Scorched Earth: Review and Giveaway

by Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays

Publisher: Pumpjack Press
Pages: 318
Date of Publication: February 14th, 2021
Categories: Science Fiction / Hard Boiled Detective

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The year is 2188 and the Earth—long-ago abandoned for Mars by the plutocrats—is scorched by poverty, disease, and environmental collapse. What these wealthy elite don’t know is that on his last trip upuniverse, Detective Crucial Larsen stumbled onto a secret that could destroy them. But he doesn’t intend to use it. Fighting back against the ruling Five Families of Mars is a fool’s game destined for failure—or worse, he thinks. Plus, he never wants to set foot on that damn planet again. Then Melinda, his long-lost love and a staff scientist on Mars, begs for his help clearing her fiancée of a murder charge. Crucial jumps on the next q-rocket, hoping maybe this time he can patch things up with Mel. His investigation ultimately leads back to the radiation-blasted sunbelt, where cannibal lizard-people—a climate change mitigation genetic experiment gone terribly wrong—hold the key to a different future, if only Crucial can stay alive long enough to unlock it.

Praise for Scorched Earth:

“Others have attempted to blend the genres of an investigative detective piece with sci-fi, but few achieve such a seamless integration as do McFall and Hays … a compelling saga, edgy and different, thoroughly absorbing.” 

Midwest Book Review

Purchase: Amazon

Futuristic Science Fiction meets NCIS in this gripping murder mystery that takes place on the planet Mars. Crucial, a labor cop, is controlled by an advanced AI called Halo, as is everyone else on earth. Crucial does what he can to send secret messages to his team as they use nanonites to disrupt Halo’s abilities. He’s happy what he’s doing, fighting the good fight, helping his sister Essential whom is a leader in the resistance. But then he gets a call from his ex Melinda who needs his help to clear her fiance’s name whom has been charged with murder. Though Crucial never wanted to return to Mars, he will do it for Melinda. 

However, Mars is ruled by the Five Families, the wealthy elite. People that Crucial believes are futile to fight against. His investigation however leads him back to Earth, to a genetic experiment that has created lizard like cannibals. And Crucial will do what he can to find the truth, clear Melinda’s finances name, and stay alive, of course. 

I must say Scorched Earth was very intriguing. It took a little to get used to all the scientific names for things, as I’m not used to reading futurist science fiction books. There’s alot of terminology that I had to stop and think about to understand what it was Crucial was describing. Once I got used to the narration the story flowed more easily. I loved how detailed and complex Scroched Earth was, but at the root of it is this investigation that leads Crucial down a path that lets us really explore these two worlds. Especially with things happening now, with the Mars Mission that is going to happen in our lifetime, it was fun to envision a world where people lived on Mars. 

Crucial is such a wonderful character. He’s honorable and dependable. He doesn’t give up on people or himself. He’s definitely the “good cop” in this story, and you’re left rooting for him every step of the way. The depth of his character development had me flipping through each page. To be submerged in this world was unlike anything I have read before! And what Crucial ends up investigating was so beyond the stars, that I had to keep going to figure out how the story was going to unfold. It’s exciting, and a little horrifying, to be honest. But a little dark elements sure was the icing on the cake for me. 

Though Scorched is the second in the trilogy, I read it before reading any of the others and it did fine as a stand alone, though now I am interested in the other books in the series! 

Scorched is definitely a gripping read! It’s vivid and engrossing. A read for anyone that loves a good, dark, murder mystery, especially for those science fiction lovers out there! Be sure to check it out!

Rating: 4/5

Clark and Kathleen wrote their first book together in 1999 as a test for marriage. They passed.  Scorched Earth is their ninth co-authored book. Pumpjack Press  ║  Pumpjack Press on Facebook Facebook ║ Instagram Connect with Kathleen Goodreads ║ Amazon ║ Facebook ║ Twitter Connect with Clark Goodreads ║ Amazon ║ Facebook ║ Twitter

Knock! Knock! Book Blitz


Lessons Learned and Stories Shared 
Categories: Nonfiction / Motivational Stories / Positivity / Relationship Building / Integrity / Time Management / Entrepreneurship
Publisher: Lucid House Publishing
Date of Publication: January 8, 2021
Pages: 154
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Knock! Knock! is a fast-paced, fun-filled journey through the author’s career in sales that not only teaches you how to be better at selling but to also have a ton of fun while you are doing it.
Knock! Knock! invites you to join Doug on what salespeople call “a ride along,” which is where a senior salesperson shows a newbie the ropes. This book delivers a winning sales philosophy learned through years of experience and is illustrated by real-life stories that Doug shares — along with multiple Knock-Knock Moments (or lessons and revelations learned) that have fueled his career and that he believes will help yours.
Every one of us is in Sales. If you deal with people, you are in sales. Knock! Knock! teaches you how to get out of your Comfort Zone to believe in yourself and to believe in the product, services, or message you are trying to sell. But it also teaches you to have a great time while you are doing it.

Purchase: Amazon | Main Street Reads




Douglas Thompson’s passion for improving the customer’s experience as well as the sales profession continues to drive him as he comes up with new ideas to answer this question: How can we make the sales process better? Starting out as an insurance agent going down the street selling accident insurance by knocking on doors, Doug quickly moved into the management side of the life and health insurance industry, hiring and training agents to be successful doing the same. His ability to build successful sales teams caught the eye of the corporate leadership of several major companies. Doug became the vice president of sales and marketing for Conseco and was recruited to do the same for Pacificare, UnitedHealthcare, American Republic, Tranzact, and Humana.
Currently, he is the marketing director for a large national insurance wholesaler that recruits and trains insurance agents and agencies in the senior marketplace across the country, and he continues to build his own general agency, which offers life and health products to the senior population. He is known nationally for his innovations in the sales industry and frequently speaks and trains on his favorite topic of sales.
Doug and his wife Shirley own a Bed & Breakfast in Jefferson, Texas.

Follow Douglas Thompson on: Facebook | Website | Goodreads


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At Close Range: Review and Giveaway


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



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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Network of Deceit: Excerpt and Giveaway

An Amara Alvarez
Stand-Alone Novel
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.



Excerpt: Chapter One, Part One


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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Grand Openings Can Be Murder: Review and Giveaway

Bean to Bar Mysteries Book 1
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!


“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.

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 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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Pudge and Prejudice: Review

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.


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


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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2/6/21 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
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Stork Bite: Review and Giveaway

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.

“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


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.


(US only):
Signed Paperbacks of ALL IN and STORK BITE
Plus $50 Visa Gift Card.
Giveaway ends Midnight, CST, February 5, 2021

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or visit the blogs directly:
1/26/21 Review That’s What She’s Reading
1/26/21 Review The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
1/27/21 Review StoreyBook Reviews
1/28/21 Review The Page Unbound
1/28/21 Review KayBee’s Book Shelf
1/29/21 Review Momma on the Rocks
1/29/21 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
1/30/21 Review Rainy Days with Amanda
1/31/21 Review Tangled in Text
2/1/21 Review Librariel Book Adventures
2/1/21 Review Jennifer Silverwood
2/2/21 Review The Clueless Gent
2/2/21 BONUS Promo All the Ups and Downs
2/3/21 Review Book Bustle
2/3/21 Review Forgotten Winds
2/4/21 Review It’s Not All Gravy
2/4/21 Review Reading by Moonlight

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Ely Air Lines: Excerpt and Giveaway

Select Stories from 10 Years
of a Weekly Column,
Volumes 1 & 2
Genre: Nonfiction
Categories: Short Stories / Aviation / Adventure 
Date of Publication: January 29, 2020 
Number of Pages: Volume 1: 350 pages; Volume 2: 330 pages  
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Buckle up and fly with Mike and Linda Street-Ely to discover amazing people, interesting places, and the conquest of flight. Since 2007, readers have enjoyed engaging articles weekly in the newspaper column, “Ely Air Lines.” Now you can step aboard to enjoy a collection of stories that explore the vast realm of the flyer’s world.


Excerpt from




“The Great Northwest”

Don called his ground roll about twenty-five seconds later. My insides felt like iron. I had the skill and experience. I got this.

We scanned the engine instruments. Cylinder head tem­peratures were good—not too hot. RPMs were higher than normal cruise flight, but that was intentional.

Keep it straight; he’s not far behind.

Mike called, “Race 55, turn one.” I snapped into a bank, our left wingtip pivoting on the turn point, and just as abruptly leveled the wings quickly coming out of the turn.

Straight on course.

We watched the seconds tick on our GPS, listening intently for Don’s turn one call.

“Race 30, turn one.” He hadn’t lost any ground.

By the second turn, there were fewer seconds separating us. Keeping my eyes on the course, I asked Mike, “Can you see him?”

“No, but he’s not far.”

At the third turn, I dipped our left wing in a purposed, calculated bank. My eyes scanned quickly to monitor my inputs, my human factor performance.

Sharp left bank. Look down the wing. Wingtip on the turn point.

Hold that bank.

Eyes up, check altitude. Steady. Don’t climb.

Lower the nose slightly to increase speed in the turn.

Eyes back to the turn point. Check the compass.

Don’t overshoot. Turn out on course.

Quick, level the wings. Don’t let the nose come up.

Mike made our third turn call.

Silence in the airplane as we waited for Don’s call. We must have done better on that turn. We gained a couple of seconds on him.

Mike Ely has logged thousands of hours over more than forty years as a professional pilot. He holds an airline transport pilot certificate with multiple type ratings and a flight instructor certificate. Mike has taught people to fly in small single engine airplanes, gliders, turboprops, and corporate jets. As a freight pilot and an international corporate pilot, he has flown through all kinds of weather, to many places, both exotic and boring. His love for writing was instilled by his father at an early age. Linda Street-Ely is an award-winning, multi-genre author and playwright. She also holds an airline transport pilot certificate, a commercial seaplane certificate and a tailwheel endorsement. She has air raced all over the U.S., including four times in the historic all-women’s transcontinental Air Race Classic. Besides flying, Linda has a keen appreciation for great storytelling. She loves to travel the world, meet people, and learn about other cultures because she believes great stories are everywhere. Together, Linda and Mike are “Team Ely,” five-time National Champions of the Sport Air Racing League, racing their Grumman Cheetah, named the “Elyminator,” and dubbed “The Fastest Cheetah in the Known Universe.” They live in Liberty, Texas.
Each win an autographed, 2-volume set of ELY AIR LINES
Giveaway ends midnight, CST, January 29, 2021
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or visit the blogs directly:
1/19/21 Excerpt It’s Not All Gravy
1/20/21 Review V1 Jennie Reads
1/20/21 Review V2 Librariel Book Adventures
1/21/21 Guest Post Forgotten Winds
1/22/21 Review V1 StoreyBook Reviews
1/22/21 Review V2 Reading by Moonlight
1/23/21 Author Interview All the Ups and Downs
1/24/21 Author Interview The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
1/25/21 Review V1 Book Bustle
1/25/21 Review V2 Book Fidelity
1/26/21 Excerpt The Page Unbound
1/27/21 Character Interview Hall Ways Blog
1/27/21 Top Ten Momma on the Rocks
1/28/21 Review V1 The Clueless Gent
1/28/21 Review V2 Chapter Break Book Blog
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The Black-Marketer’s Daughter: Scrapbook Page


Suman Mallick
Category: Contemporary / Literary Fiction / Multicultural
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Date of Publication: October 13, 2020
Number of Pages: 166 pages

Zuleikha arrives in the US from Lahore, Pakistan, by marriage, having trained as a pianist without ever owning a real piano. Now she finally has one-a wedding present from her husband-but nevertheless finds it difficult to get used to her new role of a suburban middle-class housewife who has an abundance of time to play it. 

Haunted by the imaginary worlds of the confiscated contraband books and movies that her father trafficked in to pay for her education and her dowry, and unable to reconcile them with the expectations of the real world of her present, she ends up as the central figure in a scandal that catapults her into the public eye and plays out in equal measures in the local news and in backroom deliberations, all fueled by winds of anti-Muslim hysteria. 

The Black-Marketer’s Daughter was a finalist for the Disquiet Open Borders Book Prize, and praised by the jury as a “complicated and compelling story” of our times, with two key cornerstones of the novel being the unsympathetic voice with which Mallick, almost objectively, relays catastrophic and deeply emotional events, and the unsparing eye with which he illuminates the different angles and conflicting interests at work in a complex situation. The cumulative effects, while deliberately unsettling to readers, nevertheless keeps them glued to the pages out of sheer curiosity about what will happen next.

│ Amazon  │ │


“Mallick offers an impressively realistic depiction of a woman caught between tradition, family, and her own sense of empowerment.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

“The Black-Marketer’s Daughter is a key-hole look at a few things: a mismatched marriage, the plight of immigrants in the U.S., the emotional toll of culture shock, and the brutal way Muslim women are treated, especially by men within their own community. Titling it—defining the heroine by her relationship to a man rather than as a woman in her own right—suggests how deeply ingrained that inequality can be.” ~ IndieReader Reviews

“The Black-Marketer’s Daughter is the portrait of a woman who endures violence, intimidation, xenophobia and grief, and yet refuses to be called a victim. In this slender novel, Suman Mallick deftly navigates the funhouse maze of immigrant life in contemporary America—around each corner the possibility of a delight, a terror, or a distorted reflection of oneself.” ~ Matthew Valentine, Winner, Montana Prize for Fiction; Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin

Scrapbook Page: The Black-Marketer’s Daughter

1: Campion Trail, Irving, which makes several appearances on The Black-Marketer’s Daughter, on an ice-cold and rainy day.

2: Trinity overlook at Spring Trail Park

3: The author’s workspace in the MFA Lounge at Portland State University, where most of the novel was written.

4: The view outside on a lustrous spring afternoon.

5: The art studio overlooking a library lounge where a lot of writing and editing also took place

6: During a weekend trip to the Oregon coast, the view from a walk to clear the head after writing

7: Early summer morning, Sunriver, Oregon, on a trip to celebrate the completion of novel

8: A little poem (not author’s) on the board to keep him company part of the way.

9: 6YO Daughter’s design of the novel cover (working title – Apples and Knives)

Suman Mallick
received his MFA from Portland State University and is the assistant managing editor of the quarterly literary magazine Under the Gum Tree. He lives in Texas.


or visit the blogs directly:



Hall Ways Blog



The Clueless Gent


Guest Post

Momma on the Rocks



Forgotten Winds


Author Interview

All the Ups and Downs






Texas Book Lover


Author Interview

That’s What She’s Reading



It’s Not All Gravy



Chapter Break Book Blog



StoreyBook Reviews


Scrapbook Page

The Page Unbound


Author Interview

KayBee’s Book Shelf



Reading by Moonlight



Missus Gonzo

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Cleo Ties a Bow: A Rabbit and Fox Story

A Rabbit and Fox Story
Sybrina Durant
Category: Children’s Activity Book / Picture Book
Date of Publication: September 25, 2020
Number of Pages: 39 pages

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Cleo loves bows. She wears her hair in a bow and decorates her room with bows. Cleo is bow crazy. Learning to tie a bow is very difficult for some people but Cleo remembers how to do it from a cute story she once heard. It is about a little rabbit with very long ears and a very helpful fox who shows her what to do to keep them clean. This is the story of how Cleo learns to tie a “bunny ear” bow. Exercises in manual dexterity build self-esteem in children. Knowing how to tie shoestrings, scarves and more into a bow is a useful and rewarding skill. Teach a child a useful skill. Build confidence and self-esteem that lasts a lifetime. Other books in the Learn To Tie With The Rabbit and the Fox series are the book with that name in English, Spanish, and Tagalog plus Nellie Knows How To Knot A Neck Scarf and Ned Knows How To Knot A Necktie.


Cleo Can Tie a Bow: A Rabbit and Fox Story is an adorable story about a little girl named Cleo that loves to tie bows. There are many bows, in her hair, in her room, she even sees butterflies that reminder her of bows. Cleo then shares a story about a rabbit with long ears and a fox that helps the rabbit tie their ears in a bow. In the story it shares the steps on how to tie a bow, which is a great learning tool for little ones. 

There’s so much to enjoy about Cleo Can Tie a Bow. As an educator myself, I could see how this book could be used as a great teaching tool. On each of the pages you can find and count the bows or butterflies. When you get to the steps on how to tie a bow, you can teach your child or student how to tie a bow. 

Another thing I loved about this book were the illustrations! They were so cute! I also really loved the story that Cleo shares about the rabbit and the fox. It was very adorable. 

I could see how this book could be set up as a series of Cleo books! I’m not sure if the author will be writing more Cleo books, but I sure would love it if she did! 

Rating: 4.5/5


Sybrina Durant is the author of some fanciful and some factual books. Her writings have inspired several online entrepreneurial ventures. Two of those are the Rabbit and Fox Bookstore and the Girls Love Bows Gift Shop. Spend some time browsing both for some interesting and surprising gift ideas for yourself and others.

Hardcover Autographed Book, $25 Amazon Gift Card,
& Long Sleeve Tee Shirt
Giveaway ends Midnight, CST, December 17, 2020
(US only)

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or visit the blogs directly:
12/7/2020 Book Trailer The Adventures of a Travelers Wife
12/7/2020 BONUS Promo Hall Ways Blog
12/8/2020 Review Chapter Break Book Blog
12/9/2020 Author Interview Jennie Reads
12/10/2020 Review Forgotten Winds
12/11/2020 Review Story Schmoozing Book Reviews
12/12/2020 Top Ten StoreyBook Reviews
12/13/2020 Guest Post Book Fidelity
12/14/2020 Review The Page Unbound
12/15/2020 Guest Post All the Ups and Downs
12/16/2020 Review Missus Gonzo
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