Stiff Lizard: Book Blitz

STIFF LIZARD by LISA HANEBERG

Series: A Spy Shop Mystery Publisher:
Written Pursuits Press Pages: 364 pages
Pub Date: March 13th, 2021
Categories: Women Sleuths / Cozy Mystery / Private Investigator / Humor



Rodent Roger, a popular Galveston Island exterminator, goes missing the day after he tells private investigator and spy shop owner Xena Cali about a concerning uptick in green iguana sightings on the island. They’re crapping in people’s boats and falling from trees. Are the lizards swimming over from Florida to escape the pythons, or is it something more nefarious? Can Xena help untangle the mess before the raucous reptiles take over Galveston? Ultima Penelope Roger is a best-selling writer of romance novels. The Lizard Liquidators have set up shop on Galveston Island. Herpetologist Quintana Flores, PhD, works on a bizarre cruise ship that sails out of the Port of Galveston. Sasha Barlow is a driven junior reporter who’ll do anything to get the story. Ned “The Pelican Man” Quinn writes a column about bird necropsies. Captain Ethan Slaughter is the head of the Major Crimes team at the Galveston Police Department. Xena and her team will have to partner with and/or battle this cast of characters and others to solve what becomes a disturbing murder investigation. Stiff Lizard is the third full-length book in the Spy Shop Mystery series. If you like fast-paced crime novels, clever satire, and gritty beach towns, then you’ll love Lisa Haneberg’s humorous and contemporary cozy caper.

 

PRAISE FOR STIFF LIZARD “Lisa Haneberg has a wicked sense of humor. She can also write a fast-moving, totally original mystery.” — Alan Rinzler Lisa Haneberg’s newest entry in the Spy Shop Mystery Series lives up to its predecessors. A good number of laughs, lots of intrigue, a bit of titillation, lots of interesting information, and lots of mystery make for a good read.” – Verified purchaser from Amazon 

 Purchase Links  Amazon | Bookshop | Barnes and Noble 
 
 
 

Lisa Haneberg loves to explore Galveston Island’s gritty back streets, stellar seafood joints, magnificent natural areas, and all points in between. In addition to the Spy Shop Mysteries, she’s a blogger and has authored over a dozen nonfiction books. She earned an MFA degree from Goddard College and a BS in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Maryland.

Before writing crime fiction, she was a seasoned human resources professional with a strange attraction to gnarly internal investigations. She lives with her husband and dog in Lexington, Kentucky. Lisa once owned a home on Galveston Island and is a frequent visitor.

 

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Amazon Author Page | Goodreads Author Page

 

 

 

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Dire’s Club: Blog Tour Giveaway


DIRE’S CLUB
by Kimberly Packard

Publisher: Abalos Publishing
Publication Date: March 23, 2021
Pages: 326 Pages
Categories: Action & Adventure / Contemporary / Women’s Fiction

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Dying isn’t just hard on the ones left behind, the regret of unfinished lives weighs heavily on the terminally ill. That’s where Dire’s Club steps in, a specialty travel agency that takes a small group of dying people on one final adventure-so they can be free of guilt, be more than a diagnosis, and find a way to confront life…and death.


Life Coach Charlotte Claybrooke built a successful second career guiding people out of grief, but the impending tenth anniversary of her own heart-wrenching tragedy sets her on a journey to find life among the dying.


Staring death in the face was Jimmy Dire’s business. He met it with a warm hug, a kind word, and a smile. Dire’s Club gave the terminally ill one final, bucket-list adventure before passing on, but dying was expensive. The bills, like Jimmy’s lies, were piling up. It’s only a matter of time before he’s forced to face a different type of death.


A rock god, a telenovela star, a grandmother living her life-long dream, and a young tech genius round out this group of strangers facing death together. But when tragedy strikes, their bond is shattered. Lies and fraud surface, forcing the dying to come together to save someone’s life.

Everybody dies. The lucky ones have fun doing it.


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Dire’s Club trailer from Kimberly Walton on Vimeo.


From author Kimberly Packard: When this story idea came to me, I journaled this part out. These were the very first words of DIRE’S CLUB. I had no clue where it would go – and quite frankly, it’s been all over the manuscript, but it now lives with Jimmy’s first chapter and I see it as his philosophy on life.





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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
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4/6/21

Book Trailer

Chapter Break Book Blog

4/6/21

Review

That’s What She’s Reading

4/6/21

BONUS Promo

LSBBT Blog

4/7/21

Review

Momma on the Rocks

4/7/21

BONUS Promo

Hall Ways Blog

4/8/21

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

4/8/21

Notable Quotable

The Page Unbound

4/9/21

Review

The Clueless Gent

4/10/21

Review

Jennie Reads

4/11/21

Author Interview

Texas Book Lover

4/12/21

Review

Bibliotica

4/13/21

Review

It’s Not All Gravy

4/13/21

Playlist

All the Ups and Downs

4/14/21

Review

Reading by Moonlight

4/14/21

Deleted Scene

Book Fidelity

4/15/21

Review

Rainy Days with Amanda

4/15/21

Review

Forgotten Winds


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A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers: Author Video

A WALL OF BRIGHT DEAD FEATHERS
By Babette Fraser Hale
Pages: 216
Pub Date: March 1st, 2021
Categories: Short Stories / Literary Fiction

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Most are newcomers to the scenic, rolling countryside of central Texas whose charms they romanticize, even as the troubles they hoped to leave behind persist. Twelve stories highlight “the book’s recurring theme of desire—for freedom, for clarity, for autonomy, and for personal fulfillment…When women are alone, unencumbered and unbeholden to anyone, they engage in intense internal reflection and show reverence for nature—and during these scenes, Hale’s language is luminescent” (Kirkus Reviews).
PRAISE FOR A WALL OF BRIGHT DEAD FEATHERS: 
“Hale shows a great respect for her characters and for the difficulty of their deceptively ordered existence, as well as for the problems they suffer because so much cannot be spoken.” — Francine Prose, on “Silences”

“A vivid set of tales about connection to other people and to the natural world…Hale’s lovely prose shows a keen eye for detail…” 

Kirkus Reviews

Purchase Links: 

Winedale PublishingBrazos Bookstore | Amazon

 

 

Author Babette Fraser Hale introduces, A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers, a new story collection set in central Texas.

Babette Fraser Hale’s fiction has won the Meyerson Award from Southwest Review, a creative artist award from the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, and been recognized among the “other distinguished stories” in Best American Short Stories, 2015. Her story “Drouth” is part of the New York Public Library’s digital collection. Her nonfiction has appeared in Texas Monthly, Houston City, and the Houston Chronicle. She writes a personal essay column for the Fayette County Record.
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3/26/21

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3/26/21

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3/28/21

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3/29/21

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3/29/21

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At Close Range: Review and Giveaway

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AT CLOSE RANGE: A MEMOIR
OF TRAGEDY AND ADVOCACY
By Leesa Ross

Categories: Nonfiction / Memoir / Personal Transformation / Advocacy
Publisher: Texas Tech University Press
Pages: 192
Publication Date: April 15, 2020


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Leesa Ross did not expect to write a book. Neither did she expect the tragedy that her family endured, a horrific and sudden death that led her to write At Close Range. Her debut memoir is the story of what happened after her son Jon died in a freak gun accident at a party. Ross unsparingly shares the complexities of grief as it ripples through the generations of her family, then chronicles how the loss of Jon has sparked a new life for her as a prominent advocate for gun safety.  Before the accident, Ross never had a motivation to consider the role that guns played in her life. Now, she revisits ways in which guns became a part of everyday life for her three sons and their friends.

Ross’s attitude towards guns is thorny. She has collectors and hunters in her family. To balance her advocacy, she joined both Moms Demand Action and the NRA. Through At Close Range, the national conversation about gun control plays out in one family’s catalyzing moment and its aftermath. However, At Close Range ultimately shows one mother’s effort to create meaning from tragedy and find a universally reasonable position and focal point: gun safety and responsible ownership.

Purchase: Texas Tech University Press




At Close Range: A Memoir of Tragedy and Advocacy is a gripping account of a mother’s story and the loss of her child from a gunshot wound. Leesa Ross delves deep into her recount, her raw grief, how she picks up the pieces, and sets out on a path of safety advocacy. It was just one freak accident that completely changed her life. The painful details, how this affected her marriage and life. Her boy Jon was an adult when he had died. As a mother of a two and a half year old, this memoir really pulled me in it. What if that was me? I can’t even imagine that pain and heartache this woman had to go through, but reading her story pulled at the strings of my heart and really made me pause and listen. 


I grew up in a small country town. My father owned guns. I grew up around them and they have very much been a part of my life. But as an adult, and now that I have a child of my own, and reading this story, it really makes me ponder the pro and anti gun organizations. Where do I fall? I’m somewhere in the middle on the issue. But I appreciated and understood Leesa’s point of view on the topic. You completely understand why she journeys down the path that she does. And her voice, one filled with trepidation and pain, is a powerful voice that deserves to be heard. 


As for the writing, I really enjoyed getting lost in Leesa Ross’ story. Her experience is heartfelt and profound. The details and description she uses easily draws the reader in. Though a hard read from an emotional standpoint, her narrative pulls you in, easily. And once I started reading it, it was hard to put down. 


I feel like this book is a great perspective on a very important issue, especially in our country. Though I may not agree with some of her beliefs, I can and do appreciate hearing her side, seeing her story, reading about what had happened to her. It’s a book for discussing, for feeling, for considering. It’s thought provoking and heart wrenching. A non-fiction read unlike any I have read. It makes us think, gets us talking. And most importantly, it makes us feel.


 I hear you Leesa Ross. 


I hope others will too.


Rating: 4/5


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Leesa Ross 
is a debut author who’s transformed a tragedy into a mission for safety. After losing a son to a shooting accident, she formed Lock Arms for Life, an educational organization teaching gun safety. A Texas mother of three, she leads Lock Arms, sits on the board of Texas Gun Sense, and belongs to the NRA.







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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,

or visit the blogs directly:

2/16/21

Review

Hall Ways Blog

2/16/21

Review

Reading by Moonlight

2/17/21

BONUS Promo

LSBBT Blog

2/17/21

Review

Missus Gonzo

2/18/21

Review

The Clueless Gent

2/18/21

Review

The Plain-Spoken Pen

2/19/21

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

2/20/21

Review

Tangled in Text

2/21/21

Review

Jennie Reads

2/22/21

Review

Julia Picks 1

2/22/21

Review

Book Fidelity

2/23/21

Review

The Page Unbound

2/24/21

Review

It’s Not All Gravy

2/24/21

Review

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

2/25/21

Review

Chapter Break Book Blog

2/25/21

Review

Forgotten Winds


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Network of Deceit: Excerpt and Giveaway

 
NETWORK OF DECEIT
An Amara Alvarez
Stand-Alone Novel
by
Tom Threadgill

Categories: Mystery / Suspense / Detective
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: February 2, 2021
Number of Pages: 384 pages


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She’s following her instincts. They’re following her every move. 

After her rescue of nearly fifty kidnapped children made international headlines, Amara Alvarez gets what she’s worked for: a transfer to San Antonio’s Homicide Division. But reality sets in quickly when her first case, the suspicious death of a teenager at a crowded local water park, plunges her life into chaos. 

As the investigation moves forward, Amara finds herself stalked online by cybercriminals who uncover her personal life in frightening detail. With few leads, she’s forced to resort to unconventional methods to find the killer and prevent her first murder investigation from ending up in the cold case files. 

Tom Threadgill is back with another riveting page-turner featuring the detective who is willing to put everything on the line to see justice served and lives protected.


CLICK TO PURCHASE!


 
 

Excerpt: Chapter One, Part One

of NETWORK OF DECEIT

by Tom Threadgill

 

How long could a human being scream?

Three times through the video so far and Amara’s appreciation for the woman’s lung capacity grew with each viewing. No sound on the recording, but there was no mistaking the outburst. The wide eyes, gaping mouth, and panicked attempt to be anywhere else other than there. Not that the shrieking had any relevance whatsoever. The woman’s reaction was entirely normal. People tended to scream when dead bodies appeared beside them.

On the monitor, an older teenage male, his chin against his chest and face hidden with a baseball cap, drifted on the water park’s lazy river. The deeply tanned boy floated on a huge yellow inner tube with each hand, palms up, tucked under one of the black handles. His knees were propped on top, allowing his feet to dangle in the water. During the seven-and-a-half-minute video clip, a series of rapids and a few collisions with other riders jostled him enough that his hands and feet moved, making it difficult to determine if the teen was dead or passed out. Either way, the other park visitors were too absorbed in their own day to notice. That would change.

A short way ahead, the not-yet-screaming woman and her three kids—two boys and a younger girl, all under ten or eleven by the looks of them—linked their floats together in an ovalish circle. Each member of the family held the foot of their neighbor as they meandered through the twists and turns of the attraction. The distance between the teenager and family narrowed, and Amara leaned closer to the monitor as her heartbeat accelerated. This was like one of those nature videos where a lioness stalks her victim. Creeping up on the unsuspecting wildebeest until . . . now.

The teen caught up to the family and his left leg bumped against the back of the young girl’s head. She jerked, turned to see who’d nudged her, mouthed something to him, and pushed his tube away. Barely a dozen clock-ticks later, he collided with her again, sending the mother into mom mode.

She grabbed his inner tube, pulled it to herself, then heaved it away with all the strength she could muster. Doing so flipped the boy’s head toward her and his ball cap fell into the water. His open, unmoving eyes were all it took. The woman screamed. And kept screaming. She paddled furiously for several seconds in a futile attempt to flee the corpse’s gaze. The adrenaline kicked in and—still shrieking—she rolled off her inner tube and pushed her three children aside as the corpse continued its slow, rambling journey.

“You can turn it off,” Amara said.

Dr. Douglas Pritchard, the medical examiner for Bexar County, clicked his mouse and the recording paused. “I requested the footage from the Cannonball Water Park after doing the young man’s autopsy. I trust it will be useful in your investigation, Detective Alvarez?”

Her investigation? Would Zachary Coleman be her first case? Not unless Dr. Pritchard could convince her there was something worth looking into. Truthfully, he wouldn’t have to show much. Her current routine, while interesting and necessary, wasn’t exactly stimulating.

After the Feds took control of the ongoing probe into the Cotulla aftermath, she’d been granted a transfer from the San Antonio PD’s Property Crimes Division to Homicide. Her first month in the new position had consisted of reviewing old files, shadowing other detectives as they worked, and keeping her mouth shut as much as possible.

When the LT had hollered her name an hour ago, she figured he had more files for her to review. She was wrong. Lieutenant Rico Segura was sitting behind his desk, an unlit cigar hanging from his mouth. Every morning the man pulled a new stogie from his drawer and planted it between his teeth. By the end of the day, most of the cigar would be gone, whether from absorption or chewing or swallowing or spitting or . . . She managed to restrain a shudder.

Get to the ME’s office ASAP, he said. Find out what Pritchard’s got. Suspicious death. See if it’s worth investigating.

After a quick yessir, she’d hurried over and caught the doctor between autopsies and meetings. Douglas Pritchard worked with her on Cotulla, and at the time he’d been dating Sara Colby, a Texas Ranger who’d also been involved in the inquiry. The two were no longer together, a fact Amara knew from her increasingly infrequent conversations with the woman.

The ME cleared his throat. “Detective?”

“Sorry.” She shifted in the red leather armchair. “Yes, the security video will be helpful if we move forward with an investigation. But there’s nothing on there that even hints at a crime. When the tox screenings come back, the department may take another look if warranted.”

He scanned his desktop. “How’s Sara? Do you two speak often?”

“Um, last I heard she was doing well.”

He shuffled through a stack of file folders. “So that’s a no?”

“We talk on occasion. She’s fine.”

“Give her my best, would you?” He looked up and stroked his goatee. “Now that’s an interesting saying, isn’t it? My best. My best what? Intentions? Makes no sense. Wishes? I suppose that might work under the right circumstances, but I—”

“You have more evidence to support your suspicions regarding the death?”

 

Read Part Two of the Excerpt on Texas Book Lover on 2/21/2021.

 

  

Tom Threadgill is a full-time author and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the International Thriller Writers (ITW). The author of Collision of Lies, Tom lives with his wife near Dallas, Texas.
 


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Copies of both Collision of Lies
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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:

2/17/21 Series Spotlight All the Ups and Downs
2/17/21 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
2/18/21 BONUS Promo LSBBT Blog
2/18/21 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
2/19/21 Review That’s What She’s Reading
2/20/21 Excerpt The Page Unbound
2/21/21 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
2/22/21 Author Interview StoreyBook Reviews
2/23/21 Review KayBee’s Book Shelf
2/24/21 Review Librariel Book Adventures
2/25/21 Character Interview The Clueless Gent
2/26/21 Review Tangled in Text

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Grand Openings Can Be Murder: Review and Giveaway

 
 
GRAND OPENINGS
CAN BE MURDER
Bean to Bar Mysteries Book 1
 
by
AMBER ROYER
 
 
Categories: Cozy Mystery / Woman Sleuth / Romance
Publisher: Golden Tip Press
Date of Publication: February 2, 2021
Number of Pages: 266 pages
 
 
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Felicity Koerber has had a rough year. She’s moving back to Galveston Island and opening a bean to bar chocolate factory, fulfilling a dream she and her late husband, Kevin, had shared. Craft chocolate means a chance to travel the world, meeting with farmers and bringing back beans she can turn into little blocks of happiness, right close to home and family. She thinks trouble has walked into her carefully re-built world when puddle-jump pilot Logan Hanlon shows up at her grand opening to order custom chocolates. Then one of her employees drops dead at the party, and Felicity’s one-who-got-away ex-boyfriend – who’s now a cop – thinks Felicity is a suspect.
 
As the murder victim’s life becomes more and more of a mystery, Felicity realizes that if she’s going to clear her name in time to save her business, she might need Logan’s help. Though she’s not sure if she’s ready to let anyone into her life – even if it is to protect her from being the killer’s next victim. For Felicity, Galveston is all about history, and a love-hate relationship with the ocean, which keeps threatening to deliver another hurricane – right into the middle of her investigation. Can she figure it out before all the clues get washed away? FIRST IN A NEW SERIES!
 
 
 
 

PRAISE FOR GRAND OPENINGS CAN BE MURDER:

“With as many unpredictable twists and turns as the hurricane approaching Galveston, Grand Openings Can Be Murder is an intriguing cozy mystery set in a new chocolate shop along the island’s historic Strand. Readers will love learning about the bean-to-bar chocolate-making process while the store’s owner, Felicity, pursues truth, justice, and the perfect chocolate bar.”

— Diane Kelly, Award-winning author of the Death & Taxes, Paw Enforcement, House Flipper, and Busted mystery series.

 
 
 
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Thank you all for your patience as Texas melted! Grand Openings Can Be Murder is the first of a series and will surely have plenty more to give. Our main character, Felicity, is really just getting her bearings and starting a new journey after her husband passes. Still, she is determined to keep her head high and dive into her chocolate business. Though at times it seemed like she wanted to dive into the chocolate itself. Her love and passion to making chocolate has surely been keeping her busy enough. That is, before the insane chain of events that unfold. At times, I was surprised by Felicity’s tenacity and ability to be optimistic throughout everything she’s going through.
 
What stood out to me was the attention to detail and very informative way Royer wrote. From her characters, to scene awareness, and no doubt extensive research into chocolate itself. It wasn’t just the many intricacies of chocolate and how it’s made, but just what makes it so delicious and how it made Felicity feel. Side note: Yes, I did go out and buy chocolate because of this. The characters themselves are plentiful and very distinct, making it easy to remember who is who. It is also no surprise how much is packed into just the first hundred pages with all the complex characters; their history, past with each other, and what they could be hiding. Even the animals tied into the story were a nice touch!
 
It will be interesting to see what Royer will do with her next book of the series. Felicity is still just beginning a new journey and even a possible romance. She is a great character to root for and I’m sure has more mysteries and chocolate to make.
 
 
 
 
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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GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
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Autographed copy of GRAND OPENINGS CAN BE MURDER
and a $25 Gift Card to Dandelion Chocolate
(US only. Ends Midnight, CST, February 19, 2021)
 
 
 
 
 
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:
 
 
2/9/21 Excerpt Texas Book Lover
2/9/21 BONUS Guest Post Hall Ways Blog
2/9/21 BONUS Promo LSBBT Blog
2/10/21 Top Ten That’s What She’s Reading
2/11/21 Review Missus Gonzo
2/12/21 Playlist All the Ups and Downs
2/13/21 Review StoreyBook Reviews
2/14/21 Author Interview Rebecca R. Cahill, Author
2/15/21 Review Forgotten Winds
2/16/21 Scrapbook Page KayBee’s Book Shelf
2/17/21 Review The Page Unbound
2/18/21 Review It’s Not All Gravy

 
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Pudge and Prejudice: Review

PUDGE AND PREJUDICE
by
A.K. PITTMAN
Categories: YA / Clean & Wholesome Romance / ’80s
Publisher: Wander (a division of Tyndale House)
Date of Publication: January 12, 2021
Number of Pages: 352 pages
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A Mixtape of Big ’80s Style, High School Angst, and a Classic Jane Austen Tale

It’s 1984 and after moving to Northenfield, Texas, with her family, Elyse Nebbit faces the challenge of finding her place in a new school, one dominated by social status and Friday night football. When Elyse’s effortlessly beautiful older sister Jayne starts dating golden boy Charlie Bingley, Elyse finds herself curious about Charlie’s popular and brooding best friend, Billy Fitz. Elyse’s body insecurities eventually complicate her relationship with Billy, leaving Jayne and Elyse’s exceedingly blunt friend, Lottie, to step in and help Elyse accept herself for who she is, pant size and all.

PRAISE FOR PUDGE AND PREJUDICE:

Written with wit and considerable insight into the highs and lows of first love, this coming-of-age twist on the Jane Austen classic had me laughing out loud, singing ‘80s lyrics in my head, and cheering on the brilliant, yet self-deprecating heroine. Pudge & Prejudice is a joy to read from beginning to end! Lorie Langdon author of Olivia Twist and the Disney Villains series

Allison Pittman will have readers laughing (and singing) on every page of this delightfully tenderhearted novel for all ages…[She] crafts a particularly savvy character who learns that beauty really is soul-deep…. Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Perennials

I can’t remember the last time I loved a book as much as I love this one. It’s an instant classic I will return to time after time. Bethany Turner, Award-Winning Author of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck

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Sweet and complicated high school. I don’t miss it.

Pudge and Prejudice is a spunky tribute to Pride and Prejudice. As the many many maaany people who have seen the movies and less many that have read the book, I can say this book does an excellent job of reviving its classic tale in eighties gear. Elyse is a quirky lead character, whose narrative will keep you entertained, chuckling, and really wishing for her self confidence to grow. It’s a main theme in the book that Elyse is somehow ‘less than’ when it comes to her weight. Her mother’s comments, the school population, even a little ‘monster’ named Caroline continue to mention it. She’s compared to her sisters and what her weight will even mean for her future. Elyse mentions it nearly in every chapter and despite all of her many good qualities, it holds her back from enjoying things completely. Honestly, it was difficult to read at times because I went through a similar experience. I was happy to see Elyse starting to feel more comfortable with her body, with wanting to be seen and not feeling like she shouldn’t explore who she is beyond reader, sister, and smart girl with a weight issue.

“My size, my face, my hair-we were all well on our way to becoming friends with each other. That misdirected pride I’d carried for so long, the one that led me to hide behind an almost aggressively plain appearance, was being chipped away with every bit of color I allowed in my wardrobe, my accessories, my tinted lip gloss. I was finally comfortable enough with myself to highlight myself. Like in the books I love.”

It irks me to think of any young girl growing up and thinking their weight is an issue at all. Skinny, not skinny, or absolutely and completely good the way they are. I’ll stop ranting at this point and say that the topic itself and clever way Pittman integrates the classic with her own story was well done. The characters are well written and comical in their own eighties flair. Pittman has lots of great references to the era and the music choices were great. I found myself listening to music while reading for most of the book. Eighty percent at least.

I also definitely pictured everyone in the most colorful outfits I could imagine.

While I’m not sure it was intentional, I enjoyed the way Elyse would goodheartedly make fun of herself. Mainly in the way she drew out her phrases or used words that no one else seemed to use in high school.

“A note. Upon close inspection-like, by picking it up-I realized there was more than one sheet of paper here, Two or three, at least.”

I thought it was a smart way of keeping the humor in the story and making it more down to earth for the reader. I enjoyed the additional depth Pittman added to each character and the struggles they are facing in life as well.

Since I could go on for a while, here are some parts I enjoyed that may appeal to you as a reader: redeemable characters, breaking stereotypes, the love interest based off Darcy is named Billy Fitz, eighties throwback, football mentioned seriously but not taken seriously, Lottie reminding me more and more of Regina George, and puns.

I hoped you enjoyed this review as I enjoyed the book. I hope it’s piqued your interest and you take a look for yourself. I also hope you’re staying healthy and happy!

Allison Pittman is an award-winning author of thirteen novels, including the Christy-nominated Sister Wife series and the critically acclaimed The Seamstress. An enthusiast for all of the writing world, Allison holds active leadership in her local American Christian Fiction Writers chapter, and she heads up a thriving critique group in the San Antonio area. When not writing, Allison teaches middle school English, working as a conduit to introduce her students to new, fresh literature. You can follow her around on Instagram or Twitter and keep up with her writing news on her Allison Pittman Author Facebook page. Here you’ll learn what’s going on with new books, next books, and day-to-day life with Allison and her husband, Mikey. You’ll also get a peek at Snax, the world’s worst dog.

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2/3/21 Review The Page Unbound
2/3/21 Review Missus Gonzo
2/4/21 Review All the Ups and Downs
2/5/21 Review Carpe Diem Chronicles
2/5/21 Review That’s What She’s Reading
2/6/21 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
2/7/21 Review Rebecca R. Cahill, Author
2/8/21 Review Nerd Narration
2/8/21 Review Rainy Days with Amanda
2/9/21 Review Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
2/10/21 Review StoreyBook Reviews
2/10/21 Review Momma on the Rocks
2/11/21 Review Book Fidelity
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Stork Bite: Review and Giveaway

STORK BITE
by
L.K. Simonds

Genre: Historical Fiction / Southern Fiction 
Date of Publication: November 30, 2020 
Number of Pages: 359 pages

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“Everything has to be reconciled eventually.” 

Caddo Parish, 1913. On an October morning, a Klansman confronts seventeen-year-old David Walker at a hidden oxbow lake where he has gone to hunt. David accidentally kills the man and hides the crime. His determination to protect his family from reprisal drives him far from home and into manhood. 

Shreveport, 1927. Cargie (rhymes with Margie) Barre and Mae Compton are two vastly different young women, but both are defying convention to reach for their dreams. The men in Cargie’s and Mae’s lives help and hinder them in more ways than one. After years in hiding, David Walker finally resurfaces, and we discover the past is never as far from the present as it seems.
 

PRAISE FOR STORK BITE:
“Simonds is a wonderfully talented author and evokes the South in astonishing detail in Stork Bite, making us feel we’re sitting in on a long, sumptuous, serial film production. But don’t think it’s mere eye candy–like the best period dramas, there’s plenty of social commentary here. Highly recommended!” 
–Linore Rose Burkard, author of Regency Romance and Contemporary Suspense

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Stork Bite is a powerful and riveting story. Told in two parts, the first being David, the second told bye Mae and Cargie, L. K. Simonds delivers us a tale that is told over the years with complex characters and an enthralling story. The history, the detail, the layers, I devoured each page. 

From the beginning, we follow David’s story as he inadvertently kills a Texas Ranger. My heart was racing through this entire scene, as David not only loses his companion (his dog Huck), but in the commotion kills a man that was trying to arrest him for wanting to use a boat that was designated for whites only. David then does what he needs to, he hides the man’s car, takes his lifeless dog home, and tells his family. 

Reading David’s story, I couldn’t help but feel like I was right there with him, going through the emotions with him, the turmoil, the injustice. Stork Bite is raw and real and true Texas grit. From the first couple of pages, I knew I was hooked and had to figure out how David  was going to survive through this incident. 

One thing that I have to mention is how beautiful L. K. Simonds’ writing is. It’s descriptive and captivating and has quite the voice to the story. My favorite of the two stories is David’s story, and my only complaint was the switch between the two stories. However the story does have a really great ending. I really enjoyed seeing how the two stories come together.

The characters in Stork Bite are layered, complex characters, each with their own mistakes and mishaps. And the mystery in the story is what really drives this tale home for me. 

This story is one of redemption and one of reflection. It’s thought provoking and deep. A story that really makes you think. And I love that about it. It’s emotional and rich, and a story that will stick with me. I would definitely give this book a 4/5 and I look forward to reading future books by L.K. Simonds. 



L. K. Simonds is a Fort Worth local whose debut novel, All In, was published in 2019.


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Low Water Crossing: Interview and Giveaway


LOW WATER CROSSING
Book Two of the Sulfur Gap Series
by
DANA GLOSSBRENNER

Genre: Literary Fiction / Family Saga 
Independently published
Date of Publication: July 19, 2020
Number of Pages: 476

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Low Water Crossing is a tribute to those who endure heartache and nevertheless celebrate, to those who wait—and live full lives while waiting.

A backhoe unearths a human skeleton buried on Wayne Cheadham’s West Texas ranch. The investigation points a grisly finger at Wayne’s first wife. And so begins the wild ride through twenty-five years of love and heartbreak. 

Wayne’s a highly eligible bachelor who runs into trouble, first because he’s naïve, and next because, well, life is unpredictable. He’s a loveable guy with a peaceful outlook. Just about anyone wants the best for him, dang it. To cope with sadness, he arranges for an old steel-girded bridge to be placed in the dry pasture in front of his house. Says it helps him adjust his perspective. Others say it’s the world’s largest yard ornament. He takes in stray emus and abandoned horses and becomes a mentor to a loveable little boy without much family. He sits and ponders his plight at a low-water crossing over the creek.

A cast of characters from the fictional small West Texas town of Sulfur Gap
the staff of a high school burger shop hangout on the Interstate, coffee groups at the Navaho Café, hair stylists from the Wild Hare, a local sheriff and his deputies, and the band at the local honky-tonkknits together the community surrounding Wayne, and all bring their own quirks. People you’d find anywhere, some with thicker Texas twangs than others. 

The town, the ranch, and familiar Texas cities such as San Angelo, Abilene, and Austin provide a backdrop for universal themes of love, grief, and loyalty.
                          
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Interview with Dana Glossbrenner, author of Low Water Crossing

  

How has being a Texan influenced your writing?

Living in Texas all my life has made me acutely aware of speech patterns of Texas—the small-town accent versus the urban accent, the regional variations from the soft “r” of East Texas to the harder, flatter “r” of West Texas. I’ve known many people that stereotypes are based on: ranchers, oil-field workers, cowboys, bartenders. When I use these expected “stereotypes” as characters, I present them as unique individuals with their own souls, aspirations, and quirks.

 

How does your book relate to your faith?

Low Water Crossing brings faith to the table, but not blatantly. Faith, for me, is fluid and adaptable, not a rigid set of beliefs. Cynthia exemplifies the struggle with rigidity and moving beyond. Lucy is without faith, because of her upbringing, but develops a faith in herself, relying totally on herself (a former version of myself). Lou is a person of faith in that she prays, forgives, loves, and practices mindfulness (the way I try to). From a spiritual point of view, one can see the central character, Wayne, as having cultivated an accepting, noncombative attitude toward others and the events of life. He loves more deeply as he matures, and he grapples with the low points with a knowing that he’ll move on—a spiritual approach.

 

What made you decide to write a sequel?

Low Water Crossing is what I call a “spin-off” to The Lark. LWC is set in Sulfur Gap, Texas, with many of the same characters appearing as in Lark. Main character Wayne, Charley’s mentor from Lark, is the focal point. Readers expressed a desire to see more of Wayne—and Lou—so I decided to tell their story. It was already outlined for me! One scene in Lark had a mention of Wayne having two previous marriages—with one wife deserting, and the other being killed in a traffic mishap. Because of those few words, I had a broad outline but also a hurdle—I had to kill the second wife! I liked Cynthia, the Bible-thumping Southern belle. I tried to think of a way out, but there’s no way to say someone died in one book and have them escape that death in the next, unless you’re writing fantasy! The advantage of my liking Cynthia—admiring her parenting skills and commitment to family—was that I didn’t have to use a lot of imagination in describing the feelings of loss that came with her death.

 

Why did you decide to self-publish?

On my first novel, I had experienced working with a small publisher, but they closed down. In searching for another publisher, I didn’t find one that seemed to fit. I wrote queries to maybe thirty literary agents, which I know is not an exhaustive search. Learned a lot. Did lots of research. The first queries were so lame compared to later ones, which benefitted from reading online blogs and taking a class.

I know that the next thing I’m saying here could come back to bite, but it’s true for me. I learned, in looking at literary agents’ profiles and gauging their responses, that they, of course, wanted some or all of the following: a famous name, a massive social-media presence, trendy subject matter, and an author who has the potential to crank out ten books in the next five years. It was daunting as someone getting started and not getting a second book out for four years (because I was learning). Also, I was not the youngest of potential clients.

I felt moved to self-publish because I wanted to try it and see what happens (it’s a learning experience for sure!). I don’t rely on book sales as a livelihood, so self-publishing can be looked at as a luxury (even though I’d love to have the partnership of a bona fide publisher or agent).

 

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Balance. There’s a lot of pain in Low Water Crossing. And yet, someone told me it was a feel-good book. (I immediately went into my Amazon Sponsored Ad campaign and added that as a keyword: “feel-good.”) It nails what was hard in writing: Keeping away from the maudlin in tragic life events. Allowing humor into the story without insensitivity. Describing recovery from hard life events without being sappy.

 

Okay, the wedding at the end might be a little sappy, but I still think it’s realistic. I tried to humanize Wayne with his long-term animosity toward the sheriff, his running away from Lucy and returning three days later with red eyes and beard stubble, wanting a divorce, and so on. In short, the hard part was balance. What goes down, comes up, as reflected in the title.

 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I enjoyed playing with first-person POV. There are four narrators: Wayne, Lucy, Cynthia, and Lou. I enjoyed getting immersed in the mind and voice of each one.

 

Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured if your book?

Yes. A victim of child abuse whose cry for help wasn’t answered. A person with a serious mental illness left to her own devices. A ten-year-old boy who’s beginning to figure out he might be gay. A nerdy West Texas sheriff who tries to pull off a studly image and fails but is still a really good law officer. A Hispanic game warden married to a Minnesota beauty queen who looks like Michelle Pfeiffer (that reference fits with the time frame).

 

Who are some of the authors you feel were influential in your work?

Paulette Jiles’s lyrical writing; Elmer Kelton, in describing the lives of Texans and physical reality of the land; Larry McMurtry with his sense of humor.

I’ve always read, from classics to best-sellers, so it’s hard to say what had the most influence. Certainly, the great Texas writers. James Michener inspired me to strive for a leaner style (he never left a detail out, it seems).




Dana Glossbrenner has lived in West Texas all her life. She is the author of Women Behind Stained Glass: West Texas Pioneers (non-fiction) and The Lark: Book 1 of the Sulfur Gap Series.




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 October 6-16 , 2020
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Review

Reading by Moonlight

10/7/20

Excerpt

Texas Book Lover

10/7/20

BONUS Post

Hall Ways Blog

10/8/20

Playlist

The Adventures of a Travelers Wife

10/9/20

Review

Bibliotica

10/10/20

Deleted Scene

All the Ups and Downs

10/11/20

Author Interview

The Page Unbound

10/12/20

Review

Chapter Break Book Blog

10/13/20

Scrapbook Page

Max Knight

10/14/20

Review

StoreyBook Reviews

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Review

The Clueless Gent



   
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A Dog’s Day: Scrapbook Page

I AM JAX, 
PROTECTOR OF THE RANCH 
and 
I AM AVA, 
SEEKER IN THE SNOW
A Dog’s Day Series, Books 1 and 2
By CATHERINE STIER
Illustrated by Francesca Rosa
 
Animals / Adventure / Farm Life / Ranch Life / Chapter Books 
Date of Publication: April 1, 2020
Number of Pages: 96
 
Scroll down for the giveaway!

Spend a day in the life of a livestock guardian dog! Jax the Great Pyrenees has a big job. After the Texas sun goes down, it’s up to him and two other LGDs to protect their ranch from predators. But when the lead dog gets hurt, Jax and a
young pup are the only ones left to protect the flock through the night. Told from the dog’s perspective, this story also includes back matter about the breed and role of the working dog.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Spend a day in the life of an avalanche rescue dog! Ava is a chocolate Labrador retriever with a big job. She and her handler have trained for years to be ready to help people at their ski resort if an unexpected avalanche hits. But Ava quickly finds out there’s much more to being an avy dog than daring rescues. Told from the dog’s perspective, this riveting story also includes back matter about the breed and the role of the working dog.
 

 

 

 

I Am Ava, Seeker in the Snow

Scrapbook Page by Catherine Stier

Catherine Stier, a former Midwesterner, now lives deep in the heart of Southwest Texas, on the edge of the beautiful Hill Country. Her children’s books have received honors and awards from the Society of School Librarians International, the International Reading Association, and the Bank Street College of Education.

Stier has served as a frequent contributor to Woman’s Day Magazine and as a newspaper columnist. Her work has also appeared in Highlights for Children, My Friend, Child Life, and several newspapers, including the Chicago Sun-Times and the San Antonio Express-News.

Stier’s lively and interactive Author’s Visit programs have entertained, educated, and inspired thousands of children. Visit Catherine Stier’s website at www.catherinestier.com for more information, activities, and free curriculum guides.

 
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ONE WINNER: Hardcover copy of I Am Jax, Protector of the Ranch (Book 1), hardcover copy of I Am Ava, Seeker in the Snow (Book 2), $15 gift card to The Twig Book Shop, stuffed animal – adorable “Ava” Lab dog toy, dog stickers, dog socks.  
September 17-27, 2020 
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9/17/20
BONUS Post
9/17/20
Review Jax
9/18/20
Character Interview
9/19/20
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9/20/20
Jax Scrapbook
9/21/20
Ava Scrapbook
9/22/20
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Review Ava
9/24/20
Sneak Peek Jax
9/25/20
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Review Ava
 
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