Tag Archives: Fiction

Review & Giveaway: The Catch by Lisa Harris


U.S. Marshals Series #3
Fiction / Christian / Mystery / Suspense / Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: April 5, 2022
Number of Pages: 352 pages 
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Everything hidden is eventually found
After a harrowing attempt on a judge’s life at the courthouse, Deputy US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are tasked with finding a missing woman and an endangered child in connection to the murder of the judge’s wife. What seems like a fairly straightforward case becomes hopelessly tangled when the marshals discover that the woman they are searching for is not who they think she is.
Madison and Jonas are forced into a race to find the woman and the child before the people who want her dead discover her location. And in a final showdown that could cost her everything, Madison will come face-to-face with the person who murdered her husband.

The Catch by Lisa Harris is the first book that I have read by the author and Book 3 in the U.S. Marshals Series. I am always a little nervous jumping into the middle of a series like that, but Harris quickly soothed away those feelings with her excellent exposition. The first chapter opens up with the perfect combination of dread and anticipation. With just a few pages, I was hooked.

Harris effortlessly transitions the reader from a tense opening chapter to a lighter (though also somewhat tense) scene where we meet our heroine, Madison, as she teaches her sister how to rock climb. I like the use of the activity as a metaphor for trust and though maybe a bit on the nose, a metaphor for falling in love as well. The scene is very cinematic as the character comes down from the high of physical exertion and the events leading up to this point are crashing down around her.

By using a third person point of view, Harris is able to give us insight into the feelings and thought processes of each character that we follow. With the exception of the opening chapter, the reader is normally following Madison or Jonas as they attempt to unwind this intricate case. What starts out as a deceptively simple case of jealousy and murder, each chapter reveals a new clue or character that makes the story twist and turn in very unexpected ways.

Classified as a Christian mystery suspense romance, The Catch is certainly all of these things and more. I know that some readers are put off by overly religious books, but this one is not in your face spouting Bible verses. I think that if you enjoy romance in your mystery books, this one has a lovely touch of hope for new beginnings to balance the high stakes adrenalin rush of action and deceit.

Lisa Harris is a USA Today bestselling author, a Christy Award winner, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel from Romantic Times for her novels Blood Covenant and Vendetta. The author of more than forty books, including The Escape, The Chase, The Traitor’s Pawn, Vanishing Point, A Secret to Die For, and Deadly Intentions, as well as The Nikki Boyd Files and the Southern Crimes series, Harris and her family have spent over 17 years living as missionaries in southern Africa and currently are living there.
Gets the full U.S. Marshals series
(The Chase, The Escape, The Catch)
& a tote bag.
(US only; ends midnight, CDT, 4/22/2022)


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Cover Reveal: Perfect Payback by Bill Briscoe


The Pepperman Mystery Series
Genre: Fiction
Categories: Mystery / Thriller / Suspense
Expected Publication: February, 2022
Number of Pages: 250 pages 

When Jim and Laura Pepperman find a musty German Olympic jacket and an old journal in their attic, they stumble onto a gripping pre-World War II story of a cousin Jim knows nothing about.

After a career-ending injury forces Hans Pepperman to lose his spot on the 1936 Olympic boxing team, he trades his athletic aspirations for a degree in mechanical engineering and secures his dream job working for the famous Willy Messerschmitt. Tasked to solve the stalling issues of the BF109 fighter plane engine, Hans finds himself smack in the middle of the Abwher Intelligence Service’s radar. Pro-Germany but anti-Nazi, he reluctantly agrees to help flush out the spy leaking secret information on the BF109 engine to foreign agencies . . . and finds himself a suspect of espionage and murder. Unsure who to trust, he must unravel the tangle of lies he’s caught in before he falls prey to the Nazi agenda slowly and stealthily taking over the country he loves.



Prequel – Pepperman’s Promise

Book One – Perplexity

Book Two – Panic Point

Award-winning author Bill Briscoe grew up in the oil and gas refinery town of Phillips in the Texas Panhandle. As his retirement was on the horizon, he had an idea about a book. That idea became Pepperman’s Promise, the prequel to The Pepperman Mystery Series, leading to Perplexity, Panic Point, and now Perfect Payback, books one, two, and three of the series. Bill and his wife of over fifty years live in West Texas.


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Author Video & Giveaway: Since You’ve Been Gone by Tari Faris

Restoring Heritage Series, #3
Tari Faris
Genre: Fiction / Christian / Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: September 7, 2021
Number of Pages: 336 pages
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With her vision and his know-how, this thing just might work . . .

Leah Williams is back in the quaint town of Heritage, Michigan, and ready to try again to make her business a success. But blank slates are hard to come by, and a piece of her past is waiting for her there. Heir to the Heritage Fruits company, Jonathan Kensington is the guy who not only made Leah’s past difficult, but he also seems determined to complicate her present as well.

In order to avoid forcing a buyout of Leah’s building, Jon will have to strike a compromise. Can the two of them work together? Or will their troubled past set the tone for their future?

Author Video

Inspiration for Since You’ve Been Gone

The question author Tari Faris says she gets asked most often is: what is the inspiration for each book? Her response? “Although there are many pieces to that, here is a peek at the inspiration of Leah’s story in Since You Been Gone.

Tari Faris is the author of You Belong with Me and Until I Met You. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, she is the projects manager for My Book Therapy, writes for learnhowtowriteanovel.com, and is a 2017 Genesis Award winner. She has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and lives in the Phoenix, Arizona, area with her husband and their three children. Although she lives in the Southwest now, she lived in a small town in Michigan for 25 years.
A copy of the whole Restoring Heritage series,
a $10 Starbucks gift card,
and a bookish sticker pack!
(US only. Ends 10/22/21.)

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Review & Giveaway: The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner


Publisher: Revell
Pub Date: July 6, 2021
Pages: 368 pages
Categories: Fiction / Christian / General

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In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family–but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

“Susie Finkbeiner has such an inviting and distinctive voice as a writer that you’ll gladly follow it–and follow her–to any setting.”–Valerie Fraser Luesse, Christy Award-winning author of Under the Bayou Moon


The Nature of Small Birds by Susie Finkbeiner is a beautifully written novel that spans nearly four decades and is told from the perspective of a father, mother, and their first born daughter. At first glance, this book is about the impact of adopting a Vietnamese orphan at a time when our nation was divided over its involvement in the Vietnam War. A timely narrative given our current state of affairs, definitely. But if the title of the book is a clue to the deeper meaning behind this story, I would say that this is more about how people in general are essentially the same; specifically, small children (the metaphorical small birds) and their inevitable departure from the nest.

The perspective and the timeline shifts every chapter. In 2013, we get Bruce’s point of view as a man providing emotional support to his family, particularly the women, as they struggle with their various stages of life. In 1975, we see things from Linda’s perspective as a woman who set aside dreams of being a musician to live a simple life – or so she thought. In 1988, we get Sonny’s delightfully angsty point of view as a teenage girl with a complicated but loving relationship with her adopted sister Mindy. 

Finkbeiner does an excellent job of differentiating between the characters and maintaining credible voices while driving the story forward. I really admire her choice to stick to one character’s viewpoint for each time period because it allows us to see how every character – not just the narrator at that particular point in time – develops as they interact with each other and face difficult times, both as individuals and together as a family.

As the story of Mindy’s adoption and integration into the family and their small community unfolds, there are so many wonderfully vivid moments that we are privy to that range from comical to frustrating, but with a constant undertone of sentimentality. My only real complaint about this story is the omission of certain details that I am sure other readers would want to know. I will not elaborate further on this because I do not want to spoil any of the plot. But I think it speaks volumes to the talent of an author when the only critique is that she should have given us more to read.

So who is this story for? I think that anyone who enjoys reading will love this book. But I think that this novel will especially speak to those who love books like Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club and Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook. I know I know, those books are completely different from each other, but I think that once you read The Nature of Small Birds, you will catch my drift.

Susie Finkbeiner is the CBA bestselling author of All Manner of Things, which was selected as a 2020 Michigan Notable Book, and Stories That Bind Us,as well as A Cup of Dust, A Trail of Crumbs, and A Song of Home. She serves on the Fiction Readers Summit planning committee, volunteers her time at Ada Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and speaks at retreats and women’s events across the country. Susie and her husband have three children and live in West Michigan.

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Review & Giveaway: Out and In by Pat Dunlap Evans

a mystery-thriller
Genre: Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Publisher: A.M. Chai Literary
Date of Publication: April 27, 2016
Number of Pages: 316
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Stunning beauty and amateur cellist Marie Donovan finds herself in deep trouble after her pro-quarterback husband dives off a Dallas high rise—many say in shame after his shady investments go sour. Just months later, the grieving Marie faces capital murder charges for the death of a lecherous opera maestro. When hard evidence points squarely at her, only her best friend and defense lawyer believe her.
Marie is no stranger to struggle. During her six years as an NFL Football wife, she fends off groupies eager to take her man, all the while feeling lost in her husband’s macho culture. Studying the cello becomes Marie’s solace until her hard-drinking husband retires after an injury. Returning to Dallas, he plays with high society’s money in an investment scheme until winning at all costs leaves Marie and her twin sons on the hook for millions.
Scorned by society friends, charged with murder, Marie pins her hopes on hunky defense lawyer Ryan Ingles, one of Cole’s college football pals. After Ryan’s legal team discovers some of the maestro’s dark secrets, Marie and Ryan’s investigative troupe travel to exotic islands in search of clues Cole left behind. As the tropics weave a romantic spell, a corrupt offshore banker dashes Marie’s hopes. She wonders if she’ll ever be free of blame…and able to claim her own place in this world.


Out and In is the perfect mystery-thriller for the beach, a long flight, or to savor before bed…an exciting but heartfelt story about a beautiful woman who struggles to prove her innocence … As for the ending, I am still stunned.” — Lara Reznik, Amazon best-selling author of The Girl from Long Guyland and Bagels and Salsa.
“Could not put it down, once I started reading. Definitely a must-read. Look forward to reading more books from Pat Dunlap Evans. ” — five-star Amazon review by reader “Mimi”
“Awesome…flowed nicely … definitely kept you on your toes to who actually committed the murder. The lead character was a perfect blend of hard and soft. A great read.” — five-star Amazon review by reader “Tiffany”
I have never felt such mixed emotions about a book before. I think that almost every element of this book – the setting, the plot, the characters – evoked feelings from opposite poles within myself. Take the setting: I hate Dallas; but I love the fine arts scene. Like Marie, I play the cello and love the human voice quality of it. Unlike Marie, I couldn’t imagine playing my instrument naked. I don’t love it that much. The plot: I really liked the mystery side of this book. Some authors hit you over the head with key details, thus ruining the surprise. Evans knows how to write a mystery and keep things mysterious. But the romance side of things, some details came down hard and bopped you on the nose. The characters: I felt compassion for Marie and her predicament but felt zero sympathy for her with regard to her spoiled “boys”. I guess I found it hard to believe that a go-getter like Cole wouldn’t have taught his sons how to succeed – even if that meant teaching them the wrong way to do things. 
The book cover is clever and sensual with a man (is that supposed to be Luca?) drawing a bow across the back of a woman with cello strings and f holes tattooed or drawn on her back. I’m not a fan of the font used and the decision to put “a women’s mystery-thriller” on the cover too. Bop! Right on the nose with that one. It’s nitpicky, but I think that bass clef signs should have been used instead of treble clef signs at the beginning of each chapter since that is the clef that cellos mostly play in. Speaking of the chapters, I didn’t mind the changes in point of view, but it sometimes took me a while to figure out who was talking. To be fair, there were a few chapters where Evans didn’t want us to know who was talking. I really liked those chapters where the killer(s) would talk about what they have done and how they got away with it.
The book could have used another pass on the editing table, but it was an entertaining read. I had a hunch about who the killer was and was surprised when it seemed like someone else murdered Luca. But then I got another helping of surprise when I realized that the story had not yet quite ended and then we finally get to find out whodunnit. I was hoping that Marie would have a drama free life from here on out, but I’m happy to see that this book is the beginning of a series. I recommend this book to anyone who thinks they can solve mysteries easily (yes, this is a challenge to you).
Pat Dunlap Evans was born in Michigan but “got to Texas as soon as I could,” she says. Her family lived in San Antonio and later Dallas, where she attended South Oak Cliff High School and Southern Methodist University. Pat eventually completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at University of Missouri, Kansas City, with emphasis on creative writing. She also taught freshman writing courses as a part-time lecturer.After a divorce, Pat stressed her way as a single mom through twenty-five years of high-stress advertising and marketing roles before retiring to write fiction and screenplays. She lives in the Lake Travis area with her second husband Dr. Bill Evans and enjoys travel, golf, volunteer work, sailing, and the chaos of the couple’s combined five adult children, five grandchildren, and two cockalier dogs.

Pat has published two novels, To Leave a Memory and Out and In, with a third novel Those Who Try due out soon.

Signed Copy of Out and In + $10 Amazon Gift Card
Signed Copy of Out and In + $5 Amazon Gift Card
$5 Amazon Gift Card
September 12-21, 2018


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Excerpt 1 & Giveaway: Justice Betrayed by Patricia Bradley


Genre: Fiction / Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: June 5, 2018
Number of Pages: 352
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It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators—one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken—she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?
When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?
The third installment of Bradley’s Memphis Cold Case series focuses on a cold case related to a homicide detective’s past…Bradley includes the unique character of Erin who seems as if she is a real person and takes great care to portray her respectfully.”
RT Book Reviews
(used with permission)
June 1980
Shirley traced her finger over her mother’s image in the photo, then shoved the picture into the backpack with her other possessions. Every night, she promised herself she’d leave as soon as her father parked himself in front of All in the Family and fell asleep. A band squeezed her lungs, making it impossible to breathe.
You do it tonight.
She clenched her jaw. It wasn’t that she wanted to stay. But what if he came after her and found her? Or what if the law found her? She was only fifteen, and they would drag her back to him.
After all, they’d bought her father’s story that her mom had fallen down the basement steps as she’d carried a basket of clothes to the washer. If the sheriff suspected her father had pushed his wife, he’d kept it to himself. No one wanted to get on the bad side of Big Al in their small community, not even the law.
She flinched as the back screen slapped against the doorframe. “Shir-lee! Shirley Irene, I’m hungry. Get supper on the table.”
Shirley shoved the backpack under her bed and hurried to the
kitchen, stopping at the doorway to take a deep breath. “Evening,” she mumbled.
He ignored her and turned on the television. The actor Ronald Reagan filled the screen in one of his election ads, and he snapped the set off.
“Washington’s never going to stop spending our money,” her father muttered, then he turned and laid his John Deere cap on the red Formica table.
Shirley wanted to snatch the dirty thing off the table her mother had been so proud to get from a neighbor after she updated her kitchen. She sidestepped past him to the avocado-green refrigerator to take out a package of pork chops. The sour odor of beer and sweat made her want to gag.
“Where were you this afternoon?”
She averted her eyes. “The teacher asked me to stay and help with cleaning up.”
“Look at me when I ask you a question.”
Shirley pulled her gaze past the beer gut hanging over his belt to his ruddy face and dead brown eyes.
“That’s better. You aren’t worth anything to me helping somebody else. I needed you to help load logs. Next time you tell her you have other jobs to do.”
“Yes, sir,” she said, rubbing her thumbs over the calluses on her fingers. He worked her like a mule.
“Now get supper on the table.”
Shirley grabbed an apron and tied it around her waist. At the sink, she scrubbed her hands with the pumice soap until they were almost raw. Green sink, green stove, green refrigerator. She hated green. Her heart leaped into her throat as her gaze settled on the straight razor on the counter and then traveled to the leather strap hanging on the wall. She’d forgotten to sharpen his razor. That meant another beating if she didn’t get it done before morning.
Or maybe not. She wouldn’t be here by then. She would be gone.
With her spirits lighter, she lit the fire under the pot of beans and set a skillet on another burner and fried the pork chops, not even minding when the grease popped out, burning her arm. In twenty minutes, she had supper on the table and held her breath as he tasted the food.
“Girl, can’t you do anything right? You got the beans too salty.” He shoved away from the table and stood.
Her heart plummeted. But this time she wasn’t going to take it. “You’re not going to beat me again.”
“I wouldn’t have to if you didn’t mess up all the time.” He yanked the leather strap from the wall and marched toward her. “Any fifteen-year-old should be able to cook a simple meal without ruining it.”
“I won’t do it again.” She backed up against the sink.
“This is to make sure you don’t.”
She screamed as the strap came down and barely turned in time to protect her face as the strap stung her back.
“I told you not to scream. Now you’ve gone and done it, and I have to correct you again. Turn around and face me.”
“No!” The straight razor lay on the counter waiting for her to sharpen it. She grabbed it.
“You always say that.” His fingers closed on her shoulder, and he yanked her back.
She came around swinging the knife at his throat. Blood spurted from his neck.
He grabbed his throat and staggered back. “What have you done, girl? Call an ambulance!”
With every heartbeat came more blood.
“No.” He’d beat her for sure if he lived. Shirley sucked in air. “You shouldn’t have made me do it.”
“Girl, I’m sorry.” His breath came shorter. “I won’t do it again. Now call that ambulance.”
She pressed her fingers against her mouth. He couldn’t die here. The law might not believe her. “I’ll drive you to the hospital.”
“You . . . better . . . hope I don’ . . . die.” His voice grew weaker. “Haunt you . . . never get away from me.”
Can he do that? No. When you’re dead, you’re dead.
He grasped her wrist. “Help me!”
Blood dripped onto her hair as she half supported and half dragged him through the door. “You’ve got to help me,” she said through gritted teeth. Shirley didn’t know if he heard her or not. Then he got his feet under him, barely lightening her load. “Good,” she said with a grunt.
For once she was glad of the man’s work he’d forced her to do. They stumbled once in the pitch dark of the moonless night but finally made it to the old pickup. Once she had him inside the cab, he leaned against the door, and Shirley drove toward town. They’d just reached the tavern he’d just come from when death rattled in his chest.
A quarter of a mile past the tavern, she pulled over on the shoulder of the road and stopped. The dim light of the dashboard revealed his chest no longer rose and fell as his breathing became shallower. When he took his last breath, she rested her head against the back of the seat. He was beyond hurting her ever again.
This wasn’t her fault.
“You shouldn’t have made me do it,” she said softly.
She couldn’t leave him here like this, though.
Shirley angled the pickup toward the deep ravine on the side of the road. Then she pulled his body into the driver’s seat.
After wiping the steering wheel clean, she put the truck in neutral. Then she climbed out of the pickup. Slowly, it inched toward the ravine, picking up speed until it shot down the steep grade. Shirley ran like the hound of the Pit was after her.
The explosion happened just as she got past the tavern. She looked over her shoulder as a ball of fire rose from the trees.
For the first time in her life, she drew a free breath.
Click to read Chapter 1, Part 1, coming tomorrow on the Lone Star Book Blog Tours 8/16 stop!
Patricia Bradley is the award-winning author of Justice Delayed and Justice Buried, as well as the Logan Point series. She is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc., and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. She lives in Mississippi.
GRAND PRIZE: All Three Books in the Memphis Cold Case Series + Elvis Umbrella + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
2ND PRIZE: All Three Books in the Memphis Cold Case Series
+ $15 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
3RD PRIZE: All Three Books in the Memphis Cold Case Series
+ $10 Starbucks Gift Card
August 15-24, 2018
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Review & Giveaway: The Fleecing of Fort Griffin by Preston Lewis


Genre: Western Humor 
Publisher: Wild Horse Press
Date of Publication: May 19, 2016
Number of Pages: 234

2017 Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association:
Best Creative Work on West Texas

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 When the young Englishman Baron Jerome Manchester Paget arrives in 1878 Fort Griffin with a satchel full of money to start a buffalo ranch and find a bride, a horde of colorful swindlers from throughout Texas arrive to help themselves to a rich serving of his naiveté to frontier ways.  
  With a passel of oddball characters and more twists and turns than a stagecoach trail, The Fleecing of Fort Griffin pits the baron against crooked gamblers, a one-eyed gunfighter, a savvy marshal, conniving females, a duplicitous cavalry officer and a worldly stump preacher. 
   To stay rich, the baron must stay alive!  And to stay alive, the baron must rely on a fourteen-year-old orphan and a rooster that serves as his guard animal.  Even so, the odds and the cards are stacked against the Englishman and his bold vision of becoming the baron of bison in West Texas. 
   Written by Spur Award-winning author Preston Lewis, a master of western plot twists and humor, The Fleecing of Fort Griffin takes readers on an unconventional and uproarious journey through the Old West and some of its unsavory characters.  


“… a work of colorful and humorous fiction,”
                             Albany Review
The Fleecing of Fort Griffin by Preston Lewis of San Angelo is one of the funniest westerns I’ve ever read.”
                             Glenn Dromgoole, Texas Reads
“If you’re looking for a delightful tale, check out The Fleecing of Fort Griffin.” 
                             Bryan Eagle

As a fan of Bluster’s Last Stand, I can’t tell you just how much I looked forward to reading this book. Lewis has the rare talent of being able to write about some of the most gruesome times in our country’s history and make us laugh until we’re out of breath. His characters, partially or completely fictionalized, are colorful and so completely drawn in that you can practically see them.
The Fleecing of Fort Griffin introduces a British character who seems to even influence the narrative voice in the beginning of the novel. Something about Lewis’s turn of phrase in the opening chapter read like a classic British novel. It was almost too descriptive and the stage was set at sort of a languid pace. But then again, maybe the Texas heat was to blame for the sluggish descriptions.
It’s the description of the characters that I savor and would like to sop up every little detail. Count on Lewis to present every sort of person you would expect in a Western, and then some. With the exception of young Sammy, I had a feeling that everybody in that town, locals and visitors alike, were full of bullshit.
The title hits you over the head with a key bit of information from the start: Fort Griffin is about to be had. But you’re constantly guessing at how the chips will fall, what kind of hand the baron is going to be dealt… you get the idea. And while you worry about the British guy’s well-being, you have to wonder if a red herring will make an appearance. At times, the set up feels like the great-grandaddy of Ocean’s 11, at other times it reminded me of a rugby match. How there’s a dog pile of people jostling for position, constantly in motion (no down, set, hike like American football), and the progress can be so minute that you didn’t realize they’ve moved down the field a bit.
“The baron attracted business like dung drew flies,” (p. 68) was a particularly apt description of the man who reeled in all sorts of people who were just after his money. It was entertaining to watch seasoned scam artists leave whatever town they last duped to follow the money, and even law enforcement and military officers plotting to win some money off of him via gambling.
My only issue with the book is the cover. At first glance, the cover is among the best I have seen in a while. But upon closer inspection and after having finished reading the book, I’m pretty sure the baron’s hat is incorrect. He is said to wear a bowler, which, according to Google is accurate in the West, but it appears he’s wearing a top hat. Also, the money overflowing from his satchel are American greenbacks. I’m pretty sure the satchel only contained British pounds. Any American money he picked up along the way was usually stashed on his person. And lastly, the baron is missing his beard. Nitpicks aside, the art looks fantastic.

            Preston Lewis is the Spur Award-winning author of 30 western, juvenile and historical novels, including The Fleecing of Fort Griffin, a western caper published by Wild Horse Press.  Fleecing won the 2017 Elmer Kelton Award from the West Texas Historical Association (WTHA) for best creative work on West Texas. 
     Lewis is best known for his comic novels in The Memoirs of H.H. Lomax series. 
Bluster’s Last Stand, a novel about Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn, is the latest volume in the well-received series 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). 
           Blood of Texas, Lewis’s historical novel on the Texas Revolution, received WWA’s Spur Award for Best Western Novel.  His True West article on the Battle of Yellowhouse Canyon won a Spur Award for Best Nonfiction Article.  In addition to his two Spurs from WWA, Lewis has earned three Elmer Kelton Awards from WTHA.
       Lewis’s novels have appeared under the imprint of national publishing houses such as Bantam, Zebra and HarperCollins and of regional publishing companies like Eakin Press and Wild Horse Press.  His short works have appeared in publications as varied as Louis L’Amour Western Magazine, Persimmon Hill, Dallas Morning News, True West, 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 bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Baylor and Ohio State universities.  He earned a second master’s degree in history from Angelo State University.  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.  


1ST PRIZE: Signed Copy of The Fleecing of Fort Griffin
Choice of Any One Book from the H.H. Lomax Series
2ND PRIZE: Signed Copy of The Fleecing of Fort Griffin
MARCH 20-29, 2018

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Dear Diary: My Brother Died Today by Suzanne Gene Courtney

Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours presents
by Suzanne Gene Courtney

Author: Suzanne Gene Courtney
Genre: Children’s Book>Death & Dying>Grief
# of pages: 32 pages

A seven-year-old girl records the sudden death of her beloved older brother by writing her personal feelings in her diary. In her own innocent way, she tells about being able to see him when no one else can. She embraces this ability and is not afraid.

Throughout this tender book, the little girl relates her experiences in feeling her brother’s nearness, even when she cannot see him anymore. In her own trusting way, she knows that everything will be all right, and through her honest feelings, she is able to help her parents cope with their loss. She also learns about angels and knows that her brother is safe.

Dear Diary: My Brother Died Today is the third in a trilogy about the circle of life. The story enables children to perceive the life in heaven that awaits them. Although fictional, the story’s events could actually happen.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a children’s book about grief or dying, and I forgot how writing so simple can affect you so deeply. Courtney does a great job of emulating the writing and drawings of a young girl grieving the loss of her big brother. You can tell that she has been around children because the story feels genuine and is certainly heartfelt. I think that this book would be great for young children who might have trouble expressing their feelings at the loss of a loved one. However, I think the spiritual element might be off putting if the family does not believe in an afterlife and angels.

Suzanne Gene (Davis) Courtney comes from a family of teachers. She has taught several subjects and grade levels over a span of thirty years. Retiring in 2011, she moved to Austin, TX, in 2015 to be closer to her children and

grandchildren and continue her writing aspirations.

Suzanne has three children, Laura, Gregg, and Daniel. Daniel passed away unexpectedly in 1997 in Hawaii, where he was born. Devastated, she began to write. At first, she wrote poems of angst and darkness, then while healing, poems of understanding and hope surfaced.
To date, she has authored five books, with another due later this year. Four of the six books deal with death and grief with words of support to help the bereaved. Being a former elementary teacher, she has worked with many children experiencing loss. Two of her books, incorporate her experiences while traveling and are meant for pure reading enjoyment. Book awards to date are: Indie Excellence Award (Finalist), Character Building Counts Award (Silver), Great Southwest Book Festival (Honorable Mention), and Pacific Rim Book Festival (Honorable Mention).
Book signings at various sites around Texas so far include: the Author Extravaganza in Llano, and the Texas Book Festival in Austin. She will be presenting her books for the classroom in several schools in the area soon.


Suzanne is a member of the following organizations: SCBWI Austin, The Writers League of TX, Texas Authors Association, Alpha Xi Delta Alumni, and Reiki Master Teacher.
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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Wade Watts is like any other teenage kid in this messed up world (there’s mass poverty, pollution, hunger, you name it) until the creator of an online simulation, OASIS, passes away and leaves behind a high stakes treasure hunt. Find the Easter egg in OASIS and you will inherit controlling shares of the company and hundreds of billions of dollars. Suddenly, the online community is wide awake as everyone scrutinizes every detail of the creator’s life (and his obsession with the 80’s) in order to find the 3 keys that unlock 3 gates. But years pass and nobody finds a thing. Wade spends those years wisely, becoming an expert on the life of the creator and submersing himself in all things 80’s. When he’s the first person to get through the first gate, the game is back on. Alliances are formed among gamers and corporate scum use their power and money to try to take control.

I’m a little embarrassed that I was late to this party. I had this ARC sitting on my shelf for years and finally cracked it open because I hit a reading slump. I was immediately consumed by the smart and funny writing. After a Rush reference, I thought, What is it with the 80’s and Rush? since one of my all-time favorite movies, Fanboys, talks about Rush a lot too. Turns out, Cline wrote Fanboys. Explains a lot. Haha! Of course, this inspired some Googling on my side and I found out that Spielberg is directing the movie. I think the press release came out a month before I read the book, so I really can’t get over the coincidence (more of that magic I mentioned earlier). Mind you, this book came out in 2013(?).

On a sad note, Robin Williams read and loved this book and wanted to take part in it. I think he would’ve added so much color to this movie.

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