and I do that. Amber is the older sister and so am I.” – Beta Reader

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CLICK TO PURCHASE
300b2-review
At the risk of sounding ageist and/or sexist, I am impressed when authors can write from a completely different generation’s or opposite gender’s point of view. Alexander pulls it off effortlessly and tells a great mystery with some history woven in. Given the popularity of series such as American Girls and The Boxcar Children, I think he picked a great niche.
I don’t know if all of the books in the Amber-Autumn Series feature black and white photos like this one, but I love how they add more depth to the story and a bit of creepiness to it; much like the photographs in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. While the photos in the Ransom Riggs series are truly odd and creepy, I like how The Secret Room’s photos are just scenic but still somehow send a shiver down your spine.
I wonder if this series is similar to The Boxcar Children in that the first book is sort of the origin story and the following books just assume that you have read the first one. Either way, I found it interesting that this book doesn’t clue you in to what these girls look like, what their ethnicity might be. I don’t know if Alexander did this intentionally, but I could see how doing so would allow little girls to insert themselves into the story. The ambiguity distracts me as an adult, but as a kid I think I would appreciate it.
The writing style is clean and the characters are believable. I noticed that all of the main characters are women. As an adult, I can’t help but wonder if this was intentional and what it might be indicative of.
I recommend this book especially to kids who solve mysteries easily. I double dare them to guess the ending.

John writes chapter books that appeal to elementary school children to capture their imagination and help them discover the love of reading early in life. John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife and his King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Charlie Brown.
John spent his childhood in a small town in east Texas. He attended college at the University of Texas earning a BS in Physics and a BA in Math (minor in Computer Science). His years in the high-tech industry, most of it on the “bleeding edge,” allowed him to develop new technology with software.
John had the privilege of co-authoring two editions of CallManager Fundamentals. The two books sold over 23,000 copies, exceeding the publisher’s goal of 8,000. Having discovered his love for writing while still working in high tech, he began writing fiction in his spare time and published The Enclave, a mystery / suspense novel, in 2010.
After leaving high-tech in 2014, he now spends full time pursuing his writing passion. He loves writing books that help children discover early in life that reading is a fun adventure. He recently released illustrated editions of the first three books in the Amber-Autumn mystery series: Christmas Garden Illustrated, Grandfather’s Blessing Illustrated, and Golden Campout Illustrated. The Secret Room is the fourth book in the series.
WEBSITE  FACEBOOK PINTEREST
   TWITTER  GOODREADS   
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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GRAND PRIZE: Signed copies of all four Amber-Autumn series books + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
TWO RUNNERS-UP: Signed copy of The Secret Room
November 27-December 6, 2017
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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

11/27/17
Book Trailer
11/27/17
Excerpt
11/28/17
Review
11/29/17
Author Interview
11/29/17
Guest Post
11/30/17
Review
12/1/17
Notable Quotable
12/1/17
Notable Quotable
12/2/17
Review
12/3/17
Review
12/4/17
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12/4/17
Excerpt
12/5/17
Review
12/5/17
Author Interview
12/6/17
Review
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Review & Giveaway: Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering

DEATH AT THORBURN HALL

A Drew Farthering Mystery, #6

by
JULIANNA DEERING
  Genre: Historical British Mystery / Suspense
Date of Publication: November 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 336

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Investigating a suspicious accident leads Drew on a path that points to international intrigue and ever-growing danger

Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield, hoping for a relaxing holiday with his wife, Madeline, and friend Nick. But death meets him once again when Lord Rainsby, their host at Thorburn Hall, is killed in a suspicious riding accident–only days after confiding in Drew his fears that his business partner was embezzling funds.

Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each appears to have dark motives for wanting Rainsby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.



PRAISE FOR DEATH AT THORBURN HALL:

“Amateur sleuthing at its finest!”–Fresh Fiction Review

“Another great mystery headed by the charming Drew Farthering and his intelligent wife, Madeline. There is murder, mystery, intrigue and a little romance, which makes Death at Thorburn Hall a most enjoyable read . . . The plot has twists, turns and a few surprises throughout the story. Deering is at her best when penning Drew Farthering mysteries.”–RT Book Reviews
“This sixth series entry will delight Agatha Christie fans.”
Library Journal

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I don’t know what it is about this book that brings to mind authors like Evelyn Waugh and Bernard Malamud, but it reads instantly like a classic. I think I’m not the only one who thinks so since the cover art chosen is also very classic. The premise – bougie people spending the week in Scotland watching a golf tournament – super classic.
But don’t make the mistake in reading classic as boring or predictable. Deering does a masterful job of building this world of interesting characters. I especially like the relationship between Drew and Madeline. While we aren’t filled in too much about what has happened in the previous books, we can gather that the couple has been through the wringer together. I love that Madeline bravely stands by her husband and refuses to cower in fear. Nick and Carrie seem to have a hard time reconnecting because Carrie is still traumatized by past events. It is truly agonizing trying to will those two together.
There are a few more couples in the book but more than a few complicated storylines that tie everyone together. The first murder and each mishap that follows threatens to sever those lines, making the motive and the murderer more elusive than ever. My first hunch was off but my second hunch was validated when one character met their demise. I’m curious to see if any of you readers get it right from the first. Deering does an amazing job of spreading breadcrumbs all around in a uniform fashion. No bait and switch here. And I’m so glad because that is such a cheap trick in mystery novels.
I’m tempted to blather on but I would hate to ruin anything. Let me just end this review by saying that there’s a pleasant reveal at the end. I definitely didn’t see it coming and it was handled beautifully. Read this if you want to immerse yourself into a perfect mystery novel.
JULIANNA DEERING (also writing as DeAnna Julie Dodson) has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness, and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching, and watching NHL hockey. Her series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted from Bethany House with Rules of Murder (2013) and is followed by Death by the Book and Murder at the Mikado (2014). Dressed for Death (2016), and Murder on the Moor and Death at Thorburn Hall (2017). She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books and Such Literary Agency.


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VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

11/28/17
Character Interview
11/29/17
Review
11/30/17
Excerpt
12/1/17
Review
12/2/17
Author Interview
12/3/17
Excerpt
12/4/17
Review
12/5/17
Top Ten List
12/6/17
Review
12/7/17
Series Sneak Peek
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Review & Giveaway: Bombshell by Pamela Fagan Hutchins


BOMBSHELL
(What Doesn’t Kill You, #9)
An Ava Romantic Mystery

by
PAMELA FAGAN HUTCHINS
  Genre: Romantic Mystery / R-Rated
Date of Publication: July 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 236

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Temp worker by day, lounge singer by night, single mom Ava is having a hard time breaking up with her long-distance boyfriend and making it without the support of her parents on the island of St. Marcos. Things improve dramatically when she lands a too-good-to-be-true job at a virtual currency exchange, where she meets a seriously sexy man, and goes to work for a boss so incredible he sponsors her on a trip to New York to record a demo. But when Ava stumbles across the raped and murdered body of a young woman, she recognizes her from a shared trauma back in their school days. Ava is devastated and throws herself into avenging the girl’s death. From that moment on, it’s one bombshell after another, going off closer and closer to Ava and the people she cares about most.


PRAISE FOR BOMBSHELL:
“Just when I think I couldn’t love another Pamela Fagan Hutchins novel more, along comes Ava. She’s smart and sassy, with a story full of juicy plot twists. I enjoyed Bombshell from cover to cover!” — Marcy McKay, author of Pennies from Burger Heaven 

“To finally get a whole book of Ava’s beautiful voice and attitude was so much fun. And then to see that her outer armor was mixed with the very real insecurities and struggles that we can all relate to was magical. She personifies bombshell in every sense of word and I can’t wait to have her voice in my head again in Stunner.” — Tara Scheyer, Grammy-nominated musician, Long-Distance Sisters Book Club
“Entertaining, complex, and thought-provoking.” — Ginger Copeland, power reader 

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Review
It took me a few pages to realize that the typesetter didn’t leave off letters or entire words, but that the dialect was islander – as in Virgin Islands islander. Once I got past that little bump, I immediately fell in with Ava and her crazy life. I’m a little older than her, but I can totally relate to having a small child and working thankless temporary jobs when all you want to do is be a singer.
Kudos to Hutchins for believability and clarity. I could feel the oppressive St. Marcos heat and humidity. I could see how all the colorful characters soaked in the lovely sight of the voluptuous siren Ava. I could smell Ava’s aluminum-free deodorant failing her (been there done that!). And I could feel the repulsion from slimy men’s fingers trying to cop a feel.
I am also impressed with the progression of events and how it all ended. I knew the book is a mystery, but I was so wrapped up in Ava’s present situation that I didn’t even bother to try to figure out who was killing the dancers and why. Hutchins had me fanning myself over sensuous descriptions one moment to clenching my jaw as Ava remembers childhood predators. It was difficult to pry myself away from the present to look that far ahead.
If I actually tried, would I have solved the mystery? Probably not. The baddie(s) were so off my radar because of the circus that Ava has spiraling around her. And I admired her strength and bravery so much throughout the novel.
The only time my admiration faltered was when she actively pursued her music career. Maybe I’m a little jealous of a fictional character? Or maybe I’m annoyed that she finally had a stable job with which to support her child and she was being reckless with it by pursuing a pipe dream. She already didn’t spend much time with her daughter (who might have a slight developmental delay), and a life in the limelight would mean she would spend even less time with her. Sorry, stuffy mom rant ends here.
I really liked the end and encourage you to read the previous books to know even more about Ava and the people in her life. I look forward to reading any other Ava books that come out in the future.
Grab yourself a glass of red and settle in for a loooong night of reading. 😉

Pamela Fagan Hutchins writes overly long e-mails, award-winning and best-selling romantic mysteries, and hilarious nonfiction from deep in the heart of Nowheresville, Texas and way up in the frozen north of Snowheresville, Wyoming. 

Her What Doesn’t Kill You romantic mystery series is Janet Evanovich meets Sandra Brown and a smidge of Alice Hoffman’s practical magic, featuring a revolving lineup of interrelated female amateur sleuths. She is passionate about great writing and smart authorpreneurship as well as long hikes with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs, riding her gigantic horses, experimenting with her Keurig, and traveling in the Bookmobile.
WEBSITE   BLOG   PINTEREST
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AWARDS

2017 WINNER Silver Falchion Award, Best Mystery

2016 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Cross Genre Fiction
2015 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Cross Genre Fiction
2014 USA Best Book Award Finalist, Cross Genre Fiction
2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-finalist, Romance
2013 USA Best Book Award Finalist, Business: Publishing
2012 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Ghost Story Contest
2012 WINNER USA Best Book Award, Parenting: Divorce
2011 Winner of the Houston Writers Guild Novel Contest, Mainstream

 

2010 Winner of the Writers League of Texas Manuscript Contest, Romance
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November 1-November 10, 2017
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1-Nov
Character Interview
1-Nov
Guest Post 1
2-Nov
Review
3-Nov
Video Interview
3-Nov
Guest Post 2
4-Nov
Review
5-Nov
Review
6-Nov
Excerpt
6-Nov
Guest Post 3
7-Nov
Review
8-Nov
Scrapbook Page
8-Nov
Scrapbook Page
9-Nov
Guest Post 4
10-Nov
Review
10-Nov
Review


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