LSBBT Review: River, Sing Out by James Wade

   

RIVER, SING OUT
BY
JAMES WADE
 
Categories: Contemporary / Literary Fiction
Rural Fiction / Crime Fiction / Coming-of-Age
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Date of Publication: June 8, 2021
Number of Pages: 315 pages
 

“And through these ages untold, the river did act as the lifeblood of all those things alongside it.”

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

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

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

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



PRAISE FOR RIVER, SING OUT

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

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

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


This likely makes little sense, but it is hard to actually describe my overwhelming feelings about this book.  This is a heart-wrenching coming of age tale focusing on Jonah Hargrove and a cast of supporting characters.  Jonah is 13 years old and looking to avoid his abusive father when he runs into River.  River is a woman on the run from a drug dealing boyfriend and needing help.  On the run and trying to find a way out of a dire situation, Jonah and ultimately River, learn incredibly hard lessons about life, love, and what it means to be a human.

Author James Wade has an incredibly poetic sense of style and a unique dialogue structure.  The characters are vivid and full of life, truly they do not stay on the page.  This book reads as a dramatic, contemporary coming of age novel.  The pacing is solid with the hardback version clocking in at 275 pages.  The cover is beautiful and captures the spirit of the book with it’s haunting view of a river and a single tree.  I very much enjoyed the third person perspective throughout the book.  This choice kept the reader in Jonah’s shoes and experiencing his feelings. 

At the end of the day, I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary fiction, coming of age tales, gritty dramas, and stories set in East Texas.  I very much enjoyed this book and appreciated the real-world drama that played out over the narrative.  This is my second book to read by this author and I am a lifelong fan!  Grab a copy today!  Thanks to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author for the opportunity to read and review this book!

 

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

Blog Tour: A Wall of Bright Dead Feathers by Babette Fraser Hale

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 Publishing Brazos Bookstore | Amazon 

 

When I first picked up this book, I knew to expect a collection of stories but I had no idea how entranced I would be!  This collection is so very timely with many of us experiencing some level of grief, a great restlessness from being away from loved ones, and a deep need to be in a calm setting.  I found all of these elements perfectly interwoven through the individual narratives throughout this collection.  Most of the stories feature a person or family who abandon the hustle and bustle of the big city to experience a calmer life in the Hill Country.  The motivations range from grief and loss to needing a change of venue.  Throughout the collection of stories the “fish out of water” motif is repeated, but with incredible skill and beautiful prose.

While reading, I frequently found myself feeling a great sense of sadness, anger, frustration, and peace, sometimes simultaneously!  Honestly, the experience was breathtaking!  This is a fantastic collection of stories that reel you in and don’t let you go until the very end.  The underlying theme through the collection is that of place.   My favorite story is “A Skeptical Parrot”, which features quick time jumps, German freethinkers in Central Texas, the Civil War, and carries a deep sense of place and memory.  I have always been someone who enjoys stories about memory, particularly generational memory.  This story spoke to me in a way and reminded me of my own grandparents, their experiences, their home, and the great sense of place that I felt in their small town.

Overall, I felt a deep emotion connection to this collection of stories and I can certainly see why this author is an award winner!  I found the writing to be excellent and the thematic elements to be very well done.  I would recommend this to readers who are called to stories with a lot of emotional connection!  The cover is gorgeous and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!  Just about 200 pages is a perfect length to read on an afternoon in a sunny place, possibly in a place that reminds you of home!

Thank you to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author for having me along on this tour! 

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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Book Blitz: Aggravated by Michael Sirois

AGGRAVATED
BY MICHAEL SIROIS
 
Publisher: Truth Boots Publishing, LLC
Pages: 389 Pages
Pub Date: December 11, 2020
Categories: True Crime / Criminal Procedural Law
 
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Description: In 2006, the author’s brother, Steve Sirois, was sentenced to serve 35 years in a Texas prison for a horrendous crime, aggravated sexual assault of a child — a crime Steve swore he didn’t commit. After the conviction, Michael started helping Steve write his appeals, but what he saw in the trial transcripts made him question how a jury could have convicted his brother based on that testimony. Steve’s accuser originally gave vague dates for the crime but soon abandoned those dates and even replaced the details of her claims with new ones. There was no forensic evidence, no DNA, no physical evidence of any kind: nothing but his accuser’s words. The author wondered if he could prove that her accusations were false. But how? Using affidavits, court transcripts, and interviews, along with additional evidence from public information requests and other factual data, the book lays out a devastating portrait of an untruthful accuser, an overzealous prosecutor, a jury that made a deal to swap votes in order to gain a conviction, and the series of lies that led to that outcome.
Purchase: Amazon 
Michael Sirois was reading by the age of four and was writing quirky short stories by the third grade. In high school he added acting to his bag of tricks. After graduating from the University of Houston, he taught writing, drama, and technology in the middle school trenches for two decades, but continued to act and write, placing well in competitions like the Writer’s Digest Short Story contest and the HBO Project Greenlight series. His first novel, The Jagged Man, was published in 2015, and a two-book series, If a Butterfly, is slated to be published in late-Spring 2021. After running educational outreach programs at Rice University for seven years, he retired and lives with his wife, Minay, in Spring, Texas, where he is hard at work on a thriller, The Hawthorn’s Sting, and a mystery/thriller, Murder Between Friends, hoping to have a first draft of at least one of them by late-2021. Ideas for a few more are also floating around in that scary place called his brain. Stay tuned.

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Book Review: All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone by John J. Jacobson

ALL THE COWBOYS AIN’T GONE

BY JOHN J. JACOBSON
 
Pages: 352
Pub Date: February 23, 2021
Categories: Historical Fiction / Action Adventure / Western
 
 
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All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone is the rollicking adventure story of Lincoln Smith, a young Texan living at the beginning of the twentieth century, who thinks of himself as the last true cowboy. He longs for the days of the Old West, when men like his father, a famous Texas Ranger, lived by the chivalric code. Lincoln finds himself hopelessly out of time and place in the fast-changing United States of the new century. When he gets his heart broken by a sweetheart who doesn’t appreciate his anachronistic tendencies, he does what any sensible young romantic would do: he joins the French Foreign Legion. 
 
On his way to an ancient and exotic country at the edge of the Sahara, Lincoln encounters a number of curious characters and strange adventures, from a desert hermit who can slow up time to a battle with a crocodile cult that worships the god of death. He meets them all with his own charming brand of courage and resourcefulness. 
 
Purchase: Bookshop.org

As with most books, I try not to read too much of the blurbs or descriptions in an effort to be surprised by what I’m reading.  Though not a usual practice, this has led me to books that completely blow my mind.  This is a book that surprised and enchanted me from the first page!  Not only does it have an intriguing and brilliant cover, this book has all of the things I love:  Cowboys, spying, rollicking adventures, a grandiose imagination, and action by the gallon!  I can’t really nail down what I loved most about this book, which is rare for me.

This novel felt like part Indiana Jones, part James Bond, and part Clint Eastwood western with some Don Quixote mixed in.  Several  other reviewers have commented on the plot evolving into larger battle scenes and unbelievable situations.  I thought this contributed to the charm of the book, of the escapist nature of the narrative.  I found this to be exactly what I needed right now, an escape from reality into an unbelievable world.  Lincoln Smith is a man, born a few years too late, who yearns for adventure and the old way of the world.  He eventually finds it in the French Foreign Legion in Africa.  I loved Lincoln’s adventures and all of the characters he meets along the way.  Princes, comrades, ladies, and more venture with Lincoln through the narrative.

The cover is eye catching, the writing is enticing, and the story will take your breath away!  This is a fast-paced novel that can be read in a couple of sittings, clocking in at around 350 pages.  Though I received a print copy, I am sure that the audio book of this novel would be just as exciting!  Overall, this book has even character development, accelerated pacing, and a narrative that keeps you enthralled from start to finish.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys epic quest literature, turn of the century stories, sweeping epics, or who just need an escape from reality for an afternoon. 

Thank you to Lone Star Book Blog Tours, the author, and publisher for having me along on this tour!  I absolutely enjoyed this book and highly recommend it!  Grab a copy today, enter the giveaway below, or visit another LSBBT blog to see other great reviews!

Though John J. Jacobson didn’t join the French Foreign Legion after being jilted by a girlfriend, or over his displeasure of missing the last great cattle drive, he has, borrowing Churchill’s phrase, lived a rather variegated life. He was born in Nevada, grew up in the West, surfed big waves in Hawaii, circled the world thrice, survived the sixties and seventies, corporate America, and grad school. Among other degrees he has an MA in Renaissance literature from Claremont Graduate University. 

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Continue reading “Book Review: All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone by John J. Jacobson”

Book Tour: The Earl Lady’s Geologist by Alissa Baxter

The Earl’s Lady Geologist by Alissa Baxter

Publication Date: February 28, 2021 Vinspire Publishing Series: Linfield Ladies Series, Book One Genre: Regency Romance     Cassandra Linfield is a lady fossil collector who declares she will never marry as no man will ever take her studies seriously. When circumstances force her to travel to Town for the Season, Cassy infiltrates the hallowed portals of the Geological Society from which she has been banned. She is horrified when she comes face to face with her nemesis, the infuriating Earl of Rothbury. Lord Rothbury is a gentleman-geologist with a turbulent romantic past. After a youthful disappointment he vows never to fall in love again, and makes the decision, instead, to seek out a convenient wife when he returns to England from his geological travels abroad. Brought together by their close family ties, Cassy and Rothbury collaborate on a geological paper and discover a powerful attraction. Marriage, however, is the one subject they cannot agree upon. But when Cassy’s life is threatened, the two realise that love matters more than their objections.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

Praise for The Earl’s Lady Geologist

“A gentle Regency romance, full of sweetness and intelligence. Alissa Baxter’s writing is period perfect.” -Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author of The Matrimonial Advertisement “The Earl’s Lady Geologist by Alissa Baxter deftly weaves together the charm of a traditional Regency romance, fascinating information on scientific society of the time, with a quiet subtext about the challenges faced by women interested in pursuing science. This first book in a new series is wonderfully satisfying on many levels!” -Mary Jo Putney, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author “While immersing the reader in the mores and life of the Regency era, Alissa Baxter manages to write strong, independent heroines whom modern-day women will cheer and root for. Plus the addition of little details that wrap around the plot and the characters make reading her books all the more special because you never know when you might land on a little Easter egg morsel in the beautiful and engaging prose. Historicals with heart and engaging characters that read real—that’s what you get in Ms. Baxter’s books.” -Zee Monodee, USA Today bestselling author “A truly traditional Regency romance, with lots of witty banter, very reminiscent of Georgette Heyer. Recommended for anyone who likes a completely clean traditional Regency, with strongly authentic writing, historical accuracy and a satisfying romance. Baxter’s writing is excellent, and her dialogue, manners and settings are true to the era. A spirited heroine, a brooding hero, lots of sparkling banter and an authentic Regency setting—with added fossils! Great fun. From Lyme Regis to the drawing rooms of London, Alissa Baxter takes the reader back to the time of Jane Austen.” Mary Kingswood, author of traditional Regency romances

This is a wonderful historical romance that is so timely!  With the recent popularity of “The Dig” on Netflix and a renewed interest in archeology, this novel combines fantastic elements of historical fiction, archeological/scholarly research, and just a little bit of steamy romance!  Cassandra is a headstrong young woman who is on the verge of freedom to pursue her passions, her studies, and her dreams.  She is determined to follow those dreams and gets into a bit of mischief along the way.

I noticed several reviewers were glad that Cassandra was set apart from most ladies in Regency fiction who normally melt at the sight of a titled gentlemen.  Cassandra has no time for titles or gentle pursuits.  She has a will of her own and won’t be stifled by society.  Be prepared for a slow burn romance with a fair amount of interpersonal conflict and even a bit of danger!  The Earl of Rothbury is a great match for Cassandra, he is a respected geologist with his own opinions of society.  I loved getting to walk with them through the narrative in this book! 

There are a couple of surprises in that this book has many details, little bits of information that make the story even more real, and there are some historical/literary figures sprinkled throughout the narrative!  Given the very interesting subject matter of this book, I was enthralled from the beginning!

This is a perfect novel (first in a series I think!) for fans of Regency/Historical Romance, slow burn romantic novels, archeology, and willful heroines!  I very much enjoyed this book and give it a strong recommendation!  Thank you to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and the author for having me along on this tour!

About the Author

Alissa Baxter was born in a small town in South Africa, and grew up with her nose in a book on a poultry and cattle farm. At the age of eleven she discovered her mother’s collection of Georgette Heyer novels. The first Heyer novel she ever read was Sylvester and she was hooked on Georgette Heyer after that. She read and reread her novels, and fell totally in love with the Regency period and Heyer’s grey-eyed heroes! After school and university, where she majored in Political Science and French, she published her first Regency novel, The Dashing Debutante. Alissa travelled overseas and worked as a flight attendant in Dubai before she moved to England, where she did an odd assortment of jobs while researching her second novel, Lord Fenmore’s Wager, which she wrote when she moved back to South Africa. Alissa’s third Regency novel, A Marchioness Below Stairs, is the sequel to Lord Fenmore’s Wager. Alissa has lived in Durban and Cape Town but she eventually settled in Johannesburg where she lives with her husband and two sons. Alissa is also the author of two chick-lit novels, Send and Receive and The Blog Affair, which have been re-released as The Truth About Series: The Truth about Clicking Send and Receive and The Truth About Cats and Bees.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 22 Feature at The Lit Bitch Review at Books, Cooks, Looks Review at WTF Are You Reading? Tuesday, February 23 Review at Probably at the Library Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals Wednesday, February 24 Review at Bookish Rantings Thursday, February 25 Review at Gwendalyn’s Books Friday, February 26 Guest Post at Novels Alive Monday, March 1 Review & Excerpt at Bookworlder Tuesday, March 2 Review at Robin Loves Reading Wednesday, March 3 Review at Amy’s Booket List Thursday, March 4 Excerpt at The Tea Queen Review at Pursuing Stacie Friday, March 5 Review at View from the Birdhouse Monday, March 8 Review at Book Bustle Tuesday, March 9 Review at Tangents and Tissues Wednesday, March 10 Review at YA, It’s Lit Thursday, March 11 Review at Older & Smarter Friday, March 12 Excerpt at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life Monday, March 15 Review at Jorie Loves A Story Tuesday, March 16 Excerpt at Heidi Reads Review at Madwoman in the Attic Wednesday, March 17 Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit Thursday, March 18 Review at Read Review Rejoice Friday, March 19 Guest Post at Coffee and Ink Monday, March 22 Review at Books and Zebras Tuesday, March 23 Review at Novels Alive Wednesday, March 24 Feature at I’m Into Books Thursday, March 25 Review at Bitch Bookshelf Friday, March 26 Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary

Giveaway

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on February 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter. The Earl’s Lady Geologist https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js

Book Blitz: Knock! Knock! by Douglas Thompson

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KNOCK! KNOCK!
Lessons Learned and Stories Shared 
by DOUGLAS THOMPSON
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

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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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Character Interview: Dreams Re-Kindled by Amanda Cabot

BNR Dreams Rekindled

DREAMS REKINDLED

Mesquite Springs, Book 2

BY AMANDA CABOT

Categories: Christian Historical Fiction/ Romance/ Stand-Alone

Publisher: Revell

Date of Publication: March 2, 2021

Pages: 352

 

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He’s bound and determined to find peace . . . but she’s about to stir things up. 
 
Dorothy Clark dreams of writing something that will challenge people as much as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin seems to have. But in 1850s Mesquite Springs, there are few opportunities for writers–until newspaperman Brandon Holloway arrives, that is. 
 
Brandon Holloway has seen firsthand the disastrous effects of challenging others. He has no intention of repeating that mistake. Instead of following his dreams, he’s committed to making a new–and completely uncontroversial–start in the Hill Country. 
 
As Dorothy’s involvement in the fledgling newspaper grows from convenient to essential, the same change seems to be happening in Brandon’s heart. But before romance can bloom, Dorothy and Brandon must work together to discover who’s determined to divide the town and destroy Brandon’s livelihood. 

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Baker Books (Revell) | Amazon | BN | Christianbook.com

A Conversation with Mrs. Lockhart

From Dreams Rekindled

By Amanda Cabot

Ida Downey, who owns Mesquite Springs’s mercantile, is not a gossip, but she prides herself on knowing everything that’s going on in town. Today she’s chatting with the former schoolteacher, a widow who owns the second largest house in town.

IDA: Good morning, Virginia. What can I get for you today?

MRS. LOCKHART: A spool of white thread. I caught my heel in the hem of my petticoat and managed to tear it.

IDA: I’m sorry to hear that, but I’m glad it brought you here. There are a couple things I wanted to ask you. First, I want your opinion of the two men who’ve come to town. They’re all anyone can talk about … including my daughter. Laura’s convinced the handsome newspaperman is the man she’s going to marry.

MRS. LOCKHART: He is handsome, I’ll grant you that, but I wonder if he’s the right one for Laura. Something tells me he has secrets in his past that might stand between them. Laura needs a man with a whole heart, and I’m not sure Brandon Holloway is that man.

IDA: I hope you’re wrong, because Leonard and I both think the world of Brandon. This town needed a newspaper, and as far as we’re concerned, he’s the best thing that’s happened here in a long time.

MRS. LOCKHART: I agree about the paper, but I’m still not sure he and Laura would be a good match.

IDA: I won’t tell Laura you said that, because she has dreams of a double wedding. She’s convinced Phil Blakeslee is the perfect match for Dorothy. There’s only one problem: Dorothy claims she’ll never marry.

MRS. LOCKHART: Now you’ve shocked me, Ida. Why is Dorothy so averse to marriage? Her parents were one of the best-matched couples I’ve met, and her brother seems to be boots over hat in love with his wife.

IDA: Laura doesn’t know why Dorothy’s so adamant. That’s the second thing I want to talk to you about. Laura believes if Dorothy and Phil spend more time together, they’ll fall in love. Do you think you can arrange it? I heard Phil’s been eating dinner with you most days. Maybe you could invite Dorothy to join you.

MRS. LOCKHART: Are you trying to turn me into a matchmaker? I don’t think that’s a good idea.

IDA: Then, what do you suggest?

MRS. LOCKHART: Let love take its course.

And it does, although not necessarily the way anyone expects.

Amanda Cabot is the bestselling author of Out of the Embers, as well as the Cimarron Creek Trilogy and the Texas Crossroads, Texas Dreams, and Westward Winds series. Her books have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Awards, the HOLT Medallion, and the Booksellers’ Best. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more:

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Blog Tour: Stork Bite by L. K. Simonds

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 story that spans a century and deals with heavy themes with deftness and delicacy.  The novel begins with David Walker, a man with a heavy burden to bear after killing a man who threatened his life while out hunting.  David’s story is central to the story, but he is not front and center through the narrative.  Cargie Barre is the central player with Mae Compton’s story interspersed for contrast.  Cargie is the person that I understand best and who had the most character development.

There are time jumps in this story, but I think they are needed to bring the entire narrative together.  This is a story about the deep South, about survival, about opportunity, and about hope.  The plot is well balance and the author has a knack for rich, beautiful prose.  Though the subject matter is heavy, the story moves along at a brisk pace and the reader never loses the spark of hope that things will be alright in the end.

The book is about 350 pages and broken up nicely into mid-length chapters.  I found the character development to be balanced, which more attention paid to Cargie, but that’s fine because she was my favorite character.  The narrative feels very authentic, so authentic that I wondered if the author had lived out parts of the source material.  The scenes are seamlessly woven together, so much so that I felt like I was sitting beside Cargie or witnessing her conversations first hand.

Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and would recommend it for historical fiction lovers, those interested in books about family relationships and deep connections to place.  I would also recommend this for a discussion group or book club!  I was blown away by this novel!  Thank you to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the author for having me along on this tour!

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

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ONE WINNER
(US only):
Signed Paperbacks of ALL IN and STORK BITE
Plus $50 Visa Gift Card.
Giveaway ends Midnight, CST, February 5, 2021
FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
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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Blog Tour: A Deadly Fortune by Stacie Murphy #HFVBT

A Deadly Fortune by Stacie Murphy

Publication Date: January 5, 2021 Pegasus Crime Genre: Historical Mystery     A historical mystery in the vein of The Alienist, in which a young woman in Gilded Age New York must use a special talent to unravel a deadly conspiracy. Amelia Matthew has done the all-but-impossible, especially for an orphan in Gilded Age New York City. Along with her foster brother Jonas, she has parleyed her modest psychic talent into a safe and comfortable life. But safety and comfort vanish when a head injury leaves Amelia with a dramatically-expanded gift. After she publicly channels an angry spirit, she finds herself imprisoned in the notorious insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island. As Jonas searches for a way to free her, Amelia struggles to control her disturbing new abilities and survive a place where cruelty and despair threaten her sanity. Andrew Cavanaugh is familiar with despair. In the wake of a devastating loss, he abandons a promising medical career—and his place in Philadelphia society—to devote himself to the study and treatment of mental disease. Miss Amelia Matthew is just another patient—until she channels a spirit in front of him and proves her gift is real. When a distraught mother comes to Andrew searching for her missing daughter—a daughter she believes is being hidden at the asylum—he turns to Amelia. Together, they uncover evidence of a deadly conspiracy, and then it’s no longer just Amelia’s sanity and freedom at stake. Amelia must master her gift and use it to catch a killer—or risk becoming the next victim.

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Advance Praise for A Deadly Fortune

“The 1893 world of the infamous lunatic asylum on Blackwell’s Island comes alive in frightening and horrific detail as a string of murders for profit is discovered when a young woman with a gift for contacting the dead becomes an accidental patient. She must fight for her life as well as her freedom in this engrossing mystery that reveals that all was not golden in Gilded Age New York.” —Rosemary Simpson, author of Death Brings a Shadow: A Gilded Age Mystery “This engrossing mystery, rich in period detail, probes the dark side of Gilded Age New York and the even darker side of life at the insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island. Plucky Amelia Matthew rises to the considerable challenges that surround her, uncovering increasingly dangerous secrets that point to the presence of a murderer in the asylum. Amelia has a special gift that both helps and complicates her search for the truth, making her a unique heroine. A Deadly Fortune builds to a satisfying conclusion that will whet the reader’s appetite for more of Amelia’s adventures!” —Clarissa Harwood, author of Impossible Saints and Bear No Malice “Stacie Murphy proves herself to be a masterful storyteller with A Deadly Fortune—an elegantly written, fast-paced mystery that blends the dark side of the Gilded Age, great characters, and a paranormal twist. Impossible to put down.” —Julie McElwain, author of the Kendra Donovan Mystery Series “Murphy serves up a dark side of the Gilded Age with intrigue, historical detail, and captivating characters. This is a mystery to savor!” —Dianne Freeman, award winning author of the Countess of Harleigh mysteries.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this debut novel, but I was blown away within a few pages!   This book is described as perfect for fans of The Alienist, a little bit paranormal and heavy on the mystery.  This is spot on!  I loved the setting of Gilded Age New York, I’ve always wanted to live in that time period.  Voluminous skirts, canes, top hats, high fashion!

This book centers around Amelia Matthews, a woman who suffers a traumatic brain injury that exacerbates her ‘powers’.  She is able to communicate with the dead and sometimes she can see the way a person will die.  Along with Amelia, we meet Dr. Andrew Cavanaugh, doctor who studies trauma and mental illness on Blackwell Island.  Amelia’s brother Jonas is also along for the ride!  I found Amelia and Jonas to be incredibly well developed characters with Andrew falling a little bit flat.  I really enjoyed them all, but the relationship between Amelia and Jonas was the standout for me. 

I loved the setting and found the asylum on Blackwell’s island to be very creepy, but in a good way!  This is definitely a paranormal book, perfect for the next spooky season, but also for the paranormal aficionado!   Great characters, spectacular mystery, and a well-told narrative make this a standout book for me!  The pacing was very good and well-balanced for a debut novel!  

Thank you to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and Stacie Murphy for the opportunity to read and review this title!  So, so good!

About the Author

Stacie Murphy grew up near Nashville, TN. She began writing A Deadly Fortune in 2017 as a way to force herself to stay off Twitter in the evenings. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and the worst cat in the world.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 11 Review at Coffee and Ink Review at 100 Pages a Day Tuesday, January 12 Excerpt at Probably at the Library Wednesday, January 13 Review at McCombs on Main Review at Gwendalyn’s Books Thursday, January 14 Feature at The Lit Bitch Friday, January 15 Review at A Darn Good Read Monday, January 18 Review at Novels Alive Tuesday, January 19 Review at Rajiv’s Reviews Wednesday, January 20 Guest Post at Novels Alive Thursday, January 21 Feature at What Is That Book About Friday, January 22 Review & Excerpt at Books & Benches Monday, January 25 Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals Tuesday, January 26 Review at Bitch Bookshelf Wednesday, January 27 Review at A Chick Who Reads Thursday, January 28 Excerpt at Always With a Book Friday, January 29 Review at Amy’s Booket List Interview at Madwoman in the Attic Monday, February 1 Review at Book Bustle Tuesday, February 2 Review at Tangents and Tissues Wednesday, February 3 Feature at Reading is My Remedy Review & Excerpt at The Book Review Crew Friday, February 5 Review at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of A Deadly Fortune by Stacie Murphy & a $50 Gift Card to Amazon or your favorite Indie store. Winner’s choice. The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on February 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Loxby Manor https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js

Review: Ely Air Lines Vol 1 by Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

   
ELY AIR LINES
Select Stories from 10 Years
of a Weekly Column,
Volumes 1 & 2
by
MIKE ELY
and
LINDA STREET-ELY
Genre: Nonfiction
Categories: Short Stories / Aviation / Adventure 
Date of Publication: January 29, 2020 
Number of Pages: Volume 1: 350 pages; Volume 2: 330 pages  
Scroll down for Giveaway!
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.

Communities are the lifeblood of the United States.  Advocacy for communities is essential to keeping America working and keeping America thriving.  Ely Air Lines (a collection of short stories and real-life encounters) is a magnificent work that exemplifies the American Spirit of community.  This project sprang from the authors’ love of community and sharing their experiences in the skies with others! 

Though this book does not have thematic characters to follow, readers will quickly pick up on the things that make the general aviation community special.  Authors Mike and Linda have compiled over 10 years of aviation columns from the Liberty Gazette out of Liberty County, Texas into a wonderful two-volume work that explores the relationships and communities built by aviation across the world.  Readers will find inspiring stories about young pilots, tear-jerking stories about war-time, and intriguing stories about the past.  Each story is presented with a storyteller’s voice that makes the narrative even more interesting! 

This book isn’t just for the aviator at heart, this is for anyone who is interested in the skies!  The stories are broken up as vignettes and organized into larger categories which help the reader to understand the theme of each chapter.  A particular favorite of mine is “The Real Rosie the Riveter”, which tells the story of a young woman, the real Rosie the Riveter, who worked during WWII as a WASP (Womens Airforce Service Pilot).  This story has a special place in my heart because the WASP service is something I have always admired!  The National WASP museum in Sweetwater, Texas if you passing through!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys storytelling and aviation!  You don’t necessarily need to understand aircraft lingo to love this book!  Each chapter takes the reader on adventures both far flung and near to home!  This volume is about 300 pages and would be a perfect read for a rainy day or on a flight! 


Thank you so much to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and the authors for the opportunity to read and review this book!  Pick up a copy today and start your high flying journey! 

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.
 
 
 
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TWO WINNERS (US only)
Each win an autographed, 2-volume set of ELY AIR LINES
Giveaway ends midnight, CST, January 29, 2021
 
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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
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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