Book Blitz and Giveaway: 70% Dark Intentions by Amber Royer | Lone Star Book Blog Tours

70% DARK INTENTIONS
Bean to Bar Mysteries Book 2
by
AMBER ROYER
Categories: Cozy Mystery / Woman Sleuth / Romance
Publisher: Golden Tip Press
Date of Publication: July 20, 2021
Number of Pages: 260 pages
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An Idyllic Chocolate Shop. An island with endangered species. And a murder.
Felicity Koerber’s bean to bar chocolate shop on Galveston’s historic Strand is bringing in plenty of customers – in part due to the notoriety of the recent murder of one of her assistants, which she managed to solve. Things seem to be taking a turn for the better. Her new assistant, Mateo, even gets along with Carmen, the shop’s barista turned pastry chef. Felicity thinks she’s learning to cope with change – right up until one of her friends gets engaged. Everyone’s expecting her to ask Logan, her former bodyguard, to be her plus one. But even the thought of asking out someone else still makes her feel disloyal to her late husband’s memory — so maybe she hasn’t moved on from her husband’s death as much as she thought.

Felicity isn’t planning to contact Logan any time soon. Only, Felicity finds ANOTHER body right outside her shop – making it two murders at Greetings and Felicitations in as many months. That night, Mateo disappears, leaving Felicity to take care of his pet octopus. The police believe that Mateo committed the murder, but Felicity is convinced that, despite the mounting evidence, something more is going on, and Mateo may actually be in trouble.

When Logan assumes that he’s going to help Felicity investigate, she realizes she’s going to have to spend time with him – whether she’s ready to really talk to him or not. Can Felicity find out what happened to Mateo, unmask a killer, and throw an engagement party all at the same time?

PRAISE FOR 70% DARK INTENTIONS:

“Royer has concocted a sweetly dark confection with 70% DARK INTENSIONS, the second serving in her Bean to Bar Mysteries series…You’ll read this yummy treat late into the night.” –Amy Shojai, author of September Day & Shadow pet-centric thrillers

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Amber Royer writes the CHOCOVERSE comic telenovela-style foodie-inspired space opera series, and the BEAN TO BAR MYSTERIES. She is also the author of STORY LIKE A JOURNALIST: A WORKBOOK FOR NOVELISTS, which boils down her writing knowledge into an actionable plan involving over 100 worksheets to build a comprehensive story plan for your novel. She blogs about creative writing technique and all things chocolate at www.amberroyer.com. She also teaches creative writing for both UT Arlington Continuing Education and Writing Workshops Dallas. If you are very nice to her, she might make you cupcakes.
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Autographed copy of 70% DARK INTENTIONS
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Book Review and Giveaway: Deadly Business by Anita Dickason | Lone Star Book Blog Tours

DEADLY BUSINESS
by Anita Dickason
Pages: 324 pages
Publication Date: July 4, 2021
Genre: Suspense / Thriller / Crime Thriller


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With You I Am

A Texas Multi-Billion Dollar Lure!

Following a tactical raid at an Oklahoma farm, a phone call sends U.S. Deputy Marshal Piper McKay rushing back to the East Texas cattle ranch where she grew up. Her grandmother, Jennie Layton, is near death from a crushed skull. When local authorities claim the cause of the injury was an accident, Piper isn’t convinced.

Who wants Jennie dead and why? Is the reason connected to a dubious contract Piper finds in Jennie’s desk? Piper realizes her grandmother isn’t the only one in danger when she barely escapes a deadly attack. Thrust into the middle of a high-stakes, high-risk shell game, Piper’s become the target. The case takes a bizarre turn when Piper unknowingly crosses paths with a Special Ranger. If he can’t derail her investigation, it could cost him his life.

With millions of dollars on the line, nothing will stop a ring of cold-blooded killers, including the murders of a U.S. Marshal and a Special Ranger.

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A couple of months back, I had the chance to participate in the cover reveal for Anita Dickason’s Deadly Business. So I was delighted to have the opportunity to participate in the blog tour and review the book. And boy, am I glad I read it!
The book opens with our protagonist, U.S. Marshal Piper McKay, on a raid. As the raid wraps up, she gets word that her grandmother, Jen, was seriously injured when she was thrown from her horse. Jen took Piper in after her parents were killed, and Piper is skeptical that any horse could throw Jen. When she gets back to the ranch where she grew up, Piper talks to Grady, the ranch foreman, and does a little investigating of her own. She soon realizes that something is out of line. And then we’re off and running.
I could not love this book more if I were twins. It grabs you by the heart and the throat from the beginning, and it does. not. let. up. The action is intense, the emotion Piper and Grady feel over Jen’s injury and whether or not she’ll recover is wrenching, and the characters are vividly drawn. I’d love to know how much of Piper is drawn from the author’s own life experiences in law enforcement, because the book sure reads like Ms. Dickason is writing what she knows.
I love Piper, of course, because who doesn’t love a strong woman who takes no crap and does a great job in a typically male-dominated field? Her relationship with her boss and co-workers is excellent – she says she needs help, and she gets it, no questions asked. We should all have such great working relationships! Grady is wonderful, too. He helps Jen keep the ranch running smoothly, and he’s a great cook, too. If there are more books in Piper’s world, I’d love to see some of Grady’s recipes added in at the end! Jen is the heart of the story. Everyone revolves around her, and their care and concern for her is palpable.
While romance can sometimes be a distraction in a good thriller, the chemistry between Piper and Cade Tanner works here. It isn’t insta-romance. It’s a slow burn that hints of romance and fireworks yet to come. I hope we see more of their relationship in later books.
And I learned some things in this book, too! The information included about cattle breeding and certain characteristics that make one animal more desirable over another was fascinating to me. I didn’t grow up a rancher’s daughter, but I was a farmer’s daughter, so anything that can relate back to what I learned in 4-H, I’m all about learning more on the subject. I loved the factual details included in the book.
If I hadn’t had to work while I was reading Deadly Business, I probably would have stayed up and finished it all in one night. It’s that good. I nearly got myself in trouble by reading past my lunch break at work. It’s a well-written, engaging, hair-raising ride with a plot that rings true and characters you either love or love to hate. Give me more.
Five bad-guy butt-kickin’ stars. If you enjoy a good thriller, go grab this one. Quick. (Or scroll down and enter the giveaway and see if you can get yourself a copy for FREE!)

About the Author

Anita Dickason

Award-winning Author Anita Dickason is a twenty-two veteran of the Dallas Police Department. She served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics detective, advanced accident investigator, tactical officer, and first female sniper on the Dallas SWAT team.
Anita writes about what she knows, cops and crime. Her police background provides an unending source of inspiration for her plots and characters. Many incidents and characters portrayed in her books are based on personal experience. For her, the characters are the fun part of writing as she never knows where they will take her. There is always something out of the ordinary in her stories.
In Anita’s debut novel, Sentinels of the Night, she created an elite FBI Unit, the Trackers. Since then, she has added three more Tracker crime thrillers, Going Gone!, A u 7 9, and Operation Navajo. The novels are not a series and can be read in any order.
As a Texas author, many of Anita’s books are based in Texas, or there is a link to Texas. When she stepped outside of the Tracker novels and wrote, Not Dead, she selected Meridian, a small community in central Texas for the location.

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st: Autographed hardcover copy + tote back, mousepad, pen, & bookmark;
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nd: Tote bag, coaster, pen, & bookmark;
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rd & 4th: eBook copy.

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Book Review and Giveaway: Inclined Elders by Ramona Oliver | Lone Star Book Blog Tours


INCLINED ELDERS

BY RAMONA OLIVER

Publisher: BookBaby
Publication Date: July 24, 2020
Pages: 246 Pages
Categories: Nonfiction / Positive Aging


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THIS BOOK WILL BE INVALUABLE IF YOU:

· Have a desire to continue living a purposeful life, no matter what your age.

· Are interested in learning how to maintain a positive attitude from adulthood to elderhood.

· Want to learn how to create a living legacy and serve as a role model for future generations.

WHY EMBRACE AN ATTITUDE OF INCLINE?

For the first time in history we are not only living longer, everyone has an important choice to make: commit to a meaningful, purposeful life of “Incline” as we get older or believe that a new stage – one of steady “decline” – is inevitable. What is not helping is that in the media and society in general there continues the somewhat negative connotation surrounding the concept of aging. And while, at least not now, we cannot do anything about the chronological process of becoming 60, 70, 80 years and beyond, we can change the mindset for it. Embracing change and looking at life with a keener sense of curiosity will lead to living with increased courage to live life to its fullest.

Inclined Elders is a call to action for you to opt for Incline. Not only for your personal fulfillment, but also to help fuel a social “legacy” that increases the number of positive older role models in everyday life. I have written this book to inspire, inform, and challenge you. By the time you reach the last page, I hope you will have made a new choice: to become an inspiring example of a life of Incline so our society relinquishes – once and for all – the notion that aging is synonymous with “decline,” “decrepit,” “senile,” and “over-the-hill.”

In this book over 50 men and women ranging in age from 40 to 100 share their tips and techniques on how to live a life of Incline. Their strategies are supported by scientific evidence from the fields of Positive Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology.

WHO ARE INCLINED ELDERS?

We are the women and men who have made a conscious choice to ignore society’s negative mindset of “decline” and “over-the-hill” as we age. Instead we embrace a positive mindset of continuing to Incline and climb ever upwards.

Serving as vibrant role models, the Inclined Elders I spoke to for this book are leaving their own unique legacies of wisdom and inspiration for future generations. There needs to be more of us like them to effect real social change. So why not Incline too? There’s an amazing view from up here. Come with us and see for yourself.

Purchase: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Apple Books

*Paperback Use Coupon: AUG31PB
*eBook Use Coupon: AUG31EB
How many of us have heard people joke about being “over the hill”? “Put out to pasture”? “In my twilight years”? We as a society have relegated people past a certain age to a slow downward slide from middle age to death. Many people think their later years bring nothing but a trip to the nursing home, there to sit and wait for the Grim Reaper to knock at the door. And since medical science is allowing us to live longer, the prospect of decades of withering away, seen as a doddering elder, good for not much of anything anymore, is bleak.
But getting older doesn’t have to be like that! As I’m right about middle-aged myself, I jumped at the chance to read and review Ramona Oliver’s book, Inclined Elders: How to Rebrand Aging for Self and Society. The basic premise of the book is simple: We don’t have to fade away as we get older. Instead of declining, we can choose to Incline – to move onward and upward, stay active, stay involved, and stay positive.
Oliver’s book is broken into three broad sections: Attitude, Growth, and Empowerment. Each section is chock-full of the experiences and inspiring stories of people who have chosen to continue to be active learners and experiencers of life as they have gotten older.
The Attitude section focuses on what we can do internally to continue to Incline as we get older. One of my favorite stories here is that of Carolyn, who found a way to “dance” even when religious restrictions didn’t allow for dancing. (I grew up in the Baptist church, so I can relate to that, a little bit.) The stories look at characteristics like curiosity, courage, gratitude, and resilience.
The Growth section has an external focus and relates ways in which we can choose to interact with others around us. Stories here touch on topics such as connections, community, culture, and wisdom. I loved Lee’s story, reading about all of the challenges she overcame and how she made wise choices as she grew older.
The Empowerment section focuses on leaving a legacy and living as a role model to the generations coming behind us. The people whose stories are told in the book do this in a variety of ways, from setting a higher standard for their children through their own education, to overcoming introversion and volunteering to help others with disabilities, to creating a program that helps children learn to make life decisions on their own. These stories were particularly uplifting, because who among us doesn’t want to think that, when we leave this earth, we will leave something of value behind?
Each chapter had questions for personal reflection, designed to help the reader move toward his or her own life of Incline. I haven’t worked through them all yet, but I will re-read and take time to answer them all. The book is also packed with helpful resources, many of which I’ve made note of to go back to and work through. I read an ebook version of Inclined Elders for the blog tour, but I’ve enjoyed it so much, I’m going to pick up a hard copy. (And if you’re interested, scroll on down and enter the giveaway to win your own copy!)
This book is excellent for anyone who’s getting to the midpoint of life, or even younger people who have parents that may benefit from the wisdom found here. It is a glorious guide to making your later years even more fabulous than your younger ones, and a great reminder that we’re not all doomed to waste away and slide into the grave quietly. Like Def Leppard says, “It’s better to burn out than fade away.” So I’m going to put this book into practice and Incline and shine!
Five big stars, y’all. It’s good stuff.

Ramona Oliver has long been a passionate educator with former roles as a human resource manager/director, career coach, and director of outreach for St. Edward’s University. As a human resource director for many years, she championed the professional development of employees. While serving as president of the Austin Human Resource Management Association, she led a team that designed, developed, and implemented an award-wining leadership program. In addition, she launched a workforce readiness committee that partnered with community organizations to implement workforce readiness initiatives. At St. Edward’s University, she promoted lifelong learning and the adult undergraduate and graduate programs to older adults in the Austin community.

Ramona currently serves as an advocate of positive aging. Rather than accepting a mindset of decline, she is passionate about living life with an attitude of Incline. Ramona has been published on the Changing Aging website, offering posts with titles such as “Can We Please Stop Calling It Aging,” “What Are We Missing When We Settle for Life Stages?” and “Leave a Legacy and Live It Now!”

Ramona is a recipient of a Book Excellence Award for her current book, INCLINED ELDERS: How to rebrand aging for self and society. It has been recognized for high-quality writing style, book design, and overall marketing appeal.

She earned her Master of Business Administration from St. Edward’s University. Ramona lives in Austin, Texas where she enjoys practicing yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, and Nia and participating in various community groups.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn

Twitter | Amazon Author | Goodreads Author

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Inclined Elders.
Giveaway ends midnight, CDT, 7/17/21; US only.

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Book Review: A Furious Sky by Eric Jay Dolin

  • Title: A Furious Sky
  • Author: Eric Jay Dolin
  • Genre: Nonfiction, Weather, Natural Disasters
  • Where to buy : Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Would I recommend: I’d re-read it, and I don’t often re-read books. That’s how much I’d recommend it.

From Goodreads:

With A Furious Sky, best-selling author Eric Jay Dolin tells the history of America itself through its five-hundred-year battle with the fury of hurricanes.

Hurricanes menace North America from June through November every year, each as powerful as 10,000 nuclear bombs. These megastorms will likely become more intense as the planet continues to warm, yet we too often treat them as local disasters and TV spectacles, unaware of how far-ranging their impact can be. As best-selling historian Eric Jay Dolin contends, we must look to our nation’s past if we hope to comprehend the consequences of the hurricanes of the future.

With A Furious Sky, Dolin has created a vivid, sprawling account of our encounters with hurricanes, from the nameless storms that threatened Columbus’s New World voyages to the destruction wrought in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. Weaving a story of shipwrecks and devastated cities, of heroism and folly, Dolin introduces a rich cast of unlikely heroes, such as Benito Vines, a nineteenth-century Jesuit priest whose innovative methods for predicting hurricanes saved countless lives, and puts us in the middle of the most devastating storms of the past, none worse than the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, which killed at least 6,000 people, the highest toll of any natural disaster in American history.

Dolin draws on a vast array of sources as he melds American history, as it is usually told, with the history of hurricanes, showing how these tempests frequently helped determine the nation’s course. Hurricanes, it turns out, prevented Spain from expanding its holdings in North America beyond Florida in the late 1500s, and they also played a key role in shifting the tide of the American Revolution against the British in the final stages of the conflict. As he moves through the centuries, following the rise of the United States despite the chaos caused by hurricanes, Dolin traces the corresponding development of hurricane science, from important discoveries made by Benjamin Franklin to the breakthroughs spurred by the necessities of the World War II and the Cold War.

Yet after centuries of study and despite remarkable leaps in scientific knowledge and technological prowess, there are still limits on our ability to predict exactly when and where hurricanes will strike, and we remain terribly vulnerable to the greatest storms on earth. A Furious Sky is, ultimately, a story of a changing climate, and it forces us to reckon with the reality that as bad as the past has been, the future will probably be worse, unless we drastically reimagine our relationship with the planet.

My thoughts:

Being from Louisiana, I’ve always been fascinated with hurricanes. My ex-husband had family living in the New Orleans area when Katrina hit in 2005, and they came and stayed with us for a while, until the waters receded. When I saw A Furious Sky on our local library shelf, I had to pick it up.

The “five hundred years” in the title may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t feel that way when you’re reading. Dolin does an excellent job reviewing historical hurricanes, going back as far as the days of Christopher Columbus. He also tracks the birth and development of hurricane meteorology and chronicles the creation and growth of the National Weather Services and its predecessor agencies.

The book is history lesson and meteorological study all wrapped up in one. Dolin’s description of the human toll that hurricanes have taken through the years is heartwrenching. Ignorance of the strength of hurricanes caused many deaths, as did government and forecasting inefficiency and the sheer stubbornness of people thinking they could ride out the storm. I also learned a lot about the involvement of various historical figures in the study of hurricanes and in relief efforts – Benjamin Franklin, Clara Barton, and Ernest Hemingway, to name a few. Were I younger and choosing a career field, A Furious Sky might well have convinced me to focus my efforts on the study of hurricanes.

The book closes with a look at a handful of storms that had major impacts on the United States, Katrina among them. Many of these may be familiar to the reader. Recent events clearly show that our sky isn’t getting any less furious (just look at the 2020 hurricane season), and the epilogue considers what role global warming may play in these poweful, destructive storms.

If you’re interested in weather and history, I highly recommend this book. It was as gripping and intense as any work of fiction I’ve read this year.

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Book Review: Thief of Spring by Katherine Macdonald

  • Title: Thief of Spring
  • Author: Katherine Macdonald
  • Genre: Fantasy, Mythology
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Would I recommend: If you like fae and mythology and a good retelling, oh, yes!

From Goodreads:

The Greek Gods are real.

But they aren’t gods.

They’re faeries.

When 17-year-old Persephone accidentally stumbles upon a revel, she’s chosen as a sacrifice, but is saved from this fate when the Lord of the Underworld tricks her into becoming his companion for seven months instead. Sephy is taken to his dark palace under the earth, but the Lord of Night isn’t exactly what she expected him to be…

And neither is she.

My thoughts:

Katherine Macdonald has knocked it out of the park again with this new vision of Hades and Persephone. If you’re familiar with Greek mythology, you know the story: Hades fell in love with the beautiful Persephone and stole her away to the underworld, and a deal was worked out where she could return to earth for part of each year. Thief of Spring is a modern retelling of this tale.

Persephone, or Sephy, prefers to keep mostly to herself. She and her father live alone, and she’s grown up with the idea that her mother abandoned them when she was a baby. She agrees to go out with her friend Libby, and receives a mysterious invitation to a private party. The party is not what she expected, though, and she finds herself offered up as some kind of sacrifice. Hades saves her life and claims her for his own, but then she’s trapped in the underworld with him for seven months.

Hades comes across a little bit intimidating, a little bit dark and broody (he makes me think a bit of Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer at first). But there is so much more to him (and some of his humor as the book progresses makes me think of my most favorite Buffy vampire, Spike). He was deeply wounded by someone who should have loved him, and his backstory made my heart hurt for the boy he was and the man he has become. Macdonald draws him as much more sympathetic than the Hades of mythology, and I adore her characterization of him.

And Sephy is no shrinking violet. She’s thrown into a different and somewhat frightening environment, but she doesn’t just sit in her room and cry. She occupies her time, she tries to be kind where she can, she learns to fight. And she finds herself falling hard and fast for Hades.

The romance between Hades and Sephy is a sweet, awkward slow burn. (Hades may be the Lord of the Underworld and immortal fae and all, but still, he’s very young as fae go.) I felt like it fit their characters and the situation, and the pace was right for the length of the book.

And oh my gosh, two things that I did not see coming. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. Macdonald drew me in and then POW! Right in the kisser with two big ol’ plot twists. I am on the edge of my seat waiting for book two!

If you like mythology and fae and a good mash-up with characters you can love and hate, pick up Thief of Spring! Macdonald is rapidly finding her way onto my list of “authors whose books I’ll buy without even reading the blurb.”

Disclaimer: I received an advance reader copy of this book from Booksprout and the author. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

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Book Review and Giveaway: River, Sing Out by James Wade | Lone Star Book Blog Tours

RIVER, SING OUT

BY
JAMES WADE
Categories: Contemporary / Literary Fiction
Rural Fiction / Crime Fiction / Coming-of-Age
Date of Publication: June 8, 2021
Number of Pages: 315 pages
“And through these ages untold, the river did act as the lifeblood of all those things alongside it.”

Jonah Hargrove is celebrating his thirteenth birthday by avoiding his abusive father, when a girl named River stumbles into his yard, injured and alone. The teenager has stolen thousands of dollars’ worth of meth from her murderous, drug-dealing boyfriend, but lost it somewhere in the Neches River bottoms during her escape. Jonah agrees to help her find and sell the drugs so she can flee East Texas.

Chasing after them is John Curtis, a local drug kingpin and dog fighter, as well as River’s boyfriend, the dangerous Dakota Cade.

Each person is keeping secrets from the others—deadly secrets that will be exposed in violent fashion as all are forced to come to terms with their choices, their circumstances, and their own definition of God.

With a colorful cast of supporting characters and an unflinching violence juxtaposed against lyrical prose, River, Sing Out dives deep into the sinister world of the East Texas river bottoms, where oppressive poverty is pitted against the need to believe in something greater than the self.

PRAISE FOR RIVER, SING OUT

”With echoes of Jim Harrison, Cormac McCarthy (and perhaps a smidge of Flannery O’Connor), River, Sing Out is a beautiful, brutal meditation on survival and love in the face of nearly unspeakable violence and depravity in an East Texas community ravaged by the meth trade. Taut, lyrical, and precise, the prose soars in this important new novel by James Wade.” —Elizabeth Wetmore, New York Times bestselling author of Valentine

”If you read one novel this year, make it this one. James Wade’s River, Sing Out, is an instant classic filled with characters that will break your heart, lyrical prose as haunted as the river it evokes, and a Southern Noir undertow that wholly sucks you in and keeps you turning the pages until it’s searing, masterful conclusion.” —May Cobb, author of The Hunting Wives

”Wade, whose striking debut, All Things Left Wild (2020), traveled back a century in Texas history, uses an unlikely friendship to explore an equally wild present-day landscape…A haunting fable of an impossible relationship fueled by elemental need and despair.” —Kirkus Reviews

River, Sing Out is set in fictional Neches County, Texas, in the East Texas bottomland. It’s a hardscrabble existence for many folks, and Jonah Hargrove is no exception. His father works on an oil rig, so the days he’s gone on the job are days Jonah doesn’t have to duck his blows. In spite of his seemingly bleak existence, though, Jonah has a good heart. So when River, a teenage girl, stumbles into his sphere, injured and running scared after stealing a backpack full of meth from local drug lord John Curtis, Jonah feels like he should help her.

This book is a fascinating contrast. On the one hand, you’ve got the violent life of the drug trade and the grinding poverty in which Jonah lives. On the other, you’ve got the author’s lyrical turns of phrase like, “That night he dreamt the earth was water alone and he floated atop it and from the center of the endless sea rose enormous a single oak and upon its bark and branches clung thousands of gray and green tree frogs and none moving or trilling yet all somehow calling to him and the boy spoke in a voice they understood.” As an editor and proofreader, that really, really long sentence makes me a little crazy. But what amazing imagery. Can’t you just see that lone oak in your mind’s eye? The book is full of vivid, musical word pictures that make you feel almost like you’re right there with Jonah and River.

As the title would suggest, the river is an important part of the story. It offers Jonah and River shelter and a means of escape at times. It rises and falls, and sometimes floods, bringing destruction as the waters crest and then recede. The river may not be alive in the sense of a sentient existence, but it has its mysteries and changes and moods, much like a person would.

Ultimately, I thought the book was about the resilience of the human spirit and the struggle to maintain faith, even in the face of indifferent nature and the sometimes brutal realities of life. And here, it felt like indifferent nature maybe cared just a little, that nature thought it time to wash a few old wounds clean, and perhaps make room for, if not complete healing, then at least growth. Given the difficult subject matter, it wasn’t always an easy read, but it’s a story I’m glad I read.

Five stars that will shine for as long as the river rolls.

James Wade lives and writes in the Texas Hill Country with his wife and daughter. He is the author of All Things Left Wild, which is a winner of the 2016 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest, a winner of the 2021 Spur Award for Best Historical Fiction, and a winner of the 2021 Reading the West Award for Best Debut Novel. His fiction has appeared in various literary journals and magazines.

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Book Blitz: Deadly Business by Anita Dickason | Lone Star Book Blog Tours

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DEADLY BUSINESS

BY ANITA DICKASON

COVER REVEAL


Anticipated Publication Date: July 3rd, 2021
Pages: 324 pages
Categories: Suspense | Thriller | Crime Thriller

Deadly Business PB-5-3-21

A Texas Multi-Billion Dollar Lure!

Following a tactical raid at an Oklahoma farm, a phone call sends U.S. Deputy Marshal Piper McKay rushing back to the East Texas cattle ranch where she grew up.

Her grandmother, Jennie Layton, is near death from a crushed skull. When local authorities claim the cause of the injury was an accident, Piper isn’t convinced.

Who wants Jennie dead and why? Is the reason connected to a dubious contract Piper finds in Jennie’s desk?

Piper realizes her grandmother isn’t the only one in danger when she barely escapes a deadly attack. Thrust into the middle of a high-stakes, high-risk shell game, Piper’s become the target.

The case takes a bizarre turn when Piper unknowingly crosses paths with a Special Ranger. If he can’t derail her investigation, it could cost him his life.

With millions of dollars on the line, nothing will stop a ring of cold-blooded killers, including the murders of a U.S. Marshal and a Special Ranger.

PRE-ORDER on Amazon

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Award-winning author Anita Dickason is a twenty-two-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department. She served as a patrol officer, undercover narcotics detective, advanced accident investigator, tactical officer and first female sniper on the Dallas SWAT team.

Anita writes about what she knows, cops and crime. Her police background provides an unending source of inspiration for her plots and characters. Many incidents and characters portrayed in her books are based on personal experience. For her, the characters are the fun part of writing as she never knows where they will take her. There is always something out of the ordinary in her stories.

In Anita’s debut novel, Sentinels of the Night, she created an elite FBI Unit, the Trackers. Since then, she has added three more Tracker crime thrillers, Going Gone!, A u 7 9, and Operation Navajo. The novels are not a series and can be read in any order.

As a Texas author, many of Anita’s books are based in Texas, or there is a link to Texas. When she stepped outside of the Tracker novels and wrote, Not Dead, she selected Meridian, a small community in central Texas for the location.

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Giveaway on Anita Dickason’s Website!

Pre-order Deadly Business, and you could win one of three prize packages (value $40 each) containing a tote bag, mousepad, coaster, pen, & bookmarks!

Visit www.anitadickason.com/ for details!

(US only. Contest ends at midnight, CDT, July 2, 2021.)

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Book Review: The Republic of Jack by Jeffrey Kerr

  • Title: The Republic of Jack
  • Author: Jeffrey Kerr
  • Genre: Satire, Political Humor
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Would I recommend: Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, if you think you’d like a hilarious yet not-out-of-the-realm-of-possibility satirical read, give The Republic of Jack a try.

From Goodreads:

Jack Cowherd will do anything to win the Texas governorship, even flirt with 21st century secessionists in the Texas Patriot Party. Victory is achieved, but only at the cost of Texas being tossed out of the United States. The Republic of Texas lives again! And Jack is its president.

Jack’s friend and political advisor Tasha Longoria has long warned him of the dangers of his demagoguery. Now the worst has come to pass: Jack is impeached, arrested, and charged with treason, the penalty for which is death.

Jack has but one chance to save his beloved Texas, not to mention his life. But success depends upon help from the one person least likely to give it . . . Tasha.

My review:

I don’t usually read a lot of satire, but when I got the opportunity to read The Republic of Jack, I was intrigued. I went to college and law school in Texas, and I lived there for a good handful of years before moving back to my home state of Louisiana. In my early career as a prosecutor, I actually took a member of the Republic of Texas to trial for a charge of driving with a suspended license, of all things. (That was an interesting experience!) So the idea of the Republic of Texas crowd actually getting their way and seeing Texas secede from the Union caught my attention.

Jack Cowherd (pronounced Cow-herd, not Coward, thank you very much) is the Texas Attorney General, and he’s running for governor. His longtime advisor, Fred, recommends that he really play up to the secessionist crowd, but Jack’s long-suffering chief of staff, Tasha, advises against it. Strongly. Jack says, it’s just political talk, it doesn’t mean anything, and says some things he really shouldn’t have. Long story short, Jack wins the election, the President of the United States cordially disinvites Texas from participation in the Union, and Jack suddenly finds himself President…of Texas?!

Kerr’s characters are so much fun! Nadine is Jack’s wife – I hesitate to call her a trophy wife, because I think Jack really loves her. But she is a gold-digging opportunistic little thing, always looking out for number one without letting something as trifling as marriage vows get in the way of what she wants. She is so shallow and so silly, I can’t help but laugh. I don’t think she really considers the consequences of her actions, and she may come to regret her choices at some point. Her friend Brianna is dumb as a box of hammers, and their conversations had me alternating between laughing out loud and slapping my head at the sheer stupidity. Tasha is a rock. She tries her best to get Jack to see sense, but she’s fighting a losing battle sometimes. Okay, a lot of the time. How she doesn’t just pack it in and leave Jack to lie in the bed he made is beyond me. Fred is really a caricature of good ol’ boy politics, and he’s definitely got Jack’s ear – at least at first, when all Jack has on his mind is winning. Charlie Clutterbuck is Jack’s insufferable lieutenant governor turned vice president. He is an over-the-top example of someone saying what the people want to hear and taking full advantage of his charm and political clout.

And the book really isn’t that far outside of the things that could actually happen. There are undoubtedly folks in Texas who’d be quite happy if Texas seceded from the United States. This book serves as a cautionary tale, though, and points out that it might not be quite as easy as saying, “Okay, we’re our own country now!”

For instance, I loved the discussion of how the University of Texas team would now make it to out of state games. Do they need passports? Will Oklahoma check passports at the border and not let them in to play? Will the Red River Showdown become a thing of the past? Whoops, nobody thought of that!

What about law enforcement? Does the Border Patrol still function, or will Jack have to figure out what Texas should do about the border? And when state officials and state agencies are no longer a thing, who do you call when things go pear-shaped? Will the ragtag secessionist militia be able to maintain law and order? (Spoiler: Nope.)

With The Republic of Jack, Jeffrey Kerr gives us a satirical treat that pokes fun at modern politics and also reminds us to be careful what we wish for, because we might get it. If you like a good political satire, pick this one up.

My thanks to the author for an advance review copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

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Can’t-Wait Wednesday: The Lights of Sugarberry Cove by Heather Webber

I really am trying to keep up with the blog! We’re all moved into the new place now, but the editing business is hoppin’, plus I’ve received a promotion at my day job. Huzzah! I am busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kickin’ contest! How are y’all doing?

Anyway, back to the books! It’s Wednesday, and y’all know what that means. It’s Can’t-Wait Wednesday! Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights books soon to be released, the ones we’re excited about but haven’t read yet. It’s hosted by Wishful Endings, and was formerly hosted by Breaking the Spine. Y’all can check out all of this week’s Can’t-Wait Wednesday posts here.

Title: The Lights of Sugarberry Cove

Author: Heather Webber

Genre: Southern Fiction, Magical Realism

Publication Date: July 20, 2021

Publisher: Forge Books

Synopsis:

Sadie Way Scott has been avoiding her family and hometown of Sugarberry Cove, Alabama, since she nearly drowned in the lake just outside her mother’s B&B. Eight years later, Sadie is the host of a much-loved show about southern cooking and family, but despite her success, she wonders why she was saved. What is she supposed to do?

Sadie’s sister, Leala Clare, is still haunted by the guilt she feels over the night her sister almost died. Now, at a crossroads in her marriage, Leala has everything she ever thought she wanted—so why is she so unhappy?

When their mother suffers a minor heart attack just before Sugarberry Cove’s famous water lantern festival, the two sisters come home to run the inn while she recovers. It’s the last place either of them wants to be, but with a little help from the inn’s quirky guests, the sisters may come to terms with their strained relationships, accept the past, and rediscover a little lake magic.

My thoughts:

When I read Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe in 2019, Heather Webber instantly became one of my go-to authors. You know the ones – you’ll pick up any book they write without even bothering to read the blurb on the back, because you know it will be THAT good. She creates these amazing communities set in the South that are rich with character (and characters!) and where magic is around every corner.

Her next book, South of the Buttonwood Tree, was equally as wonderful and enthralling. So when I saw that she was coming out with another book, I squee’d with delight.

The Lights of Sugarberry Cove comes out July 20, and if that synopsis doesn’t have you rushing to pre-order (affiliate link), well, you just aren’t paying attention. I would say this is easily one of my most anticipated books of the summer.

Posted in Book Memes, Can't-Wait Wednesday, Magical Realism, Southern Fiction | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Book Review and Giveaway: A Witch’s Brew (Conquest of the Veil #3) by Michael Scott Clifton | Lone Star Book Blog Tours

A WITCH’S BREW

Conquest of the Veil Book III

By Michael Scott Clifton

Publisher: Book Liftoff
Publication Date: April 14th, 2021

Pages: 318 Pages
Categories:

Sword & Sorcery / Magical Realism / Fantasy / Paranormal

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Intent on defeating the Dark Queen and destroying the Veil, Prince Tal and Alexandria arrive at Markingham to discover a city on the verge of collapse, its people starving, and children vanishing without a trace. Hopes of launching attacks from the city against the Dark Queen evaporate. To make matters worse, the tiny breach in the Veil allows only a trickle of soldiers and supplies to pass through.
Before the city’s defenses can be restored, the Baleful, a vast army composed of melded humans and animals led by a giant centaur, sweeps across the land like locusts, leaving nothing behind.
In the midst of turmoil and conflict, the love between Tal and Alex reaches white-hot intensity. But the leader of a ragtag militia group wants Tal for herself and will do anything to get him…even strike a bargain with a child-killing witch for a potion to make her irresistible.
But every witch’s brew comes with a price.

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I jumped into this series with this, the third book. I read a synopsis to get caught up on the main points, but I didn’t have the advantage of ALL of the backstory. And you know what? It didn’t matter. A Witch’s Brew is a ripping good fantasy read, and I gather from the ending that there is more yet to come in the series.
Bring it on.
Clifton has absolutely roped me into the world he’s created here. He does an outstanding job of creating the world and the history, the people and the places.
My heart ached for Alex in the early part of the book. Here she is, in a world full of magic, and the man she loves is one of the strongest magic wielders around, and what magical talent does she have? None. (Or so she thinks.) Plus, she’s got Maggie, the exceedingly bold leader of just about the only real warriors around Markingham, making a move for Tal. That’s a lot for a girl to handle. But she isn’t one to just shrink away quietly. No magic? She finds other ways to make a difference for the people of Markingham, and I loved that about her. Even when things are hard, even when she has a wallow in the pity pit for a moment, Alex doesn’t let difficult circumstances get her down.
And while Maggie is cast as the bad girl, I felt some sympathy for her, too. By the end of the book, she finds herself in a royal mess of her own making. Let’s just say messing around with witches and potions isn’t the best idea, and with magic, you’ve got to be very, very careful what you request and how. I’m interested to see what her role in future books will be. Can she be redeemed, or will she go over to the dark side?
Love and jealousy. Magic and monsters. An epic quest to defeat the Big Bad and some booty-kickin’ battle scenes. This story has it all. Definitely a five-star read for me! The ending of the book is wide open for things yet to come. When it’s out, I will snatch up book four in a hot second and see what happens next. If you’re a high fantasy, sword and sorcery fan, you should give this series a read, too.
And don’t miss out on the giveaway! Who doesn’t like a free book that’s a blast to read? Scroll on down and enter. Share the link with your friends, so they can enter, too!
Multi Award-Winning Author Michael Scott Clifton, a longtime public educator, currently lives in Mount Pleasant, Texas with his wife, Melanie. An avid gardener, reader, and movie junkie, his books contain facets of all the genres he enjoys—action, adventure, magic, fantasy, and romance. His fantasy novels, The Janus Witch, The Open Portal (Book I in the Conquest of the Veil series), and Escape from Wheel (Book II), all received 5-Star reviews from the prestigious Readers Favorite Book Reviews. The Open Portal has also been honored with a Feathered Quill Book Finalist Award. In addition, Edison Jones and the Anti-Grav Elevator earned a 2021 Feathered Quill Book Award Bronze Medal in the Teen Readers category. Two of his short stories have won Gold Medals, with Edges of Gray winning the Texas Authors Contest, and The End Game, winning the Northeast Texas Writer’s Organization Contest. Professional credits include articles published in the Texas Study of Secondary Education Magazine.
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THREE WINNERS!

Grand Prize:
Signed copies of all three books in the Conquest of the Veil series
+ $15 Amazon Gift Card
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nd & 3rd Winners: eBooks of A Witch’s Brew.
Ends midnight, CDT, May 28, 2021.

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