Tag Archives: Friendship

Review & Giveaway: Cowboy Charm School by Margaret Brownley


COWBOY CHARM SCHOOL 
HAYWIRE BRIDES, #1

by
MARGARET BROWNLEY
Sub-genre: Western / Clean Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Date of Publication: September 4, 2018
Number of Pages: 384
Scroll down for Giveaway!
When Texas Ranger Brett Tucker accidentally derails a wedding, he’s determined to bring the estranged couple back together…but he never dreamed he’d start falling for the bride!
Texas Ranger Brett Tucker hates to break up a wedding, but the groom—notorious criminal Frank Foster—is a danger to any woman. So he busts into the church, guns blazing…only to find he has the wrong man.
 
STOP THAT WEDDING!
Bride-to-be Kate Denver is appalled by her fiancé’s over-the-top reaction to the innocent mistake and calls off the wedding—for good. Guilt-ridden, Brett’s desperate to get them back on track. But the more time he spends with Kate, the harder he falls…and the more he yearns to prove that he’s her true match in every way.
“Light and airy as cotton candy, this tale charms.” 
— Publishers Weekly
 
CLICK TO PURCHASE!
review
From the very first chapter, I could tell that this book wasn’t written by your typical romance novelist. I can’t put my finger on it, but perhaps it is Brownley’s word choice – none of those overused descriptions we see in most western romance novels – that sets this book apart from all the other romance novels I have read. Or maybe it’s because that first chapter, so suspenseful and visceral, doesn’t read like a romance at all. But don’t worry, come chapter two, you definitely know that you have picked up a romance novel, if the pretty book cover hasn’t tipped you off yet.
If you follow my blog, you know that I have recently reviewed another western romance that featured a young woman who makes candy for a living and eventually falls in love with a law man. You can rest easy that this book is completely different and exciting to read. The search for the robbers is paced nicely with very subtle clues about who the culprits might be. Kate’s job as the town’s candymaker is more than just a quaint occupation she holds, but a family legacy and vehicle with which she spreads hope and goodwill to the citizens of Haywire.
The part that I enjoyed most, that also had me sighing with exasperation at times, was Brett’s tutelage of Frank – very Cyrano de Bergerac. Although, I got the impression that Brett was easier on the eyes than Frank, which is not the typical Cyrano reincarnation. The whole “Cowboy Charm School” thing had me at war with myself. The idea that a guy can learn to be more romantic was sweet, but at what point is it like the games guys play nowadays just to land the girl? And the sticky situation of falling in love with someone that you’re trying to help someone else woo, that doesn’t usually work out well either. No matter, it was fun to read and to guess how it would work out in the end.
While Brownley’s language is beautiful, it’s not too flowery. There are no wasted descriptions or useless dialogue. I really am amazed that although this book can be considered a mystery, it very solidly reads like the western romance that it is classified as. I look forward to reading about the other Haywire brides.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves a cozy romance, but also to anyone who likes mysteries as well.
New York Times bestselling author MARGARET BROWNLEY has penned more than forty-five novels and novellas. She’s a two-time Romance Writers of American RITA® finalist and has written for a TV soap. She is also a recipient of the Romantic Times Pioneer Award.  
 
Her story, A Pony Express Christmas, will appear this fall in the Old West Christmas Brides collection, and book two of her Haywire Brides series will be published May 2019.  Not bad for someone who flunked eighth-grade English.  Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.
◆  WEBSITE  ◆  FACEBOOK  ◆  TWITTER


————————————— 
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
Signed Copy + $10 Amazon Gift Card
September 24-October 3, 2018
(US ONLY)

 

 

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
9/24/18
Excerpt
9/24/18
Excerpt
9/25/18
Review
9/26/18
Author Interview
9/26/18
Top Ten List
9/27/18
Review
9/28/18
Guest Post
9/28/18
Author Interview
9/29/18
Review
9/30/18
Guest Post
9/30/18
Excerpt
10/1/18
Review
10/2/18
Guest Post
10/3/18
Review
10/3/18
Review
blog tour services provided by

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

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

Review & Giveaway: Why I Hate Green Beans by Lincee Ray

WHY I HATE GREEN BEANS
and other confessions about relationships, reality tv, and how we see ourselves
by
LINCEE RAY
  
Genre: Humorous NonFiction / Memoir
Publisher: Revell
Facebook   ⎸ Twitter
Date of Publication: February 6, 2018
Number of Pages: 208

Scroll down for the giveaway!

Insecurity. As women, we all struggle with it. Our skinny jeans mock us. Our age-defying serums with flecks of gold refuse to erase our crow’s feet. Our social media feeds taunt us with everyone else’s picture-perfect lives. If you’ve ever felt uninteresting, unlovable, or unattractive, you’re ready for Lincee Ray’s particular brand of hilarious (and hard-hitting) self-reflection.
Like a trustworthy friend, she shows us that the fastest way to happiness is to embrace ourselves in all our imperfection and trust that God knew what He was doing when He made us. From maneuvering the muffin top to navigating the sketchy waters of singleness to walking the judgmental halls of the workplace, Lincee’s laugh-out-loud look at real life reveals many of the key truths she’s learned about her identity:
Yoga pants are your friend, Jesus sees you, and green-bean diets are never the answer.

PRAISE FOR WHY I HATE GREEN BEANS:
“Lincee is a brilliant writer. She once described me as ‘smelling of worn leather, a vintage nine iron and swagger.’ She pretty much nailed it. She is definitely worthy of the final rose.” —Chris Harrison, host of ABC’s Bachelor franchise and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
“I found myself laughing out loud, wiping away a few tears, and cheering her on every step of the way. Lincee is the best friend you wish you had. Get ready to fall in love with her and her fabulous debut book!”  —Melanie Shankle, author of the Big Mama blog 
“By the end of this book, you’ll think of Lincee as a favorite friend: someone who shoots straight, finds the funny in every situation, and reminds you what matters most. You are in for a treat!” —Sophie Hudson, author of Giddy Up, Eunice and cohost of The Big Boo Cast podcast


Review
For a good while, I thought there was another girl in Texas living my exact same life. I, too, am an introvert with extrovert tendencies. Ray and I share the discomfort of people noticing us out in public, but are totally fine dancing up a storm or stealing the mic to sing our lungs out. We also dated a younger guy in high school who we left behind when we went to college. And there our stories diverged, but I continued to be captivated.
Was it her Disney internship that had me chomping at the bit? I had always dreamed of being Mulan or Pocahontas. Or perhaps it was the funny coincidence that we both worked in oil and gas. Those are just a few places where our adult lives intersected, but I found so much that I could relate to. As I read on, I realized that Ray had a few years on me, but we share the same generation. Our parents were different but the same in many ways, just like we are. And the pop references from childhood through adulthood kept me thoroughly entertained.
As a Christian, I appreciated her sprinkles of scripture here and there. But to be honest, I was a little taken aback when she really goes full on Bible at the end. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I feel compelled to write it here. I guess I hadn’t really seen the book going in that direction all along. But if that section brings someone to Christ, or closer to Him, I can get behind that. I know that I can always use the reminder about the Refiner’s Fire. Everyone knows the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But I always loved the Biblical imagery of your hardship being the equivalent of you being thrust into the fire and each strike making you stronger.
Some of my favorite parts include the section where her friends share stories about her with their children. I like how she has a comical quip to add at the end of each anecdote. I loved how she had a great Language Arts teacher (they’re always the best for some reason) that assigned a coat of arms design assignment like mine did. I can’t remember all the bits on mine, but I do know that the young me held a lot of the same values and quirks as me today.
My only regret is that Ray never tried Events and Adventures. I’ve been begging my single friends to give it a try and report back, you know, for science. Maybe she could include it in her next book – the one about all the crazies she met while speed dating.
I think women in all walks of life would enjoy this book, but especially ’70s and ’80s kids. If there’s a pre-teen or teen girl in your life that’s got it rough, the first few chapter are really uplifting. I plan on sharing this book with my group of gal pals.

Lincee Ray is an accidental blogging superstar from Texas who now writes for EW.com and the Associated Press. An active speaker, she can be found at her popular website ihategreenbeans.com, where she makes it clear that she believes it’s important to tell your story—even if it makes you seem a little crazy.

Connect with Lincee!
 ║ Blog║ Facebook  Twitter   
Instagram Podcast 


————————————-
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
FEBRUARY 13-22, 2018
GRAND PRIZE:
Copy of Why I Hate Green Beans with a signed book plate, $50 Barnes & Noble Gift Card, and Lincee’s Loves Basket which includes: Rave travel hairspray, Minnie Mouse ears, Vodka*, Heartbreakers Candy, Dr. Pepper, chocolate rose, and green jelly beans.
2nd PRIZE:
Copy of Why I Hate Green Beans with a signed book plate, $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
3rd PRIZE:
Copy of Why I Hate Green Beans with a signed book plate, $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
(U.S. Only; *proof of age required for vodka)

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

2/13/18
Notable Quotable
2/13/18
Notable Quotable
2/14/18
Review
2/15/18
Playlist
2/15/18
Author Interview
2/16/18
Review
2/17/18
Guest Post
2/17/18
Excerpt
2/18/18
Review
2/19/18
Notable Quotable
2/19/18
Notable Quotable
2/20/18
Review
2/21/18
Top Five
2/22/18
Review
2/22/18
Review
   blog tour services provided by
  

 

3 Comments

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

Review: Whisper Hollow by Chris Cander

WHISPER HOLLOW

 

by

 

Chris Cander
Genre: Literary Fiction / Friendship
Publisher: Other Press
Date of Publication: March 17, 2016
Number of Pages: 400

 

Scroll down for Giveaway!

 

 

Set in a small coal-mining town, Whisper Hollow is full of secrets, love, and betrayal, where Catholicism casts a long shadow and three courageous women make choices that will challenge our own moral convictions.
            One morning in Verra, a town nestled into the hillsides of West Virginia, the young Myrthen Bergmann is playing tug-of-war with her twin, when her sister is killed. Unable to accept her own guilt, Myrthen excludes herself from all forms of friendship and affection and begins a twisted, haunted life dedicated to God. Meanwhile, her neighbor Alta Krol longs to be an artist even as her days are taken up caring for her widowed father and siblings. Everything changes when Myrthen marries the man Alta loves. Fourteen years later, we meet Lidia, a teenage girl in the same town, and her precocious son, Gabriel. When Gabriel starts telling eerily prescient stories that hint at Verra’s long-buried secrets, it’s not long before the townspeople begin to suspect that the boy harbors evil spirits—an irresistible state of affairs for Myrthen and her obsession with salvation. Rendered in exquisite prose, Whisper Hollow is an extended reflection on guilt, redemption and the affirmation of life in this early 20th century Appalachian community.
PRAISE FOR WHISPER HOLLOW . . .

 

~Kirkus Reviews (STARRED REVIEW)
“Cander divinely delves into multiple points of view, crafting a collage of vibrant, layered characters while charting six decades of poignant, precise moments. A distinctive novel that sublimely measures the distressed though determined heartbeat of a small mountain community.”
~Shelf Awareness (STARRED REVIEW)
“Cander weaves together the stories of these varied characters across nearly five decades with skill and grace, and in her hands, Whisper Hollow grows into much more than the sum of its many parts. The result is a memorable novel about the bonds of town and family, the strength of friendships in unlikely places and the power of secrets to shape a life–or many lives–often without anyone even recognizing it.”
~Booklist
“Cander superbly envisions the town, its residents’ dynamics, and the early twentieth-century immigrant experience…[and] rewards the reader with…well-developed, believable characters whose mental fortitude and capacity to love linger in the reader’s mind long after the last page.”
~Publishers Weekly
“[Whisper Hollow] is inextricably rooted in West Virginia coal country—the rough locale that determines and intertwines [Cander’s] characters’ fates…Cander closely tracks how Myrthen’s and Alta’s romantic decisions unknowingly complicate each other’s lives in the lead-up to a tragic incident that bisects the novel…[and] admirably captures the lack of choice that men and women have in rural West Virginia.”
~Library Journal
“Spare, elegant writing by the author of 11 Stories evokes a bleak atmosphere and creates a smooth, compelling narrative… much of the prose is so outstanding, this writer is clearly gifted.  Give this literary, plot-driven novel to those who enjoy the West Virginia setting and who like a gentle handling of their tragedies.”

 

 

CLICK TO PURCHASE

 

* or Signed Copies from Brazos Bookstore *
300b2-review
Just the title, “Whisper Hollow” has an eeriness to it that lets you brace yourself for tragedy. The opening scene of two immigrants seeking a new life in America seems to ride against that feeling, but it comes back in full force when Cander tells you that there is something up with one of the 5-year-old twins conceived by those immigrants. When the twin girls fight over a rag doll, you wince in anticipation of catastrophe. And you know the “bad” twin will come out on top.
The story often jumps forward in time to another character and you’re not sure how it will all tie together. But Cander’s language is so descriptive and lovely that you don’t mind reading on for a while to see how the new storyline ties in with the last.
Alta is described as not being particularly pretty or memorable, but I was drawn to her immediately. Perhaps because I felt overlooked growing up as well. I was excited on her behalf when the object of her affection notices her, but held back a little because I sensed that things weren’t going to tie up nicely between them. In the spirit of not spoiling anything, I will leave it at that.
I’ve never really thought about just how much a single industry can mean everything to a town. The coal mines are the means by which men provide for their families, but it’s also a profession that many try to avoid because it is so perilous. And while mining was steady work for many, even more would meet their demise from black lung or accidents.
Cander doesn’t go into too much detail down in the mines, but the coal dust is almost a secondary character that is painstakingly difficult to escape. Much like guilt, it is difficult to remove from the crevices of one’s hands.
Guilt is the driving force behind so many things in this novel. Guilt of passion leads to a loveless marriage, while the guilt of infidelity keeps a different couple in a loveless marriage as well. There is plenty of guilt all around, some earned and some not. The guilt of harming others while hiding behind God and religion is the one that annoyed me the most. I know that’s not fair, but I have less patience for that sort of thing.
 I really can’t enthuse how much I enjoyed this novel without giving away something important. So let me just say that while I prefer happy endings, I am happy with this ending. I enjoyed every moment of this book. Not a word or sentence were squandered to tell such an outstanding story.

 

Chris Cander is a novelist, children’s book author, screenplay writer, and writer-in-residence for Houston-based Writers in the Schools. Her novel Whisper Hollow was selected as an Indie Next pick and nominated for the 2015 Kirkus Prize in fiction and her award-winning novel 11 Stories was included in Kirkus’s best indie general fiction of 2013. Her children’s book The Word Burglar received the silver 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards for Reading Skills & Literacy. Her animated feature film Germs! is currently in pre-production with Cinsesite in partnership with Comic Animations. Chris well knows that the pen is mightier than the sword, but she’s willing to wield one of those, too. A former fitness competitor and model, she currently holds a 3rd dan in taekwondo and is a certified ICSU Women’s Defensive Tactics Instructor. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Author’s Guild, the Writers’ League of Texas, PEN, and MENSA.

  
 ————————————— 

 

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

THREE SIGNED COPIES w/SIGNED ORIGINAL BOOKPLATES!

 

(US ONLY)

 

September 13September 22, 2016

 

 

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

 

9/26
Author Interview 1
9/27
Review
9/28
Video Guest Post
9/29
Author Interview 2
9/30
Review
10/1
Excerpt
10/2
Promo
10/3
Review
10/4
Author Interview 3
10/5
Review

 


 


 

blog tour services provided by:

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Giveaway, Lone Star Book Blog Tours