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Bayou City Burning

BAYOU CITY BURNING
Harry & Dizzy Lark, Book 1
by
D.B. BORTON
Mystery / Detective / Humor / Historical Publisher: Boomerang Books
Date of Publication: May 30, 2019
Number of Pages: 390
Houston, 1961: comedy meets mystery and history. It’s hard to be hard-boiled when your biggest fan and worst critic is your twelve-year-old daughter, especially when she’s cracking your case for you and defending you from the bad guys, along with sidekicks human and feline. Houston is still a cowboy backwater, but Texas politicians dream big. P.I. Harry Lark is out to save the city for President Kennedy’s moon mission. Dizzy Lark is out to save Harry. Jani Brooks of Romance Reviews Today calls Bayou City Burning “a terrific mystery loaded with humor, lots of excitement, and fascinating, well written characters” and rates it “a Perfect 10 book.”
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Visit D.B. Borton’s website to read the Prologue, Chapter One, and Chapter Two of Bayou City Burning! 
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D. B. Borton is the author of two mystery series—the Cat Caliban series (Berkley, Hilliard and Harris) and the Gilda Liberty series (Fawcett)—as well as the recent novels Second Coming, Smoke, and Bayou City Burning (all from Boomerang Books). She is Professor Emeritus of English at Ohio Wesleyan University. A native Texan, Borton became an ardent admirer of Nancy Drew at a young age. At the age of fourteen, she acquired her own blue roadster, trained on the freeways of Houston and the broad stretches of oil-endowed Texas highway, and began her travels. She also began a lifetime of political activism, working only for political candidates who lost. She left Texas at about the time everyone else arrived. In graduate school, Borton converted a lifetime of passionate reading and late-night movie-watching into a doctorate in English. She discovered that people would pay her to discuss literature and writing, although not much. But because she found young people interesting and entertaining and challenging, she became a college teacher, and survived many generations of college students. Later, during a career crisis, she discovered that people would pay her to tell stories, although even less than they would pay her to discuss stories written by someone else. Borton has lived in the Southwest and Midwest, and on the West Coast, where she has planted roses and collected three degrees in English without relinquishing her affection for the ways in which actual speakers constantly reinvent the language to meet their needs. In her spare time, she gardens, practices aikido, studies languages other than English, and, of course, watches movies and reads.
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Lost Girl Review

Lost Girl 
By Holly Kammier 
(A Shelby Day Novel) 
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: January 5th 2020
Genres: Romance, Suspense, Young Adult

Book Synopsis

AN APPALLING ACT OF VIOLENCE AND AN UNSOLVED DOUBLE MURDER.

SMALL-TOWN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, SHELBY DAY, IS DETERMINED TO HUNT A KILLER. 

As her search draws closer to uncovering the twisted truth, she begins receiving ominous warnings to stay quiet and drop the story. The young journalist is in danger. Her cameraman and best friend, a person with his own secret past, says he wants to protect her. But Shelby is headstrong and dodging anything that could lead to love. She can’t allow anyone to distract her as she fights for the two women who deserve justice. 

She never expects along the way she’ll have to stop and save herself.

Ticktock… If Shelby doesn’t solve the crime soon, she’ll become the killer’s next victim. 

“Lost Girl is a compulsive thrill-ride that reads as if it’s been pulled straight from the headlines. Kammier’s journalism background brings undeniable authenticity to a novel that has it all– a love story, a murder mystery, and a real-life introduction into the distinctive world of television news.” 
-CAROLINE MITCHELL, New York Times best-selling author

This book is for anyone who loves:
Young Adult love stories
Murder Mystery
Redemption
Books with journalism elements
Intended for a mature YA audience

Fans of Veronica Mars, In The Woods, and One Of Us Is Lying, will love this novel.

Purchase

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Lost Girl was an entertaining and relatively easy read to enjoy. I love a good mystery and Kammier’s morally grey characters kept me interested. Shelby, an investigative reporter, is determined to solve the local murders affecting the town. Although, her self-serving intentions and headstrong attitude cause trouble for her along the way. Especially when it comes to any romantic interest. I did personally think that the mystery in this book was more interesting than the romance. In this, I could connect with Shelby’s character and the challenges she faces in this mystery. Solving this murder becomes more than a chance to be recognized as a reporter to Shelby. Overall, I quite enjoyed the hints and foreshadowing that led us to discovering the killer.

Unfortunately the story, while engaging, could be a bit scattered at times. While you rooted for Shelby, she is a flawed character that I wished had more of an arch by the end. The romance as well could be quite tedious and immature for the characters. Mostly, I felt like Shelby’s feelings towards not being in a relationship should be resolved through her own growth internally instead of for someone. I felt it may have connected more for readers. Overall, the basis and journey of this can certainly appeal to readers interested in YA and NA.

About the Author

Co-owner of Acorn Publishing, the UCLA honors graduate is an accomplished content editor/writing coach (her authors have gone on to become USA Today best-sellers and a New York Times best-seller). With a background in journalism, Holly Kammier has worked everywhere from CNN in Washington, D.C. and KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, to the NBC affiliate in small-town Medford, Oregon.

She is the best-selling author of the novel, Kingston Court (Acorn Publishing 2015), and Could Have Been Hollywood, a memoir. Holly recently published her third book, Choosing Hope, a harrowing story of passion and deceit, and the things we do for love. Her next novel, the YA Romantic Suspense, Lost Girl, is scheduled for release in early 2020.

Holly resides in her hometown of San Diego, California, close to family and friends. An avid reader with a passion for timeless books and beautiful writing, she also enjoys long walks, romantic movies, and pink peonies.

Author Links

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SANTA CLAUS BANK ROBBERY

SANTA CLAUS BANK ROBBERY

A True-Crime Saga in Texas

By TUI SNIDER

  Genre: Nonfiction / Texana / Texas History

Publisher: Castle Azle Press

Date of Publication: December 8, 2019

Number of Pages: 146 pages + black & white photos

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 When Marshall Ratliff dressed like Santa Claus to pull a Christmas-time heist, he thought it would be easy. Unfortunately for him, when the citizens of Cisco heard Santa was robbing a bank, they came running – with loaded guns in hand! 


But can you blame them? In 1927, the only way to earn the $5000 Dead Bank Robber Reward was to kill a bandit while the crime was in progress. 

This bungled bank robbery led to a wild shootout and a getaway with two little girls as hostages. And that is only the beginning! 


Tui Snider’s true-crime tale reads like a comedy of errors as the consequences of the Santa Claus Bank Robber’s actions escalate to include a botched car-jacking, one of the biggest manhunts in Texas history, and a jailbreak leading to a deadly conclusion. 

Meanwhile, it’s up to readers to decide whether or not a mysterious blonde helped these gangsters escape. And if so, did she get away with murder?

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I’m continually impressed with Tui Snider’s reporting skills. The more I read her books, I find the vibrant energy of her writing urging me to go out and discover my own mysteries and little known events in history. With bank robberies, it always seemed a bit larger than life or comical in a way. I suppose TV and movies have done that throughout the years. It doesn’t really seem real with the crazy plans that go off the rails. Even now, when hearing about recent robberies of armored cars near me, I questioned how that could even happen. It seems insane and it is!

The insanity of this robbery in history seemed to compound more and more as events unfolded. I literally was reading through this account, my eyebrows raised and jaw dropped, at how this robbery affected so many people. It truly astounds me how anyone thought running towards the bank robbery or even handing out guns to anyone in sight would help. The chaos of hundreds of bullets flying around and hitting innocent bystanders made this all the more tragic. 

Along with Tui Snider’s own telling of this story is newspaper clippings and direct quotes from people at the time. I especially found this fascinating to hear directly in their own voice. Additionally, pictures and even maps were shown to give the reader a clear idea of the event. Even after reading the Santa Claus Bank Robbery, the bizarre events that took place seem like a chaotic tall tale. 

Snider continues with the events that happened after this robbery as well. I don’t like to reveal many spoilers but I can say that I knew I made the right decision in reading this book! Along with researched accounts, more mysteries unfold as to who was involved and why the stories became so confusing. Other retellings and accounts, such as A.C. Greene’s book, are given as example to this and just how they deviated from fact. It speaks to Snider’s tenacity in writing, that beyond researching these books, she finds facts and documentation to prove what really happened.

To those that enjoy a good mystery, who are eager to read a conversational historical retelling, and maybe aren’t scandalized by Santa with a gun…I’d definitely recommend this book!

about the author

 Tui Snider is an award-winning writer, speaker, photographer, and musician specializing in offbeat sites, overlooked history, cemetery symbolism, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction, but then I moved to Texas!”

Tui lectures frequently at universities, libraries, conferences, and bookstores.This fall, she will speak about the Great Airship Mystery of 1897 at this year’s UFO Congress and teach a course on Understanding Cemetery Symbols at Texas Christian University. She also shares weekly info-videos based on her research at her YouTube channel.

Snider’s writing and photography have been featured in a variety of media outlets, including WFAA TVCoast to Coast AM, LifeHack, Langdon Review, the City of Plano, Wild Woman WakingShades of Angels and many more. She has several more books in progress.

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 December 12-22, 2019

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12/12/19ReviewBibliotica
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12/14/19ReviewStoreyBook Reviews
12/14/19ReviewReading by Moonlight
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12/18/19ReviewThe Book Review
12/19/19ReviewThe Clueless Gent
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Covey and JayJay Get Educated: Author Interview

COVEY AND JAYJAY GET EDUCATED

By Shelton L. Williams

Genre: Murder Mystery / Social Thriller / Amateur Sleuth

Publication Date: September 1, 2019

Number of Pages: 209 pages

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Amateur detectives, Covey Jencks and JayJay Qualls, are drawn into a triple murder on the campus of Baker College in West Waverly in the Texas Hill Country. Both end up taking positions at the college: Covey as an adjunct instructor and JayJay as a visiting actor. 

 Initially they believe that money is the motive for the murders, but over time they learn that the college is a cauldron of political and social intrigue. The college’s new president and his beautiful wife, various staff members, a prominent trustee, and parties not associated with the college have the motives, opportunities, and wacky agendas that might implicate them in the murders. It turns out that a white nationalist group may be using a college house for its nefarious activities, but are they more talk than action? 

The West Waverly police are little to no help in the investigation, and Covey himself has to depart the college to deal with his father’s death. JayJay takes over and makes a critical breakthrough. Upon Covey’s return, the couple must rely on deception, a bit of luck, and martial arts skills to solve the crimes and to try to prevent a high-profile assassination.

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Author Shelton Williams is interviewed by a former student 

Recently I was in Sherman, Texas, home of Austin College, where I taught for 38 years. A former student, Marc Parrish, interviewed me at an artsy place called Ideation Station, owned by another former student, Ruth Williamson. The audience, homecoming celebrants everyone, hardly knew me beyond my academic writings or my two memoirs that are really non-fiction novels. Marc is a writer himself (his first book is coming out in 2020 or 2021), so his questions helped the audience understand my new fiction and perhaps prompted me to explore my own writing journey. Here’s an edited version of Marc’s questions:

Marc: How does your 30 years of non-fiction writing affect your detective stories that are wholly fictional?

Shelly: In a sense I had to get over the one to write the other. Writing books about nuclear politics, war and peace, and foreign policy was part of my career, and I studied at Johns Hopkins where serious writing is for serious people. I learned to do that, and I am proud of it, but very few people other than policy wonks read that stuff. I tried the same style initially in writing about the death of my cousin in Washed in the Blood. A friendly publisher saved the project by saying, “You know, this is partly your story as well. You can use the word ‘I’ in telling it.” That liberated me to find my true voice. I went back to my roots in Odessa to research and write about Betty, my murdered cousin. Eventually that town, the people I knew, and the politics of a changing America allowed me to use my new style to tell stories.

Marc: Your characters seem like real people, and I often feel like I know a person or recognize a place. For example, in Covey and JayJay Get Educated, Baker College is clearly Austin College and many of the faculty and staff are familiar. 

Shelly: The look of Austin College informs the narrative, but so do other small liberal arts colleges I have visited in Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Many readers should feel at home even if they have never been to Sherman, Texas. The characters, especially the ones you like, from the students to the staff to the faculty, are inspired by Austin College folks, but their actions are wholly fictional, and they are in fact composite fictional characters. The bad guys have nothing to do with Austin College; the story arc is mine alone. The idea of murders on campus comes from the British TV series Morse or Endeavour based on the books by Colin Dexter.

Marc: Well, one thing we all did know about you back in the day was that you are a movie guy. You see more movies than anyone I know, and you review them on Facebook. Didn’t you write a couple of screenplays?

Shelly: I did, and they were not good enough. I wrote Washed in the Blood as a vehicle for a movie because Betty wanted to act. She died at 17, so it never happened. I wanted it for her. There is a TV docudrama called Bye, Bye Betty based on her story. I hope that soon there will also be a movie. I have been told many times that the Covey Jencks books would be a great mini-series. I have learned not to expect anything at all from my books. Writing them should be enough. JayJay, I mean actually my wife, Janell, on whose personality JayJay is based, says, “Be in the moment. Your story-telling will be better if you do so, and if anyone wants to do anything else with your books, that will be their moment and you can help, if asked.”

Marc: What is the greatest compliment you have received from your writing?

Shelly: Not long ago, my fourteen-year-old granddaughter, Clara, asked me, “Pops, I just wrote a story. Will you read it?”

about the author

 Shelton L. Williams (Shelly) is founder and president of the Osgood Center for International Studies in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and he taught for nearly 40 years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. He has served in the US Government on 4 occasions and he has written books and articles on nuclear proliferation. In 2004 he began a new career of writing books on crime and society. Those books are Washed in the BloodSummer of 66, and now Covey Jencks. All firmly prove that he is still a Texan at heart.

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THIRD PRIZE: Audio book of Covey and JayJay Get Educated

FOURTH PRIZE: Kindle version of Covey and JayJay Get Educated

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12/10/19Notable QuotableTexas Book Lover
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12/12/19Author InterviewThe Page Unbound
12/13/19ReviewKayBee’s Book Shelf
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12/14/19ReviewBibliotica
12/14/19Excerpt Part IThe Clueless Gent
12/15/19Excerpt Part IIAll the Ups and Downs
12/16/19ReviewForgotten Winds
12/16/19Notable QuotableHall Ways Blog
12/17/19ReviewThat’s What She’s Reading
12/18/19Scrapbook PageStoreyBook Reviews
12/19/19ReviewBook Fidelity
12/19/19ReviewReading by Moonlight

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Singapore: Guest Post and Giveaway



SINGAPORE FLING
Carpe Diem Chronicles, #2

by
MAIDA MALBY

Contemporary Romance / Multicultural 
Publisher: EOT Publications
Date of Publication: October 21, 2019
Number of Pages: 267

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One alluring French-Filipina beauty. One sexy US Air Force officer. One torrid weekend affair.

Maddie Duvall should be living it up at her challenging new job in glamorous Singapore. But two months after her wild weekend with Aidan Ryan, she’s still yearning for him. She craves the passion only he can ignite in her.

Aidan’s job takes him around the world, yet he can’t get Maddie out of his mind. When he returns to his assignment in Singapore, he seeks her out with a proposition she can’t turn down.

Intensely enamored with one another, their relationship takes off. But when Aidan’s mission exposes treachery by someone close to Maddie, lines blur and wires get crossed. Can their growing love survive the intrigue?

Singapore Fling is Book 2 of Carpe Diem Chronicles, a series of multicultural contemporary romance novels. The stories celebrate the rich cultures of exotic Southeast Asian islands through languages, food, and festivals.

PRAISE FOR SINGAPORE FLING

“This second full-length volume in her Carpe Diem Chronicles is sexy, quick to read, and full of well-rounded, interesting characters. Family ties and female friendship add to the depth of the world and make you want more books.” ~ Catherine Stein, Award-winning Author of How to Seduce a Spy

“This book was great. Everything from the well-rounded characters to the interesting foods and exciting locale drew me in as a reader. I could clearly picture, hear, and smell/taste the story. The plot was perfect and the romance had just the right amount of intrigue and crisis. ~ Danielle Bellwood, Author of Daring (The Candomble Book 1)

“This book is a great deal of fun and the hero and heroine are both likable and realistic people. As usual, Malby’s writing shines best when writing about Singapore, particularly the culture and the FOOD!! ~ Gena Gilliam, Amazon Reviewer

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HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE RECIPE
FROM SINGAPORE FLING
BY MAIDA MALBY
Chicken rice is Maddie’s favorite dish in Singapore. Here’s what she has to say about it in Chapter Two of Singapore Fling:
“From the first time she’d tasted this particular meal—one of the country’s national dishes—Maddie was addicted. The plain poached chicken over rice looked simple. But the gingery, garlicky, oily, fragrant goodness of the white chicken meat—even without the skin she had removed from it—and the savory rice boiled in the same broth won her over. She had already eaten the dish five times since she’d arrived in Singapore.”
This recipe is my attempt to capture that deliciousness. It might not be the most authentic–different ingredients, the taste of the water, etc.–but if you make it with love, the meal is sure to satisfy.
Ingredients: 
– medium whole chicken (organic, if possible)
– Kosher salt
– 1 thumb ginger, peeled and sliced
– 3-4 stalks green onions, sliced 
– 2 cups uncooked Jasmine rice
– several cloves of garlic
– vegetable oil
– Sriracha
– lime
– soy sauce
– sesame oil
Instructions: 
For the chicken:
1. Exfoliate the chicken by rubbing salt all over until smooth. Rinse and pat dry. 
2. Season the entire bird inside and out with salt. This will also season the broth, so salt generously. Stuff the cavity with sliced ginger and scallions. 
3. Place in a big pot and fill with water up to 1 inch above the chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer immediately. Remove the scum as soon as it rises. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until the temperature at the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone is 170 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Prepare an ice bath and place the chicken in to stop the cooking process and tighten the skin. Set aside.



For the rice:
1. Clean the rice until the water is less cloudy (2-3 times). Soak the rice, then drain after 10 minutes. 
2. Sauté minced ginger and garlic in vegetable oil or chicken fat. Add drained rice and fry for one minute. Season with salt. Pour two cups of reserved broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover tightly, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Keep covered and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
If you have a rice cooker, follow instructions up to the frying.



For the dipping sauces:
1. Combine Sriracha, lime juice, sugar, salt, couple of tablespoons of broth, garlic, and ginger in a blender. Give it a whirl. 
2. Grate peeled ginger and finely mince garlic. Combine with a dash of salt and vinegar. Cook in hot oil for a few seconds.
3. Mix light soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil.

Ready to serve!
Spoon rice on a plate. Cut chicken into serving pieces and place on top of the rice. Pour soy sauce mix over it. Garnish with cucumber or parsley. Serve with soup and dipping sauces.

        

Maida Malby writes, reads, reviews, and lives Romance. Through her multicultural contemporary romance stories, she takes readers on trips to her favorite places in the world and shares her experiences of their rich cultural heritage.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA), Cultural, Interracial, Multicultural Special Interest Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (CIMRWA), and several romance book clubs. Her To-Be-Read Mountain and reviews of romance novels are featured on her website.

When not writing, reading, or reviewing books, Maida consults her husband on word selection, debates with her ten-year-old son regarding the Oxford comma, cooks the dishes she features in her stories, procrastibakes using Baileys as her secret yummy ingredient, and watches golf and food shows on TV.

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1ST PRIZE (US only)
Kindle Fire 7 + Signed Copy of Singapore Fling
2ND PRIZE (US only)
Signed copies of Boracay Vows and Singapore Fling + charm bracelet
3RD PRIZE (US only)
Signed copy of Singapore Fling + spice paste packets (Hainanese Chicken Rice and Laksa)
4TH PRIZE (international)
 eBooks of all three books in the Carpe Diem Chronicles series
NOVEMBER 12-22, 2019

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

11/12/19
Top Five
11/12/19
Bonus Post
11/13/19
Review
11/14/19
Author Interview
11/15/19
Guest Post
11/16/19
Review
11/17/19
Review
11/18/19
Scrapbook Page
11/19/19
Review
11/20/19
Guest Post
11/21/19
Review
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Two Thousand Lines: Promo

Two Thousand Lines
Michelle Jester
Publication date: November 21st 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance, Young Adult

Book Summary

Olivia Brooks has been able to keep her life in Sugar Mill, Louisiana held perfectly together, far away from the small town where she grew up. Even though her past still haunts her, she has found a perfect process of surviving, until a string of events brings Luke Plaisance to Sugar Mill and turns her organized life upside down.

While Olivia fights to hold on to the life she’s created, unraveling it may be exactly what it takes for her to truly survive. She must accept her past in order to live, or let it threaten the only future she’s ever wanted. Because some secrets can’t stay buried… and shouldn’t.

An inspiring and heartbreaking tale of abandonment, survival, and purpose. A harrowing journey of self-discovery and perseverance.

Goodreads / Amazon



Excerpt

Luke saw her red face and swollen eyes.

“Whatever it is, I’m sorry.”

“No need. Besides, maybe I just cut an onion.”

“I’m not asking you why, Olivia, but also don’t feel like you have to lie to me. It’s none of my business and I know that. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.”

“Then why are you here?” she turned abruptly to face him, obviously angered.

“I like cinnamon rolls.”

“You also don’t have to lie either.”

“Mama Gigi,” Luke responded quietly.

“What?” Olivia bowed her head slightly.

“Mama Gigi. She said when I smell cinnamon and baking bread, if I look over here and your kitchen door is open, and I quote, ‘go to her and stay until she’s safe.’”

Olivia looked up with tears welling in her eyes again, “I’ll be sure to close my door next time.”

“No, you won’t. Mama Gigi said you will always have your door open when you make them. She thought whatever you were mourning was pretty strong, ‘cause it obviously made you feel suffocated.”

“I miss her. I miss her so much.”

Luke stood quickly and went to Olivia. He wanted to wrap his arms around her and hold her. But, as he got closer she stepped back, so he stopped.

“I can’t leave until you’re safe.”

“I’m never safe,” she whispered.

“You’ve been safe since I got here.”

About the Author

Michelle Jester lives in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana with her husband, high school sweetheart and retired Master Sergeant. Together they have a son and daughter. She is a hopeless romantic and has been writing poems and stories for as long as she can remember.
One of her prize possessions is a bracelet with only a yellow, Rubber Duckie charm on it; which she wears every day to remind her to enjoy the fun and happy things of life!

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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A Texas Kind of Christmas: Review and Giveaway


A TEXAS KIND OF CHRISTMAS  
by
JODI THOMAS,   Celia Bonaduce, & Rachael Miles

Genre: Historical Fiction / Anthology / Holiday Romance Publisher: Kensington Books Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Number of Pages: 336 pages

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It’s Christmas Eve, 1859, and everyone who’s anyone is headed to the glorious St. Nicholas Hotel for the most talked about ball of the season. It’s the kind of Texas night where anything can happen—even love . . . 

ONE NIGHT AT THE ST. NICHOLAS by  New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jodi Thomas

To escape her stepmother’s plot to marry her off, Texas heiress Jacqueline Hartman spends Christmas Eve sharing a hideout with an accused bank robber. After a night in Nathaniel Ward’s arms, Jacqueline is certain she has met her match after all. But will his heartfelt promise of love lead to his demise at the hands of the law? 

BIRDIE’S FLIGHT by Celia Bonaduce 

Seamstress Birdie Flanagan gets the surprise of her life when she receives a beautiful gown—and a sudden invitation—for the ball of the season! Birdie creates a stir from the moment she arrives, capturing the eye of the dashing Captain Douglas Fairbanks. But will a secret from her past keep her from her long-awaited happily-ever-after? 

SPIRIT OF TEXAS by  Rachael Miles 

When lovely spinster Eugenie Charpentier makes a trip across the Texas frontier with former Texas Ranger Asher Graham, she dreams of an adventure, and the rough-and-tumble cowboy is happy to oblige. But both Eugenie and the rugged lawman are keeping secrets. Can they find each other—and love—on the dance floor at the Christmas ball?

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I have to admit, I usually don’t like those love at first sight sort of stories, but I really enjoyed One Night at the St. Nicholas by Jodi Thomas. It’s the perfect kind of story to read this winter. To curl up with a blanket, drink some hot cocoa, and read next to a fire on a cold night. I really enjoyed the way Thomas sets up the stage for these characters. Cody is heading to a party to propose to a Jacqueline, a girl he has never met, while Nate has escaped the marshal’s clutches and is using the party to hide from the law. Meanwhile, Katie wears the dress that Jacqueline is supposed to wear, thus mixing and matching the couples and creating a lively story. Cody sees Katie and thinks it’s the girl he came to propose to, mean while Jacqueline heads to her hiding spot only to find Nate there hiding. It really is the perfect kind of love story for both couples. 

Birdie’s Flight by Celia Bonaduce had the perfect blend Christmas love and a dash of mystery. I enjoyed following Birdie’s story of finding work at the St. Nicholas and her love story with Captain Newcastle. There’s shameless flirting, there’s a handsome, swoon worthy captain, and a Christmas Ball. Plus the mystery of finding out why Birdie is on the run! Definitely some Christmas magic worth enjoying! 

Spirit of Texas by Rachael Miles is about the journey that Eugenie takes. She leaves her home from England and embarks on a journey that takes her all the way to Texas. I always enjoy books that have a destination in mind, and this book was very enjoyable! Eugenie is a bit of a spinster, middle aged, and unmarried. And also untrusting of men. Her path leads her to Asher though and there are many obstacles that they must overcome together that forces them to get to know each other and depend on each other. I also enjoyed the glimpses we get of the St. Nicholas staff while Lily, Eugenie’s mother, is staying there. 

Obviously this St. Nicholas hotel is quite enchanting! I wouldn’t mind booking my weekend there! All three stories are very enjoyable Christmas love story reads. All the characters are charming and could definitely be put a full novel and be a wonderful read. I will definitely be checking out these authors in the future and looking for more of their heart warming love stories!

Rating: 4/5


Jodi Thomas is a New York Times bestselling author and fifth-generation Texan who sets many of her award-winning stories in her home state, where her grandmother was born in a covered wagon. A multi-RITA Award winner and member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, she’s written over 50 novels with millions of copies in print. Her most recent releases are The Little Tea Shop on Main and her historical anthology, A Texas Kind of Christmas (Nov. 2019). The first book in her new series with Kensington, Breakfast at the Honey Creek Café, comes out May 2020. 

Celia Bonaduce, also the author of The Venice Beach Romances and the Welcome to Fat Chance, Texas series, has always had a love affair with houses. Her credits as a television field producer include such house-heavy hits as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition; HGTV’s House Hunters and Tiny House Hunters. She lives in Santa Monica, CA, with her husband and dreams of one day traveling with him in their own tiny house. She can be found online www.CeliaBonaduce.com.



Rachael Miles is an acclaimed romance novelist and historian specializing in the 19th century, as well as a professor of literary history. A fifth-generation Texan and native of Dallas, she now lives and teaches in New York. Visit her online at www.RachaelMiles.com.
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